Category Archives: Alumni

Alumni Interview: Ginine Gordon

Below are excerpts from a conversation between Queens College Design graduate Ginine Gordon (Class of 2017), and Assistant Professor Ryan Hartley Smith about entering the job market after graduation, and advice for current and prospective Design Majors.

Ginine Gordon

RHS: Hi Ginine, thanks for doing this! What are you doing professionally now that you’ve graduated?

GG: I am an Art Director [at Ogilvy, an NYC advertising agency].

RHS: Entering into the professional field of design is extremely competitive and it can be difficult for recent graduates to balance supporting themselves, making new work for their portfolio, and networking / applying for jobs. How has this process been going for you?

GG: I knew the design industry was a highly competitive field and it would be difficult to find a job. I can’t stress enough how fortunate I am to have been a part of the One Club internship program. Professor Weinstein and Justin [from the One Club] found an agency that was the perfect fit for me, and I’m fortunate the agency has kept me on the team long term.

RHS: How would you describe the work you’re making now?

GG: I love the work I’m doing now. I enjoy the challenge it brings. Plus, I get to make gifs for a living, how many people can say that?

(c) Ginine Gordon

RHS: What are your professional goals for the near future? How do you plan on achieving them?

GG: I want to experience many different kinds of projects. I plan on developing my skills at multiple agencies as a senior Art Director or a Creative director. I want to be able to grow and evolve on more than one team.

RHS: Did you participate in an internship while at Queens College? If so, what was it? How did you get it? And what was the experience like?

GG: Yes, I completed two internships while at Queens College, both under the One Club. During my last two semesters, I submitted my design portfolio and resume into a competition headed by Professor Weinstein. The One Club then selected 7 students to intern at big agencies. I was fortunate enough to be chosen both times. My first internship at BBDO was a culture shock experience.The environment was faster-paced than I expected, but, it gave me a great taste of the advertising world. My second internship, which was at the agency I currently work for, was even better. I was able to get a lot of great feedback on my book. I was eventually scouted by a Creative Director. He said he always liked to pass my desktop to see what I was working on, including my book. I thanked him and gave him my card. The next day I was told he wanted to hire me on his team. In one word, it was awesomeness times two.

(c) Ginine Gordon

RHS: What was your favorite Design course at QC and why?

GG: My favorite design course was book design with Natalya Balnova (yes this is a shout out). It was one of the first times I had a professor kick me into high gear. There was no sugar coating in class. We also had a chance to make great projects for our books. My advice for students considering a major in design is to understand this is not the “easier” courses. This major will take a lot of time to master (I’m not even one yet!). But, it is worth it. It’s not a major that is not really grade focused (although you should always aim for that A!), but more about the quality of the work that you produce. Half-a**ing is not welcome.

(c) Ginine Gordon

RHS: What advice do you have for students who are considering pursuing a major in Design?

GG: One Club, One Club and if I forgot to mention, One Club. It’s the go-to place for a chance at internships with big companies. Professor Weinstein is always posting new internship opportunities on her website. A clean resume and portfolio are a given, and it should be on your personal website. I’m not going to tell you what your professors have probably been telling you forever, but it is important.

(c) Ginine Gordon

RHS: What advice do you have for QC Design majors who are beginning to search for internships and their first Design industry job(s) after graduation?

GG: I would definitely apply to more internships during my time there. I would have also taken more After Effects courses. I found that in this business, most art directors don’t know how to use After Effects and most clients like motion in their work.

(c) Ginine Gordon

RHS: Where can we see your portfolio (website, behance, anything else you want to share…)?

GG: My website is ginine-gordon.squarespace.com. I also actively make gifs for Ibmblr from time to time, so you van see my work there as well. Make sure to also check out Art with Watson, the Josephine Baker portrait. I was an art director on that team.

RHS: Thanks Ginine!

GG: Happy Designing!

(c) Ginine Gordon

Alumni Interview: Freddy Japa

Below are excerpts from a conversation between Queens College Design graduate Freddy Japa (Class of 2017), and Assistant Professor Ryan Hartley Smith about entering the job market after graduation, and advise for students considering a major and career in Design.

Freddy Japa

RHS: Hi Freddy! What have you been up to since graduation?

FJ: I‘ve been keeping myself busy on personal projects for my portfolio. Professionally I have been doing freelance work for clients thanks to social media. I am also currently applying to internships to obtain more experience and hopping to soon be part of a well-known agency.

