Events
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen’s bestselling novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, and a Carnegie Medal from the American Library Association. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Nguyen is also the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America and Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War.

  • Tonya Foster

    Sep 21| Lectures
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    Poet Tonya Foster is the author of the collection A Swarm of Bees in High Court. Her work has appeared in nocturnes, Callaloo, Traffic, Gulf Coast, and other journals. Her essays have appeared in NY Arts Magazine, NYFA Quarterly and The Poetry Project Newsletter. A co-editor of Third Mind: Teaching Creative Writing Through Visual Art, Foster teaches at California College of the Arts and lives in the Bay Area.

  • Opening Reception

    Sep 24| Special Event
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    New York-based artist Polly Apfelbaum’s work has situated itself as a hybrid of painting, sculpture, and installation over a career spanning 30 plus years. Exploring the intricacies of color, Apfelbaum weaves her way, both literally and conceptually, through ideas of Minimalism, Pop aesthetics, and Color Field painting to blur the lines between two and three dimensional art making.

  • Artist Polly Apfelbaum in conversation with Connie Butler, within Apfelbaum's exhibition Face (Geometry) (Naked) Eyes.

     

  • John Keene

    Oct 05| Lectures
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    John Keene is the author of the novels Annotations and Counternarratives, as well as several other works, including the poetry collection Seismosis, with artist Christopher Stackhouse, and a translation of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst's novel Letters from a Seducer. The recipient of a Whiting Award, Keene has been a member of the Dark Room Writers Collective and a Cave Canem fellow. He has served as the managing editor of Callaloo and taught at Northwestern. He currently teaches at Rutgers University-Newark and lives in New York.

  • Artist Polly Apfelbaum in conversation with David Pagel, within Apfelbaum's exhibition Face (Geometry) (Naked) Eyes.

     

  • Renee Gladman

    Oct 19| Lectures
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    Renee Gladman is the author of eight books of prose and poetry, including the Ravicka triology, published by Dorothy (Event Factory, The Ravickians, and Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge). Other titles include Arlem, Not Right Now, Juice The Activist, A Picture Feeling, and Newcomer Can't Swim. Since 2004, she has been the publisher of Leon Works, a perfect bound series of books of experimental prose, and also has edited the Leroy chapbook series.

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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.

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