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Karen Arango is an independent photographer, videographer and black and white gelatin silver printer. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Photography and Digital Imaging from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL, and completed the General Studies photography program at the International Center of Photography in NYC. Arango was selected as one of the 30 Under 30: Women Photographers by PHOTO BOITE. She co-authored the recently self-published book, Visible Narratives, in collaboration with Visible Men Academy in Sarasota, FL, and in 2015 was selected to participate in the New York Times Lens portfolio review. Arango has worked as an analog printer at Phototechnica, where she printed more than 130 images for Larry Towell’s Aperture book “Afghanistan.” Her MissBehave series have been exhibited internationally including the International Center of Photography’s “The Future Perfect” show in 2016, “Photoville NYC 2016”, the “Breda International Photo Festival” in 2014, and selected as one of the 100 best works of the Republic of Georgia’s
“KOLGA Photo Festival” in 2013.


Film, Department Head

Bradley Battersby, Department Head for the Film major, earned a B.A. in Drama from Stanford University, a Certificate of Completion for Directing Fellow from the American Film Institute, and a M.A. in Digital Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design. With over 6 years of professional teaching experience, Bradley joined Ringling College in 2009. He has a wide range of experience in the film industry as a screenwriter, director and cinematographer. He has written and directed five feature films, written numerous screenplays, and directed a number of television episodes and commercials.

Graphic Design, Department Head

Jeff Bleitz, Department Head for Graphic Design, earned his B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Iowa State University and his M.F.A Art (Visual Communication) from the University of Arizona. With over 16 years of professional teaching experience, Jeff joined Ringling College in 2001. He has been the recipient of several merit and silver awards from the Art Director’s Association of Iowa. Jeff’s works have been published in Graphis Letterhead 4 and HOW Magazine. He is an American Platinum award winner and was recognized by AGFA International Young Creatives in 2000.

Illustration Faculty

Matteo Caloiaro received his B.F.A. – Illustration Ringling College of Art and Design. He began teaching part-time at Ringling in 2010, until he accepted a visiting full-time appointment in 2016. Matteo is a painter and commercial artist and is represented by Kiley Court Gallery in Provincetown, MA, Brandt-Roberts Galleries in Columbus, OH, and Palm Avenue Fine Art in Sarasota, FL. He has participated in several gallery and museum exhibitions throughout the country, including the Butler Institute of American Art, and the Cahoon Museum of American Art. He is the recipient of several awards for his painting at both the national and international level. From the Portrait Society of America, he has received the following: Exceptional Merit Award at the 2016 International Portrait Competition, the 2nd Honor Award at the 2017 International Portrait Competition, 3rd Place Still life and 8th Place Non-Commissioned Portrait from the 2016 Members Only Competition and Finalist at the 2017 Members Only Competition. Matteo’s work has been published in several notable publications including: Southwest Art, Plein Air Magazine, International Artist Magazine, Art of the Portrait Journal, Under the Radar Magazine and the J.M Smucker Company’s Annual report.

Game Art Faculty

Scott Carroll earned a B.F.A. in Computer Animation with a minor in Photography from Ringling College of Art and Design.  With over 2 years of professional teaching experience, Scott joined Ringling College in 2014. He has worked as a commercial game designer on successful franchises for some of the biggest publishers in the electronic entertainment industry including: Skylanders (Activision Blizzard), Forza Motorsport (Microsoft Game Studios), and Medal of Honor (Electronic Arts).

Computer Animation Faculty

George began his teaching career at Ringling College of Art and Design in 2017 as an adjunct instructor. In addition to his teaching role, George is a freelance illustrator with a focus on whimsical line work for print and online publications. His work with students, art projects, and travels are frequently featured on his Instagram account, @georgedrawing, which enjoys an active following of more than 120,000 people around the world. George recently concluded his first solo gallery show, has published four books of illustrations and is under contract to write a drawing instruction book. Prior to Ringling College, George was a faculty member at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for six years, where he taught costume drawing, digital painting, and fashion illustration, among other courses. George earned his B.F.A. in Illustration from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Creative Writing Faculty

Rick Dakan earned a B.A. in History from The American University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University. He joined Ringling College in 2015. Rick has written professionally since 1995, with dozens of tabletop game publications in the late 1990s. In 2000 he co-founded Cryptic Studios and was the original lead designer for the hit online video game, City of Heroes. Since then he has written comic books, video game criticism, magazine articles, short stories and has had four novels published including the Geek Mafia trilogy and Cthulhu Cult: A Novel of Obsession. He continues to write for and about games as well as new fiction in multiple genres. 


