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Academy Connections that Last a Lifetime

Sometimes the friendships you make in college can last a lifetime.  In the case of Academy of Art University alumni Anthony Rivera and Sergio Paez, that friendship has led to a business partnership and the creation of an online community for visual artists and animators called, Storyboardart.org.

Left: Anthony Rivera | Right: Sergio Paez

Like most artists, Sergio and Anthony share similar childhood interests.  Both loved to draw and had supportive families who allowed Sergio and Anthony to pursue their passion for art. They were also both California natives who found that the best art education was right in their backyard.


After touring many schools in California, both decided to attend Academy of Art University. “I applied to the Illustration department because when I met with them I was told my skills were lacking.  I realized if I was going to invest in a degree, I was better off going to a school that would challenge me to be the best and be honest about where I was and where I needed to be,” said Sergio.


After Sergio received his BFA from the School of Illustration, he worked for a brief time for various animation studios in San Francisco and Spain. Upon his return to the U.S., he worked on projects for Pixar and Lucas Film and eventually developed a series of workshops for storyboard artists and only used Craigslist to promote the classes to students.  He was amazed at the response.  That idea grew from a few classes to a global online community of visual artists as well as eventually becoming a pre-production services company for TV, video games and feature films.


Anthony said, “After getting my BFA from the School of Illustration, I worked outside my field of study in the Bay Area. In 2010 I stumbled upon an online workshop for storyboard artists and recognized the teacher was my old classmate and friend, Sergio!” Anthony’s passion for art had never left him and he immediately reconnected with Sergio as friends, artists and entrepreneurs.


Both Anthony and Sergio love their work. Their online classes are attended by artists from Europe, Asia and Latin America and allow them to apply their skills to LIVE production products online.  Both have advice for young artists. Anthony suggests, “College is expensive so make sure you use all the University resources at your disposal; mentors, tutors, resource center and most importantly, internships. Build your network of contacts early.”


Sergio’s advice is to try to be clear about your career goals and then take the classes needed for that particular job at a deeper level.  “Figure out what you want to do and focus 100% on the discipline you are interested in learning whether it is animation, graphic design or visual development. That way you develop the skills and competence employers are hiring for and can immediately start your career.”


Making your passion for art into a career is what Academy of Art University is all about. Our Visual Development program can prepare you to create worlds from your imagination and see them come to life on the screen.  For Anthony and Sergio, that passion led them to a friendship and business partnership with no end in sight.


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