Menu

Archive for '2017'

    Fashion Design Grad Talks Life at The North Face

    It’s been almost 20 years since Ray Bercilla graduated from the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University, and to come back to speak to students on Nov. 28 at the Northpoint building was a little surreal.

    Bercilla, a fashion design graduate, is a product developer at The North Face. He and his colleague, Senior Materials Developer Samantha Pinnock, tagged along with Director of Color Lisa Cram at The North Face’s parent company, VF Corporation (VFC), to visit the Academy. They gave a special presentation on color, textile chemistry and what it’s like to work for the outdoor company based in Alameda.

    Read More »

    Building Conscious Urban Architecture

    DSC_7638

    Internationally renowned architect and owner of Neil M. Denari Architects, Neil Denari. Photo by Doron Serban.

    A big name in the world of architecture stopped by Academy of Art University on Nov. 14, but he didn’t start his lecture by talking about architecture. Neil Denari, internationally renowned architect and owner of Neil M. Denari Architects, kicked off the night speaking about The Ramones, modular synthesizers, along with horses and zebras.

    Denari dished out metaphors to introduce the main message behind his two-hour lecture—that sameness comes in many different forms and that architecture in the urban setting can have an unconventional dialogue with its surroundings.

    Read More »

    Founder of Bionic Landscape Joins Fall Speaker Series

    MWilson_LAN

    Bionic Landscape Founder and Design Director Marcel Wilson. Photo by Nina Tabios.

    The San Francisco Bay Area is home to several of the world’s top architects, and the School of Landscape Architecture (LAN) at Academy of Art University is fortunate to know and work closely with so many of them. LAN Director Jeff McLane calls the city “ground zero for landscape architecture,” and over the past few weeks, students have heard a handful of top-notch designers speak at the department’s Fall Speaker Series, one of whom is recognized as “a leader of a new generation of architects.”

    Marcel Wilson is the founder and design director of Bionic Landscape, a landscape architecture planning and urban design firm based in San Francisco. Founded in 2009, Wilson said the firm works on a lot of “interesting, challenging projects.” His clients tend to be “ambitious” with difficult sites, places, programs and motives.

    Read More »

    Rethinking Architecture

    100517_04

    School of Architecture Undergraduate Director Jennifer Asselstine, guest speaker Madeline Schwartzman and Graduate Director Mark Mückenheim. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Human-fungi hybridization, three-foot eyelashes and body robotics were among the many esoteric topics discussed at the premiere of the Fall Lecture Series for the School of Architecture (ARCH) on Oct. 5.

    Madeline Schwartzman showed over 400 stunning and obscure images to a packed audience in the atrium at 601 Brannan St., each introducing a new way of thinking about human’s relationship to architecture. The writer, filmmaker and architect from New York City spoke passionately to the audience about the importance of out-of-the-box thinking and always trying to see the world from a different point of view.

    Read More »

    Tuesday Tunes Hosts MarlonB!

    110717_03

    School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media student Marlon Britton performs at a recent Tuesday Tunes. Photo by Nina Tabios.

    For the month of November’s first edition of Tuesday Tunes, UrbanKnightsRadio.com (UKR) turned to one of Academy of Art University’s own to headline the weekly showcase.  

    Singer/songwriter Marlon Britton, who goes by “MarlonB!” on stage, is a student from the School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media and runs track and field for the Academy. Originally from Chicago, Britton has been writing songs since he was 10 years old but only started recording music at the age of 16. Now with 12 years of experience of making music, he said he’s ready to start sharing it with a greater audience.

    Read More »

    Artful Teaching

    DSC_0141

    School of Art Education alumnus Ryan Kurada with his first grade class at University Elementary School at La Fiesta. Photo courtesy of Ryan Kurada.

    Sitting in his history of art education class at the Academy of Art University, Ryan Kurada was inspired by a philosophy that would shape his future as a teacher. Kurada graduated from the School of Art Education in Fall 2013 and has been a full-time teacher at University Elementary School at La Fiesta in Rohnert Park, California, for two years.

    It was at the Academy where he learned about an education philosophy that originated in Reggio Emilia, Italy. A philosophy that integrates art across the curriculum to teach all types of learners.

    Read More »

    All in the Details

    IMG_3072

    Costume renderings. Photo by Annelyn Ayran.

    It’s four days out from opening night and B.F.A. Costume Design student Shelby Lionella has a laundry list of alterations and decisions to make before the first technical, or in-costume, rehearsal. Altering dresses and pants, labeling shoes for the actors, organizing a quick-change protocol, meeting with the director and production team; the list goes on. But for this moment, her focus is on buttons.

    Read More »

    Fashion Meets Augmented Reality

    ipad2

    School of Fashion graduate Aastha Shah takes part in a Project Runway AR 2.0 app test. Photo courtesy of Peggy Kuo.

    There’s never a shortage of interesting projects going on at Academy of Art University. In more recent years, the School of Game Development (GAM) has embraced concepts bridging the department’s ability to create interactive technology with other fields: Think landscape design, web design, communications and more. 

    Will Anielewicz, an Academy graduate advisor working primarily with the School of Animation & Visual Effects, is piloting a project that would marry fashion and augmented reality (AR) technology. Using graphic hardware, tracking markers are placed on garments so when viewed through an AR app on a mobile device or tablet, animations appear on top of the designs.

    Read More »

    School of Fashion Alumnus Makes a Statement on 'Project Runway'

    Brandon Kee, 2016 B.F.A. menswear design graduate, spoke candidly with Academy Art U News about his Project Runway experience

    pr_1611_070617_bn_0086

    Brandon Kee stars in Project Runway season 16, airing on Lifetime. Photo by Barbara Nitke. Copyright 2017.

    Out of the 16 hopefuls on the 16th season of Lifetime series Project Runway, Brandon Kee was the quietest. Just a year removed from school, Kee, a 2016 B.F.A. menswear design alumnus from the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University, kept to himself and stayed above the drama of the show. Working with a “tunnel vision” focus, Kee’s designs dominated the catwalk and awed judges week after week. Kee didn’t need to use words to say anything – his clothes already said plenty for him.

    Read More »

    Molding a Legacy

    Sculpture instructors and alumni are creating a street-level monument of famed social activist Norman Lear

    P.Schifrin.sculpting.04

    Schifrin works on getting Lear’s expression just right for the monument. Photo courtesy of Peter Schifrin.

     

    The values of Academy of Art University are not simply rooted in fostering artists who make art, but in artists who make a statement. There may not be a better person who emulates that value than legendary television producer and social activist Norman Lear. So what better sculptors than instructors and alumni from the School of Fine Art - Sculpture at the Academy to create the first Lear monument of its kind in the country.

    Read More »

    Shaping the Future With Stories

    Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 10.00.03 AM

    Illustration by Eda Kaban.

    There’s not an adult who doesn’t remember a children’s book that vividly captured their imagination as a child and connected them to literature. A book whose illustrations brought that story to life. This is the role of a children’s book illustrator and this year, four connected to Academy of Art University’s School of Illustration (ILL) were honored for their excellence in the impactful art of visual storytelling. 

    “Children’s books shape the future of every young reader,” said Chuck Pyle, ILL director. “Our artists are very driven, smart and passionate storytellers whose work is being recognized as the best of the best.”

    Read More »

    Creating a Positive Social Impact Through Design

    LAN student Nahal Sohbati shared her design process for Ridge Lane Park in an inspiring lecture

    110317_07

    School of Landscape Architecture graduate student Nahal Sohbati gives a presentation during her department’s 2017 Speaker Series. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Look out landscape architecture, here comes Nahal Sohbati. On the cusp of graduating this month with her master’s degree, Sohbati will soon take her industry by storm and bring with her the ideals she implemented in her award-winning Ridge Lane Park project. 

    Sohbati imparted her experience and ideologies on her fellow Academy of Art University students during the School of Landscape Architecture’s (LAN) Speaker Series on Nov. 2. 

    “We are incredibly proud of her work,” said Jeff McLane, LAN director, as he introduced Sohbati to a live and online audience at The Cannery. “It’s amazing to see student work that actually becomes real. I hope this inspires all of you to go out and create.”

    Read More »

    IAD Students Create Innovative Installation for DIFFA Fundraiser

    111617_11

    Pictured (L-R): Michael Berge’, Moegi Hara and Hairi Chen. Photo by Bob Toy.

