Archive for '2017'

    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.

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    A World of Creativity on Display at Spring Show

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


    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.

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    Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Chuck Pyle


    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.

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    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Maria Korovilas


    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.

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    2017 Valedictorian: Akshay Raghuvanshi


    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. 

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    Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Tom Matano


    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.

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    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Greg Gandy


    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.”

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    2017 Valedictorian: Ryan Boone


    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. 

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    Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Simon Ungless


    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.

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    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Kenneth Villamil


    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.

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    2017 Valedictorian: Ariel Magidson


    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.”

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    Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Diane Baker


    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.

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    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: David Goodwine


    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. 

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    2017 Valedictorian: Crysta Frost


    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.

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    Restoration Hardware's IAD Contingent


    (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."

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    Team Bunny Minions Hops in Victory in Jewelry-Making Race


    (L-R) Chiao Ju Lee, Symposium trophy presenter, Ailing Yin and Muda “Da Da” Yu. Photo courtesy of Ailing Yin.

    You don’t have to be a fast runner to compete in the Saw, File and Solder Sprint. But you do need to have strong metalwork skills and be comfortable whipping up a piece of jewelry in front of a crowd while dressed in a costume. The fun and quirky “relay race” is a highlight of the annual Yuma Symposium, an event that draws renowned and emerging artists to the Arizona desert every winter to learn, create and connect with each other. During the race, each three-person team works as quickly as possible to make a ring that will fit on one member’s finger.

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    InFlux 2017: Advanced Work in Jewelry and Metal Arts


    Vishali Sitharthan. Photo courtesy of the School of Jewelry & Metal Arts.

    On Thursday, March 2, the School of Jewelry and Metal Arts’ very own JEM Club held the opening reception for its third annual group show of advanced student work at the Cannery Gallery. The exhibition, “InFlux,” provides a platform for all students enrolled in jewelry and metal arts classes, whether they are a JEM-declared major or taking a course as an elective, to showcase their current work. Not only do they have the exciting opportunity to share their craft outside of the classroom and studio, they are also able to learn the intricate details that go into gallery installations.

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    The Verdict Is In: 'Legally Blonde' a Smash Hit for School of Acting


    The cast of the School of Acting’s production of “Legally Blonde.” Photo by Bob Toy.

    From the opening number of Academy of Art University School of Acting’s musical “Legally Blonde,” it was clear that the actors were having a blast. And so was the audience that packed 620 Sutter Street Theatre on a recent Friday night. 

    In the first scene, a bevvy of Delta Nu sorority sisters sashayed around the stage singing the infectious “Omigod You Guys,” excited for their beloved president—and the play’s main character—Elle Woods’ pending engagement to her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. By the time Elle joined them on stage mid-way through the song, the audience was swept up in the moment and burst into applause.

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    Groovy, Baby, Groovy: 'The Summer of Love Experience' at the de Young


    "The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll" is on display at the de Young through August 20. 2017. Photo courtesy of the de Young.

    Art, fashion and music are powerful means of self-expression for individuals and communities in general, and in particular, in times of political upheaval and social unrest.

    This year the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of a vibrant American counterculture that emerged in the summer of 1967. The de Young Museum brings you The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll, an exhilarating retrospective of over 300 artifacts, including posters, photographs, interactive installations, clothes and memorabilia, as well as documentary and avant-garde films. On display through Aug. 20, it gives you a chance to come back a couple times to soak up the good vibes!

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    Making Therapeutic Art

    The dramedy, created with an all-female crew, explores relationship dynamics


    Zoe Lister-Jones as Anna, Adam Pally as Ben and Fred Armisen as Dave in Zoe Lister-Jones’ Band Aid. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.

    A leaky faucet is a small problem at first, but can become a much bigger issue if ignored for too long. Hence the opening shot for Zoe Lister-Jones’ directorial debut, Band Aid (in theaters June 9), where the drip-drop in the kitchen sink predicates a vicious argument between Lister-Jones’ character Anna and her husband Ben, played by Adam Pally.

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    Animation & Visual Effects Spring Awards honor outstanding student achievement

    Animation & Visual Effects Spring Awards honor outstanding student achievement

    School of Animation & Visual Effects students celebrate their win at the department’s Spring Awards. Photo courtesy of Becky Johnson.

    On April 28, the Morgan Auditorium at 491 Post Street hosted a world premiere, as students’ never-before-seen work debuted at the School of Animation & Visual Effects Spring Awards. Bags of popcorn and candy greeted attendees in the lobby, serving as a cue to relax, sit back and admire the skill and creativity about to play across the screen. Hundreds of students filled the venue’s seats to find out how their submissions fared, admire the work of their peers and congratulate the winners.

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    Celebrating Excellence

    “Not competitive, they’re collaborative,” said MPTV Executive Director Jana Memel of the night’s nominees at the first annual NXT UP Festival


    Senior advertising student Joey Larson picked up three awards at the first-ever NXT UP Fest for Excellence in Commercial Creation & Production, Branded Content and Documentary Filmmaking. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Students were dressed to the nines as they walked down the red carpet into 491 Post Street on May 5 for the Academy of Art University’s first NXT UP Festival, a “for students, by students” production that celebrates “excellence in the creation and production of moving images.” The nominees donned their best attire: A mixture of suits, dresses and even one nominee sporting the feathered costume featured in her submitted music video. 

    The night’s host, Terrell “Big T” Butler, held the audience’s attention not just with his Academy-red blazer, but with his comedic wit, demeanor and poise that awarded him Excellence for On-Camera Talent – Male later that same evening. He sprinkled jokes into every aspect of his hosting, and carried himself with ease on stage, which was a true mark to the amount of hard work and talent the School of Communications & Media Technologies (COM) senior possesses and put in leading up to the show.

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    For Art's Sake - No. 8: Let's Get Inspired!

