Archive for 'July 2015'

    'Soar' Sails to Victory on Film Festival Circuit

    Over 100 students collaborated on Alyce Tzue’s stunning animation that follows a young girl who builds a flying machine


    A scene from 'Soar.' Courtesy of Alyce Tzue.

    Academy of Art University alumna Alyce Tzue is flying high on the success of her 3-D animated short film, Soar. Since completing the movie she worked on for three years as an animation graduate student, she and her team have submitted Soar to 30 high-profile festivals. 

    “We’ve been focusing on quality over quantity,” explained Tzue, who works as an animator for virtual reality game-maker Oculus. “There’s a shortlist of festivals you need to win for the sake of getting into the Academy Awards.”

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    Dr. Elisa Stephens Attends Hilton-Rothschild Wedding at Kensington Palace

    Dr. Elisa Stephens, Academy of Art University president, was present at the wedding of Nicky Hilton and James Rothschild, held at the Orangery, located on the grounds of Kensington Palace, Friday, July 10. 

    Dr. Stephens attended the stylish event as a guest and friend of the Hilton family. "It was the wedding of the year, the bride and her artistic style set the standard for all weddings," said Dr. Stephens.

    Per Women's Wear Daily, the bride's Valentino gown was "made of three different shades of ivory and silver guipure was accented with crystal embellishments and features a balloon skirt with a three meter train. Her long veil was adorned at the edges with a vintage lace."

    "Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino creative directors, have turned Valentino into the go-to designer for the international cool girl set and it seems only natural that Nicky Hilton would choose to work with them on the design of her wedding dress," said Simon Ungless, executive director of the School of Fashion at the Academy. "The dress is youthful and modern in its silhouette, yet the high neck and full sleeve in lace give an air of modesty and tradition, which is exactly what the DNA of the House of Valentino stands for."


    Dr. Elisa Stephens and the newly Mrs. James Rothschild pose for a photo at the Hilton-Rothschild wedding at Kensington Palace.

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    A Winning Shot

    Three COM students share their experience working as production assistants for NBA Entertainment during this year’s NBA Finals


    Courtesy of Mytia R. Zavala.

    When the Golden State Warriors clinched the win in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last month, they brought home a big shiny trophy. But they weren’t the only ones with a reason to feel proud of themselves. Three students from Academy of Art University’s School of Multimedia Communications had just capped off two weeks of hard work as production assistants for NBA Entertainment (NBAE)—the NBA’s video and film production and broadcasting department.

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    Alumni Team Finds Success After Striking Out on Their Own

    COM graduates combined their skills to create their new business, Fog City Multimedia, specializing in short-form storytelling


    Academy of Art University alumnus Mike Sorola. Courtesy of Mike Sorola.


    Academy of Art University alumnus Shaun Horrigan. Courtesy of Shaun Horrigan.

    Business is booming for Academy of Art University graduates Mike Sorola and Shaun Horrigan, who a little over one year ago, founded a boutique production and multimedia company called Fog City Multimedia. Fog City Multimedia specializes in short-form video production but the duo also offers website, social media and other business support. 

    Their clients include AAA of Northern California, The Melt, University of San Francisco, TEDxDavisStWomen and many small businesses like SF Wonderland and KJ Couture. 

    “We’ve been fortunate to work with some reputable, established brands right from the start,” said Sorola. “We are beyond grateful because we know this doesn’t always happen. Alternatively, we’ve been able to help young companies execute their brand by meeting their production needs.”

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    Academy Students Receive Scholarships from AAUW

    Cathy Corcoran and Karina Garcia

    Cathy Corcoran, VP of Accreditation Compliance at Academy of Art University, and Karina Garcia, B.F.A. fashion design student. Photo by Noelle Hynes.

    The American Association of University Women (AAUW) San Francisco Branch Silver Jubilee Scholarship Committee recently awarded $2,000 scholarships to two Academy of Art University B.F.A. students. 

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    Team Expo Prove They’re Young & Hungry

    Expo group retouched

    Online students joined us on campus for the 5th annual Summer Expo from as far away as Brazil, Bolivia, Germany, Iowa, Kentucky and Connecticut. Photo by Bob Toy.

    A cross-department team, with members representing online advertising, graphic design and web design and new media students, totally knocked it out of the park on not one, not two but three multimedia concept presentations during the week of Summer Expo for Academy of Art University’s agency, Young & Hungry.

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    Graphic Design Instructor Selected for ‘Best of Napa’ Award

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    Ghost Horse Vineyards. Design by Christine George.