    On the evening of November 16, music pulsated and a strobe light bathed the walls of a spacious event room at the W Hotel San Francisco in a swirling sea of neon purple, blue and pink. The fun nightclub-like setting was the site of a fundraiser for an organization with a serious mission, the San Francisco chapter of Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). Proceeds from the event support UCSF’s HIV Clinic Ward 86 at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

    Read More »

    Behind 'Academy's Got Talent'

    Communication and trust are key to pulling off a successful school-wide talent show

    092017_41

    (L–R) Jacoby Barragan, Pre-Franz Dominick, Donte Burney, Gazmine Griffin and Lada Kondarakhina. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Academy of Art University’s student-produced and hosted Academy’s Got Talent has been showcasing the school’s wider scope of talented individuals, from singers and musicians to dancers and DJs. But for all the talent seen in front of the camera, there’s so much more behind the scenes. 

    It takes a well-oiled machine to put on a production of any magnitude. School of Communications & Media Technologies (COM) Director Jan Yanehiro and Associate Director Steve Kotton know this all too well, which is why Academy’s Got Talent is run by the school’s COM 420 class: In-Depth Project: Studio Entertainment Series.

    Read More »

    Creating 'Coco'

    He may not have shed any tears, but Daniel Arriaga was clearly emotional as he talked about his full-circle journey from a wide-eyed Academy of Art University student to now a senior director at Pixar Animation Studios. 

    “This is a real dream come true to be back here at my school,” Arriaga said. “To be able to stand here is really the moment I can say ‘I made it.’”

    Read More »

    Photography Student Relishes Opportunity From Red Bull

    Chris in action

    Academy of Art University School of Photography student Chris Dirker shooting Red Bull's Heavy Water event. Photo courtesy of Red Bull.

    The world’s best paddle-boarders tackled the Pacific Ocean’s most-challenging waves for the second annual Red Bull Heavy Water event and Chris Dirker was on the frontlines documenting it. A School of Photography student at the Academy of Art University, Dirker was selected out of 20 submitted portfolios to shoot the race alongside Red Bull’s own professional photographers.

    Read More »

    'Six Degrees' Explores Identity and Connections Between Strangers at Sutter Theatre

    Six Degrees of Separation, the 1990 hit play by John Guare, explores the idea that all people are more closely connected than we might imagine. Picture a long line of strangers at a concert or movie. According to the theory, if you were to walk down that line and count off no more than six people, you’d meet someone you were linked to in some way. Six Degrees also  examines identity and how we respond when someone we think is a certain type of person proves to be someone entirely different. Academy of Art University’s School of Acting (ACT) is currently performing a two-week run of Guare’s thought-provoking satire at Sutter Theatre.

    Read More »

    The Brothers Franco Discuss the Making Of 'The Disaster Artist'

    DA_121715_00787.dng

    Dave Franco and James Franco in The Disaster Artist. Photo by Justina Mintz. Courtesy of A24.

    James Franco’s new film, The Disaster Artist, opened in San Francisco on Fri, Dec. 1. Based on the book of the same name, Franco directed, produced and starred in the film, alongside his younger brother Dave Franco.

    The film follows the life of Hollywood outcast Tommy Wiseau (James) and disastrous production of his film The Room alongside his best friend Greg Sestero (Dave). Previously the brothers starred in a Funny or Die series, but this is their first time appearing on the big screen together.

    Read More »

    Managing the Creation of Stories

    Film producer Chris Moore shares the story of his journey through Hollywood with MPTV students and staff

    103017_07

    Film producer Chris Moore, in conversation with MPTV Executive Director Jana Memel, speaks to students about his experiences in Hollywood on Oct. 30. Photo by Bob Toy.

    During his visit to the School of Motion Pictures & Television at the Academy of Art University (MPTV), producer Chris Moore hoped to deliver a heavy dose of reality to his audience. 

    Mostly made up of MPTV students and faculty, the Good Will Hunting and American Pie producer, who received a Best Picture Oscar nomination this past year for Manchester By The Sea, spoke at length with Executive Director Jana Memel about his impromptu beginnings in production and film.

    Read More »

    Bringing the Community Together

    More than 400 pieces of art were on display at the annual fine art auction

    110417_66

    Guests take part in the live auction, emceed by Raul Castro, at this year's Faculty + Alumni Fine Art Auction. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Like every year, conversations at the 22nd Annual Faculty + Alumni Fine Art Auction flowed as easily as the wine. The afternoon sun poured into The Cannery plaza on Saturday, Nov. 4, as guests trickled into the gallery to admire over 400 pieces of art from abstract to contemporary realism. Beneath the laughs and everyday conversations, however, was an underlying emphasis on the importance of supporting the arts community and emerging artists.

    “The primary purpose of starting this 22 years ago was to raise money for our students,” said Craig Nelson, executive director of painting and printmaking for the School of Fine Art at Academy of Art University. With the support of Academy of Art University President Elisa Stephens, and the assistance of Serita Sangimino and Dana Sornstein, the auction has grown to its current stature.

    Read More »

    Living One's Dream

    Raffaela Lan Pellegrini_photoJPG.JPG

    Raffaela Lan Pellegrini. Photo by Roberto Palermo, professional photographer, Florence, Italy.

    Raffaela Lan Pellegrini completed her B.F.A. in painting with a double minor in etching and art history at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. This school was founded in 1784 as a result of a reformation of the former Accademia delle Arti Disegno, founded in 1563 by Cosimo I dei Medici. Pellegrini’s B.F.A. degree was followed by a year and a half specialization at the private international printmaking school Il Bisonte, also in Florence.

    Read More »

    Success Follows Animation and Illustration Instructor Jeff Bedrick From the Classroom to the Film Festival Circuit

    sq1700_s26.3_comp.jpg

    A matte painting Jeff Bedrick completed for Shrek 2. Image courtesy of Jeff Bedrick.

    Multimedia artist and Academy of Art University instructor Jeff Bedrick’s creative talents are not confined to a single arena. Bedrick’s interdisciplinary success stems from his ability to utilize a fine arts background in support of his work in illustration, animation and motion graphics, and his commitment to creating and communicating current, engaging course content to students in both physical and digital classrooms.

    Read More »

    Sergio Lima Opens Landscape Architecture's Fall 2017 Speaker Series

    101217_4

    Photo by Alex Madison.

    Tucked away on the third floor of The Cannery in Fisherman’s Wharf, students of the School of Landscape Architecture (LAN) at Academy of Art University got a first-hand look into the complexity of international landscape design and its significance to the people around it.

    Sergio Lima, a professional landscape architect and an instructor for the Academy’s LAN program, opened up about working on two major projects in Dubai at the first installment of the Fall 2017 Speaker Series on Oct. 12.

    Read More »

    School of Acting’s 'This' explores friendships and infidelity

    The five young actors in Academy of Art University’s upcoming production of This, might not seem to have much in common with their older characters in the Obie award-winning play by Melissa James Gibson. This revolves around four long-time, seemingly successful friends—and one new acquaintance—on the cusp of middle age who are having some regrets about the paths they’ve followed. When two of the characters commit adultery, all of them must examine their friendships and their lives.

    Read More »

    Five Questions With 'Lady Bird' Writer/Director Greta Gerwig

    lady-bird-LB_02575_grd

    Saoirse Ronan and Greta Gerwig on the set of Lady Bird. Photo by Merie Wallace. Courtesy of A24.

    Greta Gerwig has found what she loves doing the most in her field of work: Directing. “It’s the happiest I’ve ever been,” Gerwig shared during the San Francisco stop of the press tour for Lady Bird, her solo directorial debut.

    The film, also written by Gerwig, follows a Sacramento-based high school senior Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), who goes by the self-given name of Lady Bird, and is ready to fly the coop, so to speak, for college on the East Coast. Throughout the course of the school year, the headstrong Lady Bird deals with many of the things people go through as teenagers, from experiencing her first love to having a falling out with her best friend along with regular back and forth arguments with her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), an overworked nurse. Powered by stand-out performances from Ronan and Metcalf, Lady Bird is a relatable coming-of-age film, that unfolds beautifully on-screen, dealing with the everyday frustrations and realizations of growing up.

    Gerwig, who received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Frances Ha and was most recently on the big screen in 20th Century Women and Jackie, is already receiving well-deserved Oscar buzz for Lady Bird. Academy Art U News sat down with the actress, writer and director to find out more about her much-lauded film, including how the mother-daughter chemistry developed between Ronan and Metcalf and what she found to be the most rewarding aspect of making Lady Bird.

    Read More »

    Celebrating the Art of Veterans

    The Veterans Art Exhibit brings a plethora of creativity to the Cannery Galleries

    DSC00055

    Army Resting Place by Don Veverka, on display at the Veterans Art Exhibition at the Cannery Galleries. Photo by Bob Toy.

