By Artists, For Artists

The first instructor at Academy of Art University was the school founder, Richard S. Stephens. The Paris-trained fine artist and working commercial artist taught what he knew—fine art and the commercial arts.

The founders firmly believed that professional artists and designers are the best equipped to bring real-world problems, situations, and practical experience to the students.

Today, our instructors earn a living by the skills they teach. Their willingness to share work-related experience, insider insights, and connections to industry gives you an invaluable competitive edge in your future career.

Executive Director / School of Industrial Design

Tom Matano: Bringing Emotion to Design

For Tom Matano, being an industrial designer and educator is about more than teaching students how to create an interesting or aesthetically pleasing product. It’s about imparting his personal philosophy on design—a process he believes is emotional and collaborative at its core. Join Matano as he recounts the experiences and creative principles that molded his rewarding career as an industrial designer.

Benefits of Learning From Working Professionals

Imagine trying to learn how to fly a plane from someone who had never been in a plane. Even if they knew every part of the plane and its function, when it comes to actually putting the plane in the air, they wouldn’t know what to expect any more than you. When you’re preparing for your career, learning from instructors who have first-hand experience doing the things being taught is incredibly important. Here are some examples.

Career-Ready Skills
Our instructors will teach you the technical skill requirements, and how the industry works, including practical production workflows, challenges, key people, current trends, and the latest technologies being used in your future profession.
Creative Problem Solving
Our instructors will also teach you the real-world applications of what you are learning, including what can go wrong and how to make it right. They are able to pass on-the-job knowledge on to you, preparing you to handle specific situations with creative solutions.
Insider Insights
Our instructors know what employers are looking for. They can help you with your portfolio, teach you important skills, and be valuable sources for professional references when you are ready to apply for your future career.
Networking and Connecting
Our instructors can help guide you to your own career by sharing the path they took to get where they are. They have professional connections, can introduce you to companies and employers, and help you land internships and actual jobs.
I will always be indebted to Academy of Art University. The staff was incredibly nurturing. They are so committed to realizing your potential and making sure you have a blossoming career after all this.

Alyce Tzue / Alumni and Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Film Soar

Award-Winning Faculty

Academy of Art University faculty are as dedicated to their creative practices as they are devoted to their teaching. Here is just a small sampling of our award-winning faculty.

Timothy Archibald

Associate Director, School of Photography Timothy Archibald is a working commercial photographer, Mr. Archibald’s clients include Facebook, McDonald’s, American Express, Netflix, and more.

Daisy Church

Associate Director, School of Animation & Visual Effects Daisy Church is a 2D digital animator for television and mobile games. Her work can be seen on Cartoon Network, HBO, MTV, Adult Swim, Disney Playhouse Games, and more. She actively exhibits her artwork in lowbrow pop galleries worldwide.

Christopher Carman

Associate Director, School of Visual Development Christopher Carman is a graphic artist, art director, conceptual artist, and animator for Adobe Systems, Zynga, MTV Games, Electronic Arts, and more.

Terry Jones

Full-Time Faculty, School of Advertising Terry is an award-winning Creative Director, Creative Conceptualist, and Writer. Clients include General Motors Corporation, The Walt Disney Corporation, Coca-Cola, Crown Royal, and more.

Jack Perez

Lead Directing Faculty, School of Motion Pictures & Television Jack Perez is writer/director of cult classic Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus; directed Wild Things 2 for Sony Columbia and wrote/directed Monster Island for MTV.

Robert Curry

Associate Director, School of Fashion Robert Curry has worked with Vivienne Westwood, Tristan Webber, Julien MacDonald, and Japanese label Unobilie. His work is featured on the covers of Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire. He has dressed Jennifer Lopez, the Queen of Jordan, and many others.

Kathleen Valkuchak

Director, School of Interior Architecture & Design Katie Valkuchak has done work for several firms in the Bay Area, including Backen Gillam Kroeger Architects, and currently works as an independent Design Consultant.

DC Scarpelli

Associate Director, School of Web Design & New Media DC is a type designer, typographer, and visual designer for interactive and print media, and is also an award-winning stage actor, director and playwright.

Come Learn From Your Heroes

Academy of Art University instructors are award winning, top grossing, best-selling artists, designers, architects, scholars, problem solvers, and educators.

Executive Director / School of Game Development

David Goodwine: Building Community Through Games

David Goodwine, Executive Director for the School of Game Development, will tell you he has the greatest job in the world. He also admits that having this much fun takes hard work, a passion for games, and a love for collaborative work. “This school is like no other,” he says. “It truly is like taking your best buddies and developing something incredible for others to enjoy.” Watch the video to see more.

Where We Work

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Faculty News

Creative Mind Podcast

By 2-time Telly Award winner Bobby Brill

For those interested in the world of art and design, we invite you to check out “Creative Mind, Hosted by Bobby Brill”—Academy of Art University’s award-winning podcast. Sit in on candid conversations with amazing faculty and alumni from the Academy, and working artists from all over the world—all providing fresh insights into what it takes to become a successful artist or designer. Check out the Creative Mind podcast today.

Featured Episodes

Episode 9: Chuck Pyle, Master Illustrator
Episode 18: Rez Graham Walks the Game Talk
Episode 33: Craig Nelson – A Masterclass on the Working Artist
Episode 47: Catherine Tate and Sasha Korellis on StudioX
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