explore. experience. expand.
Archive | Student Interviews RSS feed for this section

Interview with DCA grad Natalia Leal Delgado

Designer, photographer, and artist extraordinaire Natalia Leal Delgado tells us about her experience in the DCA program:

Tell us about how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.

I was thinking for a while about expanding my education, and after traveling to visit my cousin in LA for the first time I decided that I wanted to come back. Also I have a background in photography and was messing a lot with creating other types of Art with it, especially mixed media. So I came across UCLA Extension and thought that the Design Communication Arts would give me the tools to expand in the right path. It would give me not only the artistic tools that I was looking for but also help me convey the message that I was trying to communicate. I have always been a fan a good design. And some people would tell you that design and art are two different things but the truth is that it’s everything part of the same. Music, design, photography, and classical arts all intertwine in the contemporary world to create what we know today as ART.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I had the opportunity to take some great courses in the program and meet great people, teachers, and mentors. I would say that my favorites in to the program were Color Methodologies, because it made me think about color in a complete different way, InDesign because its a great tool, also I took it with Michelle Constantine who is an amazing instructor and mentor. She helped not only with how to use the tool but with how you can adapted to whatever it is that you want to create also how to translate what you create in the program to something that becomes a real object. And Typography, because even I could never be the person to tell you what typefaces you are using or know everything about them. Learning to be aware of how the element of typography can change a piece or something that you present and how it can play with peoples perceptions, and even relates to feelings or culture, it’s really interesting to me and pretty much blew my mind.

If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream design job, who are they, where do they work, and what’s the job?

It would be a big cultural institution or museum in a major city to design the layout and the experience on a surreal exhibition. Or even better, to make a collaboration with other great artists to bring experiences to people, like David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption. Or it could also be the people from Polaroid Originals, which is relaunching the whole Polaroid world so that way I could combine my design and photography skills in one job, and go to Berlin which also is one of my life long dreams.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

This one is a really hard one, being an international student is complicated to know exactly where your life is going and project your life 5 years into the future. There are rules and circumstances that don’t apply to regular people or students. Also being from Venezuela, which isn’t in its most stable time… I love my country so not being able to know what situation it’s going to be in makes it hard to project your own life. But ideally I would have a job that allows me to travel, independently of where I’m settled. I would have my own artist’s studio to work in and I would be getting calls from different cultural institutions to design for spaces, experiences and show my art still combining new and old technologies, and techniques to create new, exciting and compelling art.

Interview with DCA graduate Summer Wulff

Summer Wulff

Multi-talented DCA graduate Summer Wulff not only has a keen design aesthetic, but also entrepreneurial and branding skills that make her a real standout. As if that weren’t enough, she even plays guitar, piano, and ukulele!

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.
I’ve truly always been drawn to design and art. As a little girl, I wanted to be an animator and throughout high school and college I had interests in interior design, makeup artistry, and set design. Through the DCA program, however, I’ve been able to focus on and explore my deepest professional passion–graphic design. What initially triggered my desire to sign up for my first class with the DCA program was a behind-the-scenes featurette for one of my favorite films, The Grand Budapest Hotel, that delved into the ins and outs of a graphic designer working on a production. The creativity and attention to detail involved throughout the process and the designer’s pride in the finished product appealed to so many of my interests and I was hooked. I had always wanted to go to school at UCLA, so UCLA Extension seemed like a perfect choice to complete my design program.

What were your favorite courses and why?
Many of the courses in the program had so much to offer, but if I had to pick my top three, they would be Branding and Logos (now Design III) with Shirin Raban, Entertainment Design with Jag, and Designing Experiences with Merritt Price. Branding was a lot of fun, and so helpful in learning and practicing the process of researching and refining my designs. Shirin really encouraged stepping away from the computer screen, starting broad, and working your way down to the best options. Entertainment Design was a great course that pushed my Photoshop skills, forced me to think outside the box, and exposed me to a lot of the elements of how freelance designers work. Designing Experiences was the most work I had ever done in a DCA course, but was also one of the most rewarding courses I took in the program. Merritt pushed all of us to think, design, and execute to the absolute best of our ability. The workload and expectations set the bar for what the professional world of design is like, and that was invaluable.