    October in San Francisco signifies Fleet Week. Though most heralded for the large Navy ships docked at the piers and the Blue Angels air shows, the Academy of Art University, in partnership with San Francisco Fleet Week Association (SFFWA), hosted the Veterans Art Exhibit at the Cannery Galleries, near Fisherman’s Wharf, to celebrate the veterans who have looked to art as their next calling. 

    This year’s exhibit was the fifth of its kind since the Academy and SFFWA partnered in 2010. According to Susan Toland, the association was looking for ways to connect with the San Francisco community when they reached out to the school seven years ago.

    Read More »

    Helping Veterans Transition to Life on Campus

    102617_3

    (Back row, L–R) Undergraduate Admissions Administrator John Belardo, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Military Relations Lamar Johnson and Undergraduate Admissions Administrator Justin Hewelt. (Front row, L–R) Accessibility Representative with Military Specialization at the Academy Resource Center Stella Dacy and Undergraduate Admissions Administrator Rick Pellum. Photo by Bob Toy.

    The Academy of Art University is proud to embrace the country’s military population by helping those transitioning into aspiring artists and professionals. By being approved to accept benefits administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there are several options and services for prospective students—whether active duty, veterans, reserves or vocational rehabilitation—to consider when deciding if the Academy is the right place for them to pursue the next chapter in their lives.

    Read More »

    Letter From the Editor: Salute to Service

    Mr. Stephens Navy Photo.jpg

    Dr. Richard A. Stephens. Photo courtesy of the Stephens family.

    Dear Academy Art U News readers, 

    I hope you have been enjoying our Fall 2017 editions of Academy Art U News. For this November 2017 Volume 1 edition, you’ll notice that we’ve deviated from our usual sections and are featuring a group of individuals that have a specific commonality between them: They are all veterans.

    With Veterans Day just around the corner (Nov. 11), we here at Academy Art U News sought to highlight members of our Academy community that have served in the United States Armed Forces. Thank you to the Veterans Club for your assistance with this edition and to the students and alumni for allowing us to share your inspirational stories and Academy journeys.

    We would also like to acknowledge former Academy President and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Richard A. Stephens, who passed away earlier this year on June 6 at the age of 92. Dr. Stephens joined the United States Navy in the midst of World War II and served for three years. This special edition of Academy Art U News is dedicated to his memory.

    To members of Academy of Art University and to our readers who have served for our country: Thank you for your service.

     

    With gratitude & respect,

    Kirsten Coachman

    Editor, Academy Art U News



    Sarah Marschman Draws on Skills Gained in Air Force to Succeed in Animation

    A self-described know-it-all, Sarah Marschman thrived in her role as an analyst for the Air Force. She was responsible for sifting through, and making sense of, mounds of data. After determining which information was important and relevant, she presented her findings to large groups of military personnel.

    Now an Academy of Art University senior, majoring in animation and visual effects, Marschman relies on the skills she honed in the Air Force to help her succeed as a student. “A big part of my job in the Air Force was public speaking,” she explained. “I really had to know my focus and get that across. In class, we have to pitch and defend our work and explain why we’re doing some things the way we are, so it’s very similar.”

    Read More »

    Army Lifestyle Suits Photography Student Garrick Morgenweck & His Family

    Icy Dawn

    An image from Garrick Morgenweck’s series Dustoff. An HH-60 MEDEVAC Blackhawk with C 3-10 GSAB sits ready to respond as the sun rises during a Lake Effect Storm Warning. Photo and caption by Garrick Morgenweck.

    Some might view devoting years of one’s life to military service as a sacrifice. But Garrick Morgenweck considers his lengthy Army career a boon for him and his family. Along with providing financial stability for his wife and three daughters, the military has given him the means to pursue personal dreams—such as studying photography—that likely wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

    Read More »

    How Parts Combine to Make a Whole: M.F.A. Fashion Design Graduate Eden Slezin's Career Evolution

    So far, Eden Slezin’s work has taken him to the Middle East and the Pacific Rim region as an aviation intelligence officer for the United States Marine Corps, in which he served from 1998 to 2004, and to the floor of the Grand Canyon as an adventure excursion guide for Backcountry Found, the company he founded in 2005. Most recently, the new M.F.A. fashion design graduate’s winding career path brought him to New York City, where he presented his thesis collection at the Academy’s runway show in September at NYFW: The Shows. Navigating between seemingly disparate points in a real-life game of connect the dots has taught Slezin irreplaceable lessons about possibility and self discovery.

    Read More »

    Photography Helps Ronni Mae Knepp Heal From PTSD

    For Ronni Mae Knepp, joining the military in 2004 fulfilled a lifelong goal to follow in the footsteps of the father she admired. She spent nine years in the Air Force, working as a communications intelligence analyst and rising to the rank of staff sergeant. 

    “I thrive on structure and like that chain of command the military provides,” Knepp said. “It’s very methodical, so you always know what’s going on. I also liked the camaraderie and knowing that we could depend on each other.”

    Read More »

    Lorena King: The Value of Determination

    UrbanKnightsRadioLorena

    Lorena King on-air at UrbanKnightsRadio.com. Photo courtesy of Lorena King.

    The story of Lorena King’s 14-year journey to the graduation stage of the Academy of Art University is one of true resilience and determination. Directors and students wiped away tears as King, valedictorian, spoke poignantly at the Spring 2016 commencement ceremony about her experience as a first generation Mexican-American, her six years in the Army, and overcoming great adversity, propelled by her dream as an artist to attend the Academy.

    Read More »

    Amos Maru: Motivated by Gratitude

    324565_4622638400419_984919472_o

    School of Interior Architecture & Design B.F.A. alumnus Amos Maru celebrates his graduation. Photo courtesy of Amos Maru.

    For every person who chooses to enlist in the military, their reasoning is not only personal, but deep, as they know it is a decision that will change their life forever. Amos Maru’s decision was not based on how it would benefit himself, but instead was based entirely on gratefulness. 

    “It was an opportunity for me to serve the country that gave so much to me,” said Maru, an alumnus of the Academy of Art University’s School of Interior Architecture & Design.

    Read More »

    Nate Burrow: Making His Mark

    Tattoo shops are loud. It’s a mix of chatter, music blasting over speakers and maybe two to three—sometimes even four—tattoo machines going on all at once. When the tattoo artists have to communicate with each other, that just ups the volume even higher; shouting over all the activity is the only way to be heard. 

    And yet, tattoo shops are also, in their own sense, calming. There’s a laser-beam focus shared between artist and client—the artist focusing on his work, the client focusing on the pain. 

    Anyone with a tattoo knows the immense satisfaction when the session is over and they walk away with a permanent piece of body art. Nate Burrow knows this, as both his arms, back and chest are heavily tattooed. But as a tattoo artist, he said he finds just as much satisfaction in being on the giving end of tattooing.

    Read More »

    Masters of Flight

    Roger Apolinar’s Dynamic Aerial Imagery course trains Communications & Media Technologies students in professional drone flying

    092517_18

    Students follow flight course instructions during Roger Apolinar’s Dynamic Aerial Imagery class. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Every Monday, Roger Apolinar instructs his teaching assistants to set up his students’ homework assignment at 2225 Jerrold warehouse. For this particular assignment, his students had to follow a simple, yet challenging course according to Apolinar’s instruction. His commands were simple: “Forward. Back. Left. Right. Hover. Yaw.” 

    Aside from the last two, Apolinar sounds as if he is giving driving instructions. But ‘hover’ and ‘yaw’ are designated aviation terms, applied only to airplanes, helicopters and, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since 2016, drones.

    Read More »

    Capturing Real Life

    MPTV alumnus Dennis Bersales has built a career creating powerful imagery and videos

    AAU_DBERSALES-7.jpg

    Photo by Dennis Bersales.

    Dennis Bersales has a keen sense for the surreal, even in everyday life. A 2005 graduate from the School of Motion Pictures & Television at the Academy of Art University, Bersales has lent his eye to commercial fashion and industrial film projects, but his most fascinating works come in the form of still life captures, particularly of those set in his family’s origins, the Philippines. Often shot in stark black and white, Bersales’ work encapsulates a different side of life than what most are familiar with, including poverty and some of the more explicit sides of the country’s culture.

    Bersales took that imagery to another level by using it to backdrop a number of music videos for death metal bands Death Cross and Retox. His most recent one was for a Death Cross song called “Obedience School,” where the visuals are centered around the centuries-old Philippine sport of sabong, or cockfighting, which is a fully legal billion-dollar industry. The video was appealed and removed by YouTube due to the subject matter, but Bersales stands by his storytelling and depictions of life through his lens. 

    Academy of Art U News spoke to Bersales on his work and what drives him to create and share such powerful imagery.

