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Archive for 'July 2017'

    Emilio Villalba Creates Contemporary Portraits Inspired by the Old Masters

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

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

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    Growing Positive Experiences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe Receives Honorary Doctorate From Academy of Art

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

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

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

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

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    Advertising Grad's Branded Content Racks up Awards

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

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

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    Establishing a Culture of Excellence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    One-On-One With Writer-Director David Lowery

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    Photo by Bret Curry. Courtesy of A24.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Spring Show 2017: A Big Surprise for JEM Award Winners

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

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

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

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    School of Graphic Design Leadership Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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    Meet the Academic Steering Committee

    Statement of Purpose

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

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

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

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    A Study of Happiness

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

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

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

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    The Academy Hosts 2017 Red Bull Doodle Art Global Final

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    Photo by Bob Toy.

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

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

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    Academy Instructor's BART Caricatures Attract Fans

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

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

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

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    Academy Student Receives Scholarship From AAUW

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

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

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    Educational Empowerment

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

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

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

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    Joy of the Optical: Stuart Davis at the de Young

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

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

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    New Leadership Changes for School of Interior Architecture & Design

    Dear Academy of Art University Community,

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

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

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

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

     

    Thank you, 

    Elisa Stephens, President