The Magic of the Academy of the ArtF University

Known as one of the most visually stunning Disney-Pixar movies to date, “CoCo” blew movie-goers’ minds away with its vivid Mexican-inspired masterpiece. The movie even went on to win the Academy Award for “Best Animated Feature Film” and “Best Original Song”. The movie ran against box-office juggernauts such as “The Boss Baby”, “Ferdinand”, “The Breadwinner “and “Loving Vincent”. The phenomenal success of “CoCo” is thanks to Daniel Arriaga, an alumnus from the Academy of Art University.Daniel Arriaga is from Mexican background, and a graduate from the Academy of Art University. He currently brings magic to life as the senior director for Pixar. Arriaga wanted to make a movie that depicted Mexican culture in a positive and accurate manner- hence, “CoCo” was born. The movie is about a boy named Miguel Rivera, who goes on a mission to learn more about his family’s history. During his search, he embarks on a journey through the Land of the Dead (These scenes highlight the popular El Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead). Throughout the movie, Miguel shares his love of playing music, and finds Mexican symbols such as Calaveras (painted skulls). This enchanting work of art is all thanks to Daniel Arriaga’s involvement at the Academy of Art University.


The Academy of Art University is a highly accredited school in San Francisco, CA. This University has excelled in areas such as fine art, web design, jewelry-making, and, of course, animation. Students interested in animation can learn in a studio environment. Students are taught to use props and tools such as computer graphics, shadows, textures, and lights for designing movement in animation. It is obvious to see how Daniel Arriaga was prepared by the University to excel in his current position.

In 1929, Richard S. Stephens, the creative designer for Sunset Magazines, founded the Academy of Art University. His reasoning for creating the school was clear and motivating. He to find a school that gave hard-working students proper and professional tools to go out and reach their potential career aspirations. For over 89 years, his school has allowed the best of artists to make their dreams come true.

Daniel Arriaga wasn’t the only aspired student at the academy- in fact, there are over 18,000 students at the University. Arriaga was able to come back and talk to students about how the movie made an impact in his life. He talked about the challenges of making the movie, as well as how grateful he was to be a part of it. His work with the movie “CoCo” encouraged students to show their artistic ability. The Academy of Art University truly helps students like Arriaga make pure magic on the big screen.



“Coco” Wins Big at 2018 Oscars, Academy of Art University Alumni Animator Details His Experience–coco-daniel-arriaga-shares-the-experience