(c) Freddy Japa

RHS: Entering into the professional field of design is extremely competitive and it can be difficult for recent graduates to balance supporting themselves, making new work for their portfolio, and networking / applying for jobs. How has this process been going for you?

FJ: Entering into the professional field has been competitive. There are many talented individuals in the field. Using the social media platform like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Behance have helped me a lot in exposing my work and networking. Throughout the social media platform I have been able to obtain many clients since I am currently a freelancer. LinkedIn has also become a great resource for me right now, as I am applying for both jobs and internships. For me exposing my work on every social media has really helped me a lot, I believe the more you expose your work the more individuals get to see it and could be a potential client.

RHS: How would you describe the work you’re making now, (both professional and personal work)?

FJ: Lately I have been focusing more on logo design and character design for clothing brands that are both small and large businesses. A recent project I worked on was creating a logo for a new restaurant called the “Kings of Tacos”. It was a nice experience and pretty awesome to see a restaurant use a logo I created.

King of Tacos branding (c) Freddy Japa

RHS: You’ve done an amazing job at developing a huge social media following for your work. How did you make this happen and how is it useful for your career?

FJ: At the beginning I was very scared to put my work on social media. My fear was that my work would not be good enough and that people would dislike it. I ignored my fears and gave it a try, posting all my work on social media. The outcome was amazing! I was surprised to see how many people loved my work.  I was completely over my fear and posted kept posting more of my work. People did not only like my stuff but started to contact me for design work ( logos. T-shirt designs, business cards etc.). I would definitely recommend using social media, it’s free so take advantage of it to expose your work to the world.

RHS: What are your professional goals for the near future? How do you plan on achieving them?

FJ: My professional goals for the near future is to create more work and try to develop my style more, so agencies can see what I am capable of creating. I would also like to work on getting more people to know about my work and expose my work more. I recently started a YouTube channel with videos of how my work is done in time-lapse.

Twelve Clothing T-Shirt Design (c) Freddy Japa

RHS: Did you participate in an internship while at Queens College? If so, what was it? How did you get it? And what was the experience like?

FJ: I did participate in an internship while I was at QC. It was at an advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. I did this internship with other fellow friends from QC. The [Winter Semester] One Club program guided us into getting the internship.  The experience was really amazing because it gave me an glimpse of how a agency actually functions and we had the opportunity to work alongside with head of art/ design to develop concepts for advertising campaigns.

RHS: What was your favorite Design course at QC and why?

FJ: The course that I enjoyed in QC was poster design. The instructor was Natalya Balnovaa, and I enjoyed her way of teaching the course. I also loved how she would challenge us and push us to work harder. She helped me develop my style eve more. I learned a lot and enjoyed creating poster designs and other projects.

Felix the Cat Poster Project (c) Freddy Japa

RHS: What advice do you have for students who are considering pursuing a major in design?

FJ: The advice that I have for QC design major who are considering into pursuing a major in design is to work super hard all the time and to never be shy in asking for advice or help. I use to be shy and that held me behind a lot. The second I stopped being shy I started to ask help into building my portfolio. Thanks to all the feedback from great instructors I was able to build a strong portfolio. My last advice would be to get many internships because experience is very important.

RHS: What advice do you have for QC design majors who are beginning to search for internship and their first design industry jobs after graduation?

FJ: The advice that I have for QC design major who are beginning to search for internship and their first design industry jobs after graduation is to have a really solid portfolio. Have a lot of variation of projects from school and personal projects.

JL Carpentry Interior Branding (c) Freddy Japa

RHS: If you had to go through the QC design program again, what would you do differently?

FJ: If I had to go through the design program again, I would work even harder to create better projects for my portfolio, but most of all work on my typography.

RHS: Where can we see your portfolio?

FJ: You can all check out my work on my website www.japadesigns.com. I am also on various social media which are all listed on my website. I also have a YouTube channel- japadesigns, which you can subscribe to and watch some speed art videos of my work.

Design Major Receives Prestigious Honor for Illustration

Congrats to recent QC Design Alumnus Jiemin Yang, who is a winner in one of the most prestigious student illustration competitions in the country!

Every year since 1981 the Society of Illustrators holds the annual Student Scholarship Competition. This year, a little over 200 works were chosen from more than 8,000 entries submitted by professors of college-level students nationwide. The work is judged by professional illustrators and art directors. Pieces are accepted based on the quality of technique, concept and skill of medium used.

