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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
  • Jesse Benson (b. 1978) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Benson's complex practice is driven by the perversion of roles and representation that characterize his generational moment. In obsessively "skillful" objects like the Bureau Paintings, Catalog Page Paintings, Future Sculptures, and Repaintings, Benson constantly questions the authenticity of the document, the function of style, and the value of both art and artist. Benson is equally committed to a curatorial/organizational practice that openly overlaps and inspires his object production.

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at OTIS College of Art and Design is pleased to announce a lecture by Nick SeierupPrincipal | Design Director of Perkins+Will, Los Angeles, on Thursday, December 3, 2015.


  • Marisa Silver is the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling novel Mary Coin. Her other books include the novels No Direction Home and The God of War (a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize), as well as two story collections, Babe in Paradise and Alone with You. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and been included in many anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Silver lives in Los Angeles.

  • Jesse Lerner is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.  His short films Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling), T.S.H. (2004) and Magnavoz (2006) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999) The American Egypt (2001), Atomic Sublime (2010) and The Absent Stone (2013, with Sandra Rozental) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan.

  • Otis faculty member Dana Berman Duff will present a program of short 16mm and digital films in her "Catalogue" series.

  • Performing the Grid is an exhibition that brings together an intergenerational group of artists and cultural producers that utilize the grid as a performative strategy to examine, challenge and position philosophical, political, social, domestic, corporeal, and mythical perspectives. Rosalind Kraus famously wrote that the grid “functions to declare the modernity of modern art” in her 1979 essay, Grids.


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.