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Interview with UX Graduate Clement Lee

Congratulations to Clement on his recent graduation! Hear about his background and see some of his class projects below.

How did you get interested in user experience design and why did you choose this program?  

Ever since I started my interest in design in general at 16, I was very intrigued by the wide variety of visual mediums a designer can use to tell a story. While developing my graphic design in college, I wanted to push my boundaries beyond pushing pixels. I want to understand more about technology, business, psychology. It is from there I started to explore user experience design. After I graduated college, I decided to continue my design pursuit at UCLA Extension. I chose this institution because it provides a year-long program that nurtures students to understand the broader scale beyond user experience. The program allowed us to explore different aspects of the design spectrum, such as marketing, customer experience, service design, and user psychology. On top of that, all the instructors are diligent professionals passionate about teaching new designers.

Can you tell us about a project you completed that you’re proud of, or that you found especially challenging?

In our third quarter of the program, our team’s assignment was to create an end-to-end service design for a car dealership in the digital age during pandemic and post-pandemic. I wasn’t familiar with the dealership industry, nor was I familiar with service design. As our team proceeds with the project, each part of the research, design, and iterations are meticulous. The long hours of work are required to condense into a 5-minute presentation. Despite the challenges, this is the quarter that I truly understood the full scale of user experience design. Our team collaborated so seamlessly it made the challenging assignments very fun to tackle. In the end, the project was a big success, and I couldn’t be more proud of our hard work.

What are your professional aspirations?

I hope to become a designer that can use my skills for a good cause and reach out to a large audience who need access to basic needs. Industries such as healthcare, technology, athletics, and philanthropy can impact large communities, and I would be honored to be part of an influential team.

What advice would you give someone interested in learning more about User Experience Design?

Always have a growth mindset. You will learn new things in each project, which means you will have to fill yourself in other people’s shoes a lot. So it’s essential to become adaptable and prepare for whatever case comes your way. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes and ask a lot of questions! That way, you will grow not only as a designer but as a person.

Telling Your Story: Narrative Photography with Craig Havens

This fall we’re pleased to offer a new photography course with instructor Craig Havens.

ART X 450.99 – Telling Your Story: Narrative Photography  (Fall 2021)
September 21 – December 14

This course focuses on essential tools and techniques for communicating effective and compelling personal stories through your photographs. Students will develop a unique visual storytelling perspective and define their personal narrative voice.

Course assignments will provide practical experience in defining a personal point of view, effective pre-production and planning, linear and non-linear narratives, effective Image sequencing and editing, compositional strategies for visual storytelling, lighting for dramatic effect, dynamic interactions with subjects, and professional digital image workflows.

Instruction also covers the use of smartphone cameras, social media integration, as well as use of the Adobe RAW workflow editing environment.

Butte de Leon & Dirtpile by Craig Havens

Go Behind the Scenes of the LA Art World with Brenda Williams

This fall we’re looking forward to working once again with Brenda Williams to offer Contemporary Los Angeles Art. Brenda is a local art adviser and independent curator specializing in emerging contemporary artists. Her class will meet over six Saturdays, and explore areas in the Los Angeles art world not usually accessible to the public. Visits will focus on private home collections, artists’ studios, and curator-led gallery tours. Each six-hour meeting will include multiple location visits.

To read more about the class, and register for fall, click here.

We spoke with Brenda about her background, and what artists she’s watching now.

How did you get interested in art collecting, and what were your first experiences in the art world?

While living in Italy I worked for Bonomo gallery where the owner and her daughter honed my taste for contemporary art. When I returned to the states, I became more interested in African art and textiles. I fell in love with the masks and statues from various tribes in Africa. The textiles by makers from around the world (Africa, Asia, South and North American tribal areas) were so amazing (ikat, tie dye and embroidery), I couldn’t resist their beauty. Later I collected various types of tea services.

What artists or galleries are you excited about right now?