    For Art's Sake No. 8: Let's Get Inspired!

    The Academy of Art University annual Spring Show showcases cutting-edge student work, offering a unique opportunity to learn about the latest technology. Photo by Bob Toy.

    In the age of technology and Internet devices, there is a continued need for artists and designers to create advertisements for businesses as well as portfolios, featuring brands and products for entertainment, ranging from gaming to film. 

    As you master different levels of your art here at Academy of Art University, you’ll continue to work with your instructors and collaborate with other students on group works. You will master both presentation and communication skills that will strengthen your critical reasoning and problem-solving.

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    Allison Rutland Shares Her Path to Pixar

    Allison Rutland shares her path to Pixar

    Allison Rutland is an an animator at Pixar.

    After making Finding Chia, her first animated short, Allison Rutland was pretty sure she’d found her calling. She completed the funny mockumentary about a Chia Pet who’s traumatized when he can’t grow a coat of foliage while studying 3-D animation at Sheridan College in Canada. 

    “It was really fun to do,” said Rutland, who has been an animator at Pixar since 2009 and won a prestigious Annie Award for her character work on Inside Out. “I thought that as soon as I got this whole animation thing figured out, I was going to make films.”

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    Exploring Artistic Possibilities

    Exploring artistic possibilities

    “Reaching For Hope” by PCAE student Claire Wong.

    Every spring, summer and fall session, Academy of Art University opens its doors to high school students interested in jump starting their arts education and exploring the possibilities for career artists. 

    The Pre-College Art Experience (PCAE) is a scholarship-based program that is offered both online and onsite for eligible local and international students, with several classes from different majors to choose from, including animation, visual development, 3-D animation and music production.

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    IAD Students Tour Allsteel and Inside Source Showroom

    IAD students tour Allsteel and Inside Source showroom

    Allsteel Furniture – Clubhouse. Photo courtesy of Allsteel.

    Organized by the Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) Club and Academy of Art University School of Interior Architecture & Design alumna Elizabeth Wert (’11), 25 students were welcomed by Allsteel and Inside Source in San Francisco.

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    Creating an Orchestra

    Creating an orchestra

    Academy alumnus and composer Mark Cofer at work in Nashville, Tenn. Photo courtesy of Mark Cofer.

    Mark Cofer always had a love for music, but it wasn’t until he became a student of the School of Music Production & Sound Design For Visual Media at Academy of Art University that his passion for film composition began to soar. As one of the first graduates of the online program, Cofer has gone on to create scores for major motion pictures and trailers like Disney’s latest installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, The Mummy starring Tom Cruise and Independence Day: Resurgence, all from his home in Nashville, Tenn. 

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    Wise Words From an Illustration Role Model

    Tony DiTerlizzi collaborates with School of Game Development faculty and students for exhibit.

    Illustrator and author Tony DiTerlizzi going over the collaborative project with the School of Game Development during his recent visit. Photo by Rich Bradway of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

    If being a children’s book illustrator and author didn’t work out for Tony DiTerlizzi, stand-up comedy might’ve been an adequate alternative career route for him. 

    In between stories of his fruitful career as a fantasy artist, he cracked jokes toward the Academy of Art University audience on April 18, using cartoon voices to poke fun at himself, those who showed up to hear him speak and the chicken-dragon students suggested he draw in his demo.  

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    DIY Band Daytime Nightlife Shares Both Music & Advice at Tuesday Tunes

    Daytime Nightlife performs at UKR Tuesday Tunes on May 2

    (L–R) Brothers Gary Malec and Mark Malec of Daytime Nightlife. Photo by Nina Tabios.


    For brothers Mark and Gary Malec of San Francisco band Daytime Nightlife, performing at Urban Knights Radio event Tuesday Tunes on May 2 was a way to test out new material following a new musical direction and change in their roster. 

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    Fashion Future: Academy of Art University 2017 Graduation Fashion Show


    Looks from Jiran Xia (B.F.A. fashion design) and Pei-Ling “Ann” Tsai (B.F.A. jewelry & metal arts) during the Graduation Fashion Show finale. Photo by Bob Toy.

    It’s all been leading up to this… 

    In the lives of individuals and communities, there are moments that define history and usher in the future. For students in Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion, that moment is the annual Graduation Fashion Show that brings together faculty, family, friends and industry such as retail executives, fashion and accessory designers, interior designers and recruiters to celebrate the accomplishments of each graduate, and honor their creative vision as they join the ranks of the Academy’s distinguished alumni.

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    Raising the Curtain on Backstage


    Makeup Lead Stacy Maki and the MAC Artistry Team together with Hair Lead Jon Reyman for Spoke & Weal and Salon Pro RX worked with School of Fashion Executive Director Simon Ungless on the beauty look for the show. Photo by Danielle Rueda.

    Here is one thing I learned from floating backstage at the Academy of Art University 2017 Graduation Fashion Show. Whoever had said “beauty’s only skin deep” was deeply wrong. When it comes to fashion, the idiom does not apply as beauty doesn’t lend itself to quick judgement and is much more than a pretty look. It’s the art of the method; the elaborate process that requires attention to layers of precision and creativity to captivate the audience in an instant.

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    2017 Portfolio Review: A Chance to Impress


    (L–R) Director of Fashion Gary Miller introducing guest of honor Sarah Mower and her daughter Maisie McCaughley to students during the Portfolio Review. Photo by Bob Toy.

    The warehouse on Jerrold Ave was full of high-energy and nerves on Saturday, May 6, as students of the School of Fashion at the Academy of Art University filed into tables to show off their thesis collections.

    Guests walked down the center aisle to peruse through works from students from a variety of focuses: Fashion Design, Textile Design, Jewelry and Metal Arts, Visual Merchandising, Costume Design, Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Journalism, Technical Design and Styling.

