Fall ’23 – Final

Special Guests

We’re lucky to have two off-campus special guests and three on campus guests join us for our final critique:

  1. Luis Alvarado, Principal, Luis Alvarado Design
  2. Jennifer Blazey, Event Manager, The Disneyland Resort
  3. Rosa Trujillo, Assistant Director, LBSU Career Development Center​
  4. Dr. Laurie Gatlin, Director, LBSU School of Art
  5. Dr. Royce Smith, Dean, LBSU College of the Arts
I metup with our 2 off-campus guests, Luis Alvarado & Jennifer Blazey a week before our final. Luis is in South Orange County and I’m in East LA County, so we met in the middle at Downtown Disney. Which was convenient for Jennifer who’s at the Disneyland Resort. Each of us has had a different career path. But we’ve all forged Arts-Media-Communications careers over many years. Despite the stress and uncertainty of graduating from the School of Art and heading out into a new world, we’re proof that you can do it.
John Wayne Airport, Airport Guide / Luis Alvarado Design
Disneyland Resort Media Events developed & produced by Jennifer Blazey.
International arts students Beata Gliga (Austria/Poland), Ophelie Rodrigue (Quebec), and Merijein Saperas (Barcelona) discussing studying at Long Beach State with assistant director of the LBSU Career Development Center, Rosa Trujillo.
Sketchbook self-portrait by Dr. Laurie Gatlin
Day 51 of 100 Days of Listening (and Day 2 of life modeling!), Dean Dr. Royce W. Smith’s College of the Arts listening project. Here, visiting Yulia Gasio’s life painting class as their model.

The Final

Zoom Potluck

Do feel free to bring food and drink to our “Zoom Potluck” final! I hope you’ll turn your cameras on! It’s so much easier to talk to human faces than black rectangles. Please don’t let a messy room, bad hair, or eating lunch keep you from turning your camera on. Bring some fun food or drink “to share” with the class!

Character Design by Ellesia Tran


Congratulations on finishing your art degree at Long Beach State! This is a true life milestone. Each of you will now move on to walk a different path. There will be challenges and work to do. But be sure to take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved. You’ve accomplished something that many Americans, and people around the world, have not. Have a party! Celebrate with family and friends. Or go for a walk in nature. Finals, the holidays, and your career will all exert their pressure on you. But don’t let them squeeze out the time to appreciate the big chapter of life you are completing.

Big Finish

I know that the pressure of your last semester can be intense. Heavy loads. Too many units. So much rushing at the end to finish projects and classes. So many things to juggle. And then all this Art 490 career talk. It can be overwhelming.

Try not to clump things together into a big insurmountable mountain. Instead, break things into small units. Organize your career plans in small, achievable tasks. Do your best. Persevere! You can do it!

The Next Chapter

In the book of life we turn the last page of one chapter and find ourselves on the first page of a new chapter. I’m excited for you as you embark on your career journey. You might wind up on a non-art path and that’s fine. My hope for you is that whatever path you follow it will be a path of your choice. That “imposter complex”, feelings of insecurity, or of not knowing how to network your way into new career circles won’t hold you back from trying.

The last time I had a non-art job was my sophomore year in college. Since then I’ve developed multiple art careers. I’ve been a set designer, graphic designer, and a gallery artist. Plenty of artists have done a better job than me. But I still managed to spend a life in art, media, and communication. If you want to, I believe that you can too.

Keep updating your portfolio. Get into the world. Go to conferences, art events, and art galleries. Meet people. Sometimes people who seem promising end up not able to help your career. And people who don’t look to be helpful or interested in your work can, over the longer term, come around and work with you. Connect as much as possible and think in the long term.

Here’s the Squarespace John Malkovich Super Bowl commercial about buying your domain name before it’s gone. I often show it as an introduction to buying domain names – which we’ve already done. Today I’m showing it to make a different point: at the end of the spot John Malkovich stops writing an email and says, “You know what? I’m just gonna call the guy.”

Direct Communication

At lunch last week Luis mentioned that when an issue comes up, say with a print job, his instinct is to call someone. His son, who works as a Project Manager at Luis Alvarado Design has the instinct to send a text, DM, or email instead. This is generational change.

Is less direct, more mediated communication like text instead of voice, or Zoom instead of F2F, a good career building strategy? Is there value in breaking out of our comfort zones and striving for richer, more embodied communication?