(C) Jiemin Yang, 2016

Jiemin’s piece “Foodie Town,” which he created in Assistant Professor Ryan Hartley Smith’s Illustration II course, is now on display at the Society of Illustrators along with the other winning entries. The exhibition is up now through June 3rd. More information here.

Have you graduated in the past 2 years? Still looking for work?

If the answer is yes, you may want to apply to the summer intensive CUNY Cultural Corps.

Cultural Corps Summer Intensive
Recent alumni of CUNY (including those who will graduate Spring 2017) with expressed interest in pursuing a career in the arts and culture sector will participate in a 9-week full-time work experience during the summer. Alumni will receive a wage of $13/hour and work 35 hours per week. Prior to engaging with their host sites, alumni will undergo intensive training in key areas of professional development. Periodically, alumni may attend cultural events hosted by partners and affiliated programs. Pending job availability and participant success, CUNY will work with the host site to explore the possibility of extending participant engagement with the site after program completion.

Eligibility Criteria CUNY Cultural Corps Summer Intensive

  • Be an alum of any CUNY 0-2 years out (must have degree by end of Spring 2017, and have obtained degree no earlier than Spring 2015)*
  • Have graduated with a cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 2.75
  • Have completed at least 1 year of full-time work experience or 2 years of part-time experience/internship experience(s)
  •  Be available to work full-time (35 hours/week) for a period of at least 9 weeks starting in June 2017
  • Have the proper work authorization required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
    *NOTE: Alumni who attend a non-CUNY institution during the time since graduating CUNY are still eligible to apply, though preference will be given to recent graduates of CUNY

To find out more, participate in the webinar

  • December 2, 2016 @ 2-2:30pm
  • December 7, 2016 @ 11-11:30am
  • December 8, 2016 @ 5:30-6pm
  • January 12, 2017 @ 12-12:30pm

to sign up for this date, or other dates, to learn about the program. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/5821404274521483011


sign up for this date, or other dates, to learn about the program. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/5821404274521483011

Application is on the website or can be found here here.

Website: www.cuny.edu/culturalcorps Twitter: @artsatcuny www.twitter.com/artsatcuny Instagram: @cunyarts www.instagram.com/cunyarts Facebook: www.facebook.com/cunyarts

Alumni Interview: Jimmy Mercado

Below are excerpts from a conversation between Queens College Design graduate Jimmy Mercado (Class of Fall 2015), and Deputy Chair Ryan Hartley Smith about entering the job market after graduation, and lessons learned along the way.

Jimmy Mercado

Jimmy Mercado

RHS: Hi Jimmy, How was your summer?
JM: Hey! What’s up Ryan?! My summer has been pretty good but mostly busy. Just keeping myself relaxed, the usual lol.

How would you describe the work you’re making now, and what’s the work you’re most proud of?
Well, I’ve been keeping myself busy- most of my work is animation (either in After Effects or Cinema 4D), however my favorite animation work has been in Cinema. In addition to that, I’ll say the work I’m most proud of has to be my Coca Cola Advertisement Poster (below). I say this because I felt like it matched the design choices I’ve thought of at the time before I started it. Plus it’s cool to me! Many people gave that poster so many compliments which made me happy.

Advertising project for class at QC.

Advertising project for class at QC.

Where can we see your portfolio (website, behance, anything else..)?
Anyone can check out my work on my website (www.jimdesigns.net), my Instagram dedicated to my designs is slim_design, and any other social media platform I i didn’t say here is on the footer of my website. I’m starting to do alot of animations now so I’m excited about that! Please follow if you guys like the stuff you see!

I met you before you were a student at Queens College, when you were in high school and we both worked for a community mural organization called Groundswell. The project you worked on was the entrance to the 191st 1 stop in Washington Heights. Did that experience influence your decision to pursue a career in art and design?
Oh that’s rightttt!! haha I was sooooo young! I believe I was like 14. I was a teenager, you know, so I didn’t know what I was doing. I started painting and it was relaxing and fun. Never did anything like that! I loved the environment, but believe it me it wasn’t that experience which made me like the arts and design. What made me pursue a career in art and design was actually being curious about the processes of making a poster, animated movie, and Photoshop skills I’d seen online during my senior year of high school.

Jimmy (left) works on "New York is a Rollercoaster" in 2008 with artists Chris Beck (2nd from left) and Belle Benfield (2nd from right).

