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Archive for 'February 2017'

    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

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    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

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    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!

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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”

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    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

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    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

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    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?

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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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