Just a reminder that our awards ceremony recognizing outstanding students and scholarship awardees will be on Wednesday April 17th in the VCU Student Commons Theater from 1PM-2PM.



Tyler Darden will be speaking today at 2pm, Room 403 in the Franklin Terrace.

Tyler Darden is Owner/Creative Director of Tyler Darden Studio, a multidisciplinary design and creative shop specializing in illustration, photography and publication design. He has worked as art director of three regional magazines including Virginia Living magazine and a designer/illustrator at Circuit City headquarters, Richmond Times-Dispatch. He earned a degree in Communication Art and Design from Virginia Commonwealth and is an Adjunct Professor in the same department teaching art direction, visual studies drawing and photography. As an illustrator, Tyler has worked with a variety of clients including Stauer, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Mizuno shoes, Men’s Health magazine, American Psychological Association, Richmond Ballet, Estes Trucking, and Washington College. His work has been recognized in the Art Director’s Club of New York Annual, the Communication Arts Design Annual, Print magazine’s Regional Design annuals, Creative Quarterly, the Society of Publication Design Annuals and SPOTS competition and two gold medals as art director from the Society of Illustrators. Tyler spends his free time painting, wakeboarding, and experimenting with an old 11×14 ultra large format camera. He lives in Richmond, with his lovely (and very understanding) wife, two daughters and son.



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)

TyRuben Ellingson was a Visiting Artist in the Dept. of Communication Arts in 2013.


Reilly Brown, currently spends most of his time working for Marvel. He has worked on several books, including: Cable & Deadpool, Incredible Hercules, Prince of Power, New Warriors, and Amazing Spider-Man, as well as a bunch of other things. Brown has an art studio in Brooklyn and is a founding member of One of his current independent projects is PowerPlay, a comic about superheros playing street games across the five boroughs of New York City.

Reilly Brown was a Visiting Artist in the Department of Communication Arts in 2013.


Yuko Shimizu is an illustrator, fine artist, and educator at the School of Visual Arts, New York. Her clients include Rolling Stone Magazine, VISA, TIME, Target, Microsoft, Pepsi, and the New York Times. She has received numerous awards in her field including Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators, Magazine of the Year Award from the Society of Publication Designers, as well as Gold and Silver Awards from 3×3 Magazine Annual. Ms. Shimizu continues to lecture at universities and museums across the globe.

Ms. Shimizu was a Visiting Artist in the Department of Communication Arts in 2008.

Syd Mead is one of the most celebrated concept designers, artists, futurists and illustrators of our time, having been responsible for many memorable designs from feature films to interiors and even toys. Over the last 50 years, Syd Mead has created startling pictures for clients all over the world. His technique infuses finished scenarios with a vivid reality, allowing the viewer to gain a look into many visions of future worlds. He has designed and illustrated for corporations, motion pictures, themed entertainment, and a wide range of transportation projects. His most well-known works include production designs for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, TRON, Aliens and 2010, the pivotal science fiction movies that got many budding visual effects artists inspired to enter professional careers in this field. Off screen, Syd has designed a 747 interior, a yacht and the Spaceship 2056 pavilion in Japan. Numerous magazines have featured his art and he has published several books of his work including Sentinel, Sentury, Kronolog, Kronoteko, KronovectaandOblagon.

Mr. Mead was a Visiting Artist in the Department of Communication Arts in 2007.

Dennis Allain, AIA is an award winning architect, artist, and designer. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1967, and from an early age demonstrated an unshakeable desire to create. He attended Wentworth Institute, graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Dennis Allain was the winner of the prestigious Hugh Ferris Memorial Prize for “Architecture in Perspective 21.” “Architecture in Perspective” is the preeminent exhibition of architectural illustration in the world. Each year the best works of architectural illustration from around the globe are assessed in the competition organized by the American Society of Architectural Illustrators. This year’s competition drew nearly 500 entries from five continents. Sixty pieces were selected by an esteemed jury including the special category awards. The exceptional works in this 21st annual exhibition–60 pieces selected by a jury of respected professionals in architecture, illustration, fine art, or design–were culled from hundreds of entries. Mr. Allain presented and discussed his work, demonstrated his digital drawing process and reviewed portfolios of Communication Arts students.

Mr. Allain was a Visiting Artist in the Department of Communication Arts in 2007.



Anita Kunz was born in Toronto, Canada in 1956. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1978. She has worked for international magazines, book publishers and advertising agencies, including The New York Times, GQ, Sony Music, Random House Publishing and many others. Using a combination of watercolors and gouache, she has produced critically acclaimed paintings which have been featured in Graphis (Switzerland), Communication Arts Magazine (USA), Idea and Creation magazines (Japan), and Applied Arts (Canada). She has been honored with many prestigious awards and her paintings and sculptures have appeared in galleries worldwide. Her works are in the permanent collections at the Library of Congress, the Canadian Archives in Ottawa, the MusEe Militaire de France in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, and a number of her Time Magazine cover paintings are in the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. In 1997 she received the Les Usherwood Lifetime Achievement Award from the Advertising and Design Club of Canada. Anita was recently named one of the fifty most influential women in Canada by the National Post Newspaper.

Ms. Kunz was a Visiting Artist in the Department of Communication Arts in 2006


“For decades, my paintings have examined familiar, yet somewhat obsolete, objects from our recent past. Whether these canvases have depicted houses, movie marquees and other commercial signs, railroad cars, cameras, typewriters, or machine parts, the reference, for me, has always been to our mid-twentieth century consciousness, and the ingenuity and imagination prevailing in our culture at that time. I want to continue exploring the iconic power of these artifacts and the impact they have had on my life. In so doing, I hope to also convey to the viewer some sense of the American experience.”

– Robert Cottingham

Mr. Cottingham is an internationally known painter whose work is represented in the following collections:
The Tate Gallery in London, The Art Council of Great Britain in London, The Ludwig Collection in Cologne, Germany, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Mr. Cottingham was a Visiting Artist in the Department of Communication Arts in 2006.

Steven Assael was born in New York, NY in 1957. He attended Pratt Institute and presently teaches at The School of Visual Arts in New York. Mr. Assael balances naturalism with a romanticism that permeates the figures and surroundings of his paintings and drawings. The focus of his work is the human figure, either individually or in a group, rendered in glowing relief by gentle beams of warm and cool light.

Mr. Assael is represented by the Forum Gallery in New York and his work is in the collections of The Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga, TN; The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art & Design, MO; The Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

Mr. Assael was a Visiting Artist in the Department of Communication Arts in 2006.