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Interview with DCA student Alyssa Sugimoto about her Getty Design Studio placement

The Getty Design Studio placement is an incredible opportunity for our DCA students to gain real world experience in one of Los Angeles’ top creative environments. This spring, Alyssa Sugimoto was chosen for this special opportunity. She shares about her experience, including images of projects she created, below:

A FREE calendar template for use in commercial or non-commerciall purposes. The calendar template MAY NOT be sold as a template, it can only be used by designers to create a template.

What projects did you work on during your placement?

My main project I worked on was the Getty’s 2017 Cats & Dogs Calendar. I had lots of fun designing the title and putting everything together, it’s a really cute calendar and I enjoyed working on it. Other projects I did were designing a letterhead for an upcoming show called  The Nude in Europe during the Renaissance, creating new sticker designs for the Education Department, putting together images for signs for an upcoming Remembering Antiquities show, and another fun one I did was design a logo and title for the Getty’s Free Family Fun page.

What did you find rewarding about them?

I found it very rewarding knowing that I helped out and contributed to the Getty’s design studio. This is my first time being in a design setting beyond the classroom so being able to see what it’s like outside the classroom and working with other designers was a great learning experience for me. It’s also exciting to know that your work is going to be seen by the public and I can’t wait to see the Cats & Dogs calendars in the Getty store. I also found it rewarding to be able to sit in on meetings and interact with other people beyond the design department, such as the curators and the museum store, and discuss my work with them.

FFFlogoWhat was it like being in a real design studio after being in the classroom for your DCA training?

It was a little intimidating at first. As mentioned before, this was my first design work experience beyond the classroom but everyone was very supportive and helpful and it helped me become more confident in my work and my own abilities. In the classroom, a lot of times it’s just me and my own work but in the design studio, it was very collaborative; everyone’s working together on various projects. It was neat seeing the different steps it takes to finish a project and be able to hear what is discussed in the meetings. I learned from this experience that there is so much more to design than I originally thought and it’s something I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t do the Getty Design Studio program.

What will you take away from this experience that will serve you in your future design career?LetterHead

This experience showed me that the possibilities with design are endless; there’s so much you can do with it and the experience made me even more excited about going into the design world. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work in and with the people in the Getty’s design studio. I feel more confident in my work and prepared for what lies ahead after I finish the DCA program.

 

Congrats, Alyssa!

Interview with UX Student: Shane Silver

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Shaina, or just Shane, is a UX designer here in Los Angeles. Below, she talks about her experience taking classes in UCLA Extension’s UX program.

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

I guess in order to tell you how I got interested in UX I’ll have to start from the beginning. I graduated university with a degree in Journalism/Media Studies thinking I would become the next Barbara Walters. I was able to land a job as an obituary writer in San Diego and soon realized I was starving, literally. Sharing half a room with four other people in a two-bedroom apartment, barely able to afford rent and/or food was.. eye-opening. I taught myself how to code (thanks MySpace) and landed a gig as a back-end engineer (coding in PERL and Regular Expression). After about a year and a half I knew I wanted to transfer into Front-End Development. Being able to create websites and not stuck in Terminal’s Homebrew all day sounded like a dream come true. With a lot of late night studying and really pushing myself I was able to land my dream job at NBCUniversal/Fandango as a front-end developer. I worked there for around two-and-half years, and while I was there I was able to interact with our UX/UI Team. Immersing myself and asking millions of questions I knew UX/UI was really the career I wanted to shift into. I was fortunate enough to take UX 1: Introduction to UX Design with Thomas at UCLA Extension. While taking his course I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Easier said than done, no one wants to hire a front-end developer for a UX/UI position. I bit the bullet, took a pretty heft pay-cut, moved to the Bay Area and became a Product Designer. The year I spent up there gaining my UX knowledge and soaking up every single interaction, layout, design, feature, cat .gif was probably the hardest year I’ve endured in my life. I left the Bay Area and relocated back down to sunny So Cal and now work as a full-time UX/UI designer for a tech start-up company called Laurel & Wolf. Recently, my company sent me back to UCLA Extension to start training in native mobile app design which I took with the ever-talented, Julia. I have never been happier in my life and I really have UCLA Extension, Thomas, and Julia to thank.

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

Think lazy. I read somewhere that the best designers are the laziest people (metaphorically, of course). And I couldn’t agree more. The best designs come from those who want to make a service/platform more intuitive, easy, and accessible for others to understand and use.

