Cuba Oaks

Small illustrative book about a service dog named Hula. Cuba Oaks Illustration Graphic Design Los Angeles A Job for Hula Otis Book Photoshop
A brand identity including a website, poster series, and Boeing 747 model. Based on the aesthetics of emo culture. Misanthropic Airlines Airplane Website Poster Series Emo Branding Figma Photoshop Cuba Oaks Graphic Design Los Angeles
A publication dedicated to the history, evolution, and impact special effects makeup has had on the motion picture industry. SFX Monster Special Effects Makeup Horror Gore Publication book Otis Book Photoshop Cuba Oaks Graphic Design Los Angeles Two Faced
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Cuba Oaks

My name is Cuba Oaks, I am an upcoming graduate at Otis College of Art and Design receiving my BFA in Communication Arts with an emphasis in graphic design. With the intent to add another tool to my design kit, I am also a creative writing minor. As designers, we know the main goal of creation is to solve a problem. My work is dedicated to establishing connections through different levels of empathy and appeal to design, regardless of familiarity. I take a nod to current trends while adding a garnish of my own methodologies. Upon graduation, I aim to pursue UX/UI design as well as branding identity. Overall, my main goal is to provide a system of communication to others utilizing new ideas while honing in on what our design ancestors practiced.

During my time at Otis, I made it a goal to at some point take an illustration class. Though my core focus is graphic design, I have maintained a passion for analog creativity. Being able to take JT Steiny’s comic book class my final semester at Otis was a blessing, as he awakened my love for drawing.

If you know me, then you know that I have a dog named Hula. I can incorporate her into any conversation. Upon adopting her, my intent was to train her to be a service dog, as I was on the waitlist for a full spinal fusion. Her “job” would have been to pick things up for me. But as a puppy, she lost almost all her teeth due to an autoimmune disease. She still wanted to have something to do, she was clearly bored. Thus I trained her to become an ESA companion. She inspires me everyday, so I made a whole book about it.

What initially began as three mere words, “symbolic, viral, and emo,” stemmed into a full-fledged branding project dedicated to an airline. The challenge was, frankly, how the hell do I make an emo airline company. My professor advised me to not focus on the stylization and culture within emo, but rather the visual identity. What sort of color palette is typically incorporated? What are the cultural undertones? This sort of thinking helped me compile a color palette, theme, and name; Misanthropic, which I believed was very fitting for emos. It should be noted that this airline is not intended exclusively for those who identify as “emo,” but rather drawing from the unique aesthetic within the culture.

When I was quite small, I was fascinated with televised operations. Even the most squeamish scenes that would draw my parents out of the room enthralled me. Now I compensate through horror movies and SFX oriented media. A story doesn’t always need words, and even design can attest to that. When it comes to special effects makeup, so much can be accomplished. No need for a script or storyline laid out, the hard work put into one’s face tells the story. In my publication, Two Faced, I analyzed the history of SFX makeup, it’s evolution, and the overall impact it’s had on the motion picture industry.

Living in Los Angeles means being surrounded by abandoned dogs. This is often the result of believing one is ready to take on the task of introducing a dog into your life. When in reality not enough information is provided regarding the dog in order to facilitate the process. Junior year, I created an app called Spot. Its intent is to match people and dogs based on an algorithm curated towards experience level and both of your needs in the long run.

Overall, my senior project is oriented towards uniting dogs, specifically rescues, and people. Rescue dogs tend to hold immense amounts of empathy. This app encourages people to see the light in rescuing; that though it may be a handful initially, it truly pays off.

Having overcome plenty of medical adversity, I’ve come to the mantra of “this is fine.” The bad in my life as of late is irrelevant to the obstacles of my past. I remind myself that things always get better one way or another. If they’re not better, then it’s not over. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, despite how anxiously stir crazy I may be, I know that things will return to normal, just a new form of it. Chaos always becomes controlled. So remind yourself not to panic, and remember that “this is fine,” as things could always be worse.