Working for a carmaker is a dream come true for many, but for Transportation Design alumni Julien Bilodeau and Christine Park and Graphic Design student Bryce Shawcross, it’s a testament to their individual goals, ambition and perseverance, as well as Art Center’s stellar design programs.
Julien Bilodeau grew up in Baie Sainte-Marie, a small French Canadian town in Nova Scotia, where he dreamed about designing cars. When he came to Art Center, he said, “I was instantly impressed by the passion of the students, teachers and Southern California as a whole,” citing instructors Stewart Reed, Bumsuk Lim and Jason Hill as major influences on him as an artist and designer.
“Art Center really helped me develop a wide skill set, allowing me to approach design from a number of perspectives,” said Bilodeau. “The flexibility of the curriculum and supportive guidance allowed me to really pursue my own avenues with regards to my own interests.”
During his time at Art Center, he held an internship at the Honda Advanced Design Studio before transitioning into an internship at Porsche. Once his internship ended, he was offered a chance to complete his thesis project at Porsche. Although he couldn’t complete his final term at Art Center, he decided this was the best opportunity, knowing that it would be an important factor in eventually working at Porsche.
“For me, after embarking on this journey to become a car designer nearly 15 years ago, I can imagine no better end result to my educational experience,” said Bilodeau. “I feel that I am in the best possible place to start this new chapter in life. It’s the fulfillment of a nearly lifelong ambition.”
Christine Park TRAN 06 is the lead exterior designer for Cadillac. She began her career at GM Advanced Design as an intern while still a student. After graduation, she transferred to the Cadillac Design Studio in Michigan. “I love designing cars because they have a profound impact on our lives and our culture,” Park recently told E! Online. “It is so satisfying to create luxury experiences and driving environments that offer beauty, comfort and a seamless integration of technology.”
When asked to describe her typical day, Park says it’s full of action: “Designing a car is a collaborative process. My workday often includes trend research and looking for inspirational visuals, sketching cars, studio reviews with leadership and working closely with sculptors, engineers and supplier partners. The creative energy here is contagious and we all push each other to create new and innovative vehicle designs.”
Bryce Shawcross, who is a former Student Body President and President of OutNetworks at Art Center, works at Tesla Motors as a graphic and lifestyle product designer at the L.A. Design Studio. He’s still attending classes at night, and plans to graduate within the year.
“I sit on the company’s design team, and I design brand systems, environmental graphics for our charging stations, vehicle icons and typography, among the traditional requirements of graphic design,” said Shawcross.
After speaking to a friend in student government who was interning at Tesla, he went to the model release of one of their SUVs. “I saw the energy and the product and how cool it was, and thought, ‘I must be a part of this. This is a company I have to work for.’ So I sent an email that basically said, ‘I love you. I have to work for you,’ along with my portfolio.” That email got him an internship as a graphic designer – two weeks later, he was offered a full-time position with their Special Projects team.
Shawcross cites his involvement in extracurricular activities as a major influence in learning to manage productions and coordinate projects, something that has translated well at his job. “Whenever we got to do events or planning or deal with school policy – these are the skills I’ve taken,” said Shawcross. “If I start a project, it can’t just be my project. It needs to be in the same direction that everyone else is moving.”