Entertainment Design Faculty

Jamie DeRuyter earned a BFA in Computer Animation from Ringling College of Art and Design. With over 17 years of professional teaching experience, Jamie joined Ringling College in 2002. He has created animation and visual effects for theme parks, television and games. Most recently, Jamie created massive amounts of destruction for the remake of the classic game, Shadow of the Colossus.

Computer Animation Faculty

Paul Downs earned a B.F.A. in Computer Animation from Ringling College of Art and Design. With over 7 years of professional teaching experience, Paul joined Ringling College in 2011. He is a screenwriter, animator and educator with eighteen years of experience spanning film, commercial and video game production. Paul’s animation credits include Robots, the Ice Age franchise, Horton Hears a Who, Rio, Epic and the Oscar® nominated short No Time for Nuts. While at Ringling, Paul has continued to animate professionally on such projects as Free Birds, Serena and the Enchanted Island, Madden NFL 18, the Oscar® nominated film Ferdinand as well as this year’s Spies in Disguise. Paul has written and developed projects for Cartoon Network, 20th Century Fox Animation, Humanoids Publishing and Smart Entertainment (Ted, Blades of Glory, Family Guy). His graphic novel series Urban Legendz was released in 2019 and is currently being developed for TV/Film. 

Motion Design Faculty

Jared Greenleaf earned a B.F.A. – Fine Art (2-D) from Brigham Young University of Hawaii and his M.F.A. – Studio Art (Painting, Drawing) from Brigham Young University in Utah. With over 10 years of professional teaching experience, Jared joined Ringling College in 2015. He is a motion graphic specialist and video producer that has created Telly Award winning motion graphics and shot/produced hundreds of mini documentaries all over the U.S. Jared has been a key player in Siggraph and Annie Award winning animation productions for clients: The Smithsonian Institute, Monterey Bay Aquarium, The Polynesian Cultural Center, and directed animation segments for documentaries featured on Independent Lens and the Berlinale. He has also worked with storyboard and animatic artists for Marvel Studios on productions like Iron Man 2, and The Avengers.

Illustration Faculty

John Herzog is an award-winning illustrator. His clients include Hasbro, DreamWorksTV, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Highlights for Children. John earned a B.F.A. in Animation from Brigham Young University, and joined Ringling College in 2017. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and received the 2018 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for his Highlights High Five cover illustration. John is represented by Shannon Associates.


Morgan received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and is a former graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design. Common themes in her work deal with representations of nature using artificial materials and working with packaged paradises as advertisements. She has exhibited work in Miami Basel, Mercedes Benz Financial Services, and locally in Sarasota. Currently, Morgan remains connected within the Sarasota community as an artist and an instructor with Ringling College of Art and Design and State College of Florida.


Game Art and Virtual Reality Development Faculty

Joseph earned a B.F.A from Columbus College of Art & Design in 2001. With previous experience teaching several college courses, Joseph joined Ringling College in 2019. A former Lead Visual FX artist at Rockstar Games, Joseph has been credited with breaking new ground in video games’ visual effects. Joseph has experience across multiple disciplines within game development and a very strong understanding in designing visual effects for games. Joseph has been involved in over 30 video game projects, (mostly AAA titles) across multiple genres, working on more than 10 different platforms over a span of 18 years. He has taught various college courses and worked with companies such as THQ, Sierra Games, Universal Studios, Take 2 and Rockstar games. His recent credited titles include the popular Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption II titles. If you have played video games in the last fifteen years, the chances are very high you have experienced his mind blowing VFX work. Joseph is married to Lisa Jobst since July 31, 2004. A devoted father of 4. Maker, player and teacher of video games. He loves to be active in his faith, play and watch most sports, hike, travel, act, and sing. Joe is a big Ohio State Fan.

Illustration Faculty

Dustin Juengel earned a B.F.A. in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design and a M.A. in Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited in the U.S., UK and Germany. Dustin engages with painting through both, digital and traditional techniques.  


Computer Animation Faculty

Steward Leith earned an M.F.A. in Animation (Visual Development) from the Academy of Art University. Stewart joins Ringling College in 2016. He attended Semester at Sea while working on his undergraduate degree in international relations, and, visiting twelve different countries, he circumnavigated the world and was inspired by each of the amazing cultures. Japan’s rich history and elegant aesthetics captured his imagination and after studying at a university in Tokyo, he later returned to Japan as a teacher. Stewart has worked on projects that include a Student Oscar winning short and a feature length film set in China. He has worked on indie games, children’s books, board games and book covers. Travel and exploration still inspire his artwork and he’s excited to continue creating new and fantastic worlds.

