Faculty

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Sandy Appleoff
Chair of MFA in Game Design
  • Game Design
Sandy headshot
Sandy Appleoff
Chair of MFA in Game Design
Game Design

I have always had an affinity for the creative process in every aspect from research to engineering the idea. Currently I am engaging the creative process in respect to curriculum development and designing the new Game Art major. This is undoubtedly the most humbling and yet the most rewarding work I have done thus far in my career. My background pretty much covers the gamut of visual communication. After completing my undergrad at Iowa State University I was hired by Hallmark Cards and from there I went headlong into advertising, both illustrating and designing for clients that ranged from small publishers to Fortune 500 companies. As an educator my career includes the Kansas City Art Institute Illustration Department, the University of Kansas Design Department and the Colorado Mountain College, Aspen Campus. It was late in the journey that I completed my MFA at the University of Kansas in Scenography. When possible I travel back to my studio on my family's third generation farm in Nebraska as a part of my personal artistic process. My personal work is in watercolor. I would also have to say that one of my greatest joys is painting with my watercolor students out on the beach by the Montage here in Laguna. I believe every time our art steps forward, we as artists, in our own way, impress values and opinions and reflect the world as it sees itself through our work.

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Ehren Bienert
Adjunct Faculty
  • Game Art
Ehren Bienert
Adjunct Faculty
Game Art
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Laguna College of Art + Design
Jeff Clendenning
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Jeff Clendenning
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART

 

Jeff has had a full career in the arts, however, he is a teacher at his core. “One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who SERVES almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley. Jeff’s journey has taken him through the ranks of the educational system from his Bachelor degree in Game Art and Design to his Masters of Fine Arts in Painting. He has over fifteen years of experience in the entertainment industry, fourteen overlapping years’ experience as a college art instructor, and two decades as a volunteer mentor for local high-risk youth. He has worked as a concept artist/art director on a hand full of titles like Fallout, GoldenEye, Alpha Protocol, and StarCraft for Blizzard, Obsidian, Activision, EA, Interplay, Konami and Technicolor.

Although Jeff’s fine art journey is relatively new, his works have been displayed at the Laguna Art Museum as a part of the Emerging Artists show, at Twitchcon in the Artists Corner Exhibition, and his work hangs in a plethora of private collections across the globe. Although Jeff’s personal artistic expression is important to him, he recently took the leap towards teaching by dedicating a full-time effort to this endeavor. He is now teaching as a foundations instructor here at LCAD and continues to pursue teaching wherever the need arises. Last but certainly not least, and definitely not just a footnote in his life, he is a dedicated and passionate father, gamer, extreme sports enthusiast, and out-of-doors adventurer.

 

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Becky Coker
Adjunct Faculty
  • Game Art
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Becky Coker
Adjunct Faculty
Game Art

As a local who grew up in the area, it wasn't hard to focus my career on game art. The vibrant art community of Laguna Beach, the many local game studios, high school, after school digital and industrial art classes, all combined to provide a strong foundation for my future career choice. Originally, I studied biology, not art. 2 years into college, I discovered a very important thing about education - what you learn should matter to you and your future. I then enrolled at The Art Institute of California - Orange County to pursue my BS in Game Art and Design. There I learned the digital and conceptual basics needed to get in on the ground floor as an artist at Carbine Studios as a Texture Artist working on Wildstar.

My art career has since blossomed beyond the game industry. In addition to working as a texture artist and teaching, I do freelance in the hobbyist jewelry industry. My metal clay stamps are for sale on the Rio Grande website under my future married name, Rebecca Chung. At home, I continue to practice more traditional art forms to expand my horizons as an artist in general. From traditional oils and water colors, lino block carving and printing, encaustics, to metal clay, I love discovering and learning new art mediums.

I post many of my personal works up on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RebeccaChungDesigns

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James Finley
Full Time Faculty
  • Game Art
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James Finley
Full Time Faculty
Game Art

James comes from an unlikely background; born unto a family of medical professionals deep in the heart of the Inland Empire of California, he doesn't strike a picture that the industry is too familiar with. Developing an early passion for video games and their immersive capacity for story-telling, his every move has been towards becoming a games development professional. Today, James is a senior software engineer and CEO for Broken Circle Studios, a third party development that specializes in entertainment and mobile technologies. With his Master's Degree in Software Engineering from Cal State Fullerton, as well as over a decade of experience teaching at a variety of art and technology schools throughout Southern California, James takes pride in combining the structure and rigors of computer science and the creative spontaneity of the video game industry. From small start-ups to massive enterprises, from serious to silly, and from public to secretive, James finds that with every client comes a new opportunity to learn and express his talents.