If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream design job, who are they, where
do they work, and what’s the job?
It’s the early 90’s, and a young Tim Burton is calling me to design the props and graphics for Batman Returns.

Much of your work showcases your notable entrepreneurial skills. Have you always been drawn to these types of projects or is this a skill set you’ve cultivated?
I think this profession forces us to be entrepreneurial. There are so many designers competing with one another, trying to come up with great ideas. So to be successful, it’s important to be creative not only with your designs but also with how they are executed. I have a lot of interests and passions and tend to pursue projects that touch on a few of those interests at once, which I find produces the best results.

Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
To be perfectly honest, I’m open to a lot of different possibilities and I’m excited to see where I end up in five years. As a biology and psychology major, I never knew I’d be pursuing a design career seven years later, so who knows what the next five years will bring. I just hope to continue challenging myself and
pushing myself creatively.

Congrats, Summer!

Interview with Photography Student Joe Stehly

We always love hearing about the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our students. In this interview, recent photography certificate graduate Joe Stehly talks about what he learned in the program, and where he’s hoping to take his work in the future.

How did you get interested in photography, and why did you choose the UCLA Extension Photography Certificate?

I am an aerospace engineer by trade, but also took many art classes growing up.  I still really enjoy art and feel that it is very important to continue growing artistically. I have taken art classes focused other mediums since graduating college, but photography is the genre that speaks the loudest to me. My old roommate is a professional photographer and some of his black and white images sparked my interest.  He taught me some basics and I continued to learn on my own until I reached the point where I could not progress any further.  I needed professional instruction. Around this time I took a management class at UCLA Extension and saw a catalog for other class offerings during a break. While looking through the catalog the photography curriculum caught my eye. I decided to give Photography I a try and I really liked it so I enrolled in the certificate program.

For someone who is new to photography, what should they know about getting started?

I think the first thing to remember when starting the program is that everyone in the class with you is there for the same reason that you are: to become a better photographer. These classmates end up becoming close friends and people you can collaborate with on later projects.

Similarly, the instructors are focused on making you a better photographer. They have great real-world experience and teach you a lot about the business of photography and the creative process in addition to technical instruction.

What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?

Two classes that I took stood out as favorite of mine. The first was Lighting I with Kevin Merrill. I had never been in a studio before or attempted elaborate lighting setups. Both were intimidating to me prior to taking the course. However, after learning some basics I found that many creative avenues were opened to me by understanding how to use light. I found that many other classes, as well, pushed me out of my comfort zone and enabled me to round out my skill set. These new techniques that I was exposed to are not only interesting, but they allowed me to grow and expand creatively in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

The other class that really helped me grow was the Photographic Portfolio class. This was the final class that I took and I feel like it brought me full circle. The structure of the classes forces you to focus on one specific genre while creating a cohesive portfolio. I focused on Black and White Urban Landscape for the portfolio and was really able to fine-tune my skills. The instructor, David Daigle, is extremely detail oriented (every pixel matters) and this enabled me to better critique my own photos both compositionally and during post-processing. I learned an enormous amount in this class.

Where do you hope to take your practice in the future?

I plan to continue working on urban landscape photography while studying what the pioneers in the field, such as Julius Schulman, created.  The UCLA extension courses helped me find my voice artistically in this area and I will continue to refine that through various projects. I have also started setting up a home studio and am excited about the opportunities that it will enable.

What are you working on right now?

I have a few projects that I am currently working on. One is a continuation of a project that I did for my Documentary and Landscape Photography class where I look at the public/private school divide in Pasadena through photography. I am also working capturing more buildings throughout Los Angeles and soon I am going to Europe for a vacation in order to get some new subject matter.

Interview with UX Student Janelle Gatchallian

AC5T8939We had the opportunity to interview one of our UX students about her time with us so far and her advice for new UX students. She also shared with us one of her class projects — check it out below!

