- J. Craig Tompkins is an artist and designer living and working in Santa Fe, NM, where he serves as animation faculty at IAIA. He received an M.F.A. in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2009, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.F.A. in Media: Film and Video In 2006.
Craig works primarily in the fields of 3D animation, previsualization, and scale modeling, branching out into video compositing and installation. As a collaborative artist, he designs and constructs scale models and sets for photography, film, and installation. Craig also works collaboratively as a previsualization and concept artist on projects ranging from exhibit design to architectural public artworks. Some of his collaborations can be found in Pittsburgh, PA, at the Center for Postnatural History and at the Museum of Contemporary Arab Art in Sharjah, UAE. Along with collaborators Ethan Bach and Charles Veasey, Craig is working on The Royal Road Project, an interactive, visual, and auditory exploration of one of North America’s oldest trails, the El Camino Real de Tierra Ardentro. Craig’s work has shown nationally and internationally from New York to Novi Sad, Serbia.
In the summers of 2011 and 2012, he acted as Lead Faculty Adviser to IAIA students at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the formation of the Creative Humanics Laboratory (CHL). CHL is an ongoing design, modeling, and simulation experiment in collaboration with IAIA, NASA, and the American Indian HigherEducation Consortium (AIHEC). Students and faculty work side by side on a wide set of projects including: mobile application design, graphic design, 3D modeling and animation, and research.
- Rachael Nez (Navajo) is an award-winning filmmaker. Through her independent work and as a staff member with the Indigenous Language Institute, Rachael has collaborated with numerous tribal communities through out the Unites States, Canada, Hawaii and Australia, working with tribal elders and youth to produce film projects and digital stories in their Native languages. With English as her second language, Rachael strongly believes in the revitalization of Indigenous language and supports those efforts through her knowledge of digital technologies and video skills. She holds a master’s degree in Indigenous documentary and new media from the Native Voices program at University of Washington and a bachelor’s in Media Arts and American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. Rachael sees storytelling, character driven narrative and creativity as the most important component of film. Her instruction at IAIA includes moving images, video production, cinema history and cinemaphotography.
- James Lujan (Taos Pueblo) has returned to New Mexico after six and a half years in Los Angeles serving as the Director of InterTribal Entertainment (ITE), a film and television industry workforce development initiative of the Southern California Indian Center, Inc. Through ITE, Lujan launched the Creative Spirit program in 2006, which provided employment and training opportunities to emerging and established Native filmmakers in the Los Angeles area. In four years, the program yielded nine award-winning short films, including the Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco (2010) and Indios Primeros (2009, all of which were executive-produced by Lujan.
Throughout the years, Lujan has directed, produced and edited numerous documentaries, corporate videos, training videos, sizzle reels, spot profiles and PSAs for such clients as the U.S. Department of Labor, Social Policy Research Associates, the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California, KCET Public Television, Americans for Indian Opportunity and Young Native Voices at the Autry.
As a playwright, Lujan’s Kino and Teresa, a Native-themed Romeo and Juliet adaptation, was produced by Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles in 2005; and Midnight Society, a Native version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, was produced by VSA Arts of New Mexico in Albuquerque in 2007. Lujan received his B.A. in Communication at Stanford University. He also studied film production for three years at the USC School of Cinema-Television in Los Angeles. He is now teaching film production at IAIA.