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Annual Exhibition 2019

Halley Sutton ‘18

On May 10 and 11th, Otis College of Art and Design buzzed with visitors who were on campus to see the vibrant and accomplished work of graduating students during Annual Exhibition, a yearly event showcasing work from undergraduate and graduate departments.

On Friday night, participants could stop by and listen to students from the MFA Writing program read from their work before they headed up to the fourth floor of the Academic Building to see a variety of bejeweled and immaculately sewn fashion design projects on display from the Fashion Design department. Or attendees could shop the ceramic sale, picking up handmade vases, plates, or other goods, before walking to the top of the Ahmanson building and reviewing the hard work of the Toy Design students.

Projects offer cumulative view of the Otis College experience

For many students, the Annual Exhibition offers a chance to display some of their best work from their time at Otis College. For some students, that might mean showcasing their top toy designs, graphic design, animation, or reading a short selection from a longer written work. But all students have one thing in common: it’s a debut, of sorts, of the soon-to-be graduates, an introduction of them to the world not only as artists and designers, but as Otis artists and designers.

In the digital media display rooms, students demonstrated their skills, including title sequences they created for TV or films, board games, 3D printed swords, and more. For Hannah Floto, ’19, the annual showcase offered the chance to show the variety of different skills she’d learned at Otis. Floto wanted to find a way to showcase the various experiences she’d had while at the College. At the senior showcase, she displayed clips of a music video from an album she created while at Otis. But Floto also built out the world around her music video, creating characters for the album that she would then render as toys and merchandise to go along with it. It was a true way to honor the full range of her Otis experience, Floto said.

Jordan Roberson, Digital Arts ’19, meanwhile, made a three minute, fifteen second animatic of a Lenny Bruce joke, rendered in classic black and white. She said the animatic was a tribute of sorts to one of her favorite shows, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which features Lenny Bruce as a character). Roberson had created business cards to go along with her animatic and displayed the story boards and character design she’d used to create the short film.

Community event offers networking for graduates

Friday was open to recruiters from Los Angeles, along with Otis College alumni, and provided students an opportunity to network and make connections that can lead professional opportunities. (Visit the 2019 Portfolios.) Esther Hwang, Digital Arts ‘19, said she’d had the opportunity to meet with several professionals during the showcase.

Erika Jennings, Toy Design ’19, created a line of feminist toys geared towards expanding the possibilities of toys for young girls (and boys!). Her Atomic Force action figures for girls featured a diverse cast of female aviators, scientists, mechanics, engineers, and more. Jennings said she’d connected with various people in the industry at the Annual Exhibition, and during her time at Otis College. “It’s been really cool meeting people—Mattel has people out here recruiting, it’s exciting,” Jennings said.

So while the Annual Exhibit provides an opportunity for Otis artists and designers to showcase their portfolio, it’s also a chance to launch a career. And launching careers is something Otis College does well: according to a 2015 report in The Economist, Otis College was ranked sixth in the nation for return on investment for student graduates with a job offer after graduation. It’s truly an example of Otis College’s strengths: combining artistic and creative integrity with the opportunities to thrive in the professional world.