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The Sims: In the Hands of Artists Contest Winners Announced

Guests at the 79 Gallery buzzed with excitement as The Sims: In the Hands of Artists exhibition was unveiled. The show, which was also a contest sponsored by Electronic Arts, featured student art based on the The Sims, a life simulation game series.


As guests and participants eagerly anticipated the announcement of the winners, they marveled at the diverse entries from a wide range of departments, including Fashion, Animation, Fine Art, Industrial Design and more. A student rock band, Murder of Lilies, provided live music. At last, Jack Lew of Electronic Arts and Mary Beth Haggerty of The Sims division announced the winners.

Student Band Murder By Lilies

Aaron Sampson, who worked with Kaiyi Wong, Yue Xia and Barry Ambrosio, won first place in the machinima (a technique that uses a game engine to produce stop motion animation) category. He said that winning motivated him even more to produce great work. Aaron and his group based their characters on Academy of Art University student stereotypes: Slacker, Straight “A” Student, Anime Girl, and Fashionista.

Machinima first place winners with Jack Lew, Mary Beth Haggerty and Dr. Elisa Stephens.

“It [winning] also made me realize there is a way to do art and potentially get paid for it,” said Aaron, who is graduating this summer with an MFA in Computer Arts: New Media.

Adam Hiler, an Automotive Design student, won first place in the Open Media category. He designed a car that could be changed to fit each unique Sims’ personality. Taking some important themes from the game, the car emphasized customization, interchangeability and extreme entertainment.

“I really was stunned and surprised when I heard my name. I am just thankful and glad that other people saw my vision and appreciated it,” said Adam, who plans on using his $2,500 prize money to purchase a new computer so that he can continue to develop his skills.


Tom Matano, Director of Industrial Design and Adam Hiler with Adam’s Winning Project

Shawna Chan, who won second place in the Open Media category, also used the theme of customization in her entry.

“The ability to customize characters in The Sims 2 inspired me to use my own family as a source of inspiration in the designs and personalities of my characters,“ she said.

Overall, the night was one of celebration as all of the participants’ hard work was appreciated and admired.

“Winning is always good. Being recognized is even better. The four of us didn't expect a first place award, seriously, which made it sweeter and of course made all the hard work worthwhile,” said Barry Ambrosio.

A complete list of winners is as follows:



Machinima Category First Place: $5,000
Aaron Sampson
Kaiyi Wong
Yue Xia
Barry Ambrosio

Second Place: $2,000
Scot Adams
Olivia Hidajat

Third Place: $1,000
Nathaniel Henderson

Open Media Category

First Place: $2,500
Adam Hiler

Second Place: $1,500
Shawna Chan
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Academy of Art University The SIMS: In the Hands of Artists will be on display through July 19 at the Academy of Art University 79 Gallery, located at 79 New Montgomery St.

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