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    Industry Mentors Share Ideas and Wisdom at School of Fashion Panel


    Panel moderator and School of Fashion Executive Director Simon Ungless, Director of Education and Professional Development for the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Sara Kozlowski and Chief Critic of Sarah Mower spoke in front of a packed audience at 625 Polk. Photo by Bob Toy.

    The relationship between fashion and technology and the evolution of the fashion industry figured prominently in the conversation at a panel discussion hosted by the School of Fashion on May 5 at 625 Polk Street. Students packed the room for a chance to hear from panelists Sarah Mower, chief critic for and the British Fashion Council’s ambassador for emerging talent, and Sara Kozlowski, director of educational and professional development for the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). 

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    Putting Theory to Practice

    Embracing the three H's—head, hands and heart—the School of Art Education has been making its mark on education in the arts with six students from the credential program now teaching at local Bay Area schools


    Photo by Bob Toy.

    The Academy of Art University prides itself in its mission of “the artists of today teaching the artists of tomorrow." Departments across the university uphold that initiative, but the School of Art Education (ARE) and Teaching Credential Program in the Visual Arts aims to take it a step further in preparing its students to become art educators and inspire a new generation of artists.

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    Running Through the Gamut

    Students get a taste of different filmmaking disciplines in Jana Memel’s MPTV 234 class


    (L–R) Actors Alea Mosley and Ignacio Lopez and students Xiuzhu “MiMi” Guo, Marcus Vaughn, Qiang “Celine” Guo, Bryan Wilks film a scene for Blood Money, an MPTV 234 project. Photo by Nina Tabios.

    Shoot day was going well for Cyrus Esfandiari and his group up until about 3 p.m. on April 11, right when their three-hour shoot window was starting to close. At the peak of crunchtime, their camera started malfunctioning: The SLR wasn’t reading the SD cards correctly and batteries were faulty. In a last-ditch effort, director Marcus Vaughn whipped out his smartphone and recorded the last scenes to his mobile device as time ticked away.

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    Sarah Mower to Be Honored at 2017 Graduation Fashion Show

    The chief critic for will receive an honorary doctorate from Academy of Art University President Dr. Elisa Stephens

    Academy of Art University is proud to announce that Sarah Mower, chief critic for, will join the School of Fashion as the guest of honor for the Graduation Fashion Show on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Mower will receive the degree of honorary doctorate from Dr. Elisa Stephens, president of Academy of Art University, for her contributions to the fashion industry and fashion education, and for her support of emerging designers.

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    For Art's Sake - No. 7: The Wonderful World of the Academy - Athletics

    № 7: The Wonderful World of the Academy – Athletics

    The Academy of Art University athletic programs have helped artist-athletes not only cultivate their artistic talents, but also their athletic talents, training them to compete at the highest level. Vashti Thomas (illustration major) set both a World University Games and NCAA Division II record in the 100-meter hurdles in 2013.


    At Academy of Art University, we encourage you to follow all of your passions, from art-related career goals to Olympic-sized dreams. For students looking to continue their athletic careers at a collegiate level, you can train and compete with ART U Athletics. Athletes from our program have won NCAA titles, have been drafted by Major League Baseball and most recently, one of our track stars, Mobolade Ajomale, won an Olympic medal during the 2016 games in Rio.

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    Animation Alumna Hopes to Open More Doors for Minorities in Film

    Winning Gold at the Student Academy Awards for your first film can be a tough act to follow. But Academy of Art University graduate Alyce Tzue, whose animated short Soar received this and other honors, is poised to fly high once again with her latest endeavor. Last year, Hiro Masuda, president of Ichigo Ichie Films, contacted her about directing Lobo, a full-length animated feature his Tokyo-based company is developing.

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    An Exciting Career Begins at WNM Ideate Conference

    An exciting career begins at Ideate Conference

    Academy of Art University School of Web Design & New Media alumna Angela Alarcon. Photo courtesy of Angela Alarcon.


    Last month, Angela Alarcon began settling into her new job as a user experience designer at Alarcon graduated with an M.F.A. from Academy of Art University’s School of Web Design & New Media (WNM) last fall, but it wasn’t her summer internships or many job applications that directly led to her employment. Instead, it was a connection she made with an official at WNM’s Ideate Conference in December 2016 that sparked the beginning of her career in web design.

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    Costume Carnival 2017 Echoes 1960s Counterculture

    Costume Carnival 2017 echoes 1960s counterculture

    Bob Webb as Timothy Leary.


    Nameless liquid shapes dance on a concert screen, protest slogans are hoisted into the air, music creates surreal shapes in the sky, young people rally for a new utopia and the United States Presidency is shrouded in scandal. Apparently, not much has changed since 1967.

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    Passion for Virtual Reality on Display at VR Summit


    A student tries out one of the VR headsets on display at this semester's VR Summit. Photo by Bob Toy.

    At one moment, Academy of Art University students were mingling in Room 140 of the 79 New Montgomery building on the night of the VR Summit. But with one touch and one virtual reality (VR) headset, moments later, students were transported to the sandy beaches of the marina staring up at the Golden Gate Bridge, gliding through the streets of San Francisco in a cable car or interacting with a little blue alien in outer space.

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    Stanford Clinical Instructor & Academy Directing Student Redefines Role of Medical Director

    Careflight Doc Freeze Frame.tif

    A still from Care Flight in the Golden Hour. Photo courtesy of Dr. Henry Curtis, M.D.

    The work of Dr. Henry Curtis, M.D. illustrates the intersection of medicine and the humanities. As a clinical instructor of emergency medicine at Stanford, Curtis enlists video-based learning tools to prepare students for future professional challenges. 

    But he’s not just using existing video to supplement his syllabus. Curtis, who is pursuing an M.F.A. in directing at Academy of Art University, also guides students in producing original educational video content.