    Christine George covers a lot of ground in Napa Valley. In addition to her work as an instructor in the School of Graphic Design, she’s an acclaimed fine artist, photographer and designer…and still finds time to ride miles of Napa trails on horseback. And now she’s added a 2015 Best of Napa Award to her honors.

    Having served as assistant director of Graphic Design for a decade, George currently teaches packaging courses while she pursues her passions—or as she puts it, “My truth: art and horses.”

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    Online Academy of Art University School of Fashion students collaborated in “a texture, surface and proportion” project to showcase their diversity by thinking outside the box. Participants traveled from locations, such as Puerto Rico, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Utah and Washington. Each student cultivated new networks, applied their creative minds and joined in conversations to make the most of all Summer Expo had to offer.

    From industry led field trips to social media training, Summer Expo 2015 was a crosscutting, interdisciplinary experience. As a fashion journalist in training, I couldn’t resist putting my recently acquired journalism skills to practice. Below, I collated responses of my interviews with some of the Summer Expo 2015 participants.

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    Summer Expo '15.

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    From Artist-Athlete to Adidas

    While 2014 B.F.A. textile design alumna Andrea Nieto was an Academy of Art University student, her talent stood out and her high caliber work earned her numerous awards, such as Bentley Mills Portfolio Cash Award for Interior, Pointcarre Software Prize for Textile Design and the RSA U.S. Student Design Awards.

    Her enthusiasm for fashion also showed in her Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014 collection. She collaborated with Frank Tsai, M.F.A fashion design, on a menswear collection which was inspired by the mood and emotion of an international photography collection Beauty in Decay, as well as personal struggle, raw emotion and the different stages of the healing process.

    At the same time that Nieto was building her fashion knowledge as an undergraduate, she was also a star golfer on the women’s golf team.

    Now a year after graduating from the School of Fashion, Nieto has found where her two passions - fashion and sports - intersect. We caught up with the designer to hear about her job at Adidas, how her time in the School of Fashion and on the golf team prepared her for the work world and what’s next for her.



    Andrea Nieto. Courtesy of Andrea Nieto.

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    Fantastic Footwear


    'BaJa' by KAI. Photo by Jeffry Raposas. Styling by Yuna Choi.

    SHOP657 has given several Academy of Art University design students an opportunity for real-world experience. The store, located at 657 Sutter Street, is a chance for people to snag a truly unique piece from a young designer. Soon M.F.A. merchandising and product development student, Shihkai Tai, will be among the designers featured with his new KAI footwear collection. 

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    Online IAD Student Designs illy Café in Canada


    illy Café by BerMax Caffé + Bistro. Courtesy of Maxim Berent.


    illy Café by BerMax Caffé + Bistro. Courtesy of Maxim Berent.

    Recently Stephanie Smith Haenel, an instructor for the School of Interior Architecture & Design at Academy of Art University caught up with online student Maxim Berent, who worked on the creation of the illy Café in Winnipeg, Canada. Berent’s responsibilities on the project included everything from coming up with the design concept, product selection and space planning to collaborating with mechanical and electrical engineers, working with city architects and city inspectors and creating “a space that met the needs for high aesthetics and innovation placed by the world famous Italian coffee company, illy.”

    “The illy brand is the most recognized Italian coffee brand around the world and it continues to be the icon of fine Italian espresso around the world,” said Berent. “Following the footsteps of this unique [culture], it was crucial to deliver a concept store that will meet the international standards.” 

    Read on to find out more about Berent’s experience in creating the illy Café in Canada. 

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    IAD Student Wins First Place in Sherwin-Williams Design Challenge


    Kitchen design by Marija Kalas.

    Another big win for the School of Interior Architecture & Design, as B.F.A. student Marija Kalas won first place in Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge residential design category this year. Winners were selected from a pool of hundreds of entries stemming from the top design schools in the nation. Besides recognition, Kalas received $2,500 for the top prize. Kalas’ winning entry incorporated Sherwin-Williams 2015 Color of the Year Coral Reef in a variety of home spaces.

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    A "Creative Time" for Parker Posey

    The Party Girl plays a college professor in Woody Allen’s new film, Irrational Man


    Left to right: Joaquin Phoenix as Abe and Parker Posey as Rita. Photo by Sabrina Lantos © 2015 Gravier Productions, Inc., Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

    With her new blonde hair, golden manicure, and the leopard print Altuzarra dress she wore to the Los Angeles premiere of her new film Irrational Man, it’s clear Parker Posey will always be the ultimate “party girl.” But college professors can party too. In the new Woody Allen movie, the actress brings her deadpan humor and irreverent charm to her character Rita Richards, a science teacher with her own frumpish style sense.

