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Diane Piepol

Diane Piepol, Principal at Substance 34 Consulting, is a highly experienced project director, producer, educator, and visual artist professionally active in the Los Angeles creative digital community for over 30 years. She is familiar with working in entertainment media, university R&D, government, and arts related environments.

Currently, she is working with the Santa Monica’s Arts Commission Media Arts Subcommittee to advise on the inaugural year of the DNA (Digital New Arts) Festival, debuting in Santa Monica’s Cultural Corridor in June 2024 and running through November 2024.

Piepol is known as a pioneer in creative technology with her credits encompassing work on front-running R & D projects (including spoken word interactive virtual humans and Mixed Reality systems), as well as museum exhibits employing advanced interactivity and public programming focused on creative tech.

As a visual artist, Piepol’s work includes concept-based works, installation, photography, performance, and painting which span digital and analog techniques. Her influences include asian calligraphy, meditation, visual effects, science-fiction, the art of Agnes Martin, Mike Kelly, Jim Shaw, and Andy Warhol.

As early as 1985, before every home had a personal computer, before the internet existed for the general public, before Photoshop, Diane recognized the potential for creative expression with new media technologies and aligned herself with the groundbreaking digital artist group The Creative Computer. The Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry (now the California Science Center) offered computer access to these artists and created a lab featuring the artists working onsite, thus, directly connecting digital media to the general public in this early CGI phase.

In the 2000’s, Piepol became known as a producer of Mixed Reality and spoken word interactive virtual human projects at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (USC ICT).

She led the Museums & Informal Education Outreach effort at the ICT. As Project Director she helmed collaborations with museums to develop pattern-breaking visitor experiences employing unique, interactive technologies. One such project was the Boston Museum of Science’s Virtual Human Museum Guides: Ada and Grace featuring real-time spoken word interactivity with life-size, rear screen projected characters. She was Co-Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded, STEM-oriented project which was awarded $1.9 million over 3 years. Ada and Grace interacted with an estimated 200,000 museum visitors. Other museum interactions included: The Cooper Hewitt (National Design Triennial), The Newseum, Museum of Journalism (DC), and California Science Center (LA).

At USC ICT, Piepol also produced Mixed Reality, large scale, immersive display projects (FlatWorld) that combined virtual real-time content with physical prop elements to create immersion at human scale. Also of note, while working with the Dr. Paul Debevec’s USC ICT Graphics Lab, she obtained permission to LiDAR scan the Parthenon (Athens), the first time such permission was ever granted.

Diane has also produced dozens of public programs on creative tech including for The Academy of Motion Pictures’ Science & Technology Council (SciTech). There she oversaw public programs on topics such as: Acting and Performance Capture and the STEM-focused Hidden Figures/Modern Figures with NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.

She has been a digital community activist via her multiple terms as Los Angeles ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter Chair. For the SIGGRAPH 26th International Conference on Computer Graphics, Diane produced the juried The Electronic Theater at the Shrine Auditorium. With the Visual Effects Society (VES), she was elected and served as a member of the Board of Directors.

Piepol has taught computer graphics at the UCLA Dept. of Design and Silicon Studio/LA. Previously, she was active as a digital compositing artist & animator, contributing to films, commercials, broadcast, and music videos working with companies such as Robert Abel & Associates, CBS Animation Group, and Digital Domain.

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