Wendy Garcia / Courier
Jenn Kuca, product designer, a former alumnus from PCC and recent graduate from Pasadena Art Center, poses on her modern designed chair she built while at Art Center, at her home in Highland Park. Left of Jenn are her other designs she has built through her studies at school.

Former PCC student, Jenn Kuca, speaks highly of how her experience at PCC helped her achieve her goals at Art Center College of Design.A former journalist who fell into an unexpected passion for art and winner of the summer Art Center 2012 Student Leadership Award, Kuca, sat comfortably in her chair and spoke about her experience at Art Center. “[It was] incredible. It was really intense, but it was everything I wanted,” she said, beaming with uncontrollable resilience.

“Jenn has a wealth of experience from her pre-Art Center life, which has made her perspective more valuable,” said ACCD Instructor Chris Wu. “While it’s easy to view each assignment as a task, Jenn understood the intrinsic value and extracted the essence of every lesson, … she ended up being an incredibly well-rounded designer.”

Kuca, however, was not always aware of the strong artistic abilities within her. The unmistakable fervor for art that she now displays began at a small design company, Design Within Reach.

After stepping foot in the marketing department of Design Within Reach, Kuca realized she wanted to head down the art and design path. “That’s when I realized that I didn’t just want to sell this stuff, I wanted to make it,” said Kuca.

It was not long after that Kuca found herself at PCC, taking classes such as Product Design Application, Rendering and Advanced Rendering, before transferring to ACCD in pursuit of a career in art and design.

Now a winner of the Summer Student Leadership Award, Kuca said PCC led her to the place she is today. “I knew how to appreciate art, but PCC gave me a cultural perspective,” said Kuca. “It taught me how to think critically, and it also taught me how to give and accept criticism. It was a bridge from the non-design world to the design world.”

Kuca’s current projects consist of minimalistic works. However, she does not define her style in this way. “I couldn’t really define my style. I’m either working on the most complicated or most simplistic pieces,” said Kuca.

As far as inspiration goes, Kuca draws influence from various realms. On a trip to India, she was inspired by a traditional Indian dish, the Masala Dabba spice box – a container that allows individuals to customize their own flavor.

As she pointed to a corner in her home, which showcased one of her designs, Kuca said: “I didn’t want to design furniture, I wanted to design a system that was open-ended and encouraged individuals to customize their own experience.”

PCC Instructor Stan Kong said the ambitious art student has a bright future. “Jenn will accomplish anything she sets her mind to,” said Kong. “She is a strong example of the wonderful students that are coming out of the Art program here at PCC.”

ACCD Instructor Liliana Becerra also spoke highly of Kuca. “She is driven and very dependable once she makes a commitment to work on a project,” said Becerra. “She is going to go very far as she is very talented and at the right place at the right time…always ready to strike.”

Wendy Garcia / Courier
Some of Jenn Kuca’s designs she made while studying at Pasadena Art Center.

About her hopes for the future, Kuca provides quite the clever response: “Get a job,” she laughs.

“Jenn’s accomplishments thus far are only the beginning.  Her unique blend of talent, leadership, and thoughtfulness nearly ensure that she’ll be a leader in the design community as well, driving the way we’ll think of products and systems for the future,” said Instructor Chris Wu about the young artist’s bright future.

Her advice for aspiring Art students: “Put your head down and work as hard as you can,” she said.

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