Elyse Klaidman was born in New York on November 1st and grew up in diverse places such as New York, Washington D.C., Paris and Spain. As a child, Elyse was immediately drawn to the arts. Her hobbies and passions included drawing, painting, visiting museums and acting in plays. Elyse’s mother is an artist and her father is a writer and she and her brother therefore grew up surrounded by artists.
She received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Wesleyan University in 1982. Elyse continued her education and received her Masters Degree in Education from American University in 1985. She also studied painting in Paris at the Ecole de Grande Chaumiere and the Institut Goetz.
After graduating she put both of her degrees to work teaching art at the Lab School of Washington, a school that used the arts to teach learning disabled children. She would later become the Director of the Kimberly Art Gallery (dedicated to contemporary Latin American art) from 1987 until 1991.
In 1991, she began working with Betty Edwards and teaching the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain class. It was in 1996 that Pixar artist Robin Cooper attended this class and recommended Elyse to Pixar President, Ed Catmull as a potential drawing instructor. Ed met with Elyse and soon after she began teaching drawing at Pixar as a contractor in October 1996.
Elyse taught multiple art classes for a year and a half (color theory, gesture drawing, composition and design and drawing). In June 1998, she was hired as a Pixar employee at Pixar University. Her primary responsibilities initially were developing and teaching art curriculum. Eventually she began to program and manage all of the art and film related classes for the entire University. Under her direction the Pixar film education program and the live action short film program were created at Pixar U.
In late 2000, with Pixar moving to their new facility, Elyse began curating art exhibits for what became Pixar’s internal art gallery. In 2004 John Lasseter asked Elyse to work with the curators at the MoMA in New York to put together the Pixar: 20 Years of Animation exhibition. She has been managing Pixar’s exhibition program ever since. She officially became manager of the Pixar Archives in 2007 and became the Director of Pixar University in 2009. In her role in Pixar University Elyse oversees the department which is comprised of Technical Training, Art and Film education, Health and Recreation, video based learning, Special guest programming and any other training or education related needs throughout the studio.
Elyse feels blessed that all of her interests and experience have come together in an always challenging and exciting job at the world’s best place to work.
- Family comes first with Elyse. She has been happily married for nearly two decades and has two sons.
- Among her favorite films are Cabaret, Shawshank Redemption, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, American Beauty, Manhattan and Volver.
- Her hobbies include visiting museums/galleries, traveling, hiking and whale watching.
- The Age – July, 2007
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image – June, 2007
- The China Post – August, 2009
- The Pioneer – February, 2002
- Taipei Times – August, 2009