Insider's Guide - Academy of Art University

Insider's Guide - Academy of Art University

We speak to Olga Rudi, a Technical Artist at PlayStation, about the ins and outs of studying at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Cover artwork by Pietro Lopez Bernardi

Whether you’re already at school, looking to find a new school or even considering moving overseas to study, nothing beats hearing from the students themselves! We speak to Olga Rudi, a Technical Artist at PlayStation, about the ins and outs of studying at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

The Specifics

What’s the name of your school?

Academy of Art University.

What’s the name of the neighbourhood?

Campuses are all over the city; my campus is located in the Financial district.

Closest train station or public transport option?

San Francisco is a very walkable city, there are buses everywhere. In addition, Academy has its own transportation system between campuses. Therefore, if you have lectures in different buildings there will be no problem getting from one place to another.

How long have you been there?

3 years and have just finished my last semester.

Why did you choose to study here?

The main reason why I chose AAU is because it offered the exact program that I wanted. The degree is tailored towards a specific field with enough electives to keep it flexible and unique for every student. I was able to take classes in different departments without needing to change my program.

The Scene

When you walk out of the school, what is the first thing you see?

The financial district is a downtown area of San Francisco. It is always busy here. The first thing I see when I walk out of the school is ‘The Roastery’ café, which also gives a 10% discount for students.

The closest shop to outside your school is:

The closest shop to outside is a Blick Art supply store. It is an art school after all!

Your school is great, but you wouldn't mind a bit less:

Expensive. San Francisco is a very expensive city alone. Food, transportation and accommodation can quickly add up on top of the tuition. Plus, students are responsible to pay for their own supplies.

The unofficial uniform of your school is:

Jeans, hoodies and of course, coffee.

A mandatory stop for anyone new to your city:

Golden Gate Bridge! You have not visited San Francisco if you haven't see Golden Gate bridge. I know, it’s iconic and cliché at the same time.

A common myth about your school is:

I did a ton of research before I decided to come to this school. They reviews were mixed; people either loved it or hated it. Many people who left negative reviews were not happy with the outcome they got after they graduated. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to art schools in general. Art is not easy. It is not easy because there is no right or wrong. People will judge your work and your personality based on their opinion and taste. You will have to work A LOT on your projects and on yourself if you want to become successful.

A massive night out for students at your school is likely to be:

A night in the cinema watching the newest Marvel movie with a huge popcorn. Maybe some bar crawls after.

The Superlatives

You won’t find a better place to eat than at:

‘Sushirrito’. What can be better than sushi and burrito combined together? And if you don’t like sushi there is always a ‘SuperDuper’, the greasiest and juiciest burger in town.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen at your school is:

A PlayStation room. It is a simple room in a gaming department with a PlayStation and a TV. The strange thing about it is: no one ever comes out. You see people go there and disappear… It is like a black hole.

One thing you’d never change about your school is:

Location. In my opinion, San Francisco is the best place to study art.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing changed is:

Better café location. The café in my building is located on the basement level. So not only you don’t get to enjoy the outside view during your lunch but you also need to make an effort to get there. There is only one elevator that takes you down to the basement; otherwise, you have to take the stairs.

Someone gives you $1 million to soup up your school. You use it to:

I would buy more sofas. Honestly, sometimes you just need a place to lay down and take a nap in between classes. Also, a vending machine wouldn’t hurt.

You can find Olga's work here.