Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Alumni Success: Ryan DePaola

Associate of Science – Graphic Design
Spring 2009
Art Director – Focustribe Studios

“Give me a venue for creativity and I will knock your socks off.”

It’s this type of confidence that helped Graphic Design alumnus Ryan DePaola land the title of art director at Focustribe Studios.

“My work set me apart from my classmates but so did my networking, “ Ryan said. “I told everyone I met that I was a ‘creative designer’ and not an ‘in the box’ designer.”

Ryan met Focustribe Studios at the Portfolio Show and his interview went so well that they hired him on the spot.

“The Graphic Design program gave me the tools I needed to be successful,” Ryan said. “It helped me understand the difference between strong and weak design.”

On any given day, Ryan could be designing work for a children’s hospital or for a mixed martial arts company. The variety helps him keep his edge as a designer.

“From the moment I get in the office until I leave, my plate is full of design,” Ryan said. His advice to students: “Don’t be lazy. If you give everything you’ve got, you’ll come out on top.”

Alumni Success: Lauren Mohns

Bachelor of Science – Interior Design
September 2007
Interior Designer – Westgroup Designs

What was once Lauren Mohn’s least favorite subject is now her specialty. Lauren works as an interior designer at Westgroup Designs where she is considered the expert at space planning.

“Space planning is like working on a puzzle,” Lauren said. “It is challenging at times but so rewarding when you can make it work in an efficient yet creatively designed matter.”

Lauren felt that the Interior Design program at The Art Institute of California – Orange County has helped her be successful by giving her a solid foundation on which to continue to build her skill set.

“There is no way that school can prepare you 100% for the real world but my program gave me a little taste of everything I might encounter in my career,” Lauren said. “So far I haven’t had to do anything that I hadn’t at least heard about, but I am still learning from the experts I work with everyday.”

Even though Lauren is still learning all she can, Westgroup recognized her talent when she presented at the graduate portfolio show.

“My portfolio gave a strong sense of my design style and it happened to match theirs,” Lauren said. “It’s hard for an employer to look at your projects individually to determine if you are a right fit for them but they can get a feel for your sense of style by the overall presentation.”

Aside from developing technical skills, Lauren also learned the importance of completing internships while still in school. She said her internship helped her appreciate the skills she was learning in class because it became clear how they applied to the real world.

“My internship helped me realize what direction I wanted to take with my design career,” Lauren said. “I enjoyed residential design but realized that commercial design experience makes it easier to move from one firm to another.”

Alumni Success: Damon Martinez

Bachelor of Science – Media Arts & Animation
Winter 2008
Dimensionalist – In-Three

Media Arts & Animation alumnus Damon Martinez was meeting with his Career Services advisor when a lead came through with In-Three, a company that specializes in transforming 2-D films into 3-D. After he interviewed, In-Three offered Damon a job on a trial basis and eventually a full-time job.

“The Media Arts & Animation program taught me how film works but my demo reel showed them what I could do with images,” Damon said. “One of my scenes showed several images that had to be cut, color corrected and manipulated in a way that still blended together. It’s very similar to the type of work I do now.”

As a dimensionalist and occluded surface reconstruction painter, Damon corrects mistakes in the frames and puts back elements that were taken out during the earlier part of the editing process. He relies on the skills he learned in school to get the job done: frame rates, pixilation and image manipulation.

His favorite project is still in the works so he can’t talk about it yet, but he had this advice to share with students, “People may try to talk you out your passion but if you are dedicated to your niche, you can find a way to get paid for it.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fashion Experts Share Tips on Enhancing Personal Style and Smart Shopping

The What to Wear Workshop hosted by The Art Institute of California – Orange County is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.

Just because budgets are tighter doesn’t mean a well-stocked closet and enviable wardrobe are out of reach. On Wednesday, September 30, The Art Institute of California – Orange County Fashion program presents the What to Wear workshop. Fashion experts will share tips on transforming runway-inspired styles into wearable looks and how to shop for figure-flattering styles while staying within a budget.

