About Us

francestiffin-trapezeFrances Tiffin is a student at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, studying Animation & Visual Effects. She works at Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland, teaching kids and adults circus arts. Prior to starting school, Frances performed over two hundred shows as a clown for Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey’s 142nd edition show, “Dragons!”. She also attended the Quebec Circus School, where she studied Fixed Trapeze, among other disciplines.

Frances enjoys training handstands, aerials, and flexibility, and loves performing clown. Evoking emotion is a beautiful skill, one which she hopes to hone and cultivate in studying animation. Ten years from now will hopefully find Frances working with people who respect her as an artist, designer, and creator, probably somewhere awesome like Switzerland or Montreal.

ajones_verticalAriel Jones attends Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, California. He is majoring in Digital Filmmaking and has been fond of it ever since high school. His biggest influences come from directors Sam Raimi, Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and many more. In the future, Ariel sees himself as a director, cinematographer, storyteller, writer, and a successful filmmaker enjoying his craft.

Ariel is currently working on a new project initially titled “CeilingWards” with Frances Tiffin, who is the founder of the project. Ariel has always admired the circus arts since he was a child and is very excited to be apart of this project. With the hopes of playing a cinematic role and being a valuable asset to the crew as far as accessing as much information as he can regarding the project’s subject, Ariel hopes to walk away with the knowledge of what it takes to be a successful performer of a very physical but creative circus production.


Zanay Phillips is an Animation and Visual Design major at Ex’pression Collage for Digital Arts. She is a Bay area native that took a brief break (2 years) from her lovely home to see the world during her last year of high school and first year of collage. Zanay loves drawing, painting, cooking, exploring, playing video games and taking care of her many exotic pets. Zanay’s goal after graduation is to become a Concept Artist and then eventually become an Art Director and do custom body art on cars. Zanay hadn’t always thought of making art her profession. As a senior in high school, she was focused on becoming a Clinical Psychologist. The ideas and processes behind the mind and human action were things that were beyond interesting to her. The only “problem” about that career path was the amount of schooling that Zanay would possibly would have to go through, and school was something that she never really enjoyed. All in all, Zanay was still very determined to stick to that path.

Everything changed when a guest speaker from the Art institute came into her English class, opening her eyes to a career as an Artist. “Ever since then I have not strayed from this decision and really look forward to the success I will achieve doing something I truly love.”– Zanay Phillips



am I?
I’m Delesa Lara-Castro.
What does that mean?
It means I was born and raised in California’s Bay Area. I am the eldest of five kids. I am a woman of 21 who doesn’t know how to let go of being a kid. And frankly doesn’t mind too much. I am also a student at Ex’pression. Why? Well to make my dream of becoming an animator (possibly an art director) become a reality, of course. That’s exactly what I want to be doing with myself in the future. Committing myself to something I’ve been dreaming about since I was probably younger than 6yrs old.

When it comes to my work, my art, I am easily inspired. I walk into a supermarket and look at a sale on apples and wonder if I could draw a dragon with the same color or texture or carve one into the apple. I think I’m most influenced by what I read in books or listen to in music. Sometimes if I am truly having an artists block I turn on the radio and wait. Something almost always comes to mind. I am not always limited to drawing either. If I have an idea I am going to try it. Music, painting, jewelry, clay, I don’t know what I wouldn’t try if I just got my point across :)

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