Veteran Star Trek scenic artists Michael and Denise Okuda are to be celebrated by their peers for their decades of work on Star Trek and beyond.
Today the Art Directors Guild announced they are bestowing a Lifetime Achievement Award for both Mike and Denise Okuda. Mike Okuda began his career as a scenic artist in 1986 on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and he worked on pretty much every Star Trek film and television production from that time until Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air in 2005. Over that period he was nominated for an Emmy four times. He returned to the world of Trek to work on the remastering of Star Trek: The Original Series in 2006 and again for the remastering of The Next Generation in 2012.
Denise Okuda’s first connection to Star Trek was as an uncredited extra in 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture (when she was still Denise Tathwell). She and Mike married in 1993, and Denise’s Trek career was soon on a similar trajectory as Mike’s. In addition to their work on Star Trek productions, they have also co-authored a number of Trek reference books, including the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Star Trek Chronology, and Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual.
In a statement, Art Directors Guild Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists Council Chair Clint Schultz said of the Okudas:
The roots of graphic design for Film and TV can be easily traced back to Michael and Denise Okuda and their work on the Star Trek franchise. Through graphic design, the Okudas added a unique visual language to sets, whether it was through props, signage or their graphical user interface for playback (also known as Okudagrams). Additionally, their work on Star Trek led to “real-world” graphic design opportunities and lending their artistic talents to NASA’s various space programs.
The Okudas will be honored by the ADG at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles on March 5, 2022.
Mike and Denise are back for Star Trek: Picard
The Okudas have had active careers outside of Star Trek was well; they’ve worked with NASA and on shows like The West Wing. More recently they have been working on Ron Moore’s For All Mankind, and now they have also found their way back to Star Trek.
Earlier this month Picard showrunner Terry Matalas and production designer David Blass revealed the Okudas were working in the art department on season three.
Beyond thrilled to have this group working on Season 3 of #StarTrekPicard. It’s not a Trek without @MikeOkuda & @deniseokuda. And just you wait until you see what @DaveBlass has done! https://t.co/nShJxir0Pg
— Terry Matalas (@TerryMatalas) November 7, 2021
And as we have previously reported, the third season (currently in production) will feature a new 24th-century Starfleet ship. Just today, Matalas revealed another image from the set of an updated version of a classic set graphic which were a hallmark of Mike Okuda’s work.
— Terry Matalas (@TerryMatalas) November 22, 2021
Last month he also shared a classic “Okudagram” from Picard, this time from sickbay. It’s not clear if the Okudas made this specific graphic, but given that we now know that they’re working for the show, they probably had some hand in it.
— Terry Matalas (@TerryMatalas) October 18, 2021
Find more news and analysis from Star Trek: Picard.