Ryan Maier studied Fine Arts at the Ringling College of Art and Design with a focus on video installation. He currently resides in Columbus, OH where he works as a freelance production artist, animator, and scenic carpenter.

Illustration Faculty

Iliya Mirochnik completed his studies in St. Petersburg, Russia at the I.E. Repin State Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture with a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting. In his work, Iliya aims to connect the Russian aesthetic with American sensibilities, creating images that go beyond their origins. Iliya has participated in group exhibitions across the United States and has had solo shows in New York City’s Dacia Gallery and Galerie Schloss Wiespach in Salzburg, Austria. Iliya has been a recipient of a number of national and international scholarships and awards, receiving the “First Place” award in the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition in 2013 and “Third Place” at the Alpine Fellowship Fine Art Competition in 2017. He is also a Signature Member of the Portrait Society of America. Recently, Iliya was selected to develop his design for a public monument for Iconbay Residences in Miami, Florida in collaboration with The Related Group architecture firm.

Game Art and Virtual Reality Development Faculty

Martin Murphy earned a B.F.A. in Computer Animation from Ringling College of Art and Design. With over 6 years of professional teaching experience, Marty joined Ringling College in 2009. He has sixteen years of experience in the entertainment industry. He has contributed his talents to feature films, numerous broadcast design packages and commercials, and to the creation of more than twenty games ranging from the arcade and SEGA Genesis era to the current console systems.

Illustration Faculty

Octavio Perez earned a B.F.A. in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design. With over 15 years of professional teaching experience, Octavio joined Ringling College in 2001. He previously worked at Hallmark Cards and currently works on concept design and execution of editorial illustrations and news graphics for the St. Petersburg Times. His numerous national clients include Hallmark Cards Inc., GEAR Inc., Cabela’s, and Humanities Magazine.

Fine Arts Faculty

Nathan Skiles earned a B.F.A. in Fine Arts from Ringling College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. in Studio Arts from Montclair State University. With over 5 years of professional teaching experience, Nathan joined Ringling College in 2010. He considers technology to be an indispensable component to his professional practice as a contemporary artist and feels that embracing emerging new media is crucial to the development of any Fine Arts department. His recent exhibitions include The Clockmaker’s Apprentice, The Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, NJ; Black Forest / White Lightning, Sloan Fine Art, New York, NY; Welcome to Tartarus, Welcome to Valhalla, Greene Contemporary, New York, NY. www.NathanSkiles.com

Department Head, Business of Art and Design

Kathleen Sobr earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Business of Art and Design from Ringling College and a Masters in Arts and Project Management from Birmingham City University (UK). Kathleen joined Ringling College in 2016. Prior to her position at Ringing College, she worked as a freelance producer, production coordinator, and project manager for creative companies in New York and the UK. She has produced a range of short-form projects across industries, from commercial pre-viz to Sesame Street shorts to full graphics packages for MTV World and National Geographic.

Computer Animation Faculty

Heather Thomson earned a B.F.A. in Computer Animation from Ringling College of Art and Design. With over 14 years of professional teaching experience, Heather joined Ringling College in 2001. Her past industry positions include animator, character animator, and character setup supervisor/senior animator. Past clients include Planet Hollywood, Orlando Magic, Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Six Flags, Sea World, MGM Studios, Disney Cruise Line, Hard Rock Cafe, ABC, MasterCard, IMAX, and PBS.

Illustration Faculty

Ken Spirduso earned a B.F.A. (Illustration) from the University of Kansas. With over a year of professional teaching experience, Ken joined Ringling College in 2014.  He has held past positions including layout artist and background artist at Walt Disney Feature Animation. His credits include The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo and Stitch and Brother Bear.  He also worked for Walt Disney Imagineering as a freelance illustrator and muralist and with n-Space as a senior concept artist.

Program Coordinator, Creative Writing

Ryan Van Cleave earned a B.A. in English with minors in Music and Philosophy from Northern Illinois University, an M.A. in English from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. – English (Creative Writing) from Florida State University. With more than 20 years of professional teaching experience, Ryan joined Ringling in 2009.  His areas of research include popular culture, media studies, narratology, and poetics.