2012 Alumni Award Winners: Kari Nevil, Beau Oyler, John Poon

alumni-triptych2Each year, the Academy of Art University recognizes outstanding alumni whose careers exemplify the university’s standards and ideals in creativity, innovation and public service. For 2012, Kari Nevil, Beau Oyler and John Poon have been selected. Read on to learn about the rich contributions of these three creative individuals to contemporary cultural life.

poon-diptychDISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD: John Poon
John Poon has been a working artist for over 20 years. He graduated from the Academy’s School of Fine Art with a BFA in 1994, later returning as an instructor, in which capacity he served as the director of Foundations and overseeing core fundamental classes in Drawing, Perspective, and Color and Design.

John’s work reflects his inspired appreciation of the landscape. Among notable influences on his work was studying with Craig Nelson, Bill Maughan and Scott Christensen. John has been featured in many articles and national periodicals including Southwest Art, The American Art Collector and most recently Plein Air Magazine. His artwork has received numerous awards and honors, notably Best of Show in the Society of Western Artists annual national competition, the Landscape Award of Merit in Arts for the Parks annual national juried competition, and the Sonoma Plein Air Artist Choice Award. John is a sought-after instructor, and his work can be found in many private and public collections across the country. He is represented by The Garden Gallery, Half Moon Bay, Calif.; Legacy Gallery, Jackson, Wyo.; and The Walls Gallery, Wilmington, N.C. He now makes his home in Utah with his wife and six children (and Daisy the kitty).

olyver-diptychEMERGING ARTIST AWARD: Beau Oyler
Beau Oyler, BFA 2005 School of Industrial Design, is a California native who has lived in the Bay Area for 10 years with his wife, son and soon-to-come daughter. Before graduating, he worked as an intern, then as a contract designer, for Williams-Sonoma, where he designed seven products sold nationwide in Williams-Sonoma stores. Some of those designs are still produced today.

Upon graduating, Beau was employed with New Deal Design, developing products for brands like Dell, Nokia, Fujitsu, Verizon, Timbuk2 and Netgear. In 2008 he partnered with fellow Academy alum Jared Aller to form Enlisted Design. The firm has become a pioneer in collaborative design, inviting clients into an open studio for all-day design sessions in which the client becomes a member of the design team. Enlisted Design’s clients include Netgear, Nestlé, Clorox, Intuit, Merrick and Urbio. Oyler has won multiple awards for his designs and successfully launched the Urbio brand into worldwide recognition.

nevil-diptychDISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD: Kari Nevil
“Make the Movie” and “Support Your Community” are two mottos used by JuneBug Films, the company Kari Nevil founded out of her purple house in the Sunset District of San Francisco upon graduating with a BFA degree in Motion Pictures, Television & Acting and Advertising in 1990. At JuneBug Films, her goal is to maintain a balance between commerce and philanthropy, while making training, funding and work available to Bay Area artisans and craftspeople.

Kari has produced, written and directed feature films, documentaries, music videos and public service announcements in support of a myriad of causes. Recently, she mentored a crew of young filmmakers as they taped stories found in their own neighborhoods for the Cinequest Film Festival’s Picture the Possibilities program. Narrator Alec Baldwin explains that these films were made with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to show what life’s like for them on a daily basis. By that evening, Kari’s East Palo Alto crew had heard that a 19-year-old was murdered in the very spot where they had been shooting — a chilling reality, yet the youth were empowered by telling the truth about their surroundings. Picture the Possibilities ran at the Camera Theaters during this year’s festival and will be distributed through Cinequest online.

Kari has made working with nonprofit and educational institutions a priority with her production company, as well as keeping all production work local when possible. The JuneBug team (also known as the Buggers) has underwritten public service announcements (PSAs), documentaries, shorts and feature films for organizations such as AIDS Foundation, Adobe Youth Voices, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, George Lucas Foundation, Junior League of San Francisco with Mayor Willie Brown, Planned Parenthood, Sundance Institute and World Institute of Health, among many others.

The 2012 Alumni Award winners will be honored at Commencement on May 25 at the Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City, Calif. Their work will also be on display at Spring Show, May 23–August 11 at The Cannery; 2801 Leavenworth St., San Francisco.

See 2011’s Alumni Award winners here.

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