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Academy Grad Featured in Illustrious Annual

Competing against thousands of entries submitted from around the globe, Academy of Art University School of Illustration grad Chris Rahn won a coveted place in the Society of Illustrators prestigious annual Illustrators 51. Chris has two pieces in the annual, which features the works of more than 300 top illustrators.

Chris, who has been featured in Spectrum, an illustration annual recognizing the best fantasy art, was extremely pleased to be included in Illustrators 51. The annual is recognized as the premiere directory of American and international illustration, and is the first print resource art directors look to for hot talent.

“I’ve been submitting to the Illustration Society annual for four or five years,” said the 2007 BFA Illustration graduate. “The amount of visibility you get from it is unbelievable.”

The up-and-coming illustrator didn’t realize he wanted to be an artist until his sophomore year. The Washington State high schooler decided to return to his native San Francisco, and to the Academy, to make his dream come true.

“Being exposed to professional artists and realizing that you can really do what you love for a living is amazing,” he said.

However, Chris believes that the instructor/student relationship is a two-way street, especially for a developing freelance illustrator. “You have to be independent. It’s give and take with any instructor. They’re going to give more to the student that seeks them out and asks questions. I think having a dialogue is very important. I still talk to some of my instructors,” he said.

Chris spent a lot of time preparing his portfolio with School of Illustration Director Chuck Pyle. His diligence paid off at the Academy’s annual Spring Show where an artist representative snatched him up on the spot. Many Academy students make the connections that fuel their transition from student to professional during this show.

“It was a real world cold shower,” remembers Chris. “You can’t come half prepared, you have to dress to the nines and be ready. Piper Smith, one of Chuck’s reps from Lindgren and Smith reviewed my portfolio and told me she wanted to represent me. It’s been a great relationship. The first 6 months were slow since I had no experience, but things have really grown.”

Chris credits the Academy and his instructors for making him the artist that he is today.


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