Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Colorado, has about 600 enrolled students. Illustration is the biggest department with about 120 students, but it also offers majors in game art, graphic design and digital media, animation, interior design, art education, and fine arts.

The 23-acre campus once served as a care center for tuberculosis patients. The historic buildings face now onto flower-bedecked lawns where students occasionally paint outdoors en plein air.

In the sculpture and fine art building, student Will Fortenberry was in the midst of taking apart an old projector as part of a “Deconstruction/Reconstruction” assignment. The machine’s light and fan were still wired up. He had sketches of how he planned to rebuild it as a robot.


The animation building had a variety of workstations for experimental animation, ranging from traditional cel animation and stop motion to the latest 3D software. Instructor Jeff Jurich showed me some of the stop motion puppets built from Sculpey, soft foam, and armature wire.

Illustration and animation students benefit from videoconferenced critiques with industry professionals like Michael Knapp of Blue Sky Studios.

After my presentation, I had the opportunity to visit Cherish Flieder’s computer illustration class. Each student described how he or she was approaching their conceptual assignment, which was to show how the human body is composed of not just of its own cells, but a host of foreign parasites and beneficial microbes.

Before he came to RMCAD, illustration department chairman Larry Kresek was instrumental in establishing the program at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. “We put together a program there that was mainly editorial,” he said. But when he came to RMCAD, he and his colleagues took a fresh look at the curriculum in the light of changes in the market.

“It occurred to me the industry was looking for a lot of new skills, not just in print illustration, but in production design and animation, so we set up a course of study that is heavy on traditional drawing and storytelling.”

Wikipedia on RMCAD
RMCAD website, link.

14 comments:

Christopher Manzanares said...

Holy Crap! My picture is on your blog! Freakin SweeT!

Les said...

James, I received my copy of your book and I want to say that I am impressed. Not only by your thoughtful signing, but also in how the book is put together. You are not afraid to show how your work stacks up with some magnificent pieces by past masters -- the double spread of Vibert's "Gulliver and the Lilliputians" is magnificent. You are also not afraid to include something many others exclude: reference images. And the shots of your studio (including Mr. Kooks!) are very informative.

I just wanted to say, ya done good. Very nicely done.

Keep inspiring, and I wish you every success for you and your family.

-Les

Les said...

Sorry to post twice -- I also loved your article in "International Artist". Another coup. Things seem to be going well for you this year. I hope so.

-Les

James Gurney said...

Chris--I look forward to your video. Your school has so many awesome classes in video, sculpture, painting, and digital that I wish I was a student again. Give my best to everyone there.

Les--thanks for your generous words. It was inspiring to all of us in the Pan/Satyr class to see how you took the ideas and ran with them, and I can't wait to see what new stuff you come up with.

Keep an eye on International Artist. They'll be doing a series of features over the next few months.

Christopher Manzanares said...

Actually I'm an Alumni of RMCAD, but I am still very active in the RMCAD Community, since I've gotten so close with my instructors over the years. I'll try to put together something that should put a smile on peoples' faces.

Caitlin said...

Are you doing anything else in Colorado? I ask because I currently live in Boulder. Either way I hope you enjoy your visit.

Roberto said...

James-
I just received my copy of your new book "Imaginative Realism." I have given it the 'once over' and I have to tell you, and all of the other Journeyers, that it is absolutely beautiful! Thanx to you and everyone involved, You really did a fantastic job.
The artwork, layout, and organization of the book are outstanding. I look forward to many hours of reading, learning and enjoyment. And thanx for keeping the cost so reasonable! -RQ

Joel said...

I went to RMCAD back when it was located on East evens. Boy that was a long time ago. Good to see you in town.

James Gurney said...

Roberto, thanks for the kind words about the new book. I feel like the GJ blog community should share a lot of the credit for what's in it. It really grew out of blog discussions.

In the Appendix, for example, there's a list of museums that wouldn't have been possible without the group mind:

Kevin said...

Does this mark the start of a new art school book tour? Any chance you'll be coming to CCA?

Liz Stevens said...

Love your blog and thanks for the RMCAD plug...Larry Kresek was my illustration teacher at Ringling School of Art & Design back in the day!

Katiebird said...

It was fantactic meeting you at RMCAD, looks like I made it the same photo as Chris! Thanks for coming and seeing our wonderful school. =)

James Gurney said...

Kevin, Yes, I've done a few mini-tours. CCA is in San Francisco, right? I hope to make it out to the Bay Area sometime in 2010, so if you have a faculty member in charge of a visiting artist program, please have them contact me at jgurneyart@yahoo.com.

Liz and Katiebird, you're both lucky to have studied with LK!

Centenial College said...

It was Fantastic brief view of your school RMCAD James!! Thanks for viewing with snaps of your school.

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