Also, do not take anything personal. When I first became a product designer I remember being told this nugget of information, not yet understanding, and my first client meeting I was ripped to shreds. I cried quite a bit when I first started out. But I picked myself up and immersed myself in the UX/UI world: signing up for daily newsletters, reading, going to meet-ups, collaborating with other designers from different industries, participating in UX challenges, and working with multiple client projects… you grow a thick skin. Clients/stakeholders aren’t here to coddle you with how “ok” your designs are. They’ve come to YOU because YOU ARE THE EXPERT. If your user flows don’t make sense or your layout doesn’t work responsively it’s not a ding to your ego it’s a challenge to your skills. And that’s the beauty of skills.. they’re ever evolving!

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

All of them! The professors (I’ve had Thomas and Julia) are the most passionate individuals you’ll ever meet. They truly love what they do and further love sharing their knowledge. This is what makes the UX/UI Community amazing. Between their amazing personalities, Thomas’ vast knowledge and Julia’s understanding of the industry and users’ psychological process, this power-house team is an unstoppable force at the UCLA Extension! Both are so humble and genuine one can not help but to become just as excited as they are about learning User Experiences and User Interfaces!

  1. What would be your dream job?

No need to dream it when I’m living it! Is it really a “job” when you love what you do?

  1. What are you working on right now?

I had the honor of redesigning our homepage which we just launched with our new company rebrand a few weeks ago. I can not be more proud of our Product and Dev Team for being able to launch such a wonderful product together!

Check out her final project for her UX: Mobile class below!

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It’s Your Show opens tonight!

Please join your fellow classmates and instructors this evening for the opening reception of It’s Your Show!

Friends and family are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

1010 Westwood Center, 4th floor lobby and gallery
6:30-8:30pm, Friday, April 29th (tonight!)

See you there! Any questions, please call 310-206-1422.

It's Your Show 2015 opening

It’s Your Show 2015 opening

Mindi LaRose shares about her Getty Studio placement experience

The Getty Design Studio placement is an incredible opportunity for our DCA students to gain real world experience in one of Los Angeles’ top creative environments. This winter, Mindi LaRose was chosen for this special opportunity. She shares about her experience, including images of projects she created, below:

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What projects did you work on during your placement? 

A favorite project I worked on involved posters and social media designs for College Night at the Getty.  I was given free reign to design the poster, which would set the tone for the theme of this year’s campaign. Permission to use actual exhibited art was limited, so I incorporated my own photography. It is exciting to know the posters are up all over campuses in Los Angeles.  Another favorite project involved creating a new logo for a blog piece called “Connecting Cultures”. I worked closely with curators of the Getty Iris blog to create an icon withinin their logo with a nod toward a “cintamani” pattern. This pattern can be found in many pieces of art and textiles throughout history.  Other projects included a 2017 upcoming exhibition tram poster and table card, and the Getty 2017 calendar of 19th Century Masterpieces.

Design by Mindi LaRose

Design by Mindi LaRose

What did you find rewarding about them?

It was very rewarding to work side by side with designers in the beautiful Getty setting, to receive feedback on my work, watch and learn on the bigger projects they were assigned, and to sit in on meetings with curators, designers and donors. I enjoyed the independence and trust they had in me, as well, after being assigned a project. It was very rewarding to see the projects from beginning to completion, and the steps needed.

Getty Calendar Mindi LaRoseWhat was it like being in a real design studio after being in the classroom for your DCA training?

I love real assignments vs. homework: the excitement and urgency of a real problem that needs to be solved. There is so much value in on-the-job training and in learning the ways of each studio. My skills were put to the test and improved upon, my speed finishing projects increased, and just learning processes associated with printers (and having other resources available) was so valuable. I feel more confident that I can acclimate to real world design situations, after working in the Getty Design Studio.

FINAL Version 2 Connecting Cultures LOGOWhat will you take away from this experience that will serve you in your future design career?

The Getty experience reinforced my love for design and collaboration, and every bit of advice, feedback and hands-on experience will be used to help me move forward in my career.  I am grateful for the experience, and thank you to the Getty staff and the UCLAx DCA program for this opportunity.

DCA Entrepreneurs: Luis Antonio Pichardo

In this installment of our series on DCA students who have combined their design skills with their entrepreneurial spirit, it’s a great pleasure to introduce DCA student Luis Antonio Pichardo, founder of the non-profit organization DSTL Arts.