    Read More »

    Standing out From the Crowd

    Academy alumni team wins an Emmy for their work on Gotham

    image002.jpg

    Academy of Art University alumna Ryan Bauer (center left) with her mother, Linda, and alumnus Alex Gitler (center right) with his wife, Galit. Photo courtesy of Alex Gitler.

    While the “Lead Actor, Comedy” or “Best Drama Series” awards highlight the ceremony and broadcast, the Emmy Awards recognize excellence in all facets of television, even the aspects that often go unnoticed by TV fans. Visual effects, sound editing, etc., are all integral elements of storytelling, but many VFX artists especially, including Academy of Art University alumna Ryan Bauer, tout a general hallmark: “Good visual effects are often when you don’t know they are visual effects.”

    Read More »

    Reclaiming City Spaces

    LAN students reveal their “last cloud” concept as part of global PARK(ing) Day event

    IMG_5267.JPG

    PARK(ing) Day students’ “last cloud” concept installed in front of the Cannery. Photo by Nina Tabios.

    If it were up to Katerin Luquetta, she would never drive a car. But she understands we live in a world where practicality takes precedence, and thus, cars will forever be a main source of transportation.

    But in an effort to get people to rethink the impact our vehicles have on the planet, students from the Academy of Art University’s School of Landscape Architecture (LAN) partake in PARK(ing) Day, a global event where metered parking spots are converted into public spaces.

    Read More »

    A 'Lovely' World of Inclusivity

    Print

    An image from Jess Hong’s children’s book, Lovely. Image courtesy of Jess Hong.

    For many of us, our first introduction to art and storytelling is through children’s books. Most of them featured favorite characters, taught us the alphabet and how to count to 10. Others were nursery rhymes our parents used to lull us to sleep. Some of the most memorable books were the ones that conveyed basic, but important, life lessons: How to get along with each other, learning to share and appreciating what you have. 

    Jess Hong, a graduate of the School of Illustration at Academy of Art University, recently debuted her own children’s book, Lovely. The New York Times’ Sunday Review included Lovely among its preview of picture books inspiring empathy and with good reason: The picture book explores a world of differences—big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly—all to say that every single person is, indeed, lovely. Academy Art U News spoke with Hong on her inspiration for Lovely and how she discovered her art through the Academy.

    Read More »

    Behind-The-Scenes Talent

    Three Academy School of Communications & Media Technologies graduates join instructor Matty Staudt at iHeartMedia

    IMG_3155

    (L–R) Academy of Art University School of Communications & Media Technolgies alumni Casey Franco, Zayana de Awis and Ricardo Ayar. Photo by Kirsten Coachman.

    When Matty Staudt invites you to take a tour of iHeartMedia, you don’t say no to the opportunity. In a similar vein, Staudt received a different kind of offer, one he also couldn’t turn down but that required a shift in schedule and responsibilities. 

    Earlier this year, iHeartMedia, a leading media company with the largest audience reach in the United States, put an offer on the table where he would be in charge of the seven stations it owns and operates in the San Francisco Bay Area, including spearheading its podcasting initiative. Of course, he said yes.

    Read More »

    San Francisco Goes Wild for Shawn Mendes

    IMG_4223.JPG

    Shawn Mendes performs live at WiLD 94.9’s exclusive One Night with Shawn Mendes event in San Francisco presented by XFINITY. Photo by Kirsten Coachman.

    On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco was filled with loud shrieks and cheers of enthusiastic radio contest winners. The cause for all of the excitement: An exclusive concert with burgeoning pop artist Shawn Mendes. Presented by XFINITY, WiLD 94.9’s One Night with Shawn Mendes was a special win-your-way-in event, and if the screams before the show were any indication, Mendes’s fans were ready for a night of live music.

    Read More »

    Brett Amory Debuts New Art in Bi-Coastal Exhibitions

    Earlier this month, artist and Academy of Art University graduate Brett Amory unveiled two new collections in simultaneous exhibitions on the West and East Coasts. It’s Wonderful Your Demons Came Today kicked off with a reception at Jonathan Levine Gallery in Jersey City, New Jersey, on Sept. 8 and will be on display through Oct. 7. His second exhibition, This Too Shall Pass, opened at San Francisco gallery The Luggage Store on Sept. 15 and will run until Oct. 21.

    Read More »

    From the Field to the Stage

    Alumnus Frank Cole’s passion for connecting people has led him from soccer to an acting career

    091217_28

    Academy of Art University Schools of Communications & Media Technologies and Acting alumnus Frank Cole. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Frank Cole’s mother always told him he was born kicking. The School of Communications & Media Technologies and School of Acting alumnus from Academy of Art University said he and his siblings grew up performing in talent shows and musicals, but he always believed soccer was going to be his center stage.

    Read More »

    Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Actress Andrea Riseborough Discuss 'Battle of the Sexes'

    BATTLE OF THE SEXES

    (From L-R): Natalie Morales, Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Kaitlyn Christian, Fidan Manashirova and Mickey Summer on the set of BATTLE OF THE SEXES. Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

    In 1973, Billie Jean King, a 29-year-old American former World No. 1 professional women’s tennis champion, had the world betting against her in an exhibition match against Bobby Riggs, another former World No. 1 tennis champion. Yet, Riggs was 55-years-old and past his prime. He also was a self-proclaimed male chauvinist, touting beliefs that “women belong in the kitchen and the bedroom” and not on the tennis court.

    Read More »

    Kate and Laura Mulleavy Discuss "Natural Evolution" From Fashion to Film

    woodshock-WOODSHOCK_REC709_1920X1080_02075205

    Kirsten Dunst in Woodshock. Photo courtesy of A24.

    Famed fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy don’t believe in confining their creative voice to one medium. Trading in the mannequins in which they lay out their Rodarte designs, the Mulleavy sisters have turned to film to channel their “creative instinct,” manifesting in their debut film, Woodshock, starring Kirsten Dunst.

    Read More »

    Getting Real With Stop Motion

    Interest grows in the School of Animation & Visual Effects’ program that has use of one of the largest university stop motion labs in the country

    081117_02

    The imaginative vision of stop motion students of the Academy of Art University can’t just be drawn with paper and pencil or digitally designed, it must be physically created. World after world, down to the tiny hairs on a character’s head to the cracks on a sidewalk must be created from scratch. 

    “Stop motion is something real. It’s not just drawn, you can touch it,” said recent stop motion graduate Tada Kongjonrak. “We are building small worlds. It’s so cool.”

    Read More »

    When Art Meets Science

    Art history alumna Kim Selvaggi shares how her Academy experience is helping her in the scientific world of archaeological conservation

    image001.jpg

    School of Art History alumna Kim Selvaggi pictured near the London Tower Bridge in London, England. Photo courtesy of Kim Selvaggi.

    Many students attend the Academy of Art University because they want to create art, but those enrolled in the School of Art History (AHS) choose to study art within its cultural context. Art history students learn how to analyze and become critics of historical pieces of work from all over the globe, with an emphasis on gaining a deep knowledge of what these relics mean within a cultural and global timeline.

    Most AHS students move on to become researchers and curators in galleries or museums, but recent alumna Kim Selvaggi took her studies in a more scientifically-based direction. Shortly after graduation, she was accepted into the University of College London’s Master of Science in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums in England, where she pursued art preservation.

    Read More »

    Meet Your Campus Hosts: Donald Shields

    Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Campus Host Donald Shields has been working at Academy of Art University for seven years. “As a Campus Host, my job is to ensure that all people and properties are safe,” said Shields. “I’m extra vigilant and observe everyone that enters and exits the premises. As a front line host, we are also problem solvers and always troubleshoot any issues that arise.”

    Read More »

    Illustration Alumna Opens New Surrealist Painting Exhibition in the Big Easy

    When we first wrote about Anne Faith Nicholls, School of Illustration alumna from the Academy of Art University, she was coming off of a successful exhibit called Neosurreal, displayed at the San Francisco Martin Lawrence Galleries location in 2015. We recently caught up with Nicholls again as she opens a new show at the Martin Lawrence Galleries in New Orleans this month, where she explores the Big Easy’s art, culture and history through her surrealist paintings. 

    Nicholls’ work is stark with symbolism that touches upon one’s subconscious, and how it relays to ideas of identity, truth, power and especially, feminism. We were eager to know more about how Nicholls’ ideas meshed against the rich heritage and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana in her art, so we spoke with Seattle-raised painter on her creative thought process, what parts of New Orleans inspired the paintings and where she finds continuous inspiration, both in the United States and outside of it.