    “There are not a lot of women who are science teachers, so I toughened her up,” Posey said during an interview at the Fairmont Hotel. “She’s schlepping her bags around and thinking about other things. Science is really exciting right now, but it doesn’t stop her fantasies for wanting to be rescued.”

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    Summer Expo '15: The School of Fashion

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    Students work on a photo shoot to showcase their work from the week. Photo courtesy of Bethany Meuleners.

    Academy of Art University’s annual Online Student Summer Expo was held from June 20-28, and 15 online School of Fashion students had the opportunity to attend workshops at the fashion headquarters, located at 625 Polk. “The annual Summer Expo is an opportunity for students to experience hands-on workshops and classes aimed at improving their skills and knowledge of their subject, which they can take home with them to apply to their online classes,” explained Freshman Student Online Coordinator Bethany Meuleners. “They are also given the opportunity to meet their faculty and directors, who can help in discussing and planning for their time in the program.”

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    Long Beach’s Architecture Should Inspire

    Urban planning is comparable to a meal, with the ingredients being its architecture.

    Great architecture is synonymous with great food, with the quality of a place never rising above the quality of its ingredients. A city, therefore, is only as good as its ingredients. 

    With the announced release of a cache’ of over 300 former redevelopment properties in Long Beach, California, the city has a great opportunity to inspire change for the better. This all starts with procuring better ingredients.

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    Film Review: 'Southpaw'


    JAKE GYLLENHAAL stars in 'SOUTHPAW.' Photo by Scott Garfield.

    In Antoine Fuqua’s new film, Southpaw, Jake Gyllenhaal packs a punch as the current Light Heavyweight Champion of the World Billy Hope.

    Outside the ring, the boxing champ is surrounded by his loving family, wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) and daughter Leila (Oona Laurence), and a bro-tastic group of friends, including manager Jordan Mains (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). When the unthinkable happens, Billy’s world crumbles. He loses his family; his home and his “loyal” bros follow the money trail to his rival Miguel “Magic” Escobar (Miguel Gomez).

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    Inside the Private World of Amy Winehouse

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    Mark Okoh, Camera Press London. Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait. On view July 23–November 1, 2015. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.

    In 2011, the music world was rocked by the death of acclaimed British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. She hit the scene in 2003 with her debut album Frank and followed up three years later with her Grammy Award-winning album Back to Black, which featured hit singles "Rehab" and "You Know I'm No Good."

    The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco recently unveiled their newest exhibition, Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait, which will run through November 1. Organized by the Jewish Museum London, the exhibition was put together in collaboration with Amy’s family and features some unique items from different chapters of her life.

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    M.F.A. Illustration Alumna Wins Prestigious Award in Los Angeles

    Tung Chi (Jessica) Lee - IOF2015 - The Last Hope

    Illustration by Jessica Tung Chi Lee.

    Don’t bring Jessica Tung Chi Lee to a construction site, unless you want to spend a day among excavators and bulldozers. The artist has a fascination with all things mechanical and is known to spend hours photographing and sketching all the little details. Nurtured during childhood visits to sites in Taipei, Taiwan, where her father worked as a civil engineer, her interest exploded as a student at Academy of Art University, where she was exposed to a whole new world of mechanical design.

    “I was really impressed with the designs I saw. I wanted to do something like that too,” said the artist, who graduated with an M.F.A. in illustration in 2014.

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    Visual Development Student Wins Illustration Award

    Shuangjian (Jimmy) Liu - IOF2015 - 4 (small)

    Illustration by Shuangjian "Jimmy" Liu.

    On April 12, Academy of Art University first-year student Shuangjian “Jimmy” Liu donned a tuxedo, fastened his royal blue bowtie and headed to the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles. Though far from his home in Guangzhou, China, Liu found himself in good company. That night, he shared the spotlight with two fellow award-winning artists at the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards ceremony, the grand finale to a week of workshops led by esteemed science fiction and fantasy artists like Cliff Nielsen, Dave Dorman, Larry Elmore and Liu’s personal favorite Nathan Fowkes.

    “I did not think I would win,” said Liu, who completed his first semester at the Academy this past May. “When I submitted my portfolio I just picked my art randomly from my desktop, then I got a phone call and found out that I won. I believe that if you can draw good enough the judges in the contest will find you.”

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    Mex I Am to Showcase Mexican Artists and Innovators

    The festival celebrates the creativity and passion of Mexico right here in San Francisco


    San Francisco is known for its creative people and original thinkers. It’s also home to a large population of Mexican Americans. So what better place to hold the second Mex I Am festival, a celebration of the best art, dance, food, music and ideas from Mexican artists and innovators? The festival will take place July 19-26 at the Palace of Fine Arts, the SFJAZZ Center and other venues throughout the city. 