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    Students Encouraged to Create at Comic Expo 2017

    Students encouraged to create at Comic Expo 2017

    Isabella Reeves reviews student work and portfolios during the Comic Expo. Photo by Bob Toy.


    Amid all the jokes and laughs heard at the Academy of Art University’s School of Illustration Comic Expo 2017, one thematic piece of advice heard in nearly every panel was this: Do more than just your homework.

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    NetEase Discuss Internships During Academy Visit

    NetEase discuss internships during Academy visit

    (L-R) NetEase User Researcher Jim Stanhope, Lead Artist Ada Liu, Product Manager Alex Liang and Human Resources Assistant Eva Hsu. Photo by Bob Toy.


    If you’re familiar with NetEase Games titles such as “Fantasy Westward Journey,” “Eternal Arena,” “Tome of the Sun,” “New Ghost,” the next big PC or mobile hit from the China-based camp may have an Academy of Art University’s School of Game Development alum in its credits. 

    On March 23, students packed into Room 825 in 180 New Montgomery to hear NetEase representatives from the company’s North American studio speak about the opportunities available to young developers and artists. 

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    Elle Woods Set to Win Hearts in School of Acting's 'Legally Blonde'

    Senior acting major India Jarvis to portray the iconic and savvy law student

    It’s hard to resist Elle Woods, the perky sorority girl with a fondness for pink, who takes Harvard Law School by storm in the musical Legally Blonde. Based on the popular film of the same name, the musical is coming to 620 Sutter Street Theatre in May, courtesy of Academy of Art University’s School of Acting.

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    Introducing NXT UP Fest: "By Students, for Students"

    Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 2.24.04 PM

    Spring semester is winding down and end-of-semester ceremonies are right around the corner. In lieu of the Media Awards this year, the Academy of Art University is hosting NXT UP Fest, a “celebration of excellence in the creation and production of moving images.” 

    Organizer and School of Motion Pictures and Television Executive Director Jana Memel said that NXT UP Fest is about honoring student excellence while also keeping them involved in the process.

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    Ready, Roll, Cut: J.D. Moran

    The MPTV alumnus shares his creative journey to his current post-Academy career

    Alumnus J.D. Moran graduated from Academy of Art University’s School of Motion Pictures & Television (MPTV) in Spring 2014. His talents and skills learned at the Academy, while studying production design, have taken Moran to Cannes, Rome and currently New York City, where he enjoys a career full of creative opportunities. 

    Moran recently spoke with us about his early days at the Academy with the Pre-College Art Experience, how he decided to “squeeze out the most” of his time at school by getting involved and how networking has led to some great opportunities in his post-Academy career.

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    Alumnus Antonio Martins: A Designer of Distinction


    Academy of Art University School of Interior Architecture & Design alumnus Antonio Martins. Photo courtesy of Antonio Martins Designs.

    We love when our Academy of Art University School of Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) students succeed. Hours and hours of hard work, critiques and learning all become worth it when a graduate reports back after a few years and has great news to share. Such is the case with Antonio Martins.

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    Meet the School of Fashion Interns: Jenny Truong


    Advertising major and Social Media Center intern Jenny Truing. Photo courtesy of Jenny Truong.

    Meet Jenny Truong, B.F.A. advertising student and the Social Media Center intern who happily traded Lake Ontario for the Bay Area following the ebb and flow of Zodiac charts.

    What brought you to the Academy?

    I am pursuing my B.F.A. in advertising with a direct focus on art. I was originally going to choose graphic design, but knew if I went into advertising, I would be taking graphic design courses as well as learning about concepts and the business side of advertising. I am glad I picked it. I have definitely found my passion.

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    Meet the School of Fashion Interns: Robert Bala


    Public relations intern Robert Bala. Photo courtesy of Robert Bala.

    Meet public relations intern Robert Bala. This Academy sophomore from Rhode Island has Hugo Boss and an award-winning magazine already on his résumé and uses “a leaf in the wind” to describe himself.

    What brought you to the Academy?

    I’ve had small styling successes here and there. People see and appreciate the little things that I’ve done, but the main thing that’s always holding me back is no degree. Being at the Academy is helping me blossom my passion into a true career. I once bought an amazing leather jacket at a consignment store in Florida. It became my favorite and I later discovered it was made by a San Francisco brand. It’s almost fate that I would be styling in the Bay one day.

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    Meet the School of Fashion Interns: Nivetha Sundar


    Fashion School Daily intern Nivetha Sundar at work. Photo courtesy of Nivetha Sundar.

    Meet Nivetha Sundar, the Fashion School Daily intern, who is a fashion journalism graduate student with a passion for celebrity gossip and all things Beatlemania.

    What brought you to the Academy?

    There was an exchange student from the Academy coming to my school in India. It was in the back of my mind ever since. I got a degree in textile design and thought that if I were to do graduate studies, it’d be here. I knew my parents wanted me to live with them and would not let me sign up. So, I went ahead and applied anyway. They only found out after I got the acceptance letter. I took a year online and now I’m happy with my decision to come to San Francisco. 

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    Meet the School of Fashion Interns: Nhu Dao


    (Right) Fashion styling major and public relations intern Nhu Dao styles a model for a shoot. Photo courtesy of Nhu Dao.

    Meet Nhu Dao, a fashion styling major and an intern with the public relations office.

    What brought you to the Academy?

    Seven years ago, I moved with my family from Vietnam to San Jose. I just assumed my parents wouldn’t approve of me studying the arts, so I was majoring in psy- chology. en I chose styling, because you can be creative with clothes, make something new out [of] something exist- ing. My family wholehearted- ly supported my decision. e transition wasn’t di cult. I think I was too well dressed to study anything else!