    Read More »

    Changing the Game

    In response to a growing demand within the gaming industry, the School of Game Development is introducing a dedicated UX/UI track

    Pieces of art, in general, want to be seen and noticed. In terms of UX/UI in the video game world, however, going unnoticed is a good thing. 

    UX/UI, which stands for “user experience” and “user interface,” is the newest track in the works for the School of Game Development at Academy of Art University. Gaming students have the opportunity to study coursework focusing on one of the gaming industry’s most in-demand positions, according to Gregory Eichholzer, lead UX/UI instructor and former associate art director for RockYou games.

    Read More »

    COM Instructor Toan Lam Spreads Inspiration Through the Alchemy of Storytelling

    CocoTran_ToanLam_UH-82

    School of Communications & Media Technologies instructor Toan Lam. Photo credit: CocoTran.com.

    Toan Lam’s message remains the same, no matter the audience. He could be talking to viewers of the inspirational videos posted on his multimedia platform, podcast listeners, crowds gathered to hear him speak or a classroom full of Academy students. Lam guides them all toward the same goal: Be better. Do better. Discover your superhero power, and use it to serve others.

    Read More »

    NYFW: The Shows - Meet the Designers

    Meet the School of Fashion student designers heading to NYFW: The Shows, whose talent and inspiration lead to unique solo and collaborative collections.

    CarlosRodriguez_DinaMarieLam_byBobToy_Color

    (L–R) B.F.A. womenswear student Carlos Rodriguez and M.F.A. fashion design student Dina Marie Lam. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Collaboration: Lam and Rodriguez with support from Oliver-Palanca

    Dina Marie Lam, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by the myriad of emotions surrounding her aunt’s recent passing, Lam wanted to convey a feeling of transition in her collection. She selected soft and luxurious materials to evoke warmth and comfort. Additionally, she was inspired by those who demand the best in fabric, function and form. Lam stated, “The collection is simply for the dope and opinionated girls.” Lam was honored with the BCBG Max Azria Super Intern (2017) recognition, presented annually to one outstanding intern across the entire company, and was selected for the CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase (2017).

    Carlos Rodriguez, B.F.A. womenswear, was born in Mexico City, Mexico and grew up inClarksburg, California. He was asked to collaborate with Lam to create the embroidery details for her collection. Here, Rodriguez uses a mixture of traditional hand and machine embroidery techniques to enhance the contemporary feel of the garments. Recently, Rodriguez interned at tech-fashion start-up Savitude.

    Rheanna Oliver-Palanca, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in Kennebunk, Maine. She created knitwear for the collection that mimics Lam’s own prints and Rodriguez’s embroidery. The knitwear is made of wool blends to enhance the sense of warmth and comfort that Lam’s collection was inspired by. Oliver-Palanca was selected for the CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Digital Showcase (2017).

    Read More »

    School of Fashion Alums Amy Bond & Brandon Kee Cast on ‘Project Runway’

    pr_s16gallery_060417_bn_0040_

    The cast of designers for Project Runway season 16.

    Sixteen new contestants look to make their designs work as they grace the catwalk during the 16th season of Lifetime’s Emmy-nominated series Project Runway, which premiered on Thursday, Aug. 17. Not only is the show celebrating their “super, sweet 16,” it is also celebrating body diversity throughout the season, featuring size-inclusive models (size 0-22).

    Read More »

    Survival in the Underbelly

    Academy Art U News sat down with directors Ben and Josh Safdie and actor Robert Pattinson to discuss their latest film, Good Time

    good-time-01_15_10_09

    Robert Pattinson and Benny Safdie. Photo courtesy of A24.

    In new movie Good Time, Constantine “Connie” Nikas occupies an underbelly of New York City where the reward always outweighs the risk. There’s no such thing as hindsight for the Queens thoroughbred, and when a get-rich-quick scheme goes awry, Connie (played by Robert Pattinson) must break his developmentally-disabled brother Nick out of jail by maneuvering through a night of petty crimes involving the borough’s forgotten – and sometimes seedy – characters.

    Read More »

    Lady Dione: Creating Luxury Through Mixed Patterns & Materials

    Lady Dione Bevel’s high-quality cut-and-sew garments have won her celebrity fans, including neo-soul singer Erykah Badu

    Lady_Portrait_v2

    Photo credit: ladydione.com

    All artists seek validation in one form or another, and for Lady Dione Bevel, hers came via a New York Times story from November 2016.

    She wasn’t the centerpiece for the feature, however, nor was her name mentioned anywhere in its text.

    Bevel’s stamp on the piece sat front and center in the lead photo: Neo-soul singer Erykah Badu, the article’s subject, sitting in a chair as she gets her hair braided. The golden kimono she’s wrapped in is of Bevel’s brand, Lady Dione. Badu purchased the garment from Bevel just days before the shoot at her concert in Santa Ana, California.

    Read More »

    Emilio Villalba Creates Contemporary Portraits Inspired by the Old Masters

    Prolific, inventive and disciplined, Academy of Art University M.F.A. painting alumnus Emilio Villalba combines Old Masters influences with contemporary interpretation to power a thriving career. His distinctive, captivating work was most recently showcased in a solo exhibition titled I Don't See, on display at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco through August 5.

    The exhibition’s 22 paintings evoke vulnerability and duality. Fragmented forms and faceless torsos appear against a backdrop of black. Instead of acting as an empty void, the blackness imparts a textural depth that suggests complexity. Collectively, the works make up a varied, yet cohesive, whole. Some portraits appear blurred, or seem to dissolve, while others show sharper features, prompting the observer to think about what comes into focus when, and why.

    Read More »

    Growing Positive Experiences

    file

    Garden Project “Earth Stewards” begin working onsite at a farm located on the San Francisco County Jail San Bruno Complex grounds during the kick-off event. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Most people’s first jobs either land in the retail or restaurant category, but for 17-year-old Xaire Patrick, her first paying gig is working on a farm on the San Francisco County Jail San Bruno Complex grounds in San Mateo County. 

    For the past three years, Patrick has been employed by the Garden Project, a young adult summer program that provides environmentally-based job training and life skills programming. Patrick said with the money she earned throughout her time there, she was able to go on school trips to Italy and Cuba in the past two years.  

    “Eventually you have to abide by the rules of society—in order to live, you have to work, so it’s like I’m making a living,” she explained at the Garden Project kick-off on July 5. “It’s a chance for me to do for myself and be able to afford the things I want; things my mom would say ‘no’ to, but also be like, ‘If you had your own money, then you can buy it.’” 

    Read More »

    Mary Scott & Phil Hamlett Named "Educators to Watch" by GDUSA

    file

    (L–R) School of Graphic Design Director Phil Hamlett and Director Emeritus Mary Scott. Photo by Sean McGuire (B.F.A., ’06).

    Every year, Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) honors and recognizes influential creatives, both professionals and students, with its perennial “People to Watch” and “Students to Watch” lists. What was missing, however, was the recognition of the middle-person standing between student and professional designers: Teachers. 

    This year, GDUSA published its first ever “Educators to Watch” list acknowledging “design education and educators have more influence than ever on the fast-changing shape of design, media and culture.” Mentioned at the top of the list is the Academy of Art University’s own School of Graphic Design Director Emeritus Mary Scott and Director Phil Hamlett. 

    “What really got me is when I read the (GDUSA) graph and they called us ‘legends,’” Scott said in her office overseeing the Financial District in San Francisco. 

    With nearly 50 years of design experience between the two of them, both Scott and Hamlett have respective—legendary, if you will—portfolios as designers and educators. 

    Read More »

    Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe Receives Honorary Doctorate From Academy of Art

    file

    “Giant Judge & Hammers,” (31 1/2” x 81” sheet size) by Gerald Scarfe. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Art Exchange LLC, SFAE.com.

    In the language of political cartoons, Gerald Scarfe’s voice is among the loudest. There aren’t too many artists who have dedicated their careers to parodying politicians and global figures, but Scarfe made his living off of ruffling feathers and eschewing public opinion. 

    “I was encouraged to attack politicians and society around me,” he said at the Academy of Art University’s 79 New Montgomery theater on July 6. “That became my way of life for a long time.” 

    The Academy presented Scarfe with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his decades-long work for English and American publications such as Punch, Private Eye, The Sunday Times, Time magazine and The New Yorker. His unapologetic, sometimes ostentatious comics depicted how Scarfe viewed the world around him, especially of those in power.

    Read More »

    Advertising Grad's Branded Content Racks up Awards

    file

    Stills from Joey Iamartino-Larson’s “Glory and Reason.” Images courtesy of Joey Iamartino-Larson.

