Faculty Profiles

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Joel Blakely

Joel teaches classes in the Technical/Occupational area within the program, including Model Design.

Joel has 13 years of experience as an artist in the game industry and has functioned as a Lead Character Artist for the last 10 years. He has worked in a variety of art styles, has a strong design sense, very good knowledge of anatomy, form and color theory in addition to being adept with the latest production tools.

Dennis Butler

Dennis teaches various classes in the General Education area of the program, including English Composition and Creative Writing.

Dennis’s background is unusual, combining engineering, philosophy, and creative
writing. Dennis earned a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Psychology and English (2015), from Western New Mexico University, Silver City, New Mexico. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Western Philosophy (2011), from American Public University, Charles Town, West Virginia.

Tiana Gabriel

Tiana Gabriel

Tiana is new to this side of the education coin and is eager to get started! Her most recent role was the Manager of the Children’s Museums of Tacoma and JBLM. She has a BA in Communications from Eastern Washington University, loves film photography and is terrified of spiders.

Tiana has worked with many people and industries over her 10 year work experience and hopes her various skills will be able to aide in her students’ Set Up for Success!

Derek Gundy

Derek Gundy is an Illustrator and Fine Artist who includes travel, architecture, and storytelling in many of his creations. Decades of experience in the art supply and picture framing industry has been a key element in Derek’s teachings over the years. Working in a variety of media such as watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil,  Derek’s whimsical wine artwork and Italian architectural illustrations are in client collections nationwide, as well as indoor and outdoor mural projects around the Pacific Northwest. In 2017 Derek was contracted by Umpqua bank to create regional illustration work for the Seattle region bank branches.

Derek is well known for being a co-founder of Sketch Seattle, and for being a passionate advocate of both daily drawing and on location sketching. Derek has also been named Artist Ambassador for M. Graham & Co. Paint Company for 2020.

Steven Kramer

Steven is a CG artist and instructor. He is originally from Africa and was one of the early users of 3D software for personal computers (specifically Autodesk 3D Studio, which became 3DS Max). Autodesk was already in Africa in the early days of 3D, and Steven was one of the first artists working with their products. Later, he continued this work with Sony in Los Angeles, where 3D Studio/Max became the first desktop software to be used for high-budget feature film visual effects (Jonny Mnemonic). Steven has been in Seattle for several years teaching at the Art Institute of Seattle. At AIS the animation/game/vfx department became the most popular and successful program at the school (even beating culinary). Steven has taught almost every class in the animation/game/vfx departments. His specialty is 3D modeling, motion graphics, and visual effects. However, he has taught game design, animation, motion capture, rigging, lighting, texturing, etc. Steven and the game dept set up and utilized various motion capture rigs (Vicon and Xsens) and helped set up a VR pipeline. Steven has been lucky enough to have been part of the PAX conference team hosting students’ work for the past 5+ years. Students have shown many working games at PAX, including 2D, 3D, and even VR games. Steven has a BFA in Fine Art, a MFA in animation, and a Ph.D in art education.

Jason York

Paul Laxamana

Paul is a marketing professional with an entrepreneurial spirit. Originally from the Philippines he migrated to the United States at the age of 5 and his family eventually settled down in their new hometown of Reno, NV. Paul found his love for the arts in the Biggest Little City but after a year of design school, he enlisted in the US Army and where he found himself in the middle of the Pacific Northwest. After finishing his obligation in 2016, he went back to school and earned his BAS in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Green River College. During his senior year, he recruited two of his classmates and they started a brand design agency. The start-up company delivers assets to businesses in the form of video, photo, design, and consultations. With his experience in the start-up world, he has been asked to consult business start-ups across the country on branding and marketing and has been called an expert in what he does by some of the top tech CEOs in Kansas City. He is currently the head of marketing for Washington Youth Soccer in Tukwila, WA.

Michael McKinley

Michael teaches various classes in the Entertainment Art area within the program, including Advanced Entertainment Art, Visual Effects, Model Rigging & Animation, and Advanced Entertainment Art, and others.

Michael has over 10 years of experience working with 3D Art in the game development and software development industries. He is always interested in learning new things and working with great teams! He also has interests in teaching and mentoring those interested in 3D Art. He has developed a YouTube channel dedicated to instructional videos that can be seen at: youtube.com/user/mayatoolbelt

Don Moore

Don Moore

Don Moore has been fortunate to have worked at both large global agencies and small design studios. He has also spent time in traditional advertising agencies, as well as managed in-house creative teams on the client-side. He has a range of online and offline experience, managing digital projects as well as traditional print media. Because of his broad experience base, Don can deliver just about any design need, from a logo to a full-integrated campaign, reaching multiple touch points through the use of traditional and new media.