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    Rebecca Delgado Rottman Receives "Heroes Award"


    L–R) Chairman of Kalayaan SF Committee Radi Calalang, Brian Flores, Atty. Rodel Rodis, Yobie Benjamin, Thelma Boac, Jennifer Cabalquinto, Rebecca Delgado Rottman, Maria Banatao, Lolita Kintanar, Consul General Henry Bensurto, Jr., Dado Banatao, Rudy Asercion and Lloyd LaCuesta. Photo by Jam Bilar.

    One morning last month, Rebecca Delgado Rottman got dressed for a Philippine Independence Day party, where she was honored with a “Heroes Award” by the Philippine Consulate. Ladies were requested to wear a traditional dress called a Filipiniana. But Rottman didn’t have one, so she got creative. Combining an ivory Zara dress with a bolero by Bay Area fashion designer Crisanta Malig, she pulled off the perfect outfit. “I put it on and voila! I hit jackpot!” Rottman declared.

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    Meet Your Models: Veronique Bohne


    Always versatile, Bohne’s talents lend to a plethora of characters. Photo by Shahin Fathi Djalali.

    Most artist models have busy lives, often balancing modeling with other professions and personal schedules. Veronique Bohne is no exception, managing her modeling career, the occasional acting gig and being a mother to her young daughter with aplomb. With a professional history that spans genres and multiple continents, Bohne consistently delivers a poised and polished performance. Honing her skills in Paris for 13 years before moving to San Francisco, she is equally suited playing up her 1920s flapper fatale side as she is channeling Calamity Jane for some western drama. 

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    San Francisco Celebrates Launch of 'Electric Fashion' at Alexander McQueen Boutique


    Simon Ungless and Christine Suppes pose with a look from the 1996 McQueen 'Dante' collection. Photo by Jeffry Raposas.

    On Thursday, June 11, 100 guests came together at the Alexander McQueen boutique in San Francisco to celebrate the launch of Christine Suppes’ book Electric Fashion. On display during the event was a selection of stunning McQueen pieces from Suppes’ personal collection.

    School of Fashion Executive Director Simon Ungless introduced Suppes and regaled the audience with tales from his time working with the late Alexander McQueen. Ungless spoke about the inspiration for one of McQueen’s most iconic collections, Dante. “The idea for Dante came from Gustave Doré’s book Inferno, but we wanted to use photographs of the Vietnam War by Don McCullin.” Ungless used McCullin’s photos as the basis for the prints he created for the collection. Unfortunately, the collection didn’t last. “When Don McCullin got wind of the collection we were ordered to destroy every piece that used his photographs,” Ungless explained.

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    Academy of Art University Partners with Juanita MORE! to Raise Money for Youth Empowerment Summit

    This summer Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion is partnering with local activist Juanita MORE! in her effort to raise money in support of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) community during San Francisco Pride Week. MORE!, a celebrated drag performer, fundraises with a variety of LGBTQ organizations each year in conjunction with Pride Week and has chosen to raise money for the Youth Empowerment Summit (Y.E.S.) for her annual Pride Party on June 28.

    Eight School of Fashion textile design students from the Applied Textiles 3 course have hand-printed imagery inspired by MORE! and her French bulldog, Jackson, on 32 100 percent organic cotton tote bags made in the U.S. with eco-friendly, water-based ink. MORE! selected her four favorite bags to be locally produced by Morrison Productions and distributed to select retailers in San Francisco; the winning totes are currently for sale at Sui Generis Consignment, Unionmade, ATYS Contemporary Design, s16 Home, Asterisk San Francisco and M.A.C. Modern Appealing Clothing.


    One of the winning tote designs. Photo by Bob Toy.

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    From a Blank Canvas to a One-of-a-Kind Clubhouse

    Academy artists, designers and golfers team up to create a space for school children in Golden Gate Park with The First Tee


    Mural by Olympia Altimir-Gálvez.

    Students and faculty from the Schools of Fine Art and Interior Architecture & Design at Academy of Art University and the ART U men’s and women’s golf teams recently collaborated with the city of San Francisco and the Recreation and Parks Department, among others, to bring to life a haven for local school children at the Golden Gate Park Golf Course. The project is a one-of-a-kind container clubhouse for students who take part in The First Tee of San Francisco. The First Tee is an internationally respected youth organization that promotes life skills and leadership through the game of golf. 

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