Archive for 'December 2014'

    Classic Cars Shine Alongside Student Designs

    A glamorous toast to the Tucker opened the Academy's VIP preview at the San Francisco Chronicle 57th Annual International Auto Show 

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    Beyond Expectations with Blizzard

    Blizzard Entertainment panelists share advice on getting hired and review portfolios


    (L–R) Scott Campbell, Lead Recruiter at Blizzard Entertainment; Tad Leckman, Senior Training Manager for Cinematics at Blizzard Entertainment; Dr. Elisa Stephens, Academy of Art University President; Peter Lee, Senior Concept Artist at Blizzard Entertainment; Eric Browning, Academy alumnus and Lead Prop Artist at Blizzard Entertainment. Photo by Bob Toy.

    On Thursday, Nov. 20, the video game giant Blizzard Entertainment visited Academy of Art University’s Morgan Auditorium to share with students how to maximize their chances of getting hired. Senior Concept Artist Peter Lee was joined by the Senior Training Manager for Cinematics Tad Leckman, Lead Recruiter Scott Campbell and Lead Prop Artist and Academy alumnus Eric Browning.

    The panel opened with highlights from this year’s Blizzard Student Art Contest, an annual competition that entered its third year last fall. Since 2011, Blizzard has asked students to submit their designs for new three-dimensional environment pieces for their immensely popular multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft. To be considered for the 2015 competition, students are asked to submit their designs online by January 15.


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    Major League Photos


    Derek Jeter. Credit: New York Yankees. All Rights Reserved.

    Academy of Art University M.FA. photography alumna Ariele Hecht graduated in 2003, and thanks to her dedicated freelance work, as well as being in the right place at the right time, she now works as a photographer for the New York Yankees.

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    A Prelude Before 'Prelude'

    Mitra Shahidi, Academy of Art University 2010 alumna, has been hitting the film festival circuit this year with her animated short film, Prelude. The film tells the story of a young rebellious girl, her actions and her uptight grandfather, which leads to a stronger and closer relationship between the two.

    Shahidi started Prelude as a traditional animation collaborative project as a student at the Academy, under the supervision of Graduate Director Sherrie H. Sinclair, and describes the hardships and optimism that came along with the process of making her film. She reminisced about her time at the university, the ambitious drive of the film and how it felt when she started submitting Prelude into festivals.


    Mitra Shahidi

    Mitra Shahidi. Courtesy of the School of Animation and Visual Effects.

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    A Strong Season Start

    Women's basketball begins year with numerous CCAA battles, including a 73-56 victory over Cal State Monterey Bay

    WBB - Jasmin Guinn (photo by Jason Harrel)

    Women’s basketball player Jasmin Guinn. Photo by Jason Harrel.

    A strong second half by the Urban Knights led Academy of Art University’s women’s basketball team to a 73–56 victory over Cal State Monterey Bay to kick off the 2014–15 season on Nov. 14. ART U shot over 45 percent from the field in the second period and used a significant rebound margin to deal the Otters their first opening day loss since the 2007–08 season.

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    Men’s Basketball Upsets No.22 Seattle Pacific Defeats Simon Fraser in Non-Conference play

    MBB - Alexis Moore (photo by Jason Harrel)

    Men’s basketball player Alexis Moore. Photo by Jason Harrel.

    After a long, determined offseason of preparation, the Urban Knights did what they came to do in their opening game of the 2014–15 season, upsetting No. 22-ranked Seattle Pacific in a 70–67 victory on the Falcons’ home court on Nov. 14.

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    Three Urban Knights Earn All-Region, Valentine Pepiot qualifies for Nationals

    MXC - Valentin Pepiot (photo by Kurtis Monteiro)

    Valentin Pepiot. Photo by Kurtis Monteiro

    On a chilly day at snow-touched Amend Park in Billings, Montana, Academy of Art University’s cross-country team battled the best NCAA Division II has to offer in the West Regional Championships.

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    Volleyball’s Melissa Brum Earns AVCA All-Region Honor

    Volleyball - Melissa Brum (photo by Kenny Chacon) (2)

    Melissa Brum. Photo by Kenny Chacon.

    On Nov. 26, Academy of Art University sophomore Melissa Brum (Multimedia Communications) added yet another accolade to her collection with an honorable mention selection to the 2014 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region Team.