“People often wonder how to achieve a look they’ve seen in a magazine at a price they can manage,” said Mary Ann Gale, Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing & Management academic director. “We wanted to offer the community a chance to take advantage of the industry resources we’re able to share with our Fashion students.”

The What to Wear Workshop will be lead by stylist Adria Heath and designers Eva Franco and Ari Sheuhmelian. The three panelists have each trained internationally and both designers’ clothing can be found in the US and abroad.

Advanced registration is recommended, as space is limited. Check-in for the What to Wear Workshop begins at 5:30 p.m. and the workshop runs from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. There is no cost to attend. For more information on the panel or to RSVP, please visit

Media Contacts
Tricia Cook at or 714.338.1303
Veronica Orozco at or 714.830.0221

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Culinary Students Present an “Evening with Julia Child”

Inspired by the woman who brought French cooking into American kitchens, senior-level Culinary students at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Orange County will host an “Evening with Julia Child” on Thursday, September 17.

This special event coincides with OC Restaurant Week, sponsored by the Orange County Restaurant Association. Guests will enjoy a five-course prix-fixe menu for only $20. All gratuities go to the scholarship fund established for Culinary students.

“The students developed a menu that was inspired by recipes from Julia’s various cookbooks,” said Culinary Arts Instructor Brandy McKay. “The students have added their own touches to these classic recipes and are eager to pay tribute to this culinary legend.”

“An Evening with Julia” is being produced by Culinary Management students in the Senior Practicum class. The objective of the class is to learn how to plan and execute public functions and learn the skills needed to open their own restaurant.

50 Forks restaurant will also be participating in Restaurant Week and is offering a three-course lunch menu for only $10. Call 714.429.0918 for restaurant hours and reservations.

For more information on OC Restaurant Week or to see complete menus, go to

Media Contacts
Tricia Cook at or 714.338.1303
Veronica Orozco at or 714.830.0221

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Teens with a Passion for Fashion Can Compete for the Chance to Earn Scholarships

The Art Institute of California – Orange County is now accepting submissions for the Passion for Fashion scholarship competition

High school seniors that see a fashion career in their futures have the chance to compete for a full-tuition scholarship to study Fashion Design or Fashion Marketing & Management at The Art Institute of California – Orange County.

The Passion for Fashion Competition was created to encourage and reward young fashion talent. Two grand prize winners will be selected to receive a full tuition scholarship to study at a participating Art Institutes school. One winner will be selected from each of the following categories: (i) Fashion Design and (ii) Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management.

“Many students have raw talent and a full tuition scholarship could help them learn the skills they need to pursue a career in fashion,” said Mary Ann Gale, Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing & Management Academic Director. “Seniors about to graduate have grown up watching reality shows like Project Runway and this competition is their opportunity to see how they match up against their peers.”

In addition to a full tuition scholarship, the grand prize winner in each category, in partnership with Seventeen Magazine, also receives a trip to New York City to attend a Fashion Week show, attends a "meet and greet" at Seventeen Magazine's offices, lunches with a Seventeen Magazine Style Pro and receives a $500 shopping spree.

Students are required to create an original evening wear design for the Fashion Design category or an original Fashion Marketing, Merchandising and Retail Management plan for the corresponding category.

To be eligible, students must be set to graduate high school in 2010, complete an Entry & Release Form, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0, write a short essay describing their interest in fashion and submit a finished, originally designed evening wear garment and process book for the Fashion Design category or a create a product or plan for the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management category.

The deadline to submit entries to The Art Institute of California – Orange County is Friday, November 20, 2009. For complete rules and entry requirements of The Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition, visit or contact Veronica Orozco at 714.830.0221 or

Media Contacts
Tricia Cook, or 714.338.1303
Veronica Orozco, or 714.830.0221