Christopher Oakley

Associate Professor

Contact Information

  • 6561
  • 317 Owen Hall

Christopher Oakley, Associate Professor of New Media, wears many hats.


Professor Oakley has worked as an animator on feature films for Walt Disney Feature Animation, DreamWorks, and Rhythm & Hues. Among his credits are the films Dinosaur, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Scooby Doo, Men in Black II, and Stuart Little 2. Christopher has also served as an animation director at EA Games, working on the Medal of Honor series. Professor Oakley also directed and animated the popular Penny cartoons for Pee-wee's Playhouse, on CBS. As a commercial director and animator, Christopher has created ads for Budweiser (Bud Bowl I and Bud Bowl II), Arm & Hammer, Pillsbury, Hershey's Kisses, EKCO Baker's Secret, JC Penney, Flintstones Vitamins, Disney Vacation Club, and countless others. Professor Oakley also animated the "Into the Groove" number for Madonna's Sticky and Sweet world tour.


Professor Oakley is a fine art painter and photographer, focusing mostly on portraiture and nudes. Since the age of 11, Christopher has tried to capture the subject's personality in the images he creates. In 2008, Professor Oakley began painting a series he calls "Faces of Change," featuring portraits of leaders in the struggle for LGBTQ equality. He continues to paint portraits for this series.


Professor Oakley received his BFA in Theatre from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and his MFA in Film from Columbia University in New York City. He teaches animation in the department of New Media at UNC Asheville. Christopher oversees the animation track, teaching all levels of the fundamentals of character animation, 3D digital and character design, modeling and rigging. He also teaches the largest class on campus, his popular History of Animation: Pencils to Pixels lecture course. At UNC Asheville, Christopher's undergraduate research endeavor, The Virtual Lincoln Project, has garnered national and even international attention and recognition.


Professor Oakley has a life-long passion for history. Since the age of 5, he has been obsessed with Abraham Lincoln and has spent much of his life researching Lincoln. In 2013 this focus took on new dimensions when Professor Oakley launched an undergraduate research endeavor called The Virtual Lincoln Project. Professor Oakley and his students are digitally creating a photo-real Abraham Lincoln and animating him delivering the Gettysburg Address. While doing research into existing photographs for the project, Professor Oakley discovered a previously unknown image of Abraham Lincoln standing in the crowd at Gettysburg. Smithsonian Magazine and USA Today broke the story, and it quickly went viral online, in print, and on television. Professor Oakley continues his research and is currently writing journal papers and a book about it.



  • MFA, Columbia University, Film
  • BFA, Lawrence University, Theater

Courses Taught

  • NM101 Digital Design Principles
  • NM151 Introduction to Motion Media
  • NM179 From Flips Books to Final Cut
  • NM310 Intermediate Computer Animation
  • NM273 Special Topics in MMAS
  • NM410 Advanced Animation Techniques

Personal Sites