Alumni spotlight: Korkut Akacik, illustrator, animator, and educator


Korkut Akacik earned his Master of Fine Arts in animation from the NIU School of Art and Design in 2018.  He is currently the creative director at Econ Illinois, a non-profit organization through NIU that has been developing interesting and interactive ways to help Illinois teachers educate students so they are better prepared for their financial futures.

He is also an adjunct faculty member at College of DuPage where he teaches courses in digital animation, digital illustration, Sequential Art and cartooning.  He worked for many years as an animator and instructor illustrator in his native Turkey, and in 2007 co-founded Akacik Advertising & Design Ltd. in Istanbul and operated it for more than a decade.

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Meet the Artist!

“I was about 5 years old when I saw that animated stork that evening. We’d just passed across the Bosphorus on a boat from the European side to the Asian side of Istanbul with my Grandpa. The animated emblem of a national bank, a stork, was flying with it’s animated neon lights. [Though this was a memorable moment, observing some lovely animation], it was not the moment that I decided to create animations; It was a hot summer, and I was walking to the grocery store.

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What is Ugly?

Ugly_M_Korkut_AkacikUgly but good! What is ugly? How do we decide what is beautiful? Its shape, color, draftsman?

I was at downtown Chicago a couple weeks ago. It was freezing cold and windy. There was a young homeless guy sitting with his small Yorkshire on his lap, by the corner of the Monroe and the State St. Lots of plastic bags, layers of clothes, long beard, long and dirty blonde hair.

An “ugly” man was crossing the street towards to the homeless guy. Other people were trying to stay away from that “ugly” man. They were even avoiding eye contact with him. He was dressed sort of as a “drug dealer”. He was tall and wide. He came closer to that homeless guy. Young man was a little afraid of him. Yorkshire started to bark. The “ugly” stopped in front of the homeless guy, bent over. Gave him his venti size cup of Starbucks coffee and a giant size sandwich. He also took out a bag of dog food from his coat’s pocket. Homeless guy was surprised and grateful. The “ugly” left, and walked through the West Monroe, and disappeared by the alley just before the Private Bank Theatre-Hamilton poster. And this illustration is what remains from that “ugly “ man on my mind.

Was that helping man “ugly” or “beautiful”? What is the formula of the “beautiful”? What is your understanding on beauty? Is there a universal definition of beauty, which everybody would agree on? Or, is the beauty in the eye of the beholder?

One Night in Paris

One night in Paris. Years and years ago, we visited Paris just for three days. When I woke up the first morning in Paris, it was not me what I saw in the mirror. My allergies!!!

paris .jpg

I couldn’t find a chance to look around, or sketch at all. Wish I would be able to see Paris again soon:))


One day at my studio, we decided to make a stop motion using the Ipad. We had a lot of fun when we were shooting frame by frame this little character! Hope you enjoy it : )