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Alumnx Spotlights

Alumnx Spotlights Fall 2021

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Adam Blish Creates Sustainable Food Packaging with Organic Lines

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“Not all ‘packaging engineering’ needs to look robust and technical,” says the product designer.
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Compostable packaging food service product line for Zume

Compostable packaging food service product line for Zume by Adam Blish

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Adam Blish (’17 BFA Product Design)

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The project I recently finished is this compostable packaging food service product line. My goal was to use no straight lines in the design, to replicate the fact the no straight lines can be found in nature. There are some flat surfaces out of necessity.

It also showcases the strengthening features needed for these products, while striking a balance with aesthetics. Not all “packaging engineering” needs to look robust and technical, it can look organic and soft while serving the same purpose. After all, the food the end user eats is in it, so it should appear as organic and natural as possible.

The aesthetics that this product will return to the earth and complete a natural product life cycle is the underlying goal. To convey that visually may be a lofty aspiration, but it was the intent nonetheless. Hopefully compostable packaging will grow and encourage users to compost their waste (food, packaging, etc) more and more.

Blish, an Industrial Design Lead with Zume—a compostable packaging company based out of Camarillo, California—is a sustainability enthusiast and outdoor advocate. In 2017 he was featured on Otis.edu as a Group Scholarship recipient. For more information, please visit ablishdesign.com

If you are an Otis alumnx who would like to be featured in a future spotlight, please let us know here.

Caroline Fullerton’s New Work Explores the Intersection of Art, Design, and Intuition

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By day she’s a designer at Nike, but off-hours Fullerton creates under her personal Studio 528 Hz.
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Caroline Fullerton’s New Work Explores the Intersection of Art, Design, and Intuition

A meditation cushion made with reclaimed jeans, paint, and organic cotton-fill with the flower of life sacred geometry, 2020

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Claire Fullerton (’13 BFA Product Design)

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My personal creative practice is done under my studio name of Studio 528 Hz. It was brought to life and is being brought to life through the belief that if we create from a place of love and compassion we will spread love and compassion. 528 hz is the frequency of love. It is the frequency/hertz that creates the sacred geometry of the flower of life, thus the torus field, which is the same field we have emanating from the center of our hearts—the magnetic field radiating from our heart chakra. Through my studio practice I seek to cocreate and partner with artisans and creatives who want to create from a place of love and compassion so that we can continue to spread the energy of love through the thoughts and concepts that are manifested. I’m in the process of getting social media and a website up and running, but have a handful of exciting projects underway, including a fun project with my partner. 

Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I’m a Material Design Director within Lifestyle Footwear at Nike, where my passions include future materials, sustainable/responsible design, and redefining leadership. In my Studio 528 Hz practice I allow my intuition to flow through a meditated state of love that is about conversing with life through a multimedia approach to creation expressed from love. This takes many forms, from guided meditations, to furniture, etc. I’ve always loved funky and playful 70s vibes, and so I bring that in as a visual and energetic thread to my work. These are some recent pieces. 

I have a wide range of interests and I found that when I allow all of those interests to join forces, I can create from the intersection they create. Since the womb I've been a maker, and I've always been drawn to textures, color, and composition. These pieces were born out of an intuitive approach to allowing my interests to intersect. In this case, it’s a blend of art and form. I began painting on denim as a meditative practice, as a way to converse with paint in a new way outside of a typical canvas, broadening the canvas of composition. I got some girlfriends together to do a photoshoot with these pieces and then after that I transformed the jeans into furniture upholstery. I find so much joy in playing alchemist and transforming one thing to something new—playing with texture, color, and composition. It feels like painting with texture and form—very much the intersection between art, design, and intuition. 

You can sign-up to be notified when the Studio 528 Hz website is live at www.studio528hz.com, and follow Fullerton and the studio on Instagram, @studio_528hz

If you are an Otis alumnx who would like to be featured in a future spotlight, please let us know here.

