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  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring John Houck, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Join Otis’ new President Bruce W. Ferguson and new Director of Galleries and Exhibitions Kate McNamara at a special reception for alumni and friends at the historic National Arts Club.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015
    7:00 – 9:00 pm

    National Arts Club
    15 Gramercy Park South
    New York, NY 10003
    Business Casual attire is required by the National Arts Club
    For dress code information, visit: www.nationalartsclub.org (under About Us/FAQs)

  • Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New Republic, The Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. Flournoy has taught at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University. She lives in Los Angeles.

  • Adam Linder is a choreographer based between Berlin and Los Angeles, working both in theatre and visual art contexts. He has been developing a dance based  format he calls Choreographic Services since 2013. This aspect of his work is focused on underscoring real time and economic conditions that are integral to the discipline of  choreography. At Otis Linder will introduce this format both conceptually and practically, discussing why 'servicing' is the relevant way for his work to publicly engage.  

  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Oliver Payne, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Kimberli Meyer trained as an architect and an artist, and has been the director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood since 2002. She has initiated and curated many programs there, including the exhibitions How Many Billboards?

  • Industry Spotlight

    Oct 15| Special Event
    An advertising creative director for more than 25 years, Otis alumnus Josh Weltman was the Mad Men co-producer responsible for Don Draper's credibility as an advertising genius.
    Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the hit series, plus hear key insights from Weltman's new book Seducing Strangers: How to Get People to Buy What You're Selling.
    October 15, 6:30 - 9:30 pm


Toy Design student experience

Sep 13, 2013
Nick Hayes
Spotlight Category: College
My experiences in Toy Design

- Nick Hayes, Game Designer at SpinMaster

I was 30 years old, married with one kid, and had just about finished six years in the Army when I realized what I wanted to do when I grew up. I wanted to design tabletop games. I had spent my entire childhood surrounded with games, playing and designing them. By my mid-twenties I had forgotten about my passion for games, but it was coming back in a big way. After years of doing what was necessary to get by, it was high time to start doing what I wanted. Time to get that dream job. So I began to research what it would take to become a toy or game designer. I eventually learned about Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, one of only two schools that offers a bachelor’s degree in Toy Design (the other is the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC). As soon as Uncle Sam let me loose, I moved the wife and kid to LA and registered for classes. That was four years ago. My time at Otis just ended this year and I’d like to tell you about the experience.

The Toy Design program at Otis is absolutely fantastic. Over the last four years I designed action figures, vehicles, plush, preschool toys, board games, and fashion dolls. I learned model making, package design, marketing, juvenile anatomy, child psychology, and game theory. I spent countless hours every semester developing my drawing skills. I learned 3D modeling. I improved my speaking and presentation skills by regularly presenting toy concepts to classmates and faculty. I was surrounded by like-minded, enthusiastic, and extremely talented people who kept me going when the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon and I still hadn’t finished rendering my last few drawings.

But the experience was much more than just what I did. The curriculum and faculty made up the rest of it. Every single Otis Toy Design faculty member, from the part-time lecturers to the chair of the department, is either currently working in the toy industry or a toy industry veteran. Some of them are true veterans, designers who made the toys I played with as a child (and believe me, it was awesome getting to meet and learn from these guys). This means that every class is borne from first-hand knowledge of the day-to-day business at places like Mattel, Hasbro and others. This isn't theory, this is the real deal. And I wouldn't have known that if the Toy Design department hadn't bent over backwards to make sure every student in my class had an internship at a major toy company. I took an internship at Spin Master right after my sophomore year, and that experience more than any other made me realize that toy design is probably the best career out there. I would even go as far as to call it the bee’s knees.

So where am I now? I finally got that college degree (and two more kids). But best of all, I just accepted an offer as a game designer at Spin Master. That’s right, I landed my dream job. And I can tell you right now, I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for those stellar four years at Otis.


Orginal article posted at Chitag.com, May 25, 2013.