• Creative Action and the Otis Community Radio class present weekly broadcasts each Monday.


    This week from 4:00 - 5:00 pm is Welcome to the Haunted Boulevard. Join DJ Platinum (Grace Potter) and DJ Batsy (Jessi Hita) for a journey of the folklores, urban legends, and paranormal encounters from different cultures. 


    Listen online at KLMU.

  • Creative Action and the Otis Community Radio class present weekly broadcasts each Monday.


  • Mexican artist Yoshua Okón’s videos blur the lines between documentary, reality, and fiction. He collaborates closely with his actors (often amateurs who are also the subjects of the work) to create sociological examinations that ask viewers to contemplate uncomfortable situations and circumstances.
  • Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark. She is also the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Elsewhere, California.

  • Gallery 169 will be hosting the Otis College of Art and Design Communication Arts Graphic Design Junior Show, "5328," displaying a selection of work made over the five thousand twenty eight hours that make up the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. Work will include collected posters, publications, and typographic projects.
  • Clay, Body is a solo exhibition from artist Sydney Aubert: Unapologetically fat, crass, and sexual, a ceramics artist who also works in video, and whatever other materials arouse her in the moment. Exhibition will be on view from Monday, April 24 - Friday, April 28 at the Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design. On view by appointment only, please contact the artist at Reception: Thursday, April 27 | 6pm-9pm Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design

  • Audrey Wollen is a feminist theorist and visual artist based in Los Angeles. Wollen uses social media, such as Twitter and Instagram, as platforms for her work on Sad Girl Theory, a theory which posits that internalized female sadness can be used as a radical and political action, separate from masculinized forms of protests such as anger and violence. She introduces this form of protest as an alternative to masculinized anger and violence.


Toy Design Chair Deborah Ryan in Long Beach Press Telegram

Designers came to toys from varied careers

By Jordan England-Nelson
Actively seeking a career in toys is a relatively new phenomenon. Toy design schools didn’t exist a generation ago, which means most veterans of the toy industry got into the business by accident. Product and industrial design is a common background for toy designers, as is fashion, illustration and animation.
Here are the stories of six designers who never could have predicted they would be working in toys as adults:
Deborah Ryan was a New York fashion designer for Versace when she accepted a job at Mattel designing clothes for Barbie.
She thought she would stay just a few years but soon realized that designing for Barbie is not that different than designing for runway models. The body types are similar.
The main difference is that a single line of Barbie clothes might sell hundreds of thousands of units, which is much harder to pull off in the luxury fashion world.
Ryan said her roots as a designer began as a 7-year-old, making Barbie clothes with her aunts.
“That’s what got me into fashion design,” she said. “It kind of went full circle.”
Ryan now directs the toy design department at Otis College of Art and Design in Westchester, near Los Angeles International Airport.
Steed Sun used to be a structural design engineer at McDonnell Douglas.
He designed parts for the C-17 military cargo plane, parts took years to develop.
Now, Sun leads the Hot Wheels team at El Segundo-based Mattel, where he creates new toy lines every 12 to 18 months. He is currently developing a remote-controlled car that also flies.
He likes that he can use his design skills in a more creative, fashion-driven industry, where things are constantly changing.
“When you’re in the aerospace industry you can spend an entire career working on one airplane,” Sun said. “With my guys, we literally come up with new concepts every year ... it’s extremely satisfying.”
Dan Garr built a bus-size Titanic, broke it in half and sunk it in front of James Cameron’s camera.
This was before computer animation dominated the film industry, and there was still demand for complex physical sets and props.
Garr saw that CGI, or computer-generated imagery, was going to put him out of business, so he moved over to the toy industry, where he applied his skills with animatronics on a smaller scale.
He started the toy fabrication studio Hot Buttered Elves in a warehouse near Los Angeles International Airport, where he invents consumer products and moving toy parts that large toy companies buy and incorporate into full-fledged toys.
“It was a nice transition to take those big mechanisms and then bring them down into smaller mechanisms into the toy world,” he said. “It’s a condensed version of special effects.”
Dan Brodzick, a Simi Valley resident, studied illustration in college but graduated in the late 1990s, when traditional animation was quickly disappearing.
He moved to Los Angeles and got a job painting movie props for the “Star Wars” and “Alien” films.
Now he paints toy action figure prototypes.
A company will send him a 3-D image of the toy that Brodzick prints out on his 3-D printer. He usually prints and paints two copies. One is shipped overseas to serve as the factory model. The other stays in the United States to be shown at toy fairs and photographed for marketing purposes.
Brodzick, who does prototyping for lots of different kinds of toys, is still partial toward film-related projects.
“Let’s just say I’d rather paint something from ‘Pirates of The Caribbean’ than something from Hello Kitty,” he said.
While studying graphic design at the University of Cincinnati, Zachary Opaskar developed a paper hand puppet that could be folded out of a single sheet of card stock.
Nearly a decade later, the La Crescenta resident is trying to turn his kid-friendly idea into a full-time business.
He raised $14,000 on Kickstarter to produce 8,000 dinosaur puppets he calls Snappets — because they make a snapping sound when you open and close their mouths.
Opaskar said he’s already sold 30 percent of his build-it-yourself toy, with sales growing “exponentially.”
Most of his customers are children’s museums, gift shops and bookstores, but Opaskar would like to expand into “a lot of verticals,” including puppets for therapists and promotional swag for Hollywood movies and sports teams.
“There’s so much potential with this thing,” said Opaskar, whose primary income comes from managing the apartment complex where he lives. “It’s a labor of love.”
Maggie Bermudez started making porcelain dolls when she was 15 years old, but she never thought she would have a career in toys.
She studied fashion at the International Fine Arts Academy in Miami before landing a job as a designer with the fashion line Bisou Bisou in New York.
“When you’re a fashion designer, you’re a bit snobbish. You don’t want to design for doll,” she said.
It wasn’t until she became the first in-house fashion designer for Bratz, a wildly popular doll series featuring hip-and-edgy teenagers, that she realized the two worlds are quite similar.
“As designers, we never consider the dolls as dolls. We think of them as human,” she said.
Over the past decade, Bermudez has bounced back and forth between jobs in toys and human fashion. She is now the director of girls design at Jada Toys in the City of Industry.
She loves both worlds, but if she were forced to choose, it would have to be dolls.
“Both industries bring a lot of pleasure to people,” she said. “But it’s more magical to bring pleasure to children.”
Otis College Ranked 6th in Nation by The Economist