The University of Texas at Arlington Art and Art History Department’s Film/Video area is once again hosting Pixar animators for the presentation of a new feature film. Based on the Mexican Holiday, Día de los Muertos, Coco opens in most theaters in time for Thanksgiving. Coco is an animated tale about family, realizing personal dreams and finding one’s way in the world.
The November 7th screening will feature an animation presentation by sketch artist Ana Ramírez. Ramírez, a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, is responsible for visual look of the film. For the last two years, the department hosted Pixar film screenings and artist lectures. In 2015, technical artist Fran Kalal presented Inside Out at UTA and last year artist Malcon Pierce presented Moana, which packed theaters all over the world.
Ramírez joined the Pixar Animation Studios as in intern in 2013 and transitioned to full-time sketch artist at Pixar in 2015. As a sketch artist Ramírez works with the studio’s art department to help develop the visual look of a film’s characters, set dressings, graphics, shading and overall color. The Ramírez guest lecture is a great opportunity for Art and Art History students to hear first-hand from an artist who has enjoyed much success in the industry. A true industry success story, Ramírez has worked for media giants like Dreamworks TV, Jib Jab and FOX prior to landing at Pixar.
Professor Robert Hower, Chair of UTA’s Art and Art History Department said, “UTA Art and Art History students are exposed to experiences that provide insight into their potential future careers. We welcome industry leaders like Disney-Pixar to inspire our students and faculty.”
Art and Art History student Oli Gemechu, who is majoring in Drawing with a minor in Animation, says that he is thrilled by this opportunity and is impressed that Pixar habitually chooses UTA to be a part of their film tours. Gemechu immigrated to the United States when he was 10. That is when he saw Pixar’s standout hit Toy Story, an animation film that debuted in 1999. Gemechu said, “Watching Toy Story for the first time was a defining moment for me. I remember my amazement and the immense sense of awe like it was yesterday.” He said that, ultimately, the idea of creating art of the type Pixar has produced over the years was the inspiration for coming to UT Arlington in pursuit of an Art/Animation degree.
The animation concentration in the Film/Video program at UTA continues to grow; an innovation this semester is a course in stop-motion animation, which is taught in the new studio that was designed specifically for the medium. Classes are available in 2D and 3D animation in addition to visual effects and motion graphics. Students experience complete immersion in the process as they write the screenplay, design the characters and environments, and bring them all to life using traditional and digital tools.
Mark Clive, Senior Lecturer and the person who coordinates with Pixar for these movie tours said, “Although students who concentrate on animation in our program do so from a variety of majors, including film and video, visual communications, and drawing and illustration, they all approach it from a shared perspective; they have a love of the art of storytelling.”
As for this year’s Pixar advance screening and guest lecture, those interested are advised to come early. The event begins at 3pm on November 7 in the UT Arlington Fine Arts Building, Room 148 (502 South Cooper Street, Arlington, TX 76019). There is no cost for admission and no reserved seating; the lecture hall is sure to be standing room only during this fantastic opportunity. Coco will be widely released in the U.S. on November 22, 2017.
Visit UT Arlington’s Art + Art History Department to learn about other department events.