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Scott Flanders
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Scott Flanders
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART

"I'm an artist and a game developer.

Art and games have both been important parts of my life since I can remember, and have brought me great joy and satisfaction. I've been fortunate in my career to be able to contribute to these two disciplines through my work in visual development, character design, and creature design.

I'm passionate about storytelling, art, reading, comics, games, ancient history, paleontology, wildlife, nature, collaborating with good friends, spending quality time with family, and maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Most of all, I'm incredibly passionate about teaching and mentoring young people, as they identify their respective paths within the entertainment industry. I'd like to help them grow by identifying and nurturing their creative artistic visions. My responsibility as a mentor is to help students develop as artists and as people, into the creatively powerful individuals they are all capable of becoming.

 

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Brandon Gonzales
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART, FINE ART, and GRAPHIC DESIGN + DIGITAL MEDIA
Laguna College of Art + Design
Brandon Gonzales
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART, FINE ART, and GRAPHIC DESIGN + DIGITAL MEDIA

Brandon Gonzales has made fresh and significant contributions to the world of plein air painting and fine art. After graduating from Art Center College of Design, he spent 7 years working as a matte painter and concept artist in the entertainment industry. His love of painting and drawing led him to obtain a Masters in Fine Art Degree in Painting from LCAD.

 

His unique artistic background has helped him develop a sharp eye for detail, evident in his expressive brush strokes and the accurate, yet stunning colors of his paintings. Since his return to traditional painting, he has received various awards including the Best of Show in the LPAPA Next Generation Invitational, Master Class Winner in the Art Muse Contest and 2nd place in the CAC Small on the Wall for Fall and in the LPAPA Town & Country Competitions. His years working as a matte painter, has nurtured an uncommon ability to see complexities and nuances around him. This ability coupled with his painterly style results in an uncommon freshness and energy. A current resident of Laguna Hills California, Brandon Gonzales shares his love of nature and art with his wife and their 7 children.

 

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Christopher Hayes
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Christopher Hayes
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART
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Bobby Hernandez
Adjunct Faculty
  • Animation + Game Art
Bobby Hernandez headshot
Bobby Hernandez
Adjunct Faculty
Animation + Game Art

Digital Painting and Character Design

Bobby Hernandez, originally from Dallas, Tx, moved out to California to pursue a career in the entertainment industry doing what he loves. He has worked in various fields from Animation to Video Games, creating Heroes, Villains, Monsters and the worlds in which they live! As a graduate of LCAD, he has had the opportunity to work for places such as Cartoon Network and Obsidian Entertainment. As the world around him gets older, he hopes to continue to pursue a life in his personal Neverland of animation, video games and imaginary worlds.

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Wesley Lin
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Wesley Lin
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART

Wesley Lin is a BFA game art graduate from Laguna College of Art and Design in 2015.  He's worked with studios such as Pixelberry Studios, Mobilityware, Broken Studios, and Obsidian Entertainment as a concept artist and illustrator.  He's also been an internship at Walt Disney Animation Studios as an Art and Production intern. His work stretches in a wide array of styles and genres, and he has a passion for visual storytelling. 

 

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Don Ott
Adjunct Faculty
  • Game Art
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Don Ott
Adjunct Faculty
Game Art

My name is Donald B. Ott II and I am a Prop Artist at High Moon Studios currently working on an unannounced project slated for release in 2010. After graduating high school, I joined the Marine Corps where I spent close to 8 years enlisted. After the Marines, I decided I wanted to get into the game industry and attended the Art Institute of California - San Diego where I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Video Game Art and Design.

When I first started school, I had no prior 3D experience at all before going and by the time I graduated I was top of my class and had various opportunities for employment. I have always had a passion for video games and consider myself very fortunate to get to work in such an amazing and exciting industry. My first job as a 3d artist was working at a Virtual Reality company developing treatment and simulation software for the United States military. From there I taught for close to two years at the Art Institute of California - Orange County. I decided to take a break from teaching to co-author the Autodesk 3ds Max 2010 Foundations for Games book. I've also authored other tutorials for Autodesk, as well as several video tutorials in my spare time focusing on 3ds Max software.