Jimmy Mercado (left) works on “New York is a Rollercoaster” in 2008 with artists Chris Beck (2nd from left) and Belle Benfield (2nd from right). Photo taken by Ryan Hartley Smith for Groundswell.

Does the process of making a mural influence your current design work in any way?
That’s a great question!! Believe it or not it kind of does! It’s just like you could learn painting or drawing in college. I take note of what I learn each time. Like painting the mural with Groundswell actually helped me know more about complimentary colors, primary colors, etc. I learned what colors pop and can engage an audience. With that in mind, I encourage new comers trying to get into design not to limit themselves to just the computer. Log off and use paper and [handmade] materials when you can, trust me it helps!

Entering into the professional field of design is super competitive and it can be difficult for recent graduates to balance supporting themselves, making new work for their portfolio, and networking / applying for jobs. How has this process been going for you?
Well, that experience being a recent graduate that I am is honestly putting in work, work and more work. I graduated Fall of 2015 and for me I spent 4 months making animations. I thought to myself “I want to be an animator so bad. I want work, but I’m not getting anywhere right now.” I saw Professor Hyesu Lee one day while I was passing by to say “hi.” She told me don’t give up and keep applying. Another month passed by and the work and animations I put in worked out! I’m glad to say I found my first internship in May and this turned into a part-time designer/animator position with the NY Mets in the fall!

That is awesome that you’re working for the Mets! What is your job title? What are your responsibilities?
Yeah I know right! I was surprised when I had the interview a few months back. To answer your question I did intern with them as a “Productions Animation Intern.” I started with the Mets in May and the paid internship continued on until last week. There were 6 other interns including myself that worked with Productions. Some interns were designers and others were interning to gain experience in being part of a production team. I got hired to work part-time with them for the rest of this baseball season since they saw my interest in helping the team.  My responsibilities include designing and animating a “vs match-up” between the Mets and the visiting team. I also am using player images and placing them in the templates given to me by the Graphic Specialist. In addition, I work closely with the Director, the Graphic Specialist and others to come up with transition animations. For example, I generate ideas for replay wipes, logos, icons, and more to build in Cinema 4D and/or After Effects. I’ve already made some cool stuff for them that are up on the scoreboards!

That is so exciting! Well deserved! What are your other professional goals for this year? How do you plan on achieving them?
This year is all about making new things to put in my portfolio. I will focus more on animation to expand my horizons as an animator and designer. I plan to reach out to other animation-focused graphic design studios. I also plan on trying freelancing for a couple of my friend’s bosses. The way I’m approaching these things is just by applying, contacting people, and improving my work to show potential employers what I can do as a designer.

What was your favorite Design course at Queens College and why?
I don’t even have to think twice about this answer! If you asked anyone from my graduating class, they will tell you in a heartbeat “3D Animation & Modeling with Ben Voldman!” It was sooooo different from regular design. It included the 3D knowledge I’ve wanted to learn since the first time I got into art and design. I knew I would catch on fast and make it my “new thing”. Combining 3D with design and animating in Cinema 4D is the best!! However, Ben Voldman hands down gave me the basic tools to learn the rules and engaged his class in new ways to do things and it dragged my full attention. I would be the one asking questions and approaching him when I needed it. It was great to say I’ve taken alot from his class. When I started working for the Mets at Citifield, some of the creative artists thought I did really cool stuff thanks to the things I’ve learned at QC.

"Lazer Spaceship" designed to showcase rendering 3D objects in realistic scenery

“Lazer Spaceship” designed to showcase rendering 3D objects in realistic scenery

If you were able to go back and go through the Design program again (knowing what you’ve learned from entering the job market), what would you do differently?
If I had to go through the Design program again, I would’ve definitely liked to work more on my typography! I would’ve liked to change most of my designs to make them better than they were. Lastly, just approached my professors more and get the help to become better.

What advice do you have for students who are considering being a Design major?
I would say to you new folks “give it a shot!” Approach your professors when you want more knowledge and advice on your designs. Listen to the critiques you get in class and use them! When you learn from the critiques, it’ll make your designs 1000x better. Don’t be shy to speak your mind while critiquing because you help each other out! Aside from that, never give up post-graduation if you haven’t had work because SOMEONE WILL NOTICE YOU! Try finding an internship during your school years and if you still haven’t found anything don’t put your head down yet. Keep working and that hard work will push you to a point you’ll get a job.