  1.   Tell us about how you got interested in UX, and why you chose UCLA Extension.

I majored in art history in college but I would have been happy focusing on anthropology as well. Observing, listening, interviewing, and approaching a situation with fresh eyes all come naturally to me. When I learned about the application of design thinking and user experience lenses to questions and problems–all of which reminded me of ethnographic work–I was intrigued!

I wanted to take a UX class in person and learn with classmates through group activities like presenting, partnering up, as well as giving and receiving feedback. When I found out that UCLA Extension is one of the few places that offers progressive UX courses, I wanted to be part of its community. UCLA Extension’s Westwood campus is also close to my workplace (the Getty), so the location helps, especially when commuting from work in the evenings.

  1.   For someone who is new to UX, what should they know about getting started?

In every step of the process, think about the user. That seems like a hackneyed saying, but seriously, by the time you’re, say, in round 4 of prototypes and it’s just been approved by stakeholders, initial user research can easily get lost.

Additionally, be careful of getting carried away by new software. Sketching on paper is still the fastest and unrestrained way to materialize an idea!

  1.   What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?

I’ve only taken two courses at UCLA Extension. Both were about UX–one with Thomas Dillmann and one with Julia Morton. I enjoyed both!

  1.   What would be your dream job?

I’ve been thinking a lot about creating immersive reading experiences lately, so a job (like the one I have now) that would let me do that is a dream. There were days when being privy to the author’s world meant curling up to a book or a newspaper in solitude, perhaps under the covers in darkness. Now that we have adopted our mobile phones as quick and superhuman sources of information, our reading experiences have already become much more immersive. Audio, video, and three-dimensional works are now part of our books. Recent discoveries in iris recognition, artificial intelligence, adaptive learning, and animations are also enhancing our ability to take in what we read. So I’m excited about the possibilities of smart reading powered by machines.

  1.   What are you working on right now?

One of our projects at the Getty is an ebook mobile app that features musical and performance scores in our collection. These artworks are multi-dimensional and come in audio, video, and 3D formats. The scores require scholarly expertise to understand, which puts the Getty in a position to publish interpretive content about them. For example, a musical score is going to come alive with a tap with a user seeing it annotated and hearing audio playback at the same time. That’s pretty superhuman! I worked on this project while in Julia Morton’s UX II: Mobile First class. Here is some sample course work:

Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_1 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_2 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_4 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_5 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_6 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_7 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_8 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_9

Design II final project presentation: Fiona Chen

Instructor Henry Mateo is known for going above and beyond the call for his students, and this past quarter was no different. Henry arranged for his Design II: Collateral Communication students to share their final projects at Brand Knew where notable guest critiquers from the LA design scene were on hand to give our students feedback.

Student Fiona Chen shared her work with us:

Name: Foray

Fiona says:

This project was the most challenging, yet fulfilling projects I have done so far in the DCA certificate program! I chose to create an entire bakery/cafe based around a rustic, modern hip, homemade vibe that is quite popular right now. “Foray” was a name taken from the French word from forest, with an “American” twist to the name for readability.

I tried to appeal to a more hipster audience of late twenty and thirty year olds, as well as young, up and coming families in places like Atwater Village or South Pasadena. I was very much inspired by the look of cabins, forest (and trees of course), and a feeling of warmth and coziness.

I wanted the whole brand to convey this vibe by making it look a little loose, and handmade, and with the use of warm colors. The trend right now is a lot of artisan, modern, hip coffee shops, and I wanted to explore the trend with more of a craft and rustic perspective to it. The whole process was definitely long and hard, but it really was a good challenge in terms of seeing what worked and didn’t in terms of building boxes, and using new processes like screen printing. I had never made boxes before, and Henry really challenged us to think “outside the box,” literally. I felt really good about how my bakery box “kit” turned out, and with a little trial and error, I think it worked out well and was a different way of presenting packaged goods. I had a blast with this project and it definitely presented me with several new challenges, in a very good way. I hope that came through in the final result of my project!

