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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.

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