Faculty Stories

Jesse Ellico

ArtCenter at Night Industrial Design

“I get to fly airplanes and blow things up,” says Jesse Ellico, an aerospace engineer for Orbital ATK, when asked to describe his job. “It’s a little boy’s dream.”

The first thing Ellico tells students enrolled in his seven-week Introduction to Industrial Design Modeling workshop at Art Center at Night (ACN) is that they’re “going to make stuff and have fun.”

And indeed they do. In Art Center’s Technical Skill Center, he familiarizes them with materials used to build models for industrial design presentations—styrene, urethane foam and polyester resin.

He says he loves seeing the look of amazement on their faces when a modeling demonstration works, an amazement that partly stems from changes in the design world that have occurred due to the digital revolution.

“Many designers today enter the field without knowledge of how to make things,” says Ellico. “The question everyone asks is, Is that important?”

For Ellico, the answer is an emphatic yes, particularly for freelance designers, for whom it’s advantageous to show clients tangible objects. Also, designers with no understanding of the modeling process are at the mercy of whomever they’ve contracted to complete their job.

“They can tell you it’s going to take them two weeks and $5,000 or three months and $40,000,” he says. “Without experience, you literally have no idea.”

Hands-on exercises in Ellico’s course include wood lathing, vacuum forming and mold making, and others as time permits. The experience gained in his course through these projects, he says, makes an especially dramatic difference for students interested in enrolling in one of the College’s industrial design degree programs.

“It’s like practicing the piano,” he says. “If you want to get better at it, you need to spend time on the ivories.”

With nearly 200 courses in design and the visual arts, Art Center’s continuing studies program offers a world of possibilities. ACN’s college-level courses and weekend workshops help students acquire the knowledge and expertise they need to solve real-world problems and thrive in their careers.

New offerings for the Fall term include: Aesthetic Themes in Figure Painting; Creative Intelligence; IDEAtion to CREATION; Intermediate Filmmaking Online; Social Media for Creative Entrepreneurs; Visual Literacy for Artists/Photographers and a new take on Collage and Mixed Media with artist April Bey.

To learn more about Art Center’s continuing education program, come to ACN’s free Open House on Wednesday, August 12 from 7–9 p.m. at the 950 building at the College’s South Campus. At this special end-of-term one-night event for prospective and current ACN students, invited guests and the general public, you can sit in on classes, meet instructors, register for Fall courses and explore the broad range of opportunities available through Art Center’s continuing education program.

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