    Skipping his Academy of Art University classes to spend four days at sea on a fishing boat paid off in a big way for recent School of Advertising graduate Joey Iamartino-Larson. Specializing in making short, documentary-style branded content films, Larson used the footage he captured of San Francisco fisherman John Miller and his crew to create two compelling pieces that have reeled in a slew of awards. He won in three categories—Documentary, Branded Content and Commercial—at this year’s NXT UP Fest. In addition, he took home a “Best in Show” prize at the Spring Show for “Glory and Reason,” his branded content piece for The North Face. “Glory and Reason” also earned him a Gold National Student Addy.

    Read More »

    Establishing a Culture of Excellence

    file

    A model poses for the Drawaholics Anonymous Crew during a recent session. Photo by Bob Toy.

    The Drawaholics Anonymous Crew, a new drawing community at Academy of Art University, is not for the faint of heart. Anyone who wants to join must first sign a contract stating they will adhere to a culture of excellence and put their absolute best foot forward. In order to advance from a temporary to permanent member, they must complete 2,500 drawings: 1,000 heads, 500 legs, 500 arms, 250 hands and 250 feet within one year of signing. 

     “It’s serious business to me,” said Michael Buffington, concept art lead for the School of Game Development and originator of the community. “Many students underestimate what it takes to make it in the industry.”

    Read More »

    Film Review: 'Landline' - Life in the '90s

    Landline is non-judgmental in its portrayal of infidelity, family dynamics and relationships

    8

    (L–R) Abby Quinn, Edie Falco, and Jenny Slate in Landline, an Amazon Studios release. Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios.

    Set in 1995, during the days of payphones, mixed tapes and floppy disks, the aptly named Landline is packed with nostalgia, offbeat comedy and drama. Co-written by Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm, and directed by Robespierre, the film stars Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn as sisters in the middle of a fractious family headed by Edie Falco and John Turturro. Lies threaten to tear the family apart as parents and children wrestle with their own secrets, while an undercurrent of familial bond ties them together.

    Read More »

    One-On-One With Writer-Director David Lowery

    a-ghost-story-AGhostStory-FullRes1_rgb

    Photo by Bret Curry. Courtesy of A24.

    Currently playing in San Francisco, A Ghost Story is the latest feature film from acclaimed writer-director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon). The film follows a white-sheeted ghost, C (Casey Affleck), who returns to his home, seeking to comfort his wife, M (Rooney Mara), following his death. As time passes, C continues to haunt the residence he once shared with his beloved, while new occupants come and go. Shot in 1:33:1 aspect ratio, this intimate portrait of love and grief speaks to the importance of connection, while bringing up life’s big questions to the audience.

    Academy Art U News sat down with Lowery during his recent visit to San Francisco, where the director spoke about a variety of topics regarding the film, including the decision behind reuniting his Ain’t Them Bodies Saints co-stars Affleck and Mara, how the director’s own existential fears influenced the film, and what advice he has for Academy students pursuing filmmaking.

    Read More »

    Director Dave McCary & 'Saturday Night Live’s' Kyle Mooney Talk ‘Brigsby Bear’

    9

    Kyle Mooney as James. @ Brigsby Bear Movie, LLC. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

    “Can anyone do it?” – Of all the questions James, protagonist of feel-good comedy Brigsby Bear, has of the new reality he inhabits, this one is perhaps his most illuminating.

    After finding out his parents (played by Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) stole him from the hospital as an infant, James (played by the film’s writer and Saturday Night Live cast member Kyle Mooney) is thrust into a strange, new family and struggles to adjust to modern-day norms and social cues. What seems to be the bridge between his world and theirs, however, is an affection for art and the idea that yes, anyone can pursue it.

    Read More »

    Spring Show 2017: A Big Surprise for JEM Award Winners

    SS17 Award Winners Faculty.jpg

    JEM Spring Show Award winners and faculty. Photo courtesy of Justin Atangan.

    This year marked a first for the School of Jewelry & Metal Arts’ annual Spring Show Awards. Held on Tuesday, May 16, students and faculty eagerly gathered in the 410 Bush conference room for an intimate ceremony.

    Unbeknownst to the students, the department had a special surprise up its sleeve to honor the exceptional work of the winners. Faculty, along with JEM Club officers, had been invited months prior to participate in creating one-of-a-kind trophies that best represented the techniques taught in their respective classes. Covering the scope of JEM’s curriculum, these techniques ranged from wax working to casting and laser cutting to enameling.

    Read More »

    School of Graphic Design Leadership Changes

    _DSC6078

    (L-R) Phil Hamlett and Mary Scott. Photo by Sean McGuire (B.F.A., 2006).

    Academy of Art University announces the transition of Mary Scott, who has served as Director for the School of Graphic Design for 17 years. In her new role as Director Emeritus, Mary will serve as senior advisor to the school, provide portfolio design guidance to students and work closely with her successor, Phil Hamlett, to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.  

    Phil Hamlett has been promoted to Director of the School of Graphic Design. He began his career at the Academy as Graduate Director and, during his 13 years of service, established a strong industry affiliation for the school.  His professional associations have provided wonderful opportunities for our alumni at many companies known throughout the world.

    Read More »

    Pre-College Art Experience to Hold Final Project Exhibition on July 29

    Come visit the Art Experience Final Exhibition on Saturday, July 29. The event is for students, family, friends and Academy staff to view the final projects from the Summer 2017 Art Experience students. The exhbition will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at The Cannery.

    Read More »

    Meet the Academic Steering Committee

    Statement of Purpose

     The Academic Steering Committee will identify what is needed to ensure that the Academy constantly remains at the forefront in preparing students to develop portfolios that are relevant to meet the needs of the global marketplace: 

    1. Contribute ideas for Academy-wide curriculum initiatives and improvements.
    2. Identify innovative curricular and cross-departmental opportunities.
    3. Engage in future thinking on the curriculum. (i.e. Where are we going to be in the next five years?)
    4. Serve as a think tank on the intersection of art and technology and identify emerging technologies and trends to enable the Academy to stay ahead of the curve.

    The Academic Steering Committee will hear issues dealing with department and curriculum concerns as well as brilliant new ideas for the University. Feel free to contact any member listed below or e-mail us at: academicsteeringcommittee@academyart.edu.

    Read More »

    A Study of Happiness

    file

    Portraits courtesy of Selena Davant (pictured center, photo by @ColorfulKierra). You can view more portraits at @smileaday on Instagram.

    Anyone that has survived a bad breakup before knows that when you feel like you hit rock bottom, the only direction to go is up. For Selena Davant, a freelance creative and an Academy of Art University M.F.A. advertising alumna, her heartache gave birth to “Smile A Day,” an Instagram project where she photographs individuals and asks them what makes them happy. 

    “My friends and family kept telling me to turn the breakup into a positive one,” she explained. “I wasn’t sure how to at first, so I started doing the little things: Listening to more positive music and being more present in the moment.” 

    Read More »

    The Academy Hosts 2017 Red Bull Doodle Art Global Final

    file

    Photo by Bob Toy.

    Although more than 30 languages were spoken on Saturday, June 24, at the 2017 Red Bull Doodle Art Global Final hosted in the Atelier Gallery at Academy of Art University, the universal language of art was evidently stronger than words. For the final stage of the 2017 Red Bull Doodle Art Contest, 47 global finalists from 43 countries flew thousands of miles to compete one last time for the winning title. But this time, their doodles were in virtual reality. 

    “The Academy has always been on the cutting edge of the most advanced technology as a way to express and push boundaries of art,” said James Egan, one of the judges of the contest and executive director of Immersive Technology and Short Term Programming at the Academy. “To me, it’s a natural partnership with Red Bull to bring this first international virtual reality doodle contest to the heart of the most important technology companies in the world.”

    Read More »

    Academy Instructor's BART Caricatures Attract Fans

    file

    A collection of Hamilton Cline's BART caricatures. Image courtesy of Hamilton Cline.

    Most people go to amusement parks for the thrilling rides and to escape reality. But for caricaturist and Academy of Art University instructor Hamilton Cline, they were where he learned the skills that would help him become a successful artist.  

    “I started doing caricatures in Missouri at World of Fun and then moved to Minnesota and worked at a park called Valleyfair,” he said. “I was taught by the best caricature artists in the business.”

    Read More »

    Academy Student Receives Scholarship From AAUW

    file

    (L–R ) Cathy Corcoran, Michelle Dong and Peg Jackson. Photo courtesy of Cathy Corcoran.

    The American Association of University Women (AAUW) San Francisco Branch Silver Jubilee Scholarship Committee recently awarded a $2,000 scholarship to Academy of Art University B.F.A. photography student Michelle Dong. Each year, the scholarship fund provides awards to college-going women in the Bay Area. 