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    Art at the Intersection of Past and Present

    Academy of Art University provides its artists with an inspiring canvas after purchasing, and saving, St.Brigid Church

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    St. Brigid third grader Sedona, the mural's "unofficial art director." Photo by Jennifer Blot.

    At first, it felt like an ordinary Catholic mass. The chorus was comprised of strong, sweet young voices. The robed priest served communion and delivered a sermon on the theme of vocations, a word derived from the Latin “to call.”

    But when he said, “We’re standing in the chapel of Academy of Art University. Maybe you are promising artists,” it was clear it wasn’t a typical place of worship.


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    'Drunktown’s Finest' Director Paints a Dynamic Picture From Navajo Roots


    Daniel H. Freeland stands proud as his two daughters win awards at the 39th Annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco; MorningStar Angeline (right) wins for Best Supporting Actress and Sydney Freeland wins Best Film for “Drunktown’s Finest.” Photo by BK Photography.

    Academy of Art University alumna Sydney Freeland’s film, Drunktown’s Finest, which began as a concept while studying at the Academy, has screened at the Sundance Film Festival and is racking up the awards and positive reviews at film festivals around the world. Backed by executive producer Robert Redford, Drunktown’s Finest draws from Freeland’s upbringing in Gallup, New Mexico near the Navajo reservation, the largest American Indian reservation in the United States.

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    Illustration Student Puts His Love for Marine Biology to Work Through Art

    Conservatory of Flowers_Art of Aquascaping.jpg

    Academy of Art University illustration student Aaron John Gregory has created an unusual art niche that has served him in a variety of remarkable endeavors. To put it simply, he draws fish.

    “I’ve spent my entire life in love with aquatic wildlife,” said Gregory, who is currently a senior at the Academy.

    This passion permeates almost every part of his life from the name and musical themes of his acclaimed metal band Giant Squid to his successful t-shirt company Cotton Crustacean to his job illustrating a serious mollusk biology text.

    “As a kid, I had aquariums all over my bedroom. Right out of high school, I studied marine biology at community college and worked at almost every tropical fish store in Sacramento, CA,” said Gregory, who even bought one of those stores with his aunt when he was 23 years old.

    A scuba diver for over 20 years, Gregory dove professionally at Aquarium of the Bay shortly after moving to San Francisco in 2007.

    “Part of my job was literally wrangling huge eight foot long sharks in and out of the main tanks,” Gregory said.

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    Students and Instructors Participate in School of Fine Art - Printmaking's Annual Print Exchange Portfolio


    The 11th Annual Print Exchange Portfolio.

    Every fall, the School of Fine Art is involved in quite a few events. In addition to contributing artwork to the Faculty and Alumni Fine Art Auction, the School of Fine Art – Printmaking has an annual print event: the Print Exchange Portfolio. 

    This year was the 11th annual print exchange. Instructors, along with both undergraduate and graduate students all participated and each created an edition of prints. The only restriction on the prints is the size; the content is up to each participant. This year, the paper size was 13" × 13". Other years have been as small as 4" × 6" and as large as 11” × 14".

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    John Canemaker Sheds Light on the Cutting Edge Art of Disney


    Academy Award winner and noted authority on the history of animation John Canemaker gave an hour-long talk and signed books for attendees. Photo by Tina Hittenberger.

    On Monday, Nov. 24, Academy Award winner and noted authority on the history of animation, John Canemaker, gave an hour-long talk sponsored by Academy of Art University’s School of Animation & Visual Effects and The Walt Disney Family Museum at the 79 New Montgomery Theater, where he spoke on his new book, The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis & the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic.


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    Digital Imaging Instructor Creates Art that Honors Tradition


    Phillip Hua. Courtesy of Phillip Hua.

    With recent exhibitions at two London galleries, the Affordable Art Fair in Singapore, and the Piedmont Center for the Arts’ annual Juried Art Show, digital imaging instructor at Academy of Art University, Phillip Hua, is nurturing his career locally, while bolstering his international status.

    The London shows, held at Sphinx Fine Art and The Lloyds Club ran in conjunction with the Young Masters Art Prize. Hua, who attended the shows, was among 30 international artists shortlisted for the award.

    “It was a great experience and it gave me an opportunity to check out the London art scene as well as make friends with other artists,” said Hua, who grew up in San Jose and has exhibited work at several local venues, including Hang Art Gallery and the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. “I think the inclination is to want to show locally, within our community. But what I’ve found is that every artist’s appeal can vary from city to city, state to state, country to country. We have to think globally.”

