David Goldner

“I went to Hamilton High, and then on to SMC. From there, I transferred to Art Center. And then things got really... interesting.”

You’ve seen the ‘creature’ everywhere: on billboards, TV shows and ads, and in who knows just how many publications. Her—or rather its—name is Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. And whatever ‘incarnation’ you view her in, it’s likely that the hands and eyes of David Goldner have had a lot to do with it.

“I met Elvira just after my first Playboy cover shoot, which sold out. And she and I then worked together for many years,” says David. “But wherever my career has taken me, SMC has always been a tremendous resource for me. I first came back here in 2003, to SMC’s Academy of Entertainment & Technology, and took classes there in Maya and 3D animation until 2005. And then I took Advanced Photoshop, and now I’m just putting all my media skills together,” he continues. “I actually paint directly on my photos, to the point where you don’t know if you’re looking at a photo or a painting. That’s been a specialty of mine since I graduated from Art Center.”

David says that the mad scramble for sales and exposure has been both enhanced and diminished by the advent of new digital realities. “Everybody and their Aunt Lulu with a digital camera has become a professional photographer these days. And I’m much more of an artist than a salesman, so it gets more difficult to reach major clients. And the answer to this quandary,” he continues, “is to keep perfecting your skills in a very Renaissance kind of way. On the campus, at night school, or online, SMC gives you the ability to do just that.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.​