    Read More »

    Educational Empowerment

    file

    (L–R) Spring 2017 Five Keys graduates Tiaria Breaux and Melina Meridji received full scholarships to Academy of Art University where they both plan to study art education. Photo by Bob Toy.

    As an accredited art institution, the Academy of Art University recognizes how education can empower not just individuals, but whole communities. In the school’s continuous effort to give back to the city of San Francisco, the Academy presented two full scholarships to Spring 2017 graduates of the Five Keys Schools and Programs, a charter school whose goal is to offer opportunities to disadvantaged individuals through education. 

    The recipients—Melina Meridji and Tiaira Breaux—both expressed in their essay applications that they wanted to become art teachers, much to the joy of Marybeth Tereszkiewicz, director of the School of Art Education (ARE) & Teaching Credential Program in the Visual Arts at the Academy. 

    Read More »

    Joy of the Optical: Stuart Davis at the de Young

    file

    "Stuart Davis: In Full Swing" exhibit will be up at the de Young Museum through Aug. 6. Photo courtesy of the de Young Museum.

    Before the Campbell Soup tote bags and Hello Kitty fashions took over the gift shops, there were early pop art pioneers who paved the way for the genre’s commercial success today. Juxtapose hard-edged geometric shapes and bold enigmatic graphics with pop-culture references and you’d get Stuart Davis. A master of modernist strokes, this jazz-influenced visionary represented one of the most vibrant eras in American culture. The seminal exhibition of the proto-pop art artist has made its way to the West Coast. “Stuart Davis: In Full Swing” is on display through Aug. 6 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

    Read More »

    New Leadership Changes for School of Interior Architecture & Design

    Dear Academy of Art University Community,

    I would like to announce the resignation of Grover Dear, executive director of the School of Interior Architecture & Design. Grover brought to the department a wealth of industry expertise and international perspective which enriched the student experience. The university is grateful for Grover’s contributions and wish him continued success in his future endeavors.

    I am happy to announce that Archana Myer has been promoted to the role of executive director and will continue to provide leadership to the IAD team. Archana has spent the past few years as the Department Director and focused on dynamically revamping curriculum. Her efforts to maintain the highest level of professional accreditation were proven effective as the department had unprecedented success in their CIDA visit this spring. We appreciate Archana’s hard work and look forward to her continued success.

    Kathleen “Katie” Valkuchak has transitioned out of the Associate Director position and will be the new Department Director. Katie has been a core part of the IAD team for the past seven years and has had exceptional success in strengthening IAD studio culture. Her commitment to the students and partnerships with faculty have contributed substantially to the success of the department.

    Please join me in congratulating both Archana and Katie to their new roles within the School of Interior Architecture & Design.  We look forward to the continuation of dynamic leadership.

     

    Thank you, 

    Elisa Stephens, President


    Remembering Dr. Richard A. Stephens

    0247-SFFirefighters-150226.jpg

    Dr. Richard A. Stephens with one of the many cars featured at the Academy’s Automobile Museum—the Talbot Lago T150-C Coupe.

    Academy of Art University suffered a great loss this past month with the passing of our beloved Chairman Emeritus Dr. Richard A. Stephens on June 6 at the age of 92.

    Dr. Stephens was born in San Francisco in 1925 to Richard S. Stephens and Clara Stephens. He travelled with his parents to Paris, where his father studied art at the Académie Julian. In 1929, the Stephens’ returned to the city, where Richard and Clara founded Académie of Advertising Art, which would later become what we know today as Academy of Art University.

    Read More »

    Landscape Architecture Alumnus Garners Attention for Use of Drones

    File Jun 21, 11 54 06 AM

    By using drones, Arneson gained different vantage points for his designs. Image courtesy of Eric Arneson.

    No magical panacea can wipe out the challenges of a highly technical and creative field such as landscape architecture, but alumnus Eric Arneson’s work shows it’s possible to come close. By applying one tool throughout all phases of the design process, Arneson alleviated a wide range of complicating factors common in his field. Site access, digital image quality, data collection and audience engagement all benefited from this multifaceted problem-solver. Rather than some rare product, the key tool was an item likely to be found on the wish list of your gadget-obsessed friend. It was a drone.

    Read More »

    The City of Oakland Celebrates Their Warriors

    file

    The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors pose with the Larry O’Brien trophy at the parade rally. Photo by Nina Tabios.

    The champagne showers turned into ticker tape showers at the Golden State Warriors 2017 Championship Parade on June 13 in downtown Oakland. The parade route began on Broadway at 11th Street, and followed a route that led them to Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, where the rally was held. 

    Around 1.5 million fans attended the parade, some arriving as early as five a.m. to claim a good spot along the parade route. As the players and their families floated down the streets of Oakland on double-decker buses, the crowd of blue and gold roared, congratulating the team on their second title in three years.

    Read More »

    Online Students Converge at Summer Expo

    file

    School of Fashion Drawing Coordinator Jim Yang instructs Frank Martinez during a Summer Expo workshop. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Since 2002, the Academy of Art University has provided its vast art degree programs to students across the world through its comprehensive online education courses. According to Melinda Mettler, director of Online Student Relations, about 70 percent of Academy students enrolled for the Spring 2017 semester were in the online program. 

    “People keep talking about how online education is the school of the future, when actually, the future is already here,” she said.

    Read More »

    Five Keys Branding Project a Winner for Client and Students

    file

    Graphic design student Celina Oh shares her team’s rebrand campaign project to Five Keys representatives. Photo by Bob Toy.

    On a recent afternoon, you could feel the nervous energy bubbling in room 520 at 79 New Montgomery. Fifteen Academy of Art University School of  Graphic Design students were busy making final preparations for the presentations they were about to give to some very special guests. 

    Those guests included Steve Good and Sunny Schwartz, executives from Five Keys, an organization that provides prison inmates with the education and other resources they need to change their lives once they re-enter society. The students worked with Five Keys throughout the semester to create a new brand identity for their client in a class taught by School of Graphic Design Associate Director Tom McNulty. Representatives from the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which founded Five Keys’ original charter school in 2003, also attended the big event along with Academy President Dr. Elisa Stephens and School of Graphic Design Director Emeritus Mary Scott.

    Read More »

    'Offsprung' Finds Film Festival Success

    file

    “Offsprung” director Rain Zheng and producer Shiyi Gu. Photo courtesy of Shiyi Gu.

    One precursor to consider when diving into art is to “not take anything too personal.” But for Shiyi Gu, graduate student from the School of Motion Pictures & Television at the Academy of Art University and producer of Offsprung, hearing mixed reviews about it almost prevented her from submitting the project into film festivals. And if she let that get the best of her, it would have never won the Best Student Film award from the Women’s Independent Film Festival in Los Angeles this spring, or been awarded the Silver Medal from the WorldFest-Houston International Film & Video Festival.  

    “We didn’t want to give up,” she said. “Patricia Pawlak (former film distribution, marketing and film festival participation instructor) supported me very well and gave us good advice, which encouraged me to send it to the different film festivals just to give it a shot. Many of the crew and actors worked very hard for it so I tried for them.”

    Read More »

    Screen Acting Achievement Awards Honors Students and Faculty

    file

    Acting student JLynn Femiano and School of Acting instructor Karen Hirst. Photo by Bob Toy.

    On May 26, Sutter Street Theatre buzzed with excitement as the Academy’s School of Acting kicked off its first annual Screen Acting Achievement Awards. The ceremony honored this spring’s graduating acting students and also paid tribute to eight young actors for their exceptional film work. Four School of Acting faculty members—Sarah Kliban, Clark Houston Lewis, Wes Sneeringer and Boris Zubov—were also honored for their contributions to the students and the department. 

    The event capped off a film festival held in the theatre earlier that week. The festival included several screenings of the many diverse movie scenes created throughout the year that gave all Academy acting students a chance to showcase skills. 

    Read More »

    Positive Mindset Helps COM Instructor Fulfill Dreams and Inspire Others

    file

    School of Communications & Media Technologies instructor Toan Lam interviews “Hamilton” cast member Ari Asfar, who plays Eliza Hamilton in the Chicago production of the hit Broadway musical. Photo courtesy of Toan Lam.

    When Toan Lam told people he was going to get tickets to the musical sensation “Hamilton,”—without paying scalpers a fortune—they often looked skeptical. After all, the Broadway hit has been selling out in record time at theatres across the country. But that didn’t deter Lam. 

    “I believe that manifesting trust and action equals traction,” said Lam, who teaches COM 103 and 303 classes at Academy of Art University. “I didn’t know how I would get a ticket, but I knew it was going to happen.” 