As far as my daily life goes, the role of a Prop Artist is to take the direction of both my Designers and Lead Artist to generate assets that would fit into the environments of the game. Occasionally my tasks can range from building placeholder meshes, to fixing issues with collision in the world, to creating giant environmental destructibles. As a Prop Artist, I am regularly expected to be flexible and shift gears depending on the requirements of the level, as I can spend several days or even weeks working on a high quality final piece of art for the game. More of my work and portfolio can be seen at www.donaldott.com

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Ira Owens
Adjunct Faculty
  • Game Art
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Ira Owens
Adjunct Faculty
Game Art

Ira Owens has 12 years under his belt in Previs, Cinematics and 3D Layout in the Animation and Gaming Industry working on feature film, television series, and gaming. He received his BFA in Animation and helped found the Animation Club at the Laguna College of Art & Design. He was among the second graduating class in his major. Ira currently works as a Senior Cinematics Artist at Monolith Productions in Kirkland, Washington, and has worked on such projects as The Boxtrolls for LAIKA, Halo 4 for Microsoft's 343 Industries, The Clone Wars for Lucasfilm Animation. Most recently he headed up the Previs department on Kubo and the Two Strings for LAIKA (to be released Fall 2016). Ira is most passionate about his family, storytelling, camerawork, and equipping people with the right tools and training to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. He looks forward to training up the next class of students for excellence in film and story.

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Dan Platt
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Dan Platt
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART

Dan is originally from the Philadelphia area and moved out to California to go to school for 3d Animation.  Upon graduating, he entered the games industry in 2003 as a technical artist at Shiny entertainment. From that point on he has lived his life-long dream working in the entertainment industry as an artist.  Over the last 15 years, he has had many different positions including environment artist, hard surface modeler, and character artist for companies including Double Helix games and Obsidian entertainment.  He has always committed himself to constantly learn new things and as a generalist of all things 3d, it has allowed him to really pursue the shifting goals that he has set for himself in his professional career. From the time he got into the games industry, he has always just enjoyed the ride and it has taken him to so many enriching and interesting places. Now as a teacher, he gets to share all the knowledge of the industry that has given so much to him and allow it to guide a new crop of students towards their dreams. 

 

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Lou Police
Full Time Faculty
  • Game Art
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Lou Police
Full Time Faculty
Game Art

Maurice Noble once said: "All art is so connected that I do not see why one cannot work in more than one line. Would it be selfish for me to go ahead and develop this gift, a divine gift?. "I graduated Art Center College of Design LA/Pasadena in 1978 with a BFA in Illustration. Most influential instructors: Harry Carmean, Gregory Weir-Quiton, Vern Wilson, Kathy Wirch, Ward Kimball, Herb Ryman and John Asaro. Freelance illustration assignments include movie poster designs, book illustration, magazine illustration, live action storyboarding and production art, matte painting, advertising storyboards and comps, and fashion illustration.

Animation companies worked for: Ralph Bakshi Animation, Richard Williams Animation Los Angeles, DIC, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Feature, Walt Disney Television, Disney Toon Studios, Walt Disney Feature and Fox. Responsibilities at these companies include: character design, background design, background painting, storyboarding, visual development and art direction. Western themed fine art gallery work represented by Trailside Galleries in Scottsdale, AZ and Jackson Hole, WY. Teaching experience: Art Center College of Design, Laguna College of Art and Design, Cal Arts, Woodbury University and The Fashion Institute of Los Angeles.

loupolice.com

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Dan Quarnstrom
Adjunct Faculty
  • Game Art
Dan Quarnstrom
Adjunct Faculty
Game Art
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Patrick Raines
Adjunct Faculty
  • Game Art
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Patrick Raines
Adjunct Faculty
Game Art

A graduate of Art Center College of Design, Patrick has contributed to various fields of entertainment art. He has done Concept Art, Layout and Illustration for Animation, Television, Game and Print Media projects. He is currently a Background Designer on South Park: The Stick of Truth at Obsidian Entertainment, and Visual Development instructor at Kazone Art Academy. Patrick especially enjoys teaching and mentoring aspiring artists in these disciplines. His passion for art and design is expressed by personal example, foundation lessons, and through collaboration with enthusiastic rising artists. He is greatly enriched by joining the journey of hard working students, striving for excellence and true personal expression.

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Gavin Rich
Chair of Game Art
  • Game Art
Gavin Headshot
Gavin Rich
Chair of Game Art
Game Art

Gavin was born and raised in an artsy little Victorian village hidden away in the redwoods of northern California. After taking some sculpture and drawing classes there was a strong pull to interactivity in art. With sculpture it forces the viewer to pace around the piece and view it from all angles but that wasn't enough. This is when the idea to make games really solidified, absorbing a viewer into a whole world you have created is the ultimate interactive sculpture.

Gavin went to art school in San Diego to learn the basics of the craft and sought out any extra input, workshops and lectures he could get his hands on. Since then Gavin has interned at an offshoot of Rockstar, Done contract work on Rockband, and worked on many shipped, but even more unshipped titles at InXile Entertainment. During all of this, helping train those around him and sharing what he has learned, has been a constant theme.