    The 30 finalists for the prize all had one thing in common: their work pays homage to artistic traditions from the past. Featuring natural imagery like swooping cranes, gliding koi fish and delicate bonsai, Hua’s artwork references Chinese brush painting, paying tribute to masters like Qi Baishi, Shen Zhou and Chao Shao-an.

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    VFX’s Waltz Into The Singularity


    Looped animations and drawings were projected onto a wall and a sheet, the latter allowing the reverse image to be viewed on the other side. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Suite 301 at the Cannery was transformed into a thumping visual effects-
    themed club on Thursday, Nov. 13, when Academy of Art University’s School of Animation and Visual Effects took over for an end-of-the-year event titled Waltz Into The Singularity.

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    School of Game Design Students Bring Gamification to Beckon


    (L–R) Paolo Trelles, Luis Parra, Andrew Rieger, Beckon employee Erin Korogodsky, Beckon employee Shawn Smith, Hunter Hemingway, John Kwag and Pryce Jones. Courtesy of the School of Game Design.

    San Mateo software start-up Beckon specializes in optimizing analytics for marketing in the modern world. Founded in 2011, it skyrocketed to the top of the tech world’s watch list after raising $10 million in Series A funding this past spring. Beckon’s sleek dashboard lets businesses read data and customer feedback in ways that make improvements easy to identify as brands establish a community and build their base.

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    Showcasing Industry Success Stories and the Importance of Internships


    (L–R) Melissa Suzuno, Nathan Parcells, David Pham, Candice Naranjo and Juliua Fraser. Photo by Jackie Rutan.

    The benefits of internships, both paid and for credit, was the topic of a lively discussion, hosted by Academy of Art University’s School of Multimedia Communications on Thursday, Nov. 13 at the 79 New Montgomery Theater. The panel, which featured both industry influencers and Academy alumni, was led by Director of the School of Multimedia Communications Jan Yanehiro.


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    Madefire’s Motion Tool to Improve Portfolios


    (L–R) Matt Harding, current illustration major and Senior Builder for Madefire, and Joe Otis Costello, Madefire Product Manager demonstrate the Motion Tool. Photo by Lourdes Livingston.

    On Thursday, Oct. 30, Madefire Motion Books presented their new Motion Tool and demonstration of possibilities, from creating interactive motion storytelling to presenting a state-of-the-art portfolio in Bradley Hall at Academy of Art University.

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    Visual Effects Alumnus Talks Career in Compositing


    The Coke 'Heist' advertisment won an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial in 2009. Jolly describes it as “Awesome. It was a great project in that it had a lot of collaboration between departments as well as being a fun project to work with all kinds of various types of bugs.” Courtesy of Lane Jolly.

    Since graduating in 2003 with a B.F.A. from the Academy of Art University’s School of Animation & Visual Effects with an emphasis on compositing, Lane Jolly has put his skills to good use. He is currently one of the lead compositing supervisors at Psyop, a production company that works within the entertainment, video gaming and advertising industries to produce integrated visual effects, live action and animation.

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    Giving Back at UCSF's Family House


    Member of the Campus Safety department and local volunteers cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the families at Family House. Courtesy of Kevin Martin.

    It’s that time of year when giving back can mean everything to those in need of some holiday cheer. On Monday, Nov. 24, Academy of Art University staff members from the Campus Safety department, Kevin Martin, Campus Hosts Monique LeBlanc and James Holman and Patrol Officer Anecia Price-Bennett, teamed up with members of the San Francisco Police department, where they donated their time and their cooking skills for around 40 people at Family House on 10th Avenue. 

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    Campus Life Takes to the Great Outdoors


    From Friday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 16, Campus Life and 52 Academy students went on the annual weekend-long trip to Yosemite. Chaperones Anne Connors, Elliott Nathan and Jake Eastman led students on an 11-mile hike through the park, where they viewed beautiful rock formations and wildlife. The evenings were spent roasting marshmallows over the bonfire, singing songs and stargazing.


    A Modern Day Journalistic "Hybrid"

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    Gladys Perint Palmer at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Photo by David Dooley.

    Gladys Perint Palmer hasn’t worked in a newsroom in years, but in many ways she’s a newspaper gal at heart.

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    M.F.A. and B.F.A. Costume Design Degrees Receive Accreditation from NASAD

    Academy of Art University has received accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) for M.F.A. and B.F.A. costume design degrees.