In Don’s 27 years of experience in design and art direction, he has worked with global companies that include, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Boeing, Infiniti, Subaru. Isuzu, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Adidas Golf, PGA of America, Corbis, and Warner Brothers. He has also lectured on design at California State University of Long Beach, the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle.

Susan Ogilvie

Susan teaches various classes in the program, including Senior Thesis, Internship, Illustration, and others.

Susan is originally from Southern California, with a professional background in graphic design and illustration. She has worked for a variety of design studios before opening her own studio, Windsor Graphics in Rancho Cucumonga, CA. Moving to the Northwest, Susan earned her BFA in Fine Art at Northwest College of Art, now NCAD, and her MFA in Traditional Illustration, and an MA in Art History from Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Susan is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) as well as the AIGA. She currently serves as the NCAD Director of Education.

Nick Ogilvie

Nick teaches various classes in the Foundation area within the program, including 3D Theory, Survey of Digital Arts Applications, and others.

Nick formalized his creative interests with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the Art Institute of Seattle with a specific focus on media arts and animation. His career focus remains in the worlds of story telling where he applies his art to illustration, concept art, sculpture, design, motion graphics, and animation as a freelance artist.

Working mostly independently has given Nick the opportunity to work on diverse subjects and develop his skills in bringing projects from concept through to completion in his own studio.

“Art to me is the visual expression of an idea or emotion. This theory can be applied to any subject or medium from traditional gallery work to graphic design or animation. My passion in teaching is helping students develop their artistic skills to not be just technically skilled but successful at expressing ideas and emotions to the audience around them.”

Ryan Richardson

Ryan teaches classes in the foundation area within the program, including Survey of Digital Photography.

Ryan is an experienced Multimedia and IT professional with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. He is skilled in Video Production, Commercial Photography, and Adobe Creative Suite. He is an experienced information technology professional with a BS focused in Communications/Photography from Grand Valley State University.

Valeria Riedemann

Valeria Riedemann is originally from Chile, where she initiated her studies in Philosophy, Aesthetics, and History of Art at Universidad de Chile. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Theory and History of Art, she received a Chilean Government scholarship (Becas Chile) to pursue further graduate studies in the United Kingdom. She earned an MA in Comparative Art and Archaeology at University College London (2010), followed by a DPhil in Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford (2016).

During her academic career, Valeria has been a member of the British School at Athens (2010), and a Wiener-Anspach Fellow Researcher at the Centre de Recherches en Archéologie et Patrimoine (CReA-Patrimoine Research Centre) at Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium (2014). She has excavated in Italy and Turkey and is the author of various research papers, articles, and book reviews related to Greek, Apulian, and Etruscan art.

Valeria is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington (Department of Classics) and, since 2017, and Adjunct Instructor in Art History, Anthropology, Visual Communication, and Popular Culture at the NCAD.

Jerome Schmelzer

Jerome Schmelzer

Jerome is a philosophy professor, who specializes in ethics. For the past 11 years he has taught medical ethics and ethics. Of particular interest to him are the problems surrounding the interaction between philosophical anthropology, the nature of knowledge and ethical methods. Jerome currently lives in Sammamish, WA with his wife Kathleen and his son Alex.

Michael Wilford

Michael Wilford

Michael teaches Web Design and 2D Design Theory. Teaching classes is still fairly new to Michael, but he realizes now that he’s been teaching people all of his life.

Michael has been working as a designer in one capacity or another since earning his BA in Graphic Design from CWU in the late eighties. He’s owned and run his full-time web design/graphic design business, Wilford Design, since 2002 and worked with hundreds of clients to create successful projects (mostly websites). Michael has designed several websites which were GDUSA Magazine American Web Design Awards winners.

Jason York

Jason teaches classes in the General Education area within the program, including Public Speaking.

Jason is an experienced educator and trainer with secondary, post-secondary, government and private industry experience. An Air Force Veteran, Jason was responsible for training over 1,000 Airmen for the 57th Maintenance Group, Nellis AFB, NV as well as leading multiple wartime deployments. Additionally, Jason has taught for Pierce College, WA and has provided training for several schools, churches and businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest. Jason is currently the Security Manager for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services where he is responsible for training over 12,000 staff on topics such as Crisis Management, Active Threat Response, Managing Trauma, and First Aid. Jason holds a BS in History from the University of Idaho, a Masters of Education, and has been recognized as a Master Exercise Practitioner by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.