What is the mission of DSTL Arts?

DSTL Arts is a nonprofit arts mentorship organization that teaches, inspires, and hires creative, at-risk youth, ages 16–21 years old. The name of the organization, DSTL Arts, is a type of acronym for our overall ideology: Develop Skills and Transcend Limits through the Arts.

luis 2What was your inspiration for founding it?

DSTL Arts was founded in 2012 and is the culmination of all my experiences, both professional and personal, coming together after having had a terrible mentorship experience while I was in grad school. Having entered CalArts’ MFA program in creative writing with more than 8 years of experience working in the nonprofit field, I had grown tired of the arts being devalued by organizations that primarily serve low-income communities: communities that are typically communities of color. As a self-identified artist and poet, I felt a need to change the perception of the economic and individual impact the arts have on the most underrepresented of communities.

I started my nonprofit career when I was 18 years old as a tutor for at-risk youth, and as I moved up in the nonprofit world of San Diego County, I came to be the director of a work-readiness program for “at-risk” youth. In my eyes, the 16–21 year olds I worked with were actually “high-potential” youth. Their home and family circumstances didn’t stop them from aspiring to more in their lives. And having grown up in the same way as many of my students, I knew what the challenges were. They faced, much like me, a cultural stigma that surrounds careers in the arts: a stigma that results in dreams of being a working creative mocked as unreachable, unattainable, or just plain ludicrous.

After spending two years in the MFA in Critical Studies (Writing) program at CalArts, I felt even more disenfranchised than I had ever felt. My mentorship experience didn’t provide me with anything; my academic experience taught me nothing in the way of improving my skills as a writer, much less how to enter the publishing or arts world. I felt angry. But that anger became fuel for what eventually came to be a realization that mentorships, when executed properly, can have a profound and lasting impact on an individual’s life.

My disenfranchisement, as a person of color from a low-income family with aspirations of being a working artist, turned into a drive for life-long learning. I took it upon myself to learn how to establish an artistic practice that would be profitable. I took it upon myself to acquire skills that would make me self-sufficient as a creative entrepreneur. I took it upon myself to share that knowledge with the youth and adults I serve today through the programming we offer through DSTL Arts.

Who dluis 3oes it serve?

DSTL Arts serves creative, at-risk youth ages 16–21 years old through our flagship Arts Mentorship Program. To-date, we have served more than 10 youth at any given time, with me being their primary mentor. I founded DSTL Arts with my fiancé, Jennifer Fuentes, who also helps me provide mentorships, recruitment, and other workshops in our community. In total, as of 12/31/15, we have provided a total of nearly 3,000 hours of mentorship with some incredible stories to share about our students.

Our original three students, who started our then-pilot program in February of 2013, have gone on to be leaders and artists in their own right. One such student, Erick, has become a service member in the US Marine Corps, providing leadership and artistic services within his duties as a Marine. Brian, a poet and aspiring journalist, has published multiple volumes of poetry and short stories, both through our Arts Mentorship Program, and through local anthologies, and also become a teaching artist, teaching poetry to high schoolers. Ana, our original photography and visual arts student, has probably had the biggest success so far. With our guidance, Ana has gone on to establish her own freelance fine art wedding photography business and is successfully on her way to making it a sustainable business in the next year. But that is not all. Other students in our Arts Mentorship Program have also had great success, such as Laura, who was first runner-up during the inaugural LA County Youth Poet Laureate competition in 2014, with a sizable public reading record for a 21 year old.

luis 1How have your studies in the DCA program contributed to your work at DSTL Arts?

My experience developing our programs and our image in the community would not be complete without the skills I learned through the Design Communication Arts program at UCLA Extension. From branding, to re-branding, to having the ability to create marketing materials and merchandise for our programs has been all thanks to the skill building I did through the DCA program. The most effective use of my skills as a designer has actually been in the legitimizing of the artwork and concepts our students have as it relates to publication and logo design. As an organization that nurtures and develops business skills in our youth, it is important that I work alongside our students to help them develop a product that they feel proud of. My design skills have helped them sell chapbooks, fine art prints, and more. My skills and feedback have helped them feel confident in their portfolios and business plan development, while also helping them develop a language for working with designers and photographers in their future artistic endeavors. There’s a lot that I gained from being a DCA student at UCLA Extension that I am now able to transfer to our next generation of creatives.

