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Archive for 'June 2017'

    Remembering Dr. Richard A. Stephens

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    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.

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    Landscape Architecture Alumnus Garners Attention for Use of Drones

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    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.

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    The City of Oakland Celebrates Their Warriors

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    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.

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    Online Students Converge at Summer Expo

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    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.

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    Five Keys Branding Project a Winner for Client and Students

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    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.

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    'Offsprung' Finds Film Festival Success

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    “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.”

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    Screen Acting Achievement Awards Honors Students and Faculty

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    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. 

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    Positive Mindset Helps COM Instructor Fulfill Dreams and Inspire Others

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    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.” 

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    Moving to Baby's Beat

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

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    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).

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    Doodling the Whimsical

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    (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

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    (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

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    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

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    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

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    "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

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    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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