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Sound Bites - Issue #28 - December 2015

On the Cover 
The Unexpected Power of Photoshop

Nicola in garden with birdcageDevin Slatas

Nicola McGee holds a bird-proof cage that protects butterfly eggs and chrysalisDavid Indacochea working on a sofa

Nicola McGee holds a bird-proof cage that protects butterfly eggs and chrysalisA. Moret

Taking a class at SMC Community Education can be much much more than a way to learn a new skill. It can launch a new career, uncover hidden talents, cultivate entrepreneurial ingenuity, and, indeed, change lives.

Take, for instance, Gregory Van Zuyen's Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Dreamweaver classes. Van Zuyen not only teaches very useful skills, he tells his students, "It's very easy to be successful."

And his students are shining examples of his preachings.

"What I stress to my students is:  a) you can have the life you want, b) you can be your own boss, and c) the secret to wealth is intellectual property," Van Zuyen says, citing as an example, Charles Schultz's renowned and hugely profitable "Peanuts" comic strip series and its spinoff products, films, plays and more.

"People think, 'I need a job.' I want them to think, 'I need a company,'" he adds.

Many of his students have been strongly motivated by his teachings.

Here are just three examples:

Devin Slatas says Van Zuyen was her biggest inspiration to start her clothing company, Astrae Apparel.

"Gregory Van Zuyen is not only a guru of design and symbology, but also the one teacher I can honestly say that brought me to where I am today," Slatas says. "He taught me not only how to channel my creativity through means of concise graphic design, but also to dig deeper than that.

"He gave me the extra push and knowledge to present the world with a unique concept," she says. "My company Astrae Apparel is a one-of-a-kind, spiritual collection of clothing that embodies symbolic messages and artwork screen-printed onto organic garments."

David Indacochea took all three of Van Zuyen's Adobe design courses. During a classroom discussion on creativity, Gary Hustwit's film "Objectified," a documentary on industrial design, was brought up.

As a graduate of a prestigious university with a four-year degree in engineering, Indacochea had become quickly disenchanted with the engineering profession. While graphic design appealed to him, he had little background in art history.

Because of the film, Indacochea went to Georgia Tech and the Savannah College of Art & Design and earned a graduate degree in design. Earlier this year he worked as a freelancer for a design firm in Chicago and is currently serving an internship with the prestigious Michael Graves Architecture and Design in Princeton, N.J.

A. Moret, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the first all-digital contemporary art magazine, said that taking Van Zuyen's Photoshop and Illustrator classes "truly helped me in my approach to developing creative concepts regarding layout, graphic design and user experience." Her Santa Monica-based Installation Magazine is the first contemporary art magazine designed for the iPad, iPhone and online. 

"For Greg, Photoshop and Illustrator are native languages that he can communicate through effortlessly," she says. "His depth of knowledge always amazed me, and his insight and experience were inspiring.

"With Greg's background working with editors and writers, he demonstrated a respect for images in the same way that I regard words," she says. "Throughout the six weeks I did my best to absorb as much information as I could, and in the end Greg's enthusiasm and knowledge truly helped me in my approach to developing creative concepts regarding layout, graphic design and user experience."

Greg's series on Photoshop & Illustrator for Graphic Design is offered this Winter. Courses can be taken together or individually.

What's New
Keep Your New Year's Fitness Resolutions

Alice Meyering

A new and fun class to stay fit in 2016 is Afrovibe

Mat Pilates will get you in shape

from the desk of Alice Meyering

While I am a big fan of everything new, as you can tell by the name of this column, I am, however, a bit ambivalent about "New Year." New Year is most often followed by "resolutions," and those "resolutions" usually imply something fitness-related, like exercising, eating right, and diets. While fitness and health are certainly good courses of action to ensure one's wellbeing, they are not usually deemed the most enjoyable things on the top of anyone's list if you ask me.  After all, once a friend of mine did point out that "diet" starts with "die"…so there you go.

However, knowing how important it is to keep moving and staying healthy, and understanding how many people, yours truly included, see it as a chore rather than an enjoyment, I have set out to find fun ways to get all of us involved, and I think I have succeeded. You can now, dare I say it, keep your New Year's resolutions, so get ready to say goodbye to boredom and say hello to fun!