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To learn more about DSTL Arts, our programs, and our students, visit http://DSTLArts.org. There you’ll find our web store, as well, where our Arts Mentorship Program students’ artwork is for sale, with 50% of the sale price going directly to the pockets of our youth, helping us further teach them important business and financial skills.

To learn more about my personal artwork, feel free to visit my personal website at http://smileyfaze.com, where you’ll be able to view and purchase my own fine art, photography, and poetry chapbooks as well. A portion of my personal sales will always benefit DSTL Arts.

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Thank you, Luis!

Aneesha Bharadwaj shares about her Getty Studio Placement experience

The Getty Design Studio placement that we oversee each quarter is an incredible opportunity for our DCA students to gain real world experience in one of Los Angeles’ top creative environments. This fall, Aneesha Bharadwaj was chosen for this special opportunity. She shares about her experience, including images of two of the projects she created, below:

Postcard design 1 for the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (front)

Postcard design 1 for the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (front)

What projects did you work on during your placement? What did you find rewarding about them?

I worked on real and ongoing projects with most of the designers at the Getty design studio.
I was involved in various projects including work for the Getty Education, Getty user surveys and research which was more user experience design related, Product sketches and CAD for monitor displays to be placed at the galleries. I was also glad to be a part of the recently opened exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV.
The most rewarding experience was that I got to work on projects with various skills like visual design & typography, product design and user experience design. Having my prior background in product design and now focusing on visual design and user experience was good for various type of projects.

Postcard design 1 for the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (back)

Postcard design 1 for the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (back)

What was it like being in a real design studio after being in the classroom for your DCA training?

It was the best experience for me to work outside the classroom in a real design studio as I got into the real world with real projects and deadlines. This training is required as it helped me to not only work on good design but also to make presentations, to collaborate with others, and to generate visitor/ user feedback on how well the finished product or project has evolved.
I was also grateful to be part of the Getty Toastmasters which is a monthly event on how one can improve their presentation and communication skills. This I feel is very essential as a designer–we have to sell and get other people excited about our concept.

Postcard design 2 for the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (front)

Postcard design 2 for the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (front)

What will you take away from this experience that will serve you in your future design career?

This experience has taught me to be more professional, dedicated, and passionate about the art and design industry. As a student you work for your portfolio but working at the Getty you work so that more visitors come who are curious and excited. It was also invaluable to work in a team, generating ideas, and presenting in front of clients. Showing your enthusiasm by not just delivering what is needed but doing much more that gives it the extra edge.
Having worked at the Getty has given me the direction I want my career to head towards. I am truly grateful to have been given this opportunity.

Postcard design 2 for the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (back)

Postcard design 2 for the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (back)

Congrats, Aneesha!

Interested in the Getty Design Studio placement? Be sure to like us on Facebook to keep up to date with application announcements. Also, email Kate at dca@uclaextension.edu anytime for more info.

 

 

DCA Entrepreneurs! The Journey from Classroom to Marketplace

This is the first in a series on our inspiring DCA community members who have made the leap from student to businessperson.

Today, we’re focusing on DCA student & AIGA UCLAx group president Michelle Quach and teaching assistant & recent DCA graduate Dainise Meissner, both of whom chose Etsy as the platform for their online shops.

We asked both women what inspired them to create their shops and how they like having their own businesses.

design by Michelle Quach

design by Michelle Quach

Michelle: I was inspired to start my shop, Euclid Street (tagline: Greeting Cards That Hug You Back), because I thought it would be a way to do something creative right away. At the time, I had just decided to pursue design, and I was inspired by a speech by the journalist Robert Krulwich, who said “There are some people who don’t wait.” An Etsy shop allowed me to start creating art without waiting for permission. It was also liberating to feel that I could make money (even if it wasn’t a lot) without necessarily having to rely on being employed by someone else.

design by Michelle Quach

design by Michelle Quach

So far, it’s been a really positive experience. I’ve learned a lot about the nuts and bolts of running a small business. My favorite part, though, is knowing that something I created can hold meaning for someone else. Being in the greeting card business means that I often get invited into people’s lives in small ways–I’ll sometimes be asked to write a message on behalf of a customer, or they’ll tell me that their significant other loved the card so much that they got it framed. Once, a customer told me that one of my cards perfectly expressed what he wanted to say to his first love–whom he had remained friends with for decades, though they were both happily married to other people. I never imagined, when I first started this humble shop, that I would have the privilege of helping others this way!