It’s been a very difficult 2 years trying to see art in person. On the few occasions when the city let down it’s Covid restrictions, galleries permitted visitors with an appointment. I got to see a few in-person shows. Galleries and museums pivoted quickly to offer viewings and other programing online. Art seen through the lens of a camera is very different than seeing it in person. No one is happier than me that we can return to viewing art in person. I visited UTA Gallery, Nicodim Gallery and the new spaces by jil moniz, downtown on Spring and Stefan Simchowitz on Beverly Blvd. As for artists, Amy Sherald really opened my eyes. Simphiwe Ndzube is beyond brilliant. Another rising star is April Bey who’s current exhibition is at the California African American Museum until January 2022.

What do you feel is something unique Los Angeles has to offer art lovers?

The unique thing LA has to offer art lovers right now is an overwhelming amount of resources to find new, emerging and established artists, at new galleries and museums. You can begin viewing and collecting art, from the lowest to the top spectrum of the art market. The city has exploded in artists and galleries over the past 7 years and you can see work from local and world renown artists in under a 25 mile radius. There is literally a gallery or small museum in every neighborhood.

Which collections or works are you looking forward to sharing with your students?

The current exhibitions at the California African American Museum (CAAM). The upcoming portrait show at LACMA that will include the portrait of Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley. Many galleries have not yet posted their upcoming fall exhibitions but, I am looking forward to sharing the adventure of exploring the galleries and museums with my students.

For those who are interested in learning more about the art world in Los Angeles, how would you recommend getting started?

Visit as many museums and galleries as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Read local art based publications like CARLA and Artillery. There are other more established worldwide publications, I think art enthusiasts can find those. And if that leaves you wanting more, take my class Contemporary Los Angeles Art this fall.

Interview with UX Graduate Larry Nguyen

Congrats to recent UX Grad Larry Nguyen! Read about Larry’s UX journey below (all work samples are his).

Tell us about how you got interested in user experience design and what brought you to the UX Certificate.

What got me interested in UX Design was actually networking with UX Designers when I was a Technical Recruiter, recruiting Front End Engineers and UI/UX Designers. By talking to them, I learned about an incredibly interesting industry and how designers helped create the modern digital world we live in. I was intrigued by how designers would simply empathize with users and facilitate that information to stakeholders in order to redesign products with the user in mind. In broader terms, designers help users and stakeholders’ lives easier and I thought this would be a fulfilling career.

What brought me to the UX Certificate program at UCLAx was the interest in bootcamps and certification programs available for people like to me change careers. Personally, I wanted to take my time to strengthen my design fundamentals with the year long program at UCLAx compared to other bootcamps and shorter certifications. It also helped that I attended UCLA for my undergrad, therefore I was extremely comfortable expanding my education with my alma mater.

What was your favorite course and why?

I had two favorite courses, UX III and UX IV. Both of the instructors I had for these courses have impressive backgrounds and I felt that I learned so much from both of them. I had built the foundation of my skills with the first two courses, but UX III and UX IV was what elevated my design skill set and mindset towards human centered design. Both courses helped me push myself to improve and continue to learn more about the diverse industry that UX has been trending to. Therefore both of these projects are featured in my portfolio.

Can you tell us about a project you completed that you’re proud of or challenged you?

A project I’m proud of was the mentorship project I completed with my team under Adam Fischbach. It was such a unique opportunity to partner with a real company and apply what we learned from the program to a company with needs that could actually implement our design solution. It was challenging because it was a project that we could not afford to make mistakes on, therefore we painstakingly ensured that all of our deliverables and presentations to our client was work of our highest caliber.

What advice would you have for anyone interested in getting started in UX?

Advice I would give for anyone interested in getting started in UX is to never be afraid of making mistakes. Design is about iteration, and constantly improving on your designs. This goes with always asking questions when you’re unsure of anything.

