It’s open! My wife’s online store of handmade plush creations and unique fashion accessories has entered the electronic ether and I was quite pleased to use this auspicious event to guide the aesthetics of my final project in Photoshop Essentials at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).

What’s that? You ponder how I might also be taking classes at PNCA while working full time as both artist and educator? That makes two of us. Or three of us, if I count the entire readership of this blog and myself. But it happens to be true. I’m enrolled as a Certificate Student in PNCA’s Graphic Design program (which is apparently going to be renamed the “Communication Arts” program this fall when PNCA decides to add some direction and objectives to this cash cow).

I’ve had a mixed experience with the Certificate Program thus far, having joined it (as is often my fate) in the midst of a major overhaul in structure and cost. Having had both inspiring classes and profoundly frustrating experiences I would say that the jury is still out on whether I will ever recommend it to anyone. Had I not been the product of an exceedingly rigorous and well-considered art program I might be less critical but the truth remains that OCAC will be a hard act to ever beat.

The final assignment for Photoshop Essentials required that I fashion a multi-layer image composite from a variety of images. Clean selections and believable integration into a single image seemed to be the primary criteria for the instructor. I went so far as to add a criterion of my own: the resulting image had to accurately portray the inherent charm and charisma of my wife’s creations. After all, I wanted to please this most important of clients. Isn’t that what a degree in graphic design should really emphasize— customer satisfaction.

Maybe I should let PNCA know that.

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