QC Design grad Kelly Fernandez’s comics at Forbidden Planet NYC

nightbunny

“Night Bunny” by Kelly Fernandez

Congrats to Kelly Fernandez ’16, who is now selling her comics at the famed Forbidden Planet bookstore in Manhattan. Kelly also had a table at #BETTYZINEFEST this summer and is currently selling prints at her online shop. Go pick up a comic at Foribidden Planet and check out her fantastic website!

Kelly's comics at Forbidden Planet NYC

Kelly’s comics at Forbidden Planet NYC

 

Student Interview: Sila Chanrujipat

Below is a conversation between 2016 QC graduate Sila Chanrujipat and Assistant Professor Ryan Hartley Smith about Sila’s work and plans for after graduation.
Sila Chanrujipat

Sila Chanrujipat

Professor Smith: Hi Sila, Thanks for talking! Where can we see your portfolio?
Sila Chanrujipat: My portfolio can be seen on my behance page and my website.
Tell me about the project you are most proud of…
I am actually proud of all my works. The project that I am most proud of is my series of book covers that I created in my Typography II class. I designed a series of book covers for Alice in Wonderland.  Each book cover had to have its own theme. Therefore, I designed book covers in different concepts; dark, dreamy and vintage concept. With each book cover, I tried to use different tools and techniques to make such as using a paper craft, gradient, and shadow. It actually was my first time to do a paper craft by hands. I spent a lot of time to revise my works and tried to make them look like a 3d in photoshop combining different elements.
Alice in Wonderland Cover

One of Sila’s Alice in Wonderland Covers

What’s the most important thing you want the world to know about your design work?
Every design tells its own story. I like combining handmade and digital methods to create my work, because I think it gives a sense of mystery.
Crystals in the Desert, using 3D modeling

Crystals in the Desert, using 3D modeling

You just were awarded a $2,000 prize for winning CUNY Human Rights poster contest. First, congratulations!! Second, tell us about your poster design- how did you come up with the idea, and how did you make the final design? 
Thank you very much! Honestly, I did not expect that at all. For my poster design, I started to make 3-4 sketches with a pencil then I asked my best friends to give me feedback, and colored the final draft in Photoshop. The idea of my poster is to raise awareness of Europe’s migration crisis that has been a chronic issue since last year. I combined different symbols. For instance, the big tear drop presents the emotional wounds of refugee. The barbed wire represents the acute migration crisis and division while the hands illustrate that they need help from us as fellow men.
No Human is Illegal

No Human is Illegal Poster

You just graduated, now what are your goals for the summer?
There are two main goals for this summer. Firstly, I want to spend time with my family as much as I can because I haven’t seen them for 2 years. This time, they came to visit me for 3 months. We plan to travel in New York after the Commencement ceremony. My second goal is to get a job in U.S. I have just only four months to find before my visa will be expired.
What’s your dream job/next step professionally?
My dream job is to work in advertising company or fashion company. I know they are very competitive, but I want to give it a try!
What was your favorite Design course at Queens College and why?
There are many favorite design courses in this school. One of my favorite classes is advertising design. I had to come up with an idea for a campaign project in Time Square. I chose to do a healthy food event that provides healthy food to New Yorkers.  The idea of the poster series is to mock fast food and sweet with healthy food. I really enjoyed doing research in the real place and create pattern design for merchandises.
Healthy Eating Campaign

Healthy Eating Campaign

Healthy Eating Campaign

Healthy Eating Campaign

Healthy Eating Campaign

Healthy Eating Campaign

What advice do you have for students who are considering being a Design major?
If you have creative ideas or like using computer programs. Then yes! You are on the right track! Anyhow, you have to understand all the basic rules. Then you would know how to break them and create your unique design style.
If you had to go through the Design program again, what would you do differently?
I would take more animation classes. Last semester I only took a 3D modeling class and I found it is very interesting. I want to make my illustration become more vivid and alive! I also believe that 3D Modeling and animation will play a huge role in the design fields.

 

QC Student Show Volunteer Opportunities

Design by Alice Lee

Poster Design by Alice Lee

Hello QC Design Community!

Mark your calendars, because the annual student exhibition is fast approaching. The exhibit runs from February 8th-18th. Please join us on Wednesday, February 10th, from 5-7pm for an opening reception in the Klapper Hall Student Gallery, located on the 4th floor.

We are also looking for volunteers to help curate and hang the exhibition, as well as volunteers to sit in the space during the course of the show- so that we can keep it open to the public as much as possible. If you are interested, please contact Professor Smith at Ryan.Smith@qc.cuny.edu