Reupholstered chair using painted denim and reclaimed jean scraps, 2020

Reupholstered chair using painted denim and reclaimed jean scraps, 2020

Reupholstered bench using painted denim and reclaimed jean scraps, 2020

Reupholstered bench using painted denim and reclaimed jean scraps, 2020

Bench and pillow made from reclaimed denim and jeans, paint, and tie-dyed terry loop textile by Dye Lit Goods, 2020

Bench and pillow made from reclaimed denim and jeans, paint, and tie-dyed terry loop textile by Dye Lit Goods, 2020

Aaron Gonzalez Realizes a Long-Term Goal with a new Non-Fungible Token Project

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The first phase of Plantswap includes a collection of 1,000 drawings.
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Plantswap gif by Aaron Gonzalez

Plantswap gif by Aaron Gonzalez

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Aaron Gonzalez (’19 BFA Communication Arts, Illustration)

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After a couple of years steadily progressing toward a project with a long term goal, things are starting to come together. I’ve had the idea of creating an animated series with a brand built around the intellectual property, and this past month, I’ve made significant progress.

The project is completely independent, with plans to collaborate and commission creative friends to help build the brand. Combining the skill set I’ve acquired over the years, including art direction, illustration, animation, web design, augmented reality, marketing, finance, and more, I feel really confident and excited about the way this project is coming together. Anyone who’s even slightly followed my career knows I’m constantly incorporating innovative ideas into my art practice. 

PlantSwap is the latest project I have been working on and will be released in phases. Currently, PlantSwap is in the first phase, consisting of a collection of 1,000 hand-made drawings based on the Ethereum Blockchain. Selling them as Non-Fungible Token NFTs on OpenSea is helping finance the project, while connecting with an incredible, tight-knit, international community who believes in and supports the project. 

Once all 1,000 house plant drawings are released, we enter the next phase, called PlantSwap Seeds. The owners of the 1,000 plants receive a Seed, which issues them collector rewards for holding. Similar to issuing a stock, where shareholders receive dividends, revenue associated with PlantSwap is allocated back to the community through collector rewards. Collector rewards can be sold for profit or redeemable for PlantSwap merchandise. The more NFTs you own, the more collector rewards you receive. This payout system is written into a smart contract, where the rewards are automatically distributed to the collectors. This project is primarily made for the next generation of art collectors.

Incorporating decentralized finance into my art practice addresses a problem I’ve had for years, and so have many other artists for generations: the lack of capital to make dream creative projects a reality while maintaining full creative control.

I encourage all of the Otis Community to look into this new space before completely dismissing it. It’s not for everyone, but it could result in life-changing outcomes for some, specially those creatives who are interested in independence and pursuing their own creative projects.

Last September, Gonzalez contributed artwork for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s L.A. Mask Print Project. Before graduating from Otis, he illustrated the poster wrap for the 2019 Admissions Viewbook, which was shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards that year. He also has a mural on the second floor of the Ahmanson building on Otis’s Goldsmith campus in Westchester. His work has been featured by Heal the Bay, The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center in New York, and the Los Angeles Design Festival. For more information, please visit a-gonzalez.com and follow him on Instagram, @aaron.gonzaalez

If you are an Otis alumnx who would like to be featured in a future spotlight, please let us know here.

