We would like to welcome our two new full-time faculty members, TyRuben Ellingson and Sarah Faris.


ABOUT TyRuben Ellingson
The son of a Minnesota art professor, TyRuben spent his childhood in his father’s studio, engaged in drawing, painting and constructing cardboard “machines”. While completing his Master’s degree at St. Cloud State University, Ellingson taught drawing and design courses at the university and exhibited his paintings in regional and national shows, receiving recognition and awards. His Master of Fine Arts degree was completed in 1987 at Southern Methodist University.

Combining his fine art successes with a life long interest in film, Ellingson landed a position at George Lucas’ Industrial, Light and Magic in 1989 as a Visual Effects Art Director. While at ILM, Ellingson contributed to the creation of ground-breaking special effects in films such as Jurassic Park, Star Wars: A New Hope, and Disclosure.

In 1995, Ellingson accepted an invitation by Director Guillermo Del Toro to act as principal designer of the signature creature for Mimic. He also designed for Del Toro on Blade 2 and the Hellboy films.

In 2006, Ellingson joined the team at Lightstorm to work as lead vehicle designer for Director James Cameron’s science-fiction epic, Avatar.

Other films to which he has lent his creative talents include Blade Trinity, Signs, Eagle Eye, Surrogates, Priest (2011) and Battle: Los Angeles (2011)


ABOUT Sarah Faris
Sarah Faris earned her masters degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is a Certified Medical Illustrator with HIPAA training who has received numerous awards and recognition for her work from institutions such as: the Association of Medical Illustrators, Vesalius Trust, and Virginia Press Association.

Some of her clients have include: Eastern Virginia Medical Center, John Hopkins Hospital, Thieme Medical Publishers, Amicus Visual Solutions, Electronic Publishing Service Incorporated, Richmond Times Dispatch, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Seif and Associates Incorporated and Patient Education Programs.

Teaching Philosophy

“The brilliance of mankind rests in society as a collective—a vast expanse of interconnected knowledge. Coupling collective knowledge with technological advances in information sharing contemporarily affords us the luxury of ever-expanding intellectual horizons. With new knowledge comes new questions, so the result of persistent learning leads to an ever-deeper realization of the cavernous degree to which our individual ignorance manifests in a seemingly inverse reaction. Referencing the collective through carefully tuned filters and selective absorption based on informed standards can be the only way of satiating the addictive nature of learning. It is my goal to encourage students to revel in discovery, to be amazed at what we know, and to “hungrily operate on the margins of what is a potentially great harvest,” as the late Christopher Hitchens once said.