Archive for 'November 2016'

    Sculptor's Playful Animals Pop up All Over the City

    Academy graduate creates a menagerie of whimsical creatures to encourage optimism


    Sculptor and Academy of Art University alumnus Jihoon Choi's Giraffe in the heart of Union Square in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Jihoon Choi.

    Last summer, you might have spotted a bright yellow, nine-foot tall giraffe resembling a giant Lego toy at some well-known San Francisco locations. Made from sheets of metal by sculptor Jihoon Choi, the whimsical creature elicited plenty of double takes and smiles when the artist took it on a photoshoot around the city. He photographed the giraffe in places such as the Civic Center, Pier 7, the cable car turntable at Powell and Market Streets and Hunters Point.

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    Steam Greenlight Offers Path to Success For Indie Game Developers

    About a year ago, An “Rolf” Chung (M.F.A. ’16) and Fred Lin (M.F.A. ’16) were having dinner together after class when an exciting email arrived. Their game, Magic Masks, had been “greenlit” on Steam Greenlight—an online platform where members of the community vote on the games they like best.

    “All of a sudden this message hit us by surprise. We could hardly believe it,” recalled Chung, Magic Masks lead designer. He clicked the link to Magic Masks' Greenlight page to confirm it was true, and sent screenshots to the rest of their development team—Andrew Miller (M.F.A. ’13) and Yulong “Tobby” Tao (M.F.A. ’16). “We all got really excited and immediately started planning our next steps.”

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    Fashion Campaign Brings Gladys Perint Palmer & Alumna Zhangchi Wang Full Circle

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    Gladys Perint Palmer’s illustration of former student Zhangchi Wang’s design adorns a tram in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of Gladys Perint Palmer.

    Some coincidences are so amazing that it’s hard to believe they happened by chance. The series of events linking Academy of Art University Executive Vice President of Artistic Development Gladys Perint Palmer and her former student, Zhangchi Wang, to a promotional campaign for Asia-based retailer Joyce, falls into this category.

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    Students Defy Gravity at Out of Bounds

    Timing, patience and determination were key for drone photography competition winners Austin Esposito and Kris Everett

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    Mike Hoppe freebords down Lombard Street in Austin Esposito and Kris Everett’s Out of Bounds overall winning entry. Image courtesy of Austin Esposito and Kris Everett.

    On the night of Oct. 21, an eager crowd of Academy of Art University students and photography enthusiasts packed the 111 Minna Gallery to witness the high-flying video results of the first-ever collegiate drone photography competition and exhibit Out of Bounds. Made possible by the sponsoring partnership of Red Bull and Cyberlink, this challenge of stratospheric skill gave the Academy’s ace drone pilots the opportunity to truly get their heads in the clouds.

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    Banana Republic Empowers Styling Students


    (L–R) Kati Brandt and Marlena Griffin of Banana Republic. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Room 200 at Northpoint was buzzing with fashion forward students on Oct. 12 as Banana Republic’s Human Resource Manager Marlena Griffin and Assistant Manager of Women’s Product Kati Brandt came to talk to the styling and merchandising students of Academy of Art University about what it takes to work at the company’s flagship location here in San Francisco.

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    Disney Animator & Academy Alumnus Jorge Ruiz Cano Gives Students an Insider's Look at 'Moana'


    (L–R) Elham Sepehrjou (Teatime Animation Club), Jorge Ernesto Ruiz Cano (Disney animator and Academy alumnus), Gaby Rojo (Teatime Animation Club), Fernando Penafiel (Teatime Animation Club) and Josephine Sun (Teatime Animation Club). Photo courtesy of Becky Johnson.

    Save for perhaps Dwayne Johnson himself, Disney could not have sent a more charismatic ambassador to introduce its newest animated film, Moana, to Academy of Art University students. Venezuelan animator Jorge Ruiz Cano, who holds a Master’s in character animation from the Academy, visited 620 Sutter Theater on Nov. 1 to discuss the film at an event hosted by the Teatime Animation Club and the School of Animation & Visual Effects.

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    COM Student a Force at Urban Knights Radio

    Terrell Butler steps up at UKR, while finding success at local comedy clubs


    Urban Knights Radio Program Director Terrell Butler. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Terrell Butler isn’t one to sit around and wait for opportunities to come his way. Last spring, for example, the Academy of Art University School of Communications & Media Technologies student took it upon himself to learn the ropes of running Urban Knights Radio by shadowing graduating program director Von Bellows.

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    Hailee Steinfeld Talks 'The Edge of Seventeen'


    Hailee Steinfeld and Haley Lu Richardson in The Edge of Seventeen. Photo by Murray Close. ©2015 STX Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.

    Over the past year, Oscar-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld has established herself as a legitimate popstar with songs “Love Myself” and her current single, “Starving,” with Grey, featuring Zedd. As “Starving” continues to climb Billboard’s Hot 100, the nearly 20-year-old phenom returns to the big screen starring in the highly anticipated coming-of-age feature film The Edge of Seventeen.

