Instructors’ Bios

Instructors’ Bios

Daniela Pachtranska – Dept. Chair

Sepia Portrait of Dept Chair Daniela Pachtranska

Daniela Nikolaeva (Pachtrapanska) is a talented artist who has worked with great success in a variety of media: graphic design, fine art, motion graphics and animation. Her artworks have been exhibited internationally and have received numerous prestigious awards in Europe and USA. In 2011 Daniela presented her solo exhibit and multimedia show “Music to Your Eyes” at the Art Institute of California – San Francisco. The same year, she received The Trailblazer Award for exceptional achievements in her field.
Daniela earned her master’s degree in Graphic Design and Advertising and started her career at the Advertising Department in ZUM, the largest department store in Bulgaria. There, she created advertising materials for top-notch companies such as Calvin Cline, Pierre Cardin, Seiko, Lancôme, L’Oréal.
In her design career she has worked as an art director, project manager, and president and founder of her own creative companies: Balkan Treasures (1995-1999), and DaNi Design Studio (2000-present).
Daniela loves working on creative projects, as much as she loves teaching. For 15 years Daniela was a professor at the Art Institute of California – San Francisco where she taught more than 30 classes related to graphic design, web design, motion graphics and animation.
Since 2013, she has been teaching design classes in the Graphic Arts Department at Laney College. She a full-time faculty member and Department Chair of Graphic Arts.
As department chair, she believes in the ability of education to transform lives and make positive changes in the world. She is focusing on increasing student enrolment, modernizing the Graphic Arts’ labs, and revamping the curriculum to include new programs and classes that give a competitive edge to our students. She is working relentlessly to increase visibility and lead the department to new heights.

Carole R. Brown

Sepia Portrait of Carole R. Brown

Carole R. Brown, Instructor at Laney College in the Graphic Arts Dept., is a designer, illustrator and mixed media artist. She has been teaching in the fine arts, foundation arts and graphic design programs in many of the Bay Area colleges and universities for over 20 year. Since moving to California, she has taught at California College of the Arts, East Bay State University Hayward, the Art Institutes of CA-SF and, currently, Laney College. Before moving to California, Carole was an Assistant Professor at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois and guest instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she received her BFA and MFA degrees.

Carole R. Brown is the co-owner of an Oakland based graphic design & illustration studio. Carole and her design partner have created a wide range of projects including posters, identity systems, bookcovers, brochures and presentation displays. For many years she has been an active member of Bay Area Designer Women (BADWomen), Graphic Artists Guild and the Bay Area InDesign Users Group (IDUG). Carole has participated in numerous one-person and group exhibitions of her paintings, collage works and sculptures in the Chicago and Bay Areas and international traveling exhibitions.

Tony Claar

Sepia Portrait of Tony Claar

I fell in love with animation as a child watching Bugs Bunny & Goofy cartoons on TV & Walt Disney feature films in movie theaters. I was accepted to film school at San Francisco State University, studied cinema, art, & animation, and earned a B.A. degree. Winning a Fulbright Scholarship enabled me to fly to Europe & participate in a post-graduate work/study program in the Zagreb-Film Animation Studio for 6 years. I worked one-on-one with award-winning directors/animators, such as Dragic & Gasparovic (“Satiemania”), & was also an assistant animator on TV series like “Professor Balthazar”. I wrote, designed, & animated my own films, such as “Grin and Bear It” & created 30 storyboards, including TV storyboards for Sesame Street, London.
Back in California, I found work in San Francisco at Colossal Pictures for MTV, Fox TV, a Disney World /EPCOT special, & many commercials. In LA, I worked at Disney TV on the series “Goof Troop” & “Chip n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers”, then on feature films, such as “FernGully” & “Cool World”. A director of Cogswell College in Sunnyvale heard me speak publicly at an LA animation festival & offered me a job to teach animation at his college. After 6 years of teaching 2D/digital animation at Cogswell College, I found work in S.F. teaching 2D/digital animation & traditional/digital cinema at the Academy of Art University. Since 2015, I have been teaching Intro to Animation at Laney College & will offer my Intermediate Animation course in Fall 2019. I write/direct/animate my own films.

Michael Jay

Sepia Portrait of Michael Jay

Michael Jay’s background has been as a commercial photographer with clientele such as Apple, Autodesk, Forbes ASAP, Intel, National Semiconductor, Sun Microsystems (Acquired by Oracle), and Verifone. His specialty was in large format studio photography with an emphasis on technology, on location and portraiture and special effects photography. His subjects includes Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems, Gordon Moore of Intel, Ted Nelson, an American pioneer of information technology, who coined the term, hypertext and John Walker, the founder of Autodesk.
Building on that experience, Michael has applied his photographic knowledge in teaching Photoshop and is Adobe Certified.
Michael has also been teaching web design, HTML5 and CSS using Dreamweaver, primarily in code view.
Michael has taught at numerous educational institutions such as the Academy of Art, San Francisco City College, Laney College and Las Positas College.

Michael Wong

Sepia Portrait of Michael Wong

Michael Wong has been working as a professional Web Designer and Developer for nearly 20 years. His experience includes creating websites for Sport and Adventure events, E-Commerce companies, Software companies, Federal Government Agencies, non-profit organizations, and financial technology companies. He began teaching within the Graphic Arts Department at Laney College in 2006. Michael earned a B.A in Art with honors from San Francisco State University.