Santa Monica, California
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
— Anaïs Nin
Melissa Bouwman teaches graphic design and animation and is the yearbook advisor at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, California. She teaches students in 8th through 12th grades how to use digital tools for personal and professional expression.
Bouwman is a visual artist, animator, and educator specializing in traditional and digital cut-out animation, experimental narrative, and DIY stereoscopy. With over 15 years of experience in the field, she has produced both commercial work and her own films, which have been described as “lyrical, touching, and politically challenging.” Her personal work has been screened internationally in numerous juried festivals. In 2010, Bouwman had the opportunity to work with Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger on a pioneering visual music collaboration between Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor of the New World Symphony, and 13 animation artists from the University of Southern California. The outcome of the collaboration was an immersive multimedia experience in which animated short works were timed to a live orchestral performance of “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. The animation stretched across five screens in the performance hall.
Bouwman started using Adobe software back in 1993 when she was animating archival photos in Photoshop 2.0 for an interactive piece for a historical society in Michigan. Since then Adobe software has been the hub of both her artistic processes and her digital art and animation curriculum. She is passionate about teaching and mentorship, media literacy, and gender equality in mass media.