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ALUMNI SUCCESS

Frank Bisono 1997 Graduate, Web Design & Interactive Media, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale Senior Information Architect Lead, Expedia.

As a senior information architect lead for Expedia.com, Frank Bisono is responsible for creating interactive web experiences that improve the way millions of people search for travel deals. It’s his goal to make the search as painless and intuitive as possible. “We take so many things for granted in design and it's the smallest most minute details that can make a tremendous difference in how someone interacts with their software, website, or device,” he asserts.

To understand how people use the website, and how it could be improved upon, Frank looks to the “human side” of design—the ways that every day life effects how people use software. He’s influenced by design visionaries like Jonathan Ives and Steve Jobs, but also inspired by seeing students open up and realize their creative potential.

Frank adds that knowing the basics of design is critical when it comes to problem solving. “Technology will always be advancing, but the fundamentals will never change.” He believes that the future of technology lies in smaller, mobile platforms, increased interactivity, and touch-based computing. “There's only so many features you can dump into a product, but how you use them and how they are discovered in the interface is where the real hidden gems are yet to be uncovered.”


Garth Blackburn 2004 Graduate, Culinary Arts, The Art Institute of Houston Executive Chef, Sub-Zero/Wolf

As an executive chef for Sub-Zero/Wolf, a company legendary for creating professional kitchen appliances, Garth Blackburn oversees executive cooking classes, events, parties, on-site and off-site demonstrations. It’s a big change from his original profession as a cyclist, where he mainly worked by himself. Now he’s part of a team, and believes that his education at The Art Institute of Houston truly helped him to unleash his passion for cooking.

Garth enjoys the variety of opportunities his job presents. He’s fortunate to oversee both small cocktail parties and large formal parties—and he is particularly inspired by the local fresh food movement.

Giving back to the community, Garth sits on the chef's advisory board of Recipe for Success, a nonprofit organization that encourages inner city kids to adopt healthy eating habits. The end goal is fight the rise in childhood obesity. It all gets back to Garth’s vision to create tomorrow by making an impact on the way we treat food—and eating—now and in the future.


Rocky Curby 2000 Graduate, Animation, The Art Institute of Dallas Lead Previs Animator, Paramount Pictures

Rocky Curby remembers playing with Transformers as a child. Like many kids in the 1980s, he was a fan of the show and knew the characters’ names by heart. But after graduating from The Art Institute of Dallas, Rocky was able to see the franchise in a whole new light—by working as an animator on the Tranformers motion picture.

Rocky’s work as lead previs (also known as previsualization) animator for Paramount Pictures involves generating preliminary versions of shots or sequences, predominantly using 3D animation tools and a virtual environment. He gets to work closely with filmmakers to visually explore creative ideas, plan technical solutions, and communicate a shared vision for efficient production. And though animation is often associated with imaginative, other-worldly characters, Rocky states that most of his inspiration comes from reality.

He cites the upcoming film Battle: Los Angeles as a great example of mixing reality and fiction. To come up with animation depicting a showdown between U.S. Marines and space aliens, he actually consulted with a military advisor. “It is fun to look at your daily calendar and see ‘2 pm: Alien Tactics meeting,’” he jokes.

Rocky lives by the motto that “with passion, patience, and perseverance, one can fall upwards.” And in the process, create memorable characters that have the same indelible impact on a future animator that Transformers did on him.


Luis Diaz 2000 Graduate, Computer Animation, The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg Designer, Target Corporation

Not all adults are lucky enough to draw monsters and aliens all day, asserts Luis Diaz, a designer of seasonal products for Target Corporation. Creating designs that make kids go wild is a thrill for Luis, who adds that getting to this point in his career has meant he’s had to push his imagination and talents to new levels. “It’s up to you to throw a spin on the trends to make it new,” he states.

Working for a company that’s known as a design innovator gives Luis the opportunity “be out there and come up with really cool things.” He derives inspiration from illustrators, other designers, and Pixar products—adding that he loves learning from “anyone who can do something I wish I could do.”

Luis’ new line of seasonal Halloween designs hit Target stores in September 2010 and he’s already working on his next big, creative project. As he grows in his profession, he takes time to follow trends that appeal to his target audience, identifying their core lifestyles and developing solutions that meet their demands. Luis believes that to create tomorrow, he needs to take charge of his big imagination. “The future is not only shaped by external forces,” he notes.


Leslie Lopez 2007 Graduate, Graphic Design, The Art Institute of Houston Senior Graphic Designer, Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer Team

Creating the mascot for a major league soccer team—while still in school—might sound like the opportunity of a lifetime. For Leslie Lopez, it was a chance to show off her talent while taking on a challenge posed by the newly formed Houston Dynamo. And she scored big—not only co-creating the team mascot but landing a job as the team’s graphic designer.

Leslie continues to challenge herself by branding the team in magazines, billboards, and television spots. Influenced by the likes of David Carson and Saul Bass, Leslie seeks to add a personal touch to everything she creates, and takes great satisfaction in seeing people enjoy her work.

Helping to create the Dynamo’s brand—right from its start—has given Leslie the opportunity to truly show off her talent and imagination. To her, creating tomorrow means stepping up and changing the way other designers think and see the future.


Darren Waine 2009 Graduate, Visual & Game Programming, The Art Institute of Vancouver Associate Software Engineer, Electronic Arts Canada

Pursuing his inherent passion for computer programming, Darren earned a degree in engineering—programming robots and automating systems—before he realized that robots and industrial systems didn’t fulfill his career goals. But seeing an Art Institutes TV spot changed all of that. Armed with the knowledge his talents could be used to create innovative video games, he enrolled in The Art Institute of Vancouver and prepared to shift careers.

Now Darren is working as an associate software engineer for Electronic Arts Canada, leading a team of nine programmers in developing a third person shooter game called Angelus Maximus 3000. He’s programmed games for PC, XBOX 360, and PS3, creating front-end screens including menus, options, and settings.

As a hobbyist and freelancer, Darren builds upon his creativity by designing board games, animated movies, and video games. His ultimate goal is to become a gameplay, physics, or artificial intelligence programmer for a major video game company. Darren encourages fellow designers to follow their passion, manage their time, and play video games to learn what others have done. “I really enjoy when people can play and have fun with something I’ve helped to create. To me, it’s a great feeling and I strive for that all the time,” he states.

 

 

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