    Read More »

    Moving to Baby's Beat

    Writer/director Edgar Wright and actor Ansel Elgort discuss the musically infused, high-octane heist film, Baby Driver

    Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 5.05.21 PM

    Ansel Elgort and director Edgar Wright on the set of TriStar Pictures’ Baby Driver.

    To quote the film’s opening song “Bellbottoms” by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: “Ladies and gentlemen, right now I got to tell you about the fabulous, most groovy” film of the summer—Baby Driver. Written and directed by Edgar Wright (of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy), Baby Driver is a thrilling action movie that’s uniquely in step with the music being listened to by talented getaway driver, aka “young Mozart in a go-cart,” Baby, played by actor Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars).

    Read More »

    Doodling the Whimsical

    Photo May 25, 10 24 18 AM (1)

    2017 Red Bull Doodle Art Contest Region Finalist Sheilla Witanto. Photo courtesy of Sheilla Witanto.

    Sheilla Witanto lives in a world where dragons blow bubbles as astronauts float in space and a train chugs along in the background. At least this is one of the world’s bouncing around inside Witanto’s head that was translated into an illustration that won her the title of Region Finalist of the 2017 Red Bull Doodle Art contest.

    Read More »

    A World of Creativity on Display at Spring Show

    Hard work pays off for students as they present high quality work to industry professionals

    file

    Students from the School of Graphic Design presented their portfolios to industry guests at Spring Show. Photo by Bob Toy.

    A bright red carpet led the way to the entrance of the Academy of Art University’s 2017 Spring Show Student Showcase on opening day Thursday, May 18. The doors of 2225 Jerrold Avenue opened to a world bursting with color and creativity as the portfolio work from each of the 23 schools of the Academy vibrantly filled screens, walls and floor space. 

    This was an event students worked all year for. For many of them, it was an opportunity to shape their future and to prove their talent to industry representatives in attendance from some of the top companies in the world like Apple, Disney, Nissan, Google and Electronic Arts.

    Read More »

    Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Chuck Pyle

    file

    Self-portrait courtesy of Chuck Pyle..

    Witty and articulate, it’s hard to imagine Chuck Pyle, director of the School of Illustration at Academy of Art University, ever being a painfully shy child. But that’s how Pyle described himself in a video that paid tribute to his impressive career when he received an honorary doctorate on May 10. After accepting his degree from Academy President Dr. Elisa Stephens at the morning M.F.A. Spring 2017 Commencement ceremony, Pyle—who said his love of coloring and the praise he received for it helped him come out of his shell—gave an eloquent speech infused with passion for teaching and the Academy.

    Read More »

    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Maria Korovilas

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    Maria Korovilas, Academy of Art University’s 2017 Distinguished M.F.A. Alumni Award recipient, has been making her mark in the fashion industry since she graduated in 2010. Disenchanted by the poorly made, disposable fashion she saw all around her, Korovilas wanted to create timeless, well-crafted garments that would become modern heirlooms for the women who purchased them. She debuted her first ready-to-wear collection of floaty, ethereal dresses—many made from textiles she designed—with an upscale, bohemian vibe under her Korovilas label in 2012.

    Read More »

    2017 Valedictorian: Akshay Raghuvanshi

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    During his passionate speech to his fellow Academy of Art University students, faculty members and guests at this spring’s commencement ceremony, 2017 Master of Fine Arts Valedictorian Akshay Raghuvanshi kept returning to one theme: follow your dream no matter what. Like many boys growing up in India, his parents hoped he would pursue a career in engineering. But Raghuvanshi dreamed of a future designing the online video games he loved. 

    Read More »

    Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Tom Matano

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    Many people might not know how Tom Matano, executive director of the School of Industrial Design at the Academy of Art University and designer of the Mazda Miata, started out at the Academy. Well, his story started out much like that of a student, living in a dorm room. The multi award-winning designer who has held prominent design positions around the world at General Motors, BMW and eventually executive designer at Mazda, lived in an Academy dorm room. Why?

    “I never had a dormitory experience, maybe I should experience the dorm life,” said Matano of his first year at the Academy in 2002.

    Read More »

    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Greg Gandy

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    When looking at the cityscapes of professional artist Greg Gandy, the smell of mid-afternoon city air fills the room as the warmth of the sun starts to rise and the streets of San Francisco become illuminated. This is the way Gandy’s viewers, instructors and students talk about the realism of his work and his incredible talent. 

    “All of my work, whether it’s cityscape, landscape or still life, everything I paint is really close and personal to me,” Gandy said. “I paint San Francisco because I’ve lived here for over 13 years and have watched it change so much.”

    Read More »

    2017 Valedictorian: Ryan Boone

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    Ryan Boone’s journey to the Academy of Art University was a bumpy one. But those bumps eventually led to Boone being honored as valedictorian at the Spring 2017 Commencement ceremony on May 10 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. 

    As he approached the podium in his graduation cap and gown, he started his speech, loud and with conviction. He began by telling the audience it took him five years to earn his master’s in architecture and he did it with two children and a full-time job. He explained that he is not alone in facing challenges on the journey to graduation and that this moment represents a moment not of the past, but of the future. 

    Read More »

    Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Simon Ungless

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    Before Gladys Perint Palmer met Simon Ungless in the mid-’90s, she was caught between deciding to scrap or rebuild the School of Fashion’s textile program at Academy of Art University.

    As the school’s then-department director, she paid a visit to her alma mater, Central St. Martin’s, an art school in London where she was introduced to Ungless. At the time, he was working at St. Martin’s textile print shop, and the meeting of the two minds shifted the School of Fashion’s narrative entirely.

    Read More »

    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Kenneth Villamil

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    For all the titles Kenneth Villamil has held throughout his career—stylist, painter, art director, interior architect, vice president—his Seton Hall University painting teacher Ira Greenberg gave him a more proper designation when Villamil was 19 years old: creative problem solver. 

    In Greenberg and Villamil’s eyes, that essentially meant becoming a designer. With his teacher’s guidance, Villamil scraped together a portfolio that would land him a full-time design position at a Chelsea firm in New York City.

    Read More »

    2017 Valedictorian: Ariel Magidson

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    Academy of Art University valedictorian and School of Interior Architecture & Design major Ariel Magidson hasn’t taken a single semester off since she arrived at the school in 2014. In addition to the regular spring and fall semesters, Magidson took classes every summer intersession, summer semester and winter intersession throughout her Academy education. 

    “I treat [school] like a job,” she said. “I may not have earned money, but I’m earning a grade and I want to do my best every single time. Everything I put out is to the best of my ability and if it’s not, I’ll go back and do it again.”

    Read More »

    Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Diane Baker

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    In her 14 years at the Academy of Art University, School of Acting Executive Director Diane Baker’s presence served as a sort of gateway into Hollywood’s past and present. When she and I met in her office at 466 Townsend, she recounted her life for me via anecdote after anecdote. Within each one, she mentions a name or two of someone from her voluminous circle; not on purpose, but that’s just what happens when you speak to someone with a vast network.

    Read More »

    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: David Goodwine

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    David Goodwine, Academy of Art University’s Distinguished Alumni honoree and executive director for the School of Game Development (GAM), faced an all-too familiar artist-specific situation when he was younger. 

    When he told his friends and family he was considering a career in art, he was met with the classic rebuttals: “What are you going to do?” and “How are you going to make money doing this?”

    So, instead of listening to himself, Goodwine sought out a career in science instead. 

    Read More »

    2017 Valedictorian: Crysta Frost

    file

    Photo courtesy of AAU Publications.

    Crysta Frost’s whole Academy of Art University career has been about taking 180-degree turns: East Coast to West Coast. Suburb to big city. Fine art to technical art. Character rigging to game production, and vice versa. Many of those turns were acts of thoughtful spontaneity, while others were more spur-of-the-moment decisions.

    “As soon as I stepped on the eighth floor [in 180 New Montgomery] and saw everything, I knew that this is what I wanted,” she said. “I went from painting and drawing all day to 3-D programs and game engines.

    Read More »

    Restoration Hardware's IAD Contingent

    file

    (L–R) Jeana Peters, Brenna Mitchell and Alexandra Chausse. Photo by Mark Miller.

    Over this last year, Restoration Hardware, a luxury residential design brand, has taken a few of the top School of Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) students at Academy of Art University and given them an opportunity of a lifetime. 

    Brenna Mitchell, Jeana Peters and Alexandra Chausse have been working as interns at RH’s corporate office in Corte Madera, north of San Francisco. 

    Mitchell opened the door for additional interns by being proactive, sending her resume and contacting the human resources department. She has done such an outstanding job, RH subsequently called the School of Interior Architecture & Design and asked for additional interns “like Brenna."

    Read More »