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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.

Mikko Freeman

Mikko is a representational artist working in the tradition of fine art oil painting. He is influenced by both pre-modern realism from the European traditions as well as contemporary realism. He has a bachelor’s degree with a major in painting and a minor in business as well as a certificate from the Florence Academy of Art where he studied classical drawing and painting. Mikko has been painting professionally and teaching for ten years. In addition to artwork, intellectually and academically Mikko is interested in storytelling, epistemology, ontology and in general the historiography of art and it’s meaning.

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.

Carli Hillman

Carli Hillman is an artist and designer who graduated from NCAD with a BFA in Visual Communication, majoring in Illustration and Entertainment Art. Since then, she has worked within the music and live event industry as a Designer and Creative Director for 4 years. During this time, she has still held true to her love for traditional artwork by creating gallery work and developing her brand Carli Christina Art.

Carli has a passion for helping others on their creative path and does so by sharing her knowledge through workshops as well as online on social media.

Kurt Ikemeier

Kurt is an Experienced Education Director and Instructor with a demonstrated history of working in higher education. Skilled in campus management, academic leadership, recruitment, retention, budgeting, forecasting, and strategic planning. Building community partnerships and connecting with relevant stakeholders. Strong business development professional with a focus on creating educational pathways for students.

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.

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.

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.”

Daniel Peterson

Daniel teaches various classes in the Entertainment Art area within the program, including Advanced Entertainment Art, Character Modeling for games, Digital Sculpting, Visual Effects, and Model Rigging & Animation.

Daniel has been called the “art kid” since elementary school and always had a sketchbook with him. He has been 3d modeling since 2011, and since has finished his Master’s Degree in Game Arts from the University of Utah. Also, he released four indie games, multiple prototypes, and started his own indie game studio. During graduate school he helped teach undergraduates for two years on Anatomy Sculpting in ZBrush, Intro to 3D Modeling, Intro to Character Art, and Undergraduate Games Thesis. Now he is an Art Lead in the games industry and also wants to continue teaching growing artists. His company is making games but also developer logs, and tutorials for game development. His YouTube channel and other company social links can be found on his website here:

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.