Project 1 was a fragrance brand that was completely different from my second project. It leaned toward more of a minimal vibe towards an upscale audience. The result was “Opus” meaning composition. I used a diefold for the box (which required a lot of trial and error!) and a clear opacity adhesive for the bottle. My lookbook used different size cut pages to emphasize the shapes and lines I used as inspiration for this look.

 

Great work, Fiona!

Design II final project presentation: Drew Fransler

Instructor Henry Mateo is known for going above and beyond the call for his students, and this past quarter was no different. Henry arranged for his Design II: Collateral Communication students to share their final projects at Brand Knew where notable guest critiquers from the LA design scene were on hand to give our students feedback.

Student Drew Fransler shared his work with us:

Name: Thirsty Spaniel Brewery & Public House

 

Drew says:

Thirsty Spaniel Brewery & Public House is exactly what it sounds like. The pub’s purpose is to drive business to its line of beers sold at liquor and grocery stores, which it does by offering beer flights and complimenting with a menu of updated classic pub fare. Its aim is to offer a great product and experience of authentic, high-quality food and beer served without pretension. Located in the Chicago suburbs, its clientele is a mix of married and single people of middle class backgrounds and better. It does a brisk happy hour, catering to commuters arriving at the nearby train station. On weekends, particularly over the lunch hour, it is a family- and dog-friendly neighborhood gathering spot.

The branding is designed to be simple, impactful and versatile to play well with a broad range of packaging designs and color palettes. The beers carry a primarily canine theme and the six pack cartons are designed for maximum shelf presence. Similarly, the cans and bottles are designed to have enough presence to be distinguishable at a tailgate party or backyard cookout. The two mortal enemies of fresh beer are air and sunlight, and cans are most effective against both. Smaller-batch special edition beers are bottled. The Dimension Triple IPA bottle is an anaglyphic 3-D image (contact me for a free pair of 3-D glasses).

The menu is designed to accommodate the entirety of offerings in one piece of collateral. Food on one side, beverages on the reverse. When attached to a clipboard, the beer menu is the serving mechanism for beer flights. The beer list is organized in a matrix from light to heavy and malty to hoppy, which allows for selection and shows how each beer relates to others. Tray liners and wraps are designed to reinforce the brand without competing with the presentation of the food.

 

Great work, Drew!

Design II final projects presentation: Caitlin Madill

Instructor Henry Mateo is known for going above and beyond the call for his students, and this past quarter was no different. Henry arranged for his Design II: Collateral Communication students to share their final projects at Brand Knew where notable guest critiquers from the LA design scene were on hand to give our students feedback.

Student Caitlin Madill shared her work (two projects!) with us:

Name: Hex

Top 5 Descriptors: Edgy, Independent, Powerful, Commanding, and Wry

Target persona:
Age: 18-40
Gender: Female
Nationalities: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe,     and Asia
Income Range: $1,000-$5,000 per month
Average Income: $3,500 per month
Approximate/Relevant Costs: $150 per bottle of fragrance

Your inspiration for the project: I wanted to create something for young women that didn’t fit within the normal constructs of what society considers to be “feminine:” soft, flowery, pretty.  This fragrance is for the bold, unapologetic, edgy woman who embraces being dark and twisty.

Anything interesting that came up in the design/revision process: I had my heart set on using a St. Germain bottle for the fragrance because it was so beautiful and elegant, but I had some difficulty when it came to customizing it for the project.  In retrospect, I should have gone with a more simple bottle that would have lent itself more to applying branding elements.