    The costume design program will be housed in the School of Fashion and led by Costume Design Program Coordinator Margaret Whitaker. School of Fashion Executive Director Simon Ungless will oversee the program. Students in the costume design program will benefit not only from the rigorous garment construction techniques taught in the School of Fashion, but also from practical experience gained through collaboration with both the School of Motion Pictures & Television and the School of Acting.

    “In recent years we have seen many established fashion designers moving into the world of costume design, such as Christian Lacroix’s ballet costumes for La Source and Jean Paul Gaultier’s costumes for movies, such as The Fifth Element and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover,” said Ungless.


    1. Wooden Dresses, Liina Gruener & Marjorie Cox, USA

    Wooden dresses by Liina Gruener and Marjorie Cox. Courtesy of the School of Fashion.

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    Graduation Fashion Show Named by BizBash as One of San Francisco's Top 100 Events 2014


    Courtesy of the School of Fashion.

    Academy of Art University School of Fashion Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony has been named as the No. 1 San Francisco Fashion Industry Event in BizBash’s inaugural Top 100 list of events in San Francisco. BizBash’s widely renowned Top 100 list includes annual events that are evaluated based on economic impact, buzz, innovation and the event’s prominence within the communities it intends to serve.

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    Pop-Up Art at Facebook


    Courtesy of Orly Ruaimi.

    Academy of Art University jewelry design student Orly Ruaimi has never been afraid to take risks and invest in her dreams. This quality is remarkably evident in her ambitious new collections, and this has not gone unnoticed by Silicon Valley tech giant, Facebook.

    The social media company, known for its own dedication to creative new ideas, recently invited Ruaimi to host a pop-up shop at their Menlo Park headquarters, highlighting pieces from Ruaimi’s tech-savvy CYBORG collection.

    “The experience was incredible,” Ruaimi said. “I have been interested for years in creating a line of jewelry that can interact with both our physical and virtual identities. Now that the CYBORG collection is a reality, Facebook headquarters was the perfect location to feature the work.”


    Courtesy of Orly Ruaimi.

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    Students at a Glance: Diamond Linan

    Yes or No - Sarah A Garcia + Ryan Andrew Vasquez

    Sarah A. Garcia and Ryan Andrew Vasquez in 'Yes or No.' Courtesy of Diamond Linan.

    “Yes or no?”

    And that was it. The cliffhanger of the century, the end all for the writer, the audience and the product of one very pleased writer/director Diamond Linan. The audience is left with an aching heart and a racing mind, left to ponder that question, “Yes or no?”


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    Urban Knights Radio Presents Tuesday Tunes

    Academy Idol contestant Michael Regalo performs at the radio station's first Tuesday Tunes event of the semester

    On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Urban Knights Radio hosted Tuesday Tunes with first-year music production student Michael Regalo as the featured performer.

    The event has been taking place each semester for over a year, and Ronn Grant of Urban Nights Radio, who is also a judge on the current season of Academy Idol, said the aim of the event is, “to feature local Academy artists, as well as promote our radio station. Believe it or not, a lot of students don’t know that there’s a radio station at the Academy … but we want them to know that this is something they could be part of, have their own show, as well as give local artists at our school an opportunity to showcase their talent.”



    First-year music production student Michael Regalo. Photo by Bob Toy.

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    Movie Jumpers - 'Interstellar'


    Written and drawn by Allison Yoshida, Eliza Reid, Ian Brooks, Nicole Geiger and Dylan Vermeul. Created by Dylan Vermeul.


    Directing the Observance of a Story

    A Q-and-A with ‘Foxcatcher’ director Bennett Miller

    Based on the tragic true story of multimillionaire John du Pont and his relationship with wrestler brothers Mark and Dave Schultz, Foxcatcher offers an insightful exploration of not only elements of 1980s America, but also a myriad of themes related to the management of wealth and power.

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    Film Review: ‘Wild’ – Hiking to Self Discovery

    In Wild, Reese Witherspoon gets back to nature as she plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who walks over 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail to come to terms with certain events in her life. From director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and with a screenplay written by About a Boy author Nick Hornby, this film is based on the real Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, titled Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

    In a film packed with emotion, a glowing Laura Dern plays Cheryl’s loving mother Bobbi, who is the light of Cheryl and her younger brother’s lives. However, when she passes away, her children must learn to find their own ways in life.



    Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed in 'Wild.' Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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