Meet the Winner of FIDM’s 2011 Graphic Design Student of the Year/LA Award, Eric Acasio

Eric Acasio is a multi-talented graduate from FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising who earned his Associate of Arts degrees in both Graphic Design/Branding and Graphic Design/Entertainment. He was awarded FIDM’s 2011 Graphic Design Student of the Year /Los Angeles Award at this year’s graduation ceremony. Known for his illustrative style and sense of humor, it’s not surprising to learn that Acasio formerly worked as a video game show production assistant, writing humorous video game critiques and starring in the television show X-Play for G4TV. Read more about Acasio’s experience at FIDM and check out his work below:

(FIDMDigitalarts) Tell us about your professional background prior to FIDM:
(Acasio) “Prior to FIDM I worked in television production/video game journalism. I worked as a production assistant and got to produce video game reviews. Basically, it was my job to play video games then write a funny critique about them for a television show X-Play on G4TV. It was a small staff so I had to wear a lot of hats and had to teach myself Photoshop so we could have title cards, MySpace layouts and other graphics for our reviews.  What was even cooler was that I got a lot of air time by starring in video game-based skits (Watch a video game review written and produced by Acasio at this link). It got to a point where I was signing autographs at E3 and other video game events. After four years of X-Play, I went onto other gaming outlets for a bit until I realized I needed to grow up and put the artistic talent to use instead of playing video games for about 80 hours a week.”

eric_acasio headshotHow did you hear about FIDM? What made you interested in the Graphic Design program?
“I actually heard about FIDM from my high school (Channel Islands High School) art teacher a long time ago. I had earned my B.A. at Cal State Northridge and after creating all these title cards and MySpace layouts, I knew I wanted to go back to school but I did not want to invest another two to three years. I found out about FIDM’s Professional Designation program and decided to check it out. I saw the Fender guitars on display that were all created by graphic design students; I saw the graphic design labs; I saw the smaller-sized classrooms; I saw the work; I saw that I was surrounded by good design, art, and beauty. It was the total opposite to the male-dominated video game industry… I was instantly in love.”

What were some of the most valuable skills that you learned in the Graphic Design program?
“Wow there are a lot of skills.. overall design, of course, but if I had to choose:

  • – Developing my own assets. It is probably one of the greatest skills I learned. I can basically make any object simply by just using textures or “Frankenstein-ing” a bunch of photos.
  • – Painting in my own shadows and highlights.
  • – File management/layer naming. This is way too important.
  • – Illustrator!! I drew cartoons my entire life and never tried to really digitize them. I barely knew Illustrator and still didn’t understand the point of it until I got to the Graphics & Licensing class. Vectors make life so much easier for everyone.
  • – I’m a left handed illustrator, but a right handed mouse-user. Learning to dual-wield with a stylus and tablet on my left hand, and a mouse on my right hand, is probably the most valuable skill I learned.”

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How did it feel to earn the Graphic Design Student of the Year award?
“I totally wasn’t expecting that. I know everyone that was nominated and they all do wonderful work. I would give them a piece of the award if I could, but all I can give them is a piece of my heart because every one of those people are very deserving and do work that I admire so much.”

Are there any websites or designers that inspire you?
“Websites: The Cool Hunter, FFFFOUND, Abduzeedo, Fubiz, Google Doodles just to name a few.

Designers/Artists: I am very inspired by Leornado DaVinci. He found a balance between science and art. He knew how to dissect things, analyze them and then create from what he learned. Aside from DaVinci, Drew Struzan, Alphonse Mucha, Alexander Rodchenko, Roy Lichtenstein, John Lasseter, and Tim Burton.”

Do you have any advice for current students, or people who want to get into the industry?
My advice for current students is to treat your teachers like they are your Jedi Masters, and treat them like they are your clients. What I mean by Jedi Master is, you are learning from the best so take their advice and knowledge and soak it in. Don’t be afraid to let them guide you, they know what’s right and what works best for you. When I say treat them like your clients, you have to give them what they want and you have to sell them on your ideas/vision. Every teacher has a different method of teaching and different personalities, it’s sort of like dealing with different clients. It’s up to you to adapt if you want that money. People will tell you that grades don’t matter, which makes sense, but to me I always saw grades as a description of my work ethic as well as a reflection of my pay. So fight hard, make mistakes, always look for inspiration and never stop learning especially with design (because you know Adobe is going to come out with a new version of creative suite as soon as you get used to it).

Congratulations, Eric!

Don’t miss this video below featuring Eric’s graphic designs and illustrations in an imagined television promotion for Adult Swim’s fall lineup that he developed for his final portfolio presentation:

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Author: Mani

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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