Name: Sterling & Baxter

Top 5 Descriptors: Refined, High Quality, Graceful, Timeless, Classic

Target persona:
Age: 18-80
Gender: Male and Female
Nationalities: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia
Income Range: $2,000-$3,500 per month
Average Income: $3,500 per month
Approximate/Relevant Costs: $15 per box of tea

Your inspiration for the project: I had the pleasure of enjoying high tea at Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly Circus in April 2015.  It was a lovely experience and the quality and refinement of the atmosphere, tea, and food really stuck with me.  I wanted to create a brand of teas in the United States which evoked a similar feeling – one of quality, timelessness, and grace.  My aim was for the brand to be higher brow and fancier than Lipton and Twinnings (which are more generic and pedestrian) or Tazo and Teavanna (which are more down to earth and modern).
Anything interesting that came up in the design/revision process: I learned the hard way that silk screen printing really doesn’t work well on ceramic.  I attempted to brand a ceramic teapot, teacup, and saucer by using a custom silk screen that I created with the Sterling & Baxter logo, but unfortunately the slick nature of a ceramic surface and concave shape of the objects made it impossible to apply the logo without smudging or warping.

Great work, Caitlin!

A&D Museum to feature DCA student’s work this Saturday

Huge congrats to DCA student Aneesha Bharadwaj, whose work will be featured this Saturday Nov 5th, 6-8 pm, at the A&D Museum, as part of this pop-up exhibition:

In Type: LA
A Celebration of Place
Poster Launch Party

10 students | 10 faculty | 10 neighborhoods
1 studio | 3 days

The completed series will be showcased at a special one-day event held at the A+D Museum in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles. Limited signed editions will be available at the event.

Click here to RSVP.

Great work, Aneesha!

In Type LA

 

Interview with Photography Graduate Christian Alarcon

Christian Alarcon just finished his photography certificate at UCLA Extension. Below he shares with us his academic and professional experience. To see Christian’s work check out his portfolio at christianalarcon.com .

Tell us about how you got interested in Photography, and why you chose the UCLA Extension Photography certificate.

I came to UCLA Extension a few months after High School in Spring 2011. I originally enrolled aiming for the Design Communication Arts ch2certificate. About mid way through the program, I decided to take Photography II as an elective. The day after I signed up, I went out and purchased my first camera, a Canon Rebel T3 equipped with an 18-55mm lens. I was HOOKED! That camera was in my hands everywhere I’d go. I didn’t even know how to properly use it, I would click the button and just hope I’d make a photo. Once the Photography II course began it was like I entered a new world. I would sit in class viewing slideshows of work and listen to my instructor Masood Kamandy and fellow classmates talk about exposure, shutter speeds, ISO’s and I had no idea what they meant. Clearly going straight into Photography II wasn’t the smartest decision, but it’s what motivated me to learn more about my camera and the art of Photography. I took a break from the DCA program and continued taking photos and learning as much as I could about photography on my own. As soon as I felt more comfortable operating my camera, I enrolled myself in the Photography Certificate program and that’s when my passion really began to grow.

For someone who is new to photography, what should they know about getting started?

img_7363_2Be very patient! Being patient with art is so important because then you’re achieving what you really want to achieve. Experiment with different styles and find what gives you that rush of emotion. Photography isn’t a competition. There will be times where you look at other peoples work and think to yourself “why don’t my photos look as good as theirs?” Don’t compare yourself to other photographers; instead look at their work as inspiration to help you get better. Put your passion into the craft and develop your own style. The most important thing is to always have fun and remember that you can never really fail if you’re doing something you love. The last crucial piece of advice I can give is learning how to save and back up all of your files. One day you will go deep into your archives and find some hidden gems that at the time you did not think were so great. And learn how to edit your work non-destructively. You will go through many different editing phases, and you will be very upset when you want to edit a certain old photo differently but you damaged the original copy.

 

What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?

I enjoyed all of my classes at Extension, but I’ll have to say Street Photography was definitely my favorite. From the moment I got my camera, Street Photography was an art that always fascinated me. Taught by the legendary John Weiss, this class really opened my eyes to the different elements of capturing great photos in the streets. Three of our class sessions were field trips, which consisted of us meeting at a certain location in the city and shooting together as a group. This gave us the opportunity to be out in the field while getting advice from our instructor, which I thought was really special. Weiss shaped me to become not only a better photographer, but also a professional. His passion and craft towards the art is truly something amazing and I can only hope to reach such a pinnacle one day. It was an honor being taught and guided by John Weiss, and for that I am very thankful.

christian-alarcon-08

Where do you hope to take your practice in the future?