The Intimacy Between Fathers and Sons Informs Recent Work by Noah Humes

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One of the paintings is an homage to his grandfather, who taught him about Pan-Africanism.
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The Right Colors, 2020 (Acrylic on wood panel; 48 by 60 inches) by Noah Humes

The Right Colors, 2020 (Acrylic on wood panel; 48 by 60 inches) by Noah Humes

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Noah Humes (’17 BFA Communication Arts, Illustration)

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These four figures placed on canvas are imagined through real-life instances. Both pieces present a father with his son as they pose in the midst of sharing a sentimental moment together. The Right Colors is a direct correlation to my experience and relationship with my paternal grandfather, who was a historian on Black culture. He educated me on Pan-Africanism and was adamant about knowing its central figure, Marcus Garvey. The Right Colors shows the child holding a ball that contains red, black, and green, which are the colors of the Pan-African flag, representing the introduction into the history of an important time, especially for one of African descent. Time portrays a similar instance but without the connection to one of my experiences. This piece allows the viewer to take a step into the intimacy shared with a father and son, a time in which the child is in the beginning stages of life, formulating a significant relationship to never be altered. Each image emphasizes the necessary phase to shape a meaningful presence and relationship with whom two beings participated in bringing into this world.

I have recently worked on a few projects with Vans and Apple, as they comprised painting commissions, video, photos, and interviews. Through Apple, I was commissioned to paint a person whose creative practice I admire; for me that is Maurice Harris. We followed up with a joint interview session through Apple to speak further about our art practice. Maurice was one of the artists on the panel to judge the Vans High School Custom Culture program, which was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets. The mission is to empower everyone to express themselves creatively and be given the tools to do so. Custom Culture High School is a national high school customization competition using blank Vans shoes to be customized around the specific themes, “Hometown Pride” and “Head in the Clouds.” I was also commissioned to do a painting for one of Vans’ ad campaigns, which you can view here.  

Last summer, Humes collaborated on a large-scale mural outside the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood commemorating George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. His work also was featured in 2019 in the group exhibition, Centennial: 100 Years of Otis College Alumni, at the Ben Maltz Gallery on Otis’s Goldsmith campus in Westchester. He has a mural on the tk floor in the Ahmanson building. More recently, Humes and fellow Otis alumnx Maurice Harris (’05 BFA Fine Arts) collaborated on a mural outside Apple’s new storefront in the historic Tower Theater in downtown Los Angeles, pictures of which can be viewed here. For more information, please visit NoahHumes.com and follow him on Instagram, @noahhumes

Time, 2021 (Acrylic on wood panel; 48 by 60 inches) by Noah Humes

Time, 2021 (Acrylic on wood panel; 48 by 60 inches) by Noah Humes

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If you are an Otis alumnx who would like to be featured in a future spotlight, please let us know here.

Claire Oring Launches a Stop Motion Animation Course Through Her Design Studio

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Magic Through Motion is designed to help content creators grow their animation skills and build their portfolio.
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Claire Oring
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Claire Oring (’11 BFA Digital Media, Animation)

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I just spent the past 14 months creating my very first online course—a deep-dive into creating commercial stop motion animation. The course distills a decade of my trials and errors in commercial advertising, from running a content studio owned by The New York Times to starting my own creative studio, Oui Create, and I’m so proud of it!

Magic Through Motion is the only course on the market that will not only teach students how to make beautifully branded stop motion animations and land stop motion clients, but also help them grow their portfolio along the way. 

This course is fun—without the fluff—to help photographers and content creators grow their animation skills and portfolio, fast. I want students to say goodbye to suffering through confusion and scavenging the internet for stop motion tutorials by creators who have no advertising experience. In the class we’ll dig deep into the strategy and technical skills of creating scroll-stopping animations and digital ads. 

The course is for the professional product photographer who wants to stand out from their competition and create compelling ads for their clients, the tech-savvy creator in search of an innovative way to generate income, the in-house creative aspiring to accelerate their brand's growth, the creative blogger ready to take their brand partnerships to the next level—or any confident photographer ready to make moves and work from home! 

I’m grateful for my BFA in Digital Media from Otis College for laying the foundation of my animation knowledge—it’s a great starting point for any future animators out there! 

Magic Through Motion will start enrolling in January 2022 at this link. For more information on Oring, please visit Oui Create and follow the studio on Instagram, @ouicreate

If you are an Otis alumnx who would like to be featured in a future spotlight, please let us know here.