Hiring managers often think of The Airport Test and ask themselves the question, “Would I want to be stuck in an airport with this person?”

Conferences, Workshops, Art Events, Galleries & Museums are all less intimidating places to start conversations that can help build your career.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Computer scientists have been working on AI for generations. In 1950 British mathematician and WWII hero Alan Turing proposed a test, now known as “The Turing Test”, to evaluate AI. For the general public, AI has flown under the radar this whole time. Then, 13 months ago, AI exploded into public awareness. The zeitgeist of our 2023 moment is dramatically influenced by AI.

Will AI bots like Midjourney and ChatGPT take work away from you? They are already being used heavily. As their abilities and usage grow, many things might change. Will AI open new career opportunities for you?

  • New careers like “Prompt Artist” are emerging. Are you interested?
  • Can you use AI to generate quick preliminary sketches and then complete pieces yourself?
  • Would you do a “duet” with AI? Where AI generates prose or poetry to accompany your painting? Or you make a painting in response to AI prose or poetry?
  • Will the ubiquity of AI create a renaissance of hand produced and deeply tactile artworks?
  • Will “made by hand” or “made by human hand” indicate special value the way vinyl records and film photography do for some people today?
AI Influencer “Aitana” with her/its creators at the Barcelona agency The Clueless.

Real Influence?

I just read an article about the Barcelona AI Influencer Aitana. She’s been making a lot of money and getting celebrity DMs asking for dates. I followed her account fit_aitana on IG. One minute later, I was followed by another AI Influencer, this time from Dubai, fit_meliskaplan.

These AI lives raise all kinds of issues about culture, gender, body image, and more. Still, I had to laugh wondering if these “fake” influencers could make Social Media any more “fake” than it already is? Social Media is a manufactured, performative space. It isn’t a model of healthy or realistic living.

To be clear: Social Media builds arts careers. I’ve seen many examples of artists using Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Substack, and other platforms to significantly advance arts careers. Social Media is a powerful tool that you probably want to take advantage of. Most of us should be more aggressive in our use of social media to put our work in front of eyes.

Many of the chemicals we put in our bodies are double edged. They are nutritious in small doses and toxic in large doses. Social Media is similar. I believe it can help build your career. I also believe it distorts reality and creates false, impossible expectations. Try to use social media to build your career. Try to avoid being seduced by it.

This semester in Art 490 we’ve focused on building careers. That has been plenty of challenge! Ultimately you want to build a life. A real life. Somewhere beyond Fit Aitana, Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, and the fantasy media world that we daily swim in. Do your best to build a good career. And also strive to build a life you find value in living.

As you probably know, Adobe Photoshop, like so many other tools, has recently been adding AI Tools to its kit. The Photoshop Crop Tool which has previously been for Cropping In on images can also now “Crop Out”. If you move the crop marks beyond where the image ends, Photoshop’s “Generative Expand” feature will attempt to create the scene beyond what we see. I had the image up top of Barcelona’s The Clueless agency in Photoshop to prep it to post here. While in PS, I stretched the crop marks out and let Generative Expand imagine what the wider scene might have looked like.

Discover Your Own Path

Follow whatever makes sense, feels right, and helps you put food on the table. And wherever your career takes you, drop me a line sometime. I’d love to hear how your path has unfolded.

Good luck!

~ Glenn

Overlay for Twitch Streamer by Zachary Golanty

SOA Portfolios

  1. Ramsha Aftab, Entertainment Graphic Design
  2. Nicole Bogdan, Character Design & Animation
  3. Nadia Campos Lopez, Animation
  4. Cole Carozza, Fire Fighting
  5. Selah Copp, Interior Decor
  6. Chloe Derevere, Illustration
  7. Jacqueline Doell, Paper Illustration
  8. Zachary Golanty, Graphic Design
  9. Michael Gonzales, Animation
  10. Trinity Juarez, Interdisciplinary Art
  11. Kevin Nguyen, Graphic Design
  12. Yvette Ramirez, Painting + Photography
  13. Jordy Rodriguez, Graphic Design
  14. Ellesia Tran, Illustration
  15. German Vega
  16. Grecia Villegas, Graphic Design
Ramsha Aftab’s website.

Happy Trails

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