From the Heart to the Big Screen of the Academy of Art University

Academy of University alumni Daniel Arriaga, recalls his experience working on the Disney Pixar movie Coco. Whether it’s the story, the animation, or the music, all three come together to create an entertaining story based on the Mexican culture. Daniel discussed the animation of the movie, specifically, the skeletons in the movie that were inspired by the Calaveras-skulls that are painted and are an integral part of Day of the Dead, or Dios de los Muertos. From the early drawings of the skeleton animations to the vibrant colors of the skeletons, it was important to Daniel as a Mexican-American to be as accurate as possible to Dios de los Muertos. As Senior Director of the Pixar Academy, Daniel’s advice to those who wished to work as an animator in studios such as Pixar, is to be open to creative opportunities and work on creating a strong portfolio.

Located in San Francisco, California is designed(no pun intended)to prep students to work as professionals in communication, the arts, and design. Not only is this a fact, but it’s also apart of the Academy’s mission statement. The school was founded in 1929 by painter and magazine editor Richard S. Stephens whose descendants have watched over the school.

The Academy of University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers master’s degrees, associate, and bachelor’s degrees. Graphic Design, Photography, Advertising, and Fashion are only a few of over ten majors the school has to offer. With 53,010 alumni, some graduates have gone on to work for EA, Pixar, Apple, and many others as well.

The founder, who was also a creative director for Sunset Magazine, had a vision for the college to help students achieve and grow to their full potential through hard work, and their portfolio shouldn’t define their talent.


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