Archive for 'October 2017'

    Celebrating the Art of Veterans

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


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

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

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

    Read More »

    Helping Veterans Transition to Life on Campus


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

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

    Read More »

    Letter From the Editor: Salute to Service

    Mr. Stephens Navy Photo.jpg

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

    Dear Academy Art U News readers, 

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

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

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

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


    With gratitude & respect,

    Kirsten Coachman

    Editor, Academy Art U News

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

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

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

    Read More »

    Army Lifestyle Suits Photography Student Garrick Morgenweck & His Family

    Icy Dawn

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

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

    Read More »

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

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

    Read More »

    Photography Helps Ronni Mae Knepp Heal From PTSD

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

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

    Read More »

    Lorena King: The Value of Determination


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

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

    Read More »

    Amos Maru: Motivated by Gratitude


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

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

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

    Read More »

    Nate Burrow: Making His Mark

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

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

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

    Read More »

    Masters of Flight

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


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

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

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

    Read More »

    Capturing Real Life

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


    Photo by Dennis Bersales.

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

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

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

    Read More »

    Standing out From the Crowd

    Academy alumni team wins an Emmy for their work on Gotham


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

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

    Read More »

    Reclaiming City Spaces

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


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

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

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

    Read More »

    A 'Lovely' World of Inclusivity


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

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

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

    Read More »

    Behind-The-Scenes Talent

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


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

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

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

    Read More »

    San Francisco Goes Wild for Shawn Mendes


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

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

    Read More »