Jessi Meliza is an analogue and digital animator who began teaching animation in the Media Arts department in 2013 and was named Chair of the Department in the summer of 2017.
Jessi has been an educator since 2004, when she worked as a literacy tutor with Washington Reading Corps in Seattle. She designed afterschool literacy programming focused on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Her interest in animation began in an interdisciplinary program that investigates scientific concepts using animation. This lead to work in programs such as Mathematica (creating iterative growth patterns using math), NetLogo (visualizing growth patterns in wildlife populations), and Logic (using spectrogram plugins to visualize waveforms and synthesize audio with images).
Jessi also has experience working in 16mm film production (including both stop-motion animation and the DOS-controlled Oxberry animation stand for 2D filming). The move to Media Arts lead her to becoming a technical instructor focusing on lighting, audio, and film equipment for time-based media (music, film, animation).
In Chicago, Jessi has lead workshops at local galleries, arts organizations, and youth centers that focus on handheld “analogue” animation devices such as zoetropes and thaumatropes. Her work in physical media and bookbinding lead her to work as a chapbook curator at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn, NY, as well as an internship at Ugly Duckling Presse where she read manuscripts and bound books, including two issues of 6X6. She has worked as a freelance animator, creating video work for clients such as The Waste Shed and Appalatch Clothing Company. Her personal practice examines short "sketches" of animated work that manifest as animated GIFs, zoetropes, praxinoscopes, and Phenakistoscope prints.