Interview with Photography Graduate Jonathan Mark Hedrick

Congratulations to recent Photography Certificate grad Jonathan Mark Hedrick! We spoke to Jonathan about his path to photography, and where he hopes to take his practice. All images included are his.

Tell us about how you got interested in photography and what brought you to the Photography Certificate

My interest in photography began in an organic way. Visual stimuli has always been a means of comfort, inspiration, and education for me. I have always been artistically inclined, drawing and building worlds with things like Legos when I was very young, to taking art classes through my youth and studying art formally in college. I have always been an observer, probably due to the nature of my life as an Army brat and later as a sailor in the US Navy. Furthermore, being adopted has contributed to my preference of observing things, so watching the world in real life and in media is something I respond to. Photography seemed like the logical step for me and my pursuit to find a means to create and express myself.  I learned about the certification program at UCLA Extension and I decided that I wanted to pursue photography in a serious capacity and enrolled for the certificate to learn about the craft.

What’s something about photography that beginning students might not realize?

Beginning students might not realize that photography involves more than making a pretty picture, or the type of camera one uses. Beginners can be overwhelmed with the logistical aspects of photography along with the diverse disciplines that make up the genre, before they find the thing or things they want to photograph. My experience in the time I was enrolled in the program has led me down many paths that photography can offer, and I believe that it will be a constant learning experience. One can learn how to operate a camera and operate lights, read a scene before them, compose it even. I think photography is more than that, and a large component is what the person behind the camera is doing it all for. I know I didn’t sign up with that in mind when I wanted to learn “photography”. 

For your portrait series, can you share what you were exploring with these images, and how you approached the project? 

My conceptual works stem from current and past experiences, observations, and the feelings I personally have about those experiences. During my Photography II class with Natasha Rudenko, I was introduced to works by Cindy Sherman, Gregory Crewdson, Carrie May Weems, and other conceptual photographers. It had a profound effect on me. It was exhilarating and inspirational that a distinct messaging style of portraiture could be created by using allegory and visual metaphors. I like to understand and explain things with analogies and I suppose this is why I gravitated to this sort of composition.  

I am exploring the human experience through my eyes, using analogies that inform me of the ways I can express what it’s like to be unseen, consumed, distant, oppressed, afraid, etc. 

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

At this point, it’s challenging to decide on one thing to do or where I see myself. There are so many aspects to photography that I deeply enjoy and am attracted to. I would love to work as an editorial/portrait photographer like Richard Phibbs, or do long projects like Alex Soth and grand tableaus like Gregory Crewdson. I can only stay dedicated and hope that will lead me to creating meaningful work aside from just doing photography as a conventional job. I want to contribute to the world and it feels like I’m just getting started. 

UCLAxOpen Free Course: Create a Simple Still Life with Charcoal and Eraser

Join us Monday, June 14 at 12pm for Create a Simple Still Life with Charcoal and Eraser, a free short workshop taught by studio arts instructor Stephanie Pryor.

Come prepared with:

A piece of charcoal (Alphacolor or any other compressed charcoal)

Sketch pad or drawing paper

A kneaded eraser

Several light-colored still-life objects (such a a bowl, cup or piece of fruit)

A light source such as a desk lap

Nitrile gloves

Stephanie Pryor is an artist who has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows in Los Angeles, New York, and Europe.

UCLAxOpen Free Course: Choosing and Using a Digital Camera

Join us Tuesday, June 14 at 12pm for Choosing and Using a Digital Camera, a free short course taught by photography instructor Dr. Craig Havens.

This course covers digital camera features including camera bodies, sensors and lenses, as well as brands, quality and price comparisons. Get recommendations for a variety of different needs. The 90-minute course ends with a Q&A session.

Craig Havens (US/DE) is a visual artist working in the lens-based media of photography, video, installation and projection. He lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin. His practice is concerned with expanding the function of photographic and moving images beyond the role of documentary monuments through the use of counter monumental strategies derived from post-war German public sculptural practice. 

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