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    Uncomfortable Truths Bubble to the Surface in Funny, Poignant 'Detroit'


    (L–R) Renee Rogoff , Greg Snyder, Roman Reyes, Jessie Rankin and Bill Davis. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Steaks and burgers weren’t the only things cooking at the backyard barbeques that brought two very different couples together in the School of Acting’s recent production of 'Detroit.' Uncomfortable truths about each couple and individual simmered just below the surface, and eventually reached a boiling point, as the play unfolded before audiences at 620 Sutter Street Theatre.

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    Alumnus Leans on Academy-Learned Skills for 'The First Volunteers'

    Academy of Art University alumnus Fred Charles took a number of detours in his quest to become an actor. During his years at the Academy, he jumped around between different departments. After starting as an acting major, he switched to communications. He also did a stint in screenwriting. In addition, Charles took time off from his studies to go to China to form an American-Chinese co-production company before returning to the Academy as an online student and earning his degree in 2014. In hindsight, he realizes that venturing down different paths helped him expand his skills and grow as an actor.

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    Sharlto Copley Discusses New Film, ‘Free Fire’


    (L-R) Babou Ceesay, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley and Noah Taylor in Free Fire. Photo by Kerry Brown. Courtesy of A24.

    In new film Free Fire, Brie Larson’s character Justine sums up Sharlto Copley’s Vernon quite succinctly: “He was misdiagnosed as a child genius and he never got over it.”

    Larson and Copley join a motley crew of misfits in British filmmaker Ben Wheatley’s lastest film for a slapstick shootout during an arms deal gone awry. The story takes place in an abandoned Boston warehouse in the 1970s, a decade that sets the tone, mood and cinematography of Free Fire – think incandescent lighting, gold jewelry and wide lapels.

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    Fashion Journalism Alumnae Cover Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia

    Vivien Moon and Angela Han seize the opportunity to immerse themselves in the emerging Moscow fashion scene

    In mid-March, the chance to cover their first international fashion week lured two Academy of Art University fashion journalism alumnae to front-row seats thousands of miles away. Vivien Moon of BuzzFeed and Angela Han of The Huffington Post made it a mission to maximize their access not only to the shows, but also to a spectrum of designers stretching from traditionalist to stereotype-smashing. Bound for neither Paris nor Milan—the hallowed European fashion capitals one might expect—Moon and Han touched down in Moscow, home of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia.

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    School of Jewelry & Metal Arts Grad Lands Creative Quarterly Cover

    Each year, Creative Quarterly—a prestigious publication that showcases top artists and designers—singles out the best of the exceptional work featured in its pages during the previous 12 months. A panel of outside judges narrows the choices down to the 25 best in four categories—fine art, graphic design, illustration and photography. The winners are published in Creative Quarterly’s special 100 Best Annual edition.

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    Changing the World of Street Art

    Fine art alumna Nina Wright looks to build confidence and opportunities with an all-girls graffiti camp

    The end of March concludes Women’s History Month, an entire celebration of women, girls and the historic strides and accolades accomplished throughout the years. However, even in 2017, some barriers still remain to be broken, especially in the world of street art, and Nina Wright, Academy of Art University School of Fine Art alumna, aims to change that.

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    Acting Students Bring Nuance and Range to 'Almost, Maine'

    The play charts the emotional ups and downs of love in its many forms

    For one weekend in March, the Northern Lights, 12-degree temperatures and wrenching emotional climaxes overtook an intimate theater space at 466 Townsend. From March 17–19, the room hosted the School of Acting graduate performance of the John Cariani play Almost, Maine, directed by Lena Hart.

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    Funny, intimate 'Detroit' coming to Sutter Street Theatre

    Sometimes small encounters can be life altering. And motivation to make a big change can come from a stranger. This is true for the two couples in the play Detroit, which Academy of Art University’s School of Acting is presenting in April. 

    Written by Lisa D’Amour, Detroit won an Obie Award for Best New American Play in 2013 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The story revolves around two very different couples who live next door to each other in an unnamed suburb near a midsize American city. In the play, Mary and Ben host their new neighbors, Sharon and Kenny, at a backyard barbecue. Detroit explores suburban angst related to upward mobility, spousal relationships and economic anxiety.

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    Ready, Roll, Cut: Linda Dahlem

    Originally from Luxembourg, Academy of Art University alumna Linda Dahlem graduated in Fall 2015 after studying directing in the School of Motion Pictures & Television.

    Before arriving at the Academy, Dahlem was working and studying film in Berlin at a small private school. After inquiring about a job in the art department, a production designer went out of their way to explain how things worked to her. “She put so much trust in me, I felt like I could do anything,” Dahlem shared.

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    Bay Area Writer Daniel Clowes Talks 'Wilson'


    (L-R): Woody Harrelson, Writer Daniel Clowes and Director Craig Johnson on the set of Wilson. Photo by Wilson Webb. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

    When life hands you lemons, sometimes the lemonade turns out sour. In Wilson, a film adapted from comic book writer Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel of the same name, the titular character (played by Woody Harrelson) brushes through his days sowing the seeds of his cynicism. After his father dies and his only friend moves away, Wilson faces a rude awakening when he realizes how lonely he truly is and seeks to fill the hole his own grouchy tendencies dug for himself.

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    Ajomale named DII Track Athlete of the Year

    Earlier this month, the redshirt sophomore defended his 60m title at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships

    After earning West Region Track Athlete of the Year award, then National Championships in both the 60m and 200m at Indoor Nationals on March 11, Mobolade Ajomale became the first male athlete in program history to be named NCAA Division II Indoor Men’s Track Athlete of the Year after an announcement by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on March 14. 

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    School of Fashion Announces Textile Design as a Specialized Degree

    The next generation of designers will now be able to hone their craft in NASAD-certified programs


    Hae In Kim drying her print with a blow dryer. Photo by Jennifer Jeon.

    Responding to the growing market need for textile, surface and graphic print designers, the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University has created the associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees in the specialized field of textile design, which were recently certified by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). These research-based programs focus on comprehensive design development to empower the next generation of designers.