For example, our new and very energetic Afrovibe, has the slogan "Dance is the new gym."  Now how cool is that?? Not only does this class caters to all fitness levels, it is a cardio-workout based on a variety of African, Brazilian, Caribbean and Middle Eastern dances, so you get to kill two birds with one stone!

If you're looking for something more traditional, try our Ballroom Dance class. Aside from the health and emotional benefits of sweeping around a room with a partner, you can show off your moves at weddings and other social gatherings.

In short, we have something for everyone to make your New Year's resolution of keeping fit an easy and pleasurable one to keep:

  • Think Hip-Hop Dance is not for you? Think again. Our class is a crowd pleaser that is stimulating enough for more seasoned dancers but at a pace that beginners can easily follow.
  • Raise the temperature of your calorie-burning power with Zumba Toning and Cardio Salsa – perfect for breaking out of any post-holiday slump (wink, wink).
  • Yoga, Pilates, Qigong, will let you take a slower and more mindful approach but still offer excellent health benefits.
  • Who doesn't want a more toned and sculpted body? Achieve it this year with our new Total Body Workout.

Our website is operational 24/7; all of our winter and spring class listings are now available for registration online.

My best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a joyful new year with many learning opportunities!

Take a quick peek to check out all our Health & Fitness offerings and join us for a healthier, happier 2016. We will be back for winter session starting Jan. 4.

"Palaces, Princes & Paramours:" Lecture Series Debuts January 23!

Ayurveda instructor and cookbook author Lois LeonhardiEngland's Blenheim Palace will be featured in the series. (Photo by Durova)

The Grand Trianon on the grounds of the Versailles Palace outside Paris

Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV's mistress, played a key role in the design of the Petit Trianon palace

There's something romantic about a new illustrated lecture series – the first of its kind for SMC Community Ed – that is being launched in late January: "Palaces, Princes & Paramours."

And indeed there is much romance – as well as scandal and mystery – involved in this series, though it's really focused on historic design. It will begin Jan. 23 for three consecutive Saturdays, at 10 a.m. in Room 165 of the Humanities & Social Sciences Building on the main SMC campus, 1900 Pico Blvd. Parking is free on weekends.

The lectures are "The Decorative Arts & Interiors of the Italian Renaissance;" "Henry VIII & the Legacy of the Tudor Court: English Country Houses & Palaces;" and "The Role of the Royal Mistress in the Design of Great French Palaces."

"I love to talk about all the scandal and mystery while also detailing all the sumptuous interiors, architecture, and decorative arts of each period," says Eleanor Schrader, award-winning art, architecture and design historian, professor, lecturer and tour leader.

Tickets are $25 each or just $59 for all three.

Schrader, a native Angeleno, has lectured worldwide on the history of architecture, interiors, furniture, and decorative arts. She also leads architecture and design tours in Southern California and throughout the world.

She has served as a Design Review Commissioner for the City of Beverly Hills and is a member of the Board of Directors of Beverly Hills Heritage, Beverly Hills Historical Society, John Lautner Foundation, and Malibu Adamson House Foundation. She has been named a Distinguished Instructor by UCLA Extension, where she teaches the history of architecture and interior design in the Architectural and Interior Design Program. She has done graduate work in fine and decorative arts at Sotheby's Institute in London and New York and also holds an M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. She also has a YouTube show, "Sit Down Darling. . .Let's Talk Design," with co-host Ian Patrick.

For additional information, go to our website or call us at (310) 434-3400 or send an email to

Introducing SMC Extension

Michelle King Michelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

I'm pleased to announce that we plan to launch SMC Extension, which speaks to the needs of professionals and those seeking entrepreneurial or career training, in mid-January. As part of the launch, we are in the process of creating an SMC Extension catalog with full in-depth program descriptions.

We are doing this to spread the word more widely and more efficiently that we offer a variety of professional and career training programs that support our mission of developing the region's workforce and economy. Although we have long offered these professional development programs – ranging from paralegal certification to entrepreneurship courses – they are sometimes less visible than we would like.

Specifically, SMC Extension is a self-sustaining department within the Office of Workforce and Economic Development and is part of the Community Education PROGRAM. The courses are not-for-credit, but many of the professional development training programs offer industry-recognized certificates of completion.

The catalog will be mailed out and distributed at a variety of locations that we believe will reach people who are interested in professional training. It will also be available on the SMC Community Education website.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want more information or request a catalog at or (310) 434-3400.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a new year filled with learning!

Michelle King
Director of Career &
Contract Education