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    Meet 'Manchester By The Sea's' Lucas Hedges


    Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges in Manchester By The Sea. Photo by Claire Folger. Courtesy of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions.

    Director Kenneth Lonergan’s critically acclaimed new film Manchester By The Sea follows the story of Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), an apartment janitor leading a simple life in Boston. Following the death of his older brother (Kyle Chandler), Lee returns to his hometown to take care of his 16-year-old nephew Patrick and is forced to deal with his past. Playing Patrick is 19-year-old Lucas Hedges, an up-and-coming actor, who can now add Lonergan to the list of esteemed directors he’s already worked with in his young career, including Wes Anderson, Terry Gilliam and Michael Cuesta. 

    Hedges, who is currently a student at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, was in San Francisco last month to promote his emotionally poignant new film, and spoke with Academy Art U News about what it was like working with one of his acting heroes, the dynamic between going from acting in school to acting on a film set, and provided some key advice for our Academy of Art University students.

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    Architecture Students Design Award-Winning Prototypes for Homeless Shelters

    ARH 250 Studio introduces students to the social aspects of architecture


    Exhibition logo. Courtesy of Sameena Sitabkhan & Doron Serban.

    Imagine being homeless and pregnant with no place to go. Academy of Art University architecture student Fernanda Kanamori knew someone once in that position. So, when tasked with designing a homeless shelter for a class project, Kanamori knew exactly what kind of shelter she would design.

    “She got kicked out of her house, she had nowhere to go, and she was having a baby,” Kanamori explained. “I wanted to design something that would make her feel special and protected.”

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    Academy Grad Helps People With Disabilities Find Stylish, Accessible Clothing

    Twenty-four years ago, Stephanie Thomas was competing in a beauty pageant when the director of the event asked her a question that changed her life: “Why do you never button your left cuff?” Thomas, who graduated from Academy of Art University with an M.F.A in fashion journalism in 2013, was born without a right thumb and is also missing toes on both of her feet. 

    “I’d never really thought about it before,” said Thomas “But then it dawned on me—‘Duh, I don’t have a right thumb,’ so I never button my left cuff because it takes too long.”

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    Landscape Architecture Grad Presents at ASLA Annual Meeting


    Photo courtesy of ASLA staff.

    School of Landscape Architecture graduate Eric Arneson presented his award-winning project, Bendway Park, at the American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Along with other award recipients, Arneson received his award at a ceremony on Monday, Oct. 24.

    Click here to read more about Arneson's project and recent ASLA recognition.

    Kristin Abbott Carves Successful Career Designing Fantastic Walk-Through Worlds


    A scene from one of Abbott’s worlds for the Forår Festival in Copenhagen (2014). Photo courtesy of Kristin Abbott.

    You wouldn’t find dollar store gift wrap at Kristin Abbott’s house when she was growing up. “If we wrapped a present, it wasn’t just wrapped—we made the paper and decorated it like crazy,” said Abbott, who graduated from Academy of Art University’s School of Illustration with a B.F.A. in 2006.

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    Academy Grad Samar Shool Wins Emmy Award


    Image from Emmy-winning PBS show, The National Mall—America’s Front Yard. Image courtesy of Samar Shool.

    The Emmy Awards, the highest honor bestowed by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, annually recognize excellence in television production across various sectors of the industry, including entertainment, news, documentary and sports programming, as well as craft categories. Samar Shool, who holds an M.F.A. in computer animation from Academy of Art University, was among those honored on June 25, 2016, at the 58th National Capital Chesapeake Bay Regional Emmy Awards.

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    School of Architecture Symposium Tackles Homelessness


    Students at the School of Architecture participate in a symposium discussing the realities of the current homeless situation in San Francisco. Photo by Bob Toy.

    In September, the School of Architecture at Academy of Art University hosted a symposium focusing on the issue of homelessness in the Bay Area and how certain organizations are creating new and inventive ways to build community outreach, architectural concepts that can use the design department’s help, and how this can improve the lives of the homeless in San Francisco. On a panel moderated by Executive Director of the School of Architecture Mimi Sullivan, three guest speakers, Maryann Leshin, Del Seymour and Alejandro Pimentel, shared their personal experiences and how they are making an effort to have a positive impact on this desperate cause. The School of Architecture’s Homelessness and the Built Environment Symposium served as a tie in with the San Francisco Chapter of AIA and the 2016 Architecture in the City Festival: Resilient City.

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    School of Advertising Student Wins Prestigious Clio Award

    Academy of Art University School of Advertising student Hernan Bogado was recently awarded a bronze student Clio Award for his Let Them In campaign. The Clio Awards is an esteemed international awards competition that recognizes creative excellence in advertising and design. 