design by Dainise Meissner

design by Dainise Meissner

Dainise: I was inspired to create my shop, FourBirdDesigns, after being in the DCA program for several quarters and not really knowing in what direction I wanted to go with my career. I had taken Mixed Media and Collage for Designers with Michelle Constantine and I really enjoyed making the collages by hand after taking several computer classes. I then went on to do a mentorship with Michelle to further explore mixed media and collage because I had the seed of an idea to create custom collages based around personal photos and their history.

design by Dainise Meissner

design by Dainise Meissner

I recruited a beta customer and created a test collage for her just so I could understand how the process might work in terms of getting her images, communicating about her family’s history, and fulfilling her needs for the finished product. It was a huge success and in fact, she asked me to make a second one a few months later! That success gave me the confidence to start the Etsy shop. It’s still quite new, and I’ve only sold one collage so far, but I’m loving it. Even though I’ve now graduated from the DCA program, I decided to get further inspiration this summer by taking Mixed Media and Collage again but with Todd Smith this time.

 

Congratulations to both of you and wishing you every success!

Interview with recent DCA grad Danielle Danaher

“The DCA program has truly been life changing for me as I hope it is for others.”ssr5
Danielle Danaher 

Danielle did the entirety of her DCA coursework online from her home in upstate New York. It’s a pleasure to see how her work is influenced by her community. She sat down to field a few questions for us about her experience:

What brought you to the DCA program?
I’ve always loved to be creative and to build different things, I was the kid picking up the scrap pieces of material from my father’s construction sites to see what I could build with it.  Although my love of digging in the dirt has diminished somewhat as I’ve aged, my love of being creative is stronger than ever.  I went to college and majored in what was expected, and took a job doing again what was expected; it made sense at the time. A few years ago it stopped making sense, and I began looking for online design programs from respected, accredited universities.

What were your favorite courses and why?
I’d have to say that Logos & Branding and Design II were my favorite courses.  I enjoyed the creative freedom they offered. Although the other courses in the program aided as well, it was these two courses that I think installed in me the confidence and trust in my design, and design decisions.

persp3As a designer, what does a potential project need to have for you to feel passionate about it?
For me it’s a moral voice or message of philanthropy in projects.

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?
I’d find my dream job working as a designer or on a design team for a cause like Stand Up to Cancer; an organization fighting a disease responsible for so much devastation.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
As a designer who’s helped to make a difference through an organization or charity.  One with creative freedom and choice to take on new challenges.unite4

 

Great work, Danielle!

Check Out Aneesha Bharadwaj’s Innovative Sensing Design

When Aneesha stopped by the office and shared her latest design from Henry Mateo’s Design II: Collateral Communication course, our director said, “You have to put that on the blog!” I’ve seen many final projects from this course and this, without a doubt, is the most innovative I’ve ever seen. We especially love how Aneesha boldly embraces the emerging sensing technology.

Aneesha writes:

Carpe Energia is a fictional event with the concept, ‘seize the energy’. Active and engaging for its audience, I made it interactive by using motion sensors with LED’s.

The LED’s respond in a gentle fashion to stimulus provided by human interaction. They light up as I wave my hand in front of the sensors- a slight twinkling ripple that spreads out to other areas as it dissipates. The effect is a like touching a pool of water into an overall gentle rippling, and eventually settles down.
The poster is powered with a 24V power supply. I have covered the LED’s with Duralar paper and cut out holes for the senors.

The Type Treatment- event information on the left is screen printed (white ink) directly on the black board.

Excellent work!

Explore the Studio Arts

Each year at It’s Your Show, I’m struck by the beautiful paintings and drawings that our students submit. Many are picking up a paintbrush or pencil for the first time, so it’s truly amazing how much they’re able to accomplish by the end of class. I think it’s a testament to our instructors, but also to the creative spirit and energy that our students, many coming from backgrounds far removed from the art world, are able to bring to class each week.

If you’re looking to start a new hobby, or rediscover those paints and brushes that have been packed away for years, we have summer classes that can help you get started. Check out our workshops below, and some images of student artwork from past shows.

Basic Drawing I and Creative Drawing Workshop with Stephanie Pryor

Mixed Media Painting Techniques with Julie Weitz

Basic Drawing II with Josh Mannis

Basic Watercolor Techniques for Landscape, Figures and Abstraction with Paul Arden

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