There are so many things I wish to accomplish with Photography. My biggest dream of all is to travel. I would love to experience and capture the many different cultures of the world. Seeing the work of the greats like Steve McCurry, Alex Webb, and my former instructor John Weiss is what keeps that dream alive. I also hope to open my own studio here in Los Angeles, a creative work-space where I can offer my services and showcase my work. The possibilities with Photography are endless; as long I have a camera in my hands I’ll be happy.

 

What are you working on right now?img_5445

I am currently just taking my work day by day. I go out into the city with my camera every chance I get. Los Angeles is an amazing place to live and find inspiration. Everyday is a new story worth capturing. In today’s age people are so caught up in their daily routines and social medias that they don’t find the time to go out and experience the greatness their city has to offer; the people, the culture, the architecture, the food, and so much more. The work I continue to curate will eventually become a book where I can share all of these elements that make our city of Los Angeles such an iconic and historical place.

Interview with Photography Student Barbara Huber

After recently completing the Photography Certificate, student Barbara Huber invites us to look further into how her journey began. Below, Barbara shares her personal work and experience taking photography courses.

Tell us about how you got interested in photography, and why you chose the UCLA Extension Photography Certificate.

My interest in photography goes way back – my mother gave me the equivalent of a Brownie when I was about 8 years old and then introduced me the basics of photography.  With a hiatus of about 10 years, I’ve been taking and making(!) pictures ever since.  There came the point when “dabbling” P1250532wasn’t enough anymore and I felt a serious desire to line my passion with real technical knowledge. An acquaintance with serious photo-graphic tendencies introduced me to the UCLA Certificate Program. It provided me with the right teachers and affordable classes, but also with the scheduling flexibility I needed as a professional with a demanding day job that other programs didn’t offer. The rest is history! It was fun, it was demanding because I took it very seriously.

For someone who is new to photography, what should they know about getting started?

P1250534

Don’t fall into the equipment trap when you start out! It’s first and foremost the photographer who makes the picture. The process is the same for a cheaper model as it is for a super high end camera. Once you know what you want to and what you need to get there, it will be much easier to find the right camera that that fits that particular bill. As a beginner (and despite years of snapping away I would call myself that in the days before UCLA!) I didn’t even know what my needs were, and felt completely overwhelmed by so many choices. I see much clearer now.

What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?

Oh, where to start… I had fabulous teachers with a wealth of information on tap; it’s a hard decision to make. But if I really had to pick, there are two that stand out. History of Photography and the Portfolio Class. Both very demanding, but immensely rewarding.P1250722

Trying to replicate historic photographs and getting into the old masters minds was very challenging, but gave me a complete new understanding of the medium.

The Portfolio class really gives you yet another push when it comes to critical and especially self-critical evaluation. By then some of us had already found our voices (or at least were pretty close to finding it), and this class really gave us a last push over the edge to professionalism. I appreciated that particular guidance very much.

How have the UCLA Extension classes helped improve your work, and or expanded your professional development in the field?

For one, I work in the film industry and the technical knowledge I have gained has made an active participation in the world of post-production a) possible and b) really fun.

For two, it has helped explore and then focus on the underlying force that drives my creativity, which is a fascination with those hidden lines of non-verbal communication that form this invisible web all around us. It pretty much informs all of my photographic work now.

Where do you hope to take your practice in the future?

I’m working on setting up a collective of photographers and subsequently mount an exhibit of our work.

What are you working on right now?

For the moment I’m working on expanding a street photography portfolio I’ve started in class, and a separate project specifically involving street performers.

P1250593

P1250617

P1250682_MG_0527

 

 

 

 

 

windows-10-key windows-10-iso windows-10-product-key windows-10-activation-key windows-10-pro-key windows-10-education-key windows-10-enterprise-key windows-10-home-key windows-7-key-sale windows-10-key windows-7-key office-2016-key office-2013-key office-2010-key