    The awards were part of Advertising Week in New York City, and Bogado traveled there to accept the award at a ceremony held at the American Museum of Natural History.

    “It’s nice to be recognized by people in the industry,” said Bogado upon his return to the Academy. “Competitions are a huge part of the advertising world, and I was inspired by being able to get a real feel for what happens in the industry; it felt like I belonged there.”


    School of Advertising student Hernan Bogado. Photo courtesy of the School of Advertising.

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    Meet Your Models: Courtney Anne Russell

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    Russell as serpentine inspiration as seen through the eyes of artist Sarah Barrie Fenton. Artwork by Sarah Barrie Fenton.

    Bringing a lifetime of dance experience and the heart of a poet, model Courtney Anne Russell is the definition of a muse. Lovely and intelligent, Russell has studied ballet since the age of three, training with the American Ballet Theater, Lines Ballet and the New York City Ballet company before settling in the Bay Area. As a drag and burlesque performer, Russell is an active member of numerous local troupes from the clownish hijinks of Fou Fou Ha to the soulful Butoh inspired stylings of Bad Unkl Sista. A passionate artist and an individual who cannot be defined by conventions Russell pours herself into her performances regardless of the platform.

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    Creating the World of 'Trolls'

    School of Communications and Media Technologies hosts creative team behind the lovable animated musical comedy


    Trolls director Mike Mitchell and broadcast journalism student Whitley Sandretto. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Twenty years after bejeweled navels and colorful sky-high hair fueled the latest troll doll craze, DreamWorks’ animated musical comedy Trolls offers a window to the world of the lovable ugly creatures. On October 20, director Mike Mitchell, co-director Walt Dohrn and screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger visited Academy of Art University to discuss the film at an event hosted by the School of Communications and Media Technologies.

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    Acting Students Embrace Humorous, Emotional Characters in 'Crimes of the Heart'

    Put three sisters in a room and emotions tend to run high—especially when one’s a would-be murderess, another a former mental patient, and the third is careening toward spinsterhood. 

    Tragic on the surface, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Crimes of the Heart has become one of the most beloved classics of American comedy since its 1981 Broadway debut. The Academy of Art University’s new production, directed by School of Motion Pictures and Television instructor Tracy Ward, runs through November 5 at the theater at 620 Sutter.

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    Jessica Tanner Completes Internship With Cinelou Films, Wins SoCal Screenplay Competition

    One day, aspiring screenwriter Jessica Tanner may look back on the summer of 2016 as the season that jump-started her professional development. In addition to completing an industry internship at Cinelou Films, the School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media M.F.A. student also won the inaugural Southern California Screenplay Competition. 

    Already intent on pursuing a writing career, Tanner took an introduction to screenwriting class as an undergraduate at Loyola University Maryland and ended up loving it. At Academy of Art University, she found the mix of industry expertise and financial aid she was looking for in a graduate school.

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    From Page to Screen


    Image courtesy of Brandon Garza.

    Brandon Garza, producer and director of photography for the recent film Before the Fall is an Academy of Art University alumnus, whose career is skyrocketing in the film industry. Garza received his B.F.A. from the School of Motion Pictures & Television, with a focus on screenwriting. However, Garza said that he made sure to take a wide variety of courses to give himself “a well-rounded understanding of filmmaking.”

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    Alumni Q&A: Moonyoung Oh of Riot Games


    Academy of Art University alumnus and Riot Games Character Technical Artist Moonyoung Oh. Photo courtesy of Moonyoung Oh.

    Meet Character Technical Artist Moonyoung Oh, an Academy of Art University alumnus, who is currently working at Riot Games.

    Please introduce yourself.

    My name is Moonyoung Oh. I’m a technical artist who is working at Riot Games in L.A. after graduat[ing from] Academy of Art University in Spring 2016. My major was 3-D animation and visual effects … [I learned] about 3-D arts with engineering languages at school.

    What do you do for Riot Games?

    For 3-D films, games, ads, and also so many media arts need technical support to create them. Technical artists support artist and create arts themselves to use technical tools. In 3-D arts, they have different types of technical artist too. I am a character technical artist; [a] rigger, who is set up character controls for animating characters. I create technical tools for modelers and animators to support them to make art more effectively and also what we want to make it.

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    Linguistics in the Field


    Amy Adams as Louise Banks in Arrival by Paramount Pictures. © 2016 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    You can describe Jessica Coon, the lead linguistics consultant for new film Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, as down to earth. Coon shared a wealth of knowledge about the story and linguistic concepts involved in the film directed by Denis Villeneuve.

    Arrival follows the quest of sought out linguist, Dr. Louise Banks (Adams) who joins an elite team of mathmaticians soldiers and astronauts to investigate a mysterious spacecraft. The basics of the language in Arrival is expressed in the short story that the film is based on called, Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. “This is not the next Klingon,” said Coon. The idea of the language being circular and having no end is more of an integral element to the narrative of the film.

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