Cogswell College Professor bridges the gap between VFX and the fundamentals of traditional art

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Cogswell College' esteemed Professor Emilio Villalba discusses his transition from an Animator and VFX artist to the world of fine art.

Art by Emilio Villalba

“My paint application is a result of absorbing techniques from teachers I have spent time with, as well as painters I have admired along the years from Sargent to Picasso and Basquiat,” says Emilio Villalba.

Cogswell Polytechnical College has always carried a high standard of industry professional faculty. Southern California native Emilio Villalba is a perfect example of the standard that has been set. After a career as a VFX artist at Method Studios in Los Angeles, Emilio decided to move to San Francisco in 2008 to begin an Abstract Painting program at the Academy of Art. It was then when Emilio was introduced to the works of painters such as Lucian Freud, Ann Gale, and Kanevsky.

Emilio discussed his transition from a VFX Animator to a fine artist, and how the fundamentals of traditional art transition into VFX and Animation. In the current world of VFX and animation, it is very easy to become dependent on the tools and resources that we have access to. What makes Cogswell College students unique is the understanding of both the technical and traditional aspects of art. Understanding the foundational tools is what sets Cogswell students apart from the pack as they pursue their careers. “Our students make other students look like students,” says Cogswell College professor Dustin Abner.
Watch the full interview here:

About Cogswell Polytechnical College
Founded in 1887, Cogswell Polytechnical College (Cogswell) has taken a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach that has been producing industrial-strength results for over 130 years. Cogswell prepares students for success in the creative-technology industries by providing an extraordinary, real-world education inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of our Silicon Valley location. Cogswell’s project-based programs are designed to engage the student's imagination and develop their skills in real-world settings alongside industry professionals. Cogswell is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and has an average 79% first-year retention rate. Visit, Cogswell’s Instagram, or call 1-855-COGSWELL to learn more about our award-winning programs. For other important regulatory information, please see visit our website at

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