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Alexa Rockman
Adjunct Faculty
  • Game Art
Alexa Rockman
Adjunct Faculty
Game Art
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Laguna College of Art + Design
Rachel Skinner
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Rachel Skinner
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART

I was born and raised in Southern California, and have been drawing ever since I was a kid. As soon as I learned that art was something people do as a job, I knew that was what I wanted to do forever. At first, I wanted to be a traditional animator, but quickly realized just how hard that job was when you can’t sit still for long periods of time, and shelved that idea. Luckily, I found out that video games not only were an area to put the skills I already learned to good use, it was a quickly growing industry. I found LCAD, got in, survived the grueling classes, and graduated!

Since leaving, various circumstances made finding a permanent job difficult, but LCAD was there again to help me out. I was offered a job as a co-teacher, and still hold that position. I’m glad to be working at the school I loved going to so much!

 

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Robert Stacy
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Robert Stacy
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART

 

Robert Stacy is a self-educated artist from Yorba Linda, California.  Also known in the art world as "Sinix", he discovered his passion for the field of art in his twenties and quickly found work as a freelance illustrator and designer.  After tirelessly working to improve, he then found employment with Electronic Arts as an industrial designer, but soon realized that his true passion lies in art education and community building.  Shifting towards this new goal, Robert created a YouTube channel dedicated to offering free art education videos for aspiring artists from around the world.  This channel, SinixDesign, has continued to grow and offer many community building experiences over the years.

He has been teaching at LCAD since Spring of 2017 and is always looking for new opportunities to bring artists together through fun activities and meetups.

 

 

 

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Derek Van Oteghem
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Derek Van Oteghem
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART
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Tina Wang
Adjunct Faculty
  • Game Art
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Tina Wang
Adjunct Faculty
Game Art

I graduated from Laguna College of Art and Design with the class of 2010 and interned at Red 5 Studios before joining Blizzard Entertainment. Having played MMORPGs and Blizzard games since childhood, I'm really living my dream by building environments for World of Warcraft. The first published game I worked on was World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. I would say I'm most inspired by nature, and in my spare time I love to hike and rock climb in between gaming.

To the budding artists: if you are dissatisfied with your art, don't be discouraged! It's when you're no longer critical of your own work that you stop improving.

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Laguna College of Art + Design
NeIl Wojahn
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
NeIl Wojahn
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART



Neal Wojahn is a LCAD alumni who works as a full time game developer, while serving as part time faculty. He has had over a decades experience as an artist in the games industry. Most of his time has been spent at Blizzard Entertainment on such titles as Overwatch, Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. Currently Neal is working at Riot Games on League of Legends as a dedicated Combat VFX Artist.



More about him can be found here: www.NealWojahn.com

 

 

 

 

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Eric Young
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Eric Young
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART



As a child, Eric Young could always be found playing with his action figures, drawing, or making movies. When asked at a young age, "What do you want to do when you grow up," there was only one answer: "I want to make cartoons!"  Eric was always involved in art as he progressed through school, in college he discovered 3D Animation. A whole new world had opened up to him as he realized, “I can play with toys on the computer?”

After earning Bachelor’s Degrees in both Media Arts/Animation and Game Art, Eric made his way into the game industry. He’s had the privilege of working as an animator for studios such as Sony Online Entertainment, Majesco Studios, and Zya. In 2015, Eric stepped away from the industry to care of a parent who fell ill. During that period Eric found a love for teaching and a new outlook on life.

Currently, Eric spends his time with his family and their five dogs. Yes, five. He also enjoys being part of smaller indie projects and freelancing within the indie space of the game industry. All of this has led him to LCAD where he takes pride in being a part of building his students' foundations, providing them with the tools to help seize their futures.

 

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Laguna College of Art + Design
Phillip Zhang
Adjunct Faculty
  • GAME ART
Laguna College of Art + Design
Phillip Zhang
Adjunct Faculty
GAME ART

Phillip Zhang is an environment artist who works at Blizzard Entertainment, where he builds fantasy worlds with concepts, models and hand painted textures. Born and raised in China, Phillip started to pursue his artistic career by attending Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.  He transferred to the game art major in Laguna College of Art and Design in 2010 and graduated with a degree in fine arts in 2013. Since then

Phillip has helped shipping multiple video game titles which include: Tank Nation (Mobile Game), Disney Grand Prix XD (Mobile Game). World of Warcraft - Warlords of Draenor , World of Warcraft – Legion, and World of Warcraft - Battle for Azeroth.

 

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