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    Director Draws on His Love for Old School Animation in 'The Boss Baby'


    (L–R) Elham Sepehrjou, Allison Freeman, Ramsey Ann Naito (producer of The Boss Baby), Gaby Rojo, Fernando Penafiel, Leo Quert, and (in front) Tom McGrath (director of The Boss Baby). Photo courtesy of Fernando Penafiel.

    Director Tom McGrath and producer Ramsey Naito won’t be offended if you think their latest animated comedy, The Boss Baby, looks like a throwback to an old Disney movie. They’ll take it as a compliment. McGrath and Naito were recently at 620 Sutter Street to show a large group of animation students clips from The Boss Baby and talk about making the DreamWorks Animation film. They also shared information about their backgrounds and offered advice for students hoping to launch a career in animation.

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    Academy Grad's Drone Film of Mongolia Soars at Festivals

    Hired by the Mongol Ecology Center, Jeff Colhoun spent six weeks creating the spectacular film


    Academy of Art University School of Photography graduate Jeff Colhoun (M.F.A. ’12). Photo courtesy of Jeff Colhoun.

    Few people get the chance to travel to Mongolia, a sparsely populated Asian country bordered by China and Russia. Even fewer get the opportunity to experience the rugged beauty of Darkhad Valley, one of the most remote places in Mongolia and the world. The difficult-to-access valley is home to the nomadic Dukha people and endangered species such as snow leopards and ibex (a type of mountain goat). 

    Last year, Academy of Art University alumnus Jeff Colhoun was hired by the Mongol Ecology Center, a nonprofit government organization, to create the documentary Darkhad Valley. “I spent six weeks in Darkhad Valley shooting a film about the rangers there and the work they’re doing to protect endangered species,” said Colhoun, who graduated with an M.F.A. in photography in 2012.

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    Ready, Roll, Cut: Carly McCarthy


    Academy of Art University School of Motion Pictures & Television alumna Carly McCarthy. Photo courtesy of Carly McCarthy.

    Academy of Art University School of Motion Pictures & Television (MPTV) alumna Carly McCarthy’s talents were spotted early by Executive Director of Immersive Technology James Egan and MPTV instructor Jonathan Crosby. They suggested that McCarthy submit her short film, Good Grief, to The Smithsonian Institution’s 2015 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Her film was selected as a finalist from hundreds of submissions from all over the country. Another one of her short films, Hey Mom, had been selected at the Academy’s own 2015 Media Awards.

    Taking her talent and the skills she learned while studying cinematography at the Academy, McCarthy was able to land an internship working with United States Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington, D.C. 

    McCarthy recently spoke about how different opportunities followed after graduating from the Academy as well as being inspired by the senator from Vermont contributed to her path to D.C.

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    'Moonlight's' Rollercoaster Ride to a Best Picture Win


    School of Communications and Media Technologies student Kiyomi Mitsuda interviewing Moonlight director Barry Jenkins in 2016. Image courtesy of Kiyomi Mitsuda.

    Little. Black. Chiron. These are the three parts that make up the underdog movie of the year, Moonlight.

    Moonlight follows a young African-American boy named Chiron in the projects just outside of Miami, Florida. The film focuses on how Chiron deals with his mother, who has a crack addiction, his struggles with his sexuality in an African-American society and growing up not knowing exactly who he is.

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    Take a Trip To 'Almost, Maine,' With School of Acting Grad Students

    “There is nothing like taking the audience on a journey,” said Amanda Casarella, a final-semester M.F.A. acting student cast in the School of Acting’s graduate performance of Almost, Maine. “The willingness of the audience to jump into the story with you is palpable to the actors on stage. You don’t get that immediate response when you’re working in front of a camera.”

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    Advertising Alumnus's Honda Ad a Winner During Super Bowl

    "The Power of Dreams" campaign features celebrities before they were famous

    Header_Styan Lee_SB

    Comic book writer Stan Lee advises, “If you want to make a universe, make a universe,” in Honda’s “The Power of Dreams” campaign that aired during Super Bowl 51. Image courtesy of Britt McColl.

    Before they were household names, many American celebrities had their fashion faux pas and bad hairstyles memorialized in high school yearbooks, just like the rest of us. Jason Sperling, senior vice president and executive creative director of ad agency Rubin Postaer and Associates, tapped into this rite of passage for the popular Super Bowl commercial his team created for Honda’s latest campaign, “The Power of Dreams.” The ad also introduced viewers to the car manufacturer’s latest version of its top-selling utility vehicle, the CR-V.

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    School of Acting Hosts San Francisco URTAs


    Executive Director of the School of Acting Diane Baker (center) with Rachel Friedman (left) and Scott Steele (right) of the University Resident Theatre Association. Photo courtesy of Diane Baker.

    Each winter, the University Resident Theatre Association holds a series of auditions and interviews for prospective M.F.A. candidates. Known as the URTAs, the events are held in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. This year, Academy of Art University’s School of Acting hosted the San Francisco URTAs. The event took place Feb. 4–5 and provided some 150 aspiring actors with the opportunity to audition for dozens of recruiters from 39 URTA member universities and other prominent institutions.

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    For Art's Sake - № 3: Why Should I Go to Art School?

    The term “starving artist” is more often related to an amateur artist. Yes, everyone has talent in art, but not everyone will have a successful career without a good education in art. Your talent and passion is one thing, but you also need to be well-educated and have knowledge about your chosen field. Art school is where you can receive the education as well as see beyond what you think you know and be able to communicate and execute your creativity into reality. It’s a place that can help you push yourself.

