As students eagerly filled out the Zoom sign-in sheet for the event, the five selected panelists test out their audio, as they converse about what upcoming projects they have in the works. Before the official start, they introduce themselves one by one to the crowd of aspiring graphic designers, artists, sculptors and architects scattered throughout PCC.

PCC hosted Art & Design week in March with the intent of aiding aspiring graphic designers and artists on campus. With several events throughout the week, including portfolio reviews, careers in gaming and others within the art industry, students were given the opportunity to interact with working professionals.

At “The Exploring Jobs and Career Paths” event, hosted by Jason Barquero, from the PCC Freeman Center, students acquired five different perspectives of working in the art industry.

The continuous theme was to know who you are as an artist and showcase it to the world without insecurity. Each panelist has achieved success in completely different ends of the field, but has done it using this step.

“It’s important to have a clear path, this is the beginning of that,” Chris Hurley, a professional freelance graphic and web designer as well as the adviser of students at the Art Center College of Design, stated as the panel began.

As the event started, fellow Pasadena City College alumna Tana Kornchraskul, shared her journey from community college to working as a Disney Animator, the job of her dreams. The panelists each agreed that believing in your work, and being persistent is essential in pursuing a career in art.

“This is a very competitive industry, where standing out is needed,” Kornchraskul said.

Loudvik Akopyan, Lead Character Artist Specialist at Activision, a video game publishing company based out of Santa Monica, that takes credit for creating games like Call of Duty and Bandicoot, said. “Try to aim to be as close to the best.”

Many students in the chat asked whether the name recognition of the university affects one’s success in art. Akopyan stated that your alma mater does not matter, only what you do after. This was important for PCC students to hear because applying to transfer can be a stressful and expensive process.

The panel also discussed the aggravating feeling of imposter syndrome, to which they added that every artist has a variation of it. The feeling of not belonging or that you don’t deserve the place you’re at, are the main characteristics of imposter syndrome. It occurs to everyone, but is quite prevalent in artistic spaces.

Justin Adamson, a design manager at RXR Realty in New York City, noted that it’s important to notice who your competition is, which can help you not lose track of what your goal is.

As Barquero stated at the beginning of the event, the portfolio review session was full, and as a result, many students had questions for speakers about how to organize a portfolio. The major takeaway is to keep your work clean and short, which makes it easier for potential employers to paint a picture of the type of artist you are.

The importance of applying and getting internships was also touched on in Thursday’s event. Getting hands-on experience doesn’t only get your name heard but opens doors and opportunities to network, especially in big cities like Los Angeles and New York.

As the panel came to a close, all students participating got a clearer understanding of where they want to take their work. Each panelist held a different experience and viewpoint, but they all agreed that collaboration is key.

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