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    Summer Study Abroad Program in Florence Welcomes Students From All Majors


    Each year, Academy of Art University’s School of Fine Art organizes a summer study abroad program welcoming students from all majors to become immersed in the history, culture and art of one of the world’s most historically stunning Renaissance cities—Florence, Italy. While the seven and a half week program is centered upon instruction, coursework, day trips and three-day weekends, there’s plenty of room for spontaneity.

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    Film Review: 'Personal Shopper'

    Kristen Stewart stars in the unnerving, multifaceted Personal Shopper

    Written and directed by Olivier Assayas, Personal Shopper is a psychological thriller that explores identity while toying with the paranormal. Kristen Stewart stars as Maureen, a personal shopper who hates her job, and her wealthy clients. Since the death of her twin brother, who they both believed could communicate with the spirit world, Maureen has been waiting for a sign from him that confirms an afterlife. When she is not running around after the volatile celebrity Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten), she spends time in her brother’s old house in Paris, listening to eerie creaks, dripping taps, and searching for his presence.

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    Podcast Course Now Part of the Academy's Liberal Arts Curriculum

    COM-150 will introduce students to the “fastest growing form of audience entertainment in the world”


    School of Communications & Media Technologies instructor and Urban Knights Radio General Manager Matty Staudt. Photo by Bob Toy.

    The popularity of podcasts continues to soar. According to Edison Research, some 35 million people listened to a weekly podcast in 2016, and members of this group downloaded an average of five podcasts per week. Academy of Art University recently added COM-150—a beginning podcasting class—to its liberal arts curriculum. Previously, the course was offered mainly to School of Communications & Media Technologies (COM) students who had to meet certain prerequisites before enrolling in the course.

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    Celebrating the Year of the Rooster

    Students and faculty showcased the Academy’s rooster-centric float during this year’s Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade


    Academy of Art University Year of the Rooster float at this year’s Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Academy of Art University’s the Year of the Rooster float lit up downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 11, during the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade, a celebration that dates back to the 1860s. Dancing lions, Chinese acrobats, stilt walkers, marching bands, and the Golden Dragon wrapped around Union Square, Chinatown and the Financial District, drawing thousands of spectators for a Lunar New Year spectacle. On a weekend of rare sunny weather, the firecrackers were popping, children were smiling and even live roosters were making an appearance.

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    TIME Magazine Hails Industrial Design Alumna's Assistive Tableware Set as One of 2016's Best Inventions


    Sha Yao’s Eatwell assistive tableware. Photo courtesy of Sha Yao.

    Watching her late grandmother struggle with cognitive impairments resulting from Alzheimer’s disease, Sha Yao experienced a common emotional response to a difficult situation. She felt helpless. What the Academy of Art University School of Industrial Design (IND) alumna did next was decidedly uncommon. Yao designed and created Eatwell, an assistive tableware set to help make mealtimes easier for people with impaired cognitive function.

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    For Art's Sake - No. 2: Let Your Child Be!

    Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 1.45.33 PM

    Artists' work is not just found in fine art galleries. For decades, artists have created and designed you clothes, appliances, your cars and the entertainment that you enjoy. Photos courtesy of Bob Toy.

    When your child wishes to have a career in art, why do you discourage the idea that “you can’t make a living as an artist” and you will become a “starving artist”? You say, “Why don’t you become a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant?”

    Not all career fields make a good living. However, a great percentage of careers contain jobs related to the arts. Have you heard of the tech companies? For over 30 years, artists have created many devices and technology to improve our daily life. Who do you think created everything you own, from your clothes, your appliances, your car, your home and the entertainment you enjoy? They are all created by artists.

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    Underwater Photographer Dives Into Helping Cancer Survivors


    Breast cancer survivor, Kim. Photo by Erena Shimoda.

    Ever since she was a little girl, Erena Shimoda fantasized about being a mermaid and calling the ocean her home. As an adult, she felt like her childhood dream had almost come true the first time she went scuba diving during a trip to Honduras 14 years ago.  

    “It was the closest I’d felt to living underwater,” said Shimoda, a native of Tokyo who graduated from Academy of Art University in 2001 with a B.A. in new media. “I was hooked on scuba diving. I just loved those moments underwater. I started taking photographs of fish and sharing them with other scuba divers back on the surface.”

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    Academy Grad's New Book Helps Kids Embrace Different Cultures


    Academy of Art University alumnus David McBride's new children's book "Kazumi Racer Pig." Image courtesy of David McBride.

    Animator and children’s book author and illustrator David McBride has always enjoyed learning about different cultures. He hopes his latest book, Kazumi Racecar Pig, will encourage kids to love and respect all people, no matter what their culture or background.  The story’s main character—Kazumi, a cute animated pig—is afraid of anything that’s different from the world he knows. But when he gets stranded on an alien planet, he must learn to accept unfamiliar creatures and customs in order to get home again. His journey teaches the racecar-driving pig that being different can be a good thing and also leads him to new friends.

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    A Conversation With Tom Collom

    The architect, designer and entrepreneur shares his inspiration during a visit to the School of Interior Architecture & Design


    Architect, designer and entrepreneur Tom Collom sits down for an interview with School of Interior Architecture & Design's Luna Sibai. Photo by Mark Miller.

    Tom Collom, a successful designer, architect, entrepreneur and developer here in San Francisco, recently visited Academy of Art University’s School of Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) for a guest lecture. You might be familiar with some of his work; Market on Market is his latest. He also has Small Foods, a new concept in convenience markets, on 2nd Street. He came to 601 Brannan to share his real world experience with our students about the creation of a retail food space.

    Recently IAD’s own Luna Sibai sat down with Collom after his presentation in the Atrium.

    How are you feeling today?

    I’m good. I always wanted someone like me, with experience, to meet when I was a student. I didn’t get that at the University of California. I felt that when I went out into the real world to get a job, I really didn’t have a clue about how the real world worked. It was like sink or swim. I’ve accumulated 30 years of experience doing this, and I think to be able to pass that information on is a great benefit to the community, to fellow designers and budding architects. I think it’s great that the Academy of Art wants this and sees its importance.

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    Photography Major Wins 'Academy Idol' Singing Competition

    Akayna Calkins impressed judges, the studio audience and live-stream viewers with her rendition of “Hold Back the River”


    Academy Idol judges and audience look on as winner Akayna Calkins performs during the series finale. Photo by Bob Toy.

    It’s not every day a photography student goes to college and rekindles a love for music. But that’s exactly what Akayna Calkins did during her very first semester at the Academy of Art University.

    When Calkins found out about the Academy’s reality singing competition Academy Idol from a friend, she mustered up the courage and gave it a try. Six weeks later, she walked off the live studio set a winner, defeating the 11 other contestants, and taking home the grand prize—a trip to audition at any singing competition in the country.

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    Animation Instructors' Short Film Earns Oscar Nomination

    Co-director Andrew Coats and co-writer Mark Harris made Borrowed Time during their spare time at Pixar

    A little over a year ago, Andrew Coats screened his animated short film, Borrowed Time, for a private audience at Pixar. John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and Jim Morris were all there.

    “That remains the most stressful/scary screening I have ever had in my life,” said Coats, an animator at Pixar and instructor at Academy of Art University, who directed the film with his friend and coworker Lou Hamou-Lhadj. “Pixar is probably filled with the toughest critics we know. So the outpouring of support we got was amazing. John [Lasseter] even came up after and gave us big hugs. It meant a lot to hear him tell us how much he liked the film and how proud he was of our accomplishment in finishing it. I will remember that for the rest of my life!”

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    Scott Borrero Wins 'Top Photographer'

    The former Academy of Art University photography student took first in AdoramaTV’s reality competition web series hosted by Nigel Barker

    Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 12.59.49 PM

    Scott Borrero's winning image. “I want to leave a legacy of inspiration that will hopefully bring positive change to the world," said Borrero. Photo courtesy of Zazil Media Group/PRWeb.

    Until recently, photographers could only watch, and click their shutter buttons, as a parade of competitive reality series featuring creative professionals such as singers, dancers, chefs and models became full-fledged cultural phenomena. But last fall, AdoramaTV’s original reality photography competition web series, Top Photographer with Nigel Barker, finally gave them a turn in front of the camera.

    Adorama, one of the world’s largest photography, video, audio, imaging and electronics retailers, issued a nationwide call for entrants to photographers of all skill levels.

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    Academy Students & Faculty to Participate in 2017 Chinese New Year Parade


    Mateo Tayamen works on the lighting for the Academy's float. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Chinese New Year on Saturday, Jan. 28, marked the beginning of the Year of the Rooster. The festivities in San Francisco will culminate with the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade on Saturday, Feb. 11. Once again, Academy of Art University will ring in the annual celebration by showcasing an outstanding student collaboration project. Students from multiple disciplines are working together, creating the intricately decorated float, original theme music and live performance.

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    For Art's Sake - No. 1: What Do You Mean That You're Not Talented in Art?


    Photo by Bob Toy.

    You were born with the ability to create art. People that continue to learn and develop their natural talent in creating art in their adult lives are known as artists. Those who stop creating art when they are a child will lose their natural gift. Being talented in art is our birthright—it’s in our DNA.

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    Photography Grad's Work Helps People Heal From Loss


    An image from Susan Mah’s Loss Project collection. Photo by Susan Mah.

    As a young girl, Susan Mah inherited a passion for photography from her father. “He was a fantastic photographer and my first mentor,” said Mah, who delved deeper into the art form in a ninth grade photography class. She learned how to process film in a darkroom and shoot manually on her first real camera. Like her architect father, Mah enjoyed taking pictures of buildings as well as places she visited. She even dreamed of becoming a photographer for National Geographic one day.

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    Highlighting the History of Firehouse No. 1

    Fine art students collaborate with firefighters to create historic mural


    A firefighter probationary model helps the artists with reference. Photo courtesy of Carol Nunnelly.

    Who doesn’t feel safer knowing that first responders are on the job 24-7? Fulfilling a commitment to serve and protect all San Franciscans and visitors, our heroic firefighters are always on the job.

    If someone falls into the bay, gets stuck on the cliff overlooking the ocean, finds themselves trapped in a toxic burning building, or even if you are in need of emergency medical treatment, the firefighters are there for you. These are people trained to calmly reassure under pressure while the rest of us mortals “freak out”!

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    Meet Your Models: Jonathan Bowling

    Jonathan Bowling has inspired me from the beginning.  In 2009, I was recruiting for a bawdy Neverland themed Costume Carnival, and I recognized that he would make the perfect Peter Pan. Rakish and charming, with tousled copper locks and an enthusiasm for stories, he was made for the role. Since then, he has continuously expanded his repertoire of characters to include both beloved icons and those of his own design. His dedication to the craft is impressive as he painstakingly constructs elaborate costumes and hunts for the perfect props to complete his ensembles. Pulling from his creative background in animation, Bowling’s talents as a storyteller continue into his job as a host for interactive mystery experiences. It’s safe to say he has successfully fulfilled his childhood dream of professional dressing up.

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    Redefining the Future With Virtual Reality


    Photo by Bob Toy.

    Academy of Art University’s second Virtual Reality (VR) Summit in 2016 has continued to show off the latest revolutionary developments in immersive media. Despite the rain, the 79 New Montgomery Theater was jam-packed with attendees on Dec. 8, 2016. The summit gathered thought leaders and VR industry pioneers from Zeality, Dysonics, Oculus Story Studio and Jaunt VR.

    “We are bringing all of the top people in the VR world to our school,” said Executive Director of Immersive Technology James Egan. “We want students to learn how VR can be an amazing job opportunity in various industries. This is a new world that is going to change every department.”

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