This edition of Focus is all about art. Anyone interested in updating his or her techniques may want to contact New Mexico State University-Carlsbad (UNMC) instructor Ruben Olguin.
FOCUS: How did you wind up joining New Mexico State University-Carlsbad?
OLGUIN: I was an adjunct professor at UNM in Experimental Art and Technology and was looking to embed in a smaller community. I applied to several colleges and had some interviews, but I wanted to stay close to home and in the Southwest. I got a second interview (with UNM), and when I toured Carlsbad, I knew this was a place where I could raise my family and become a part of the community.
FOCUS: Tell us a little bit about your professional background.
OLGUIN: I have a B.A. in media art and an M.F.A. in electronic art. I show in art galleries as well as immersive film festivals. I worked in television production for 5+ years at KOAT-7, doing just about everything behind the scenes from motion graphics to live audio and camera operation, and about 8 years as a videographer.
FOCUS: Tell us a little bit about you.
OLGUIN: I am married with two kids. My family is from northern New Mexico, but I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, so Carlsbad feels like the best of both worlds.
FOCUS: What are your hobbies and interests?
OLGUIN: I am a life-long artist and tech geek. I spend my nights reading Art Forum, Digital Photography Review, and Popular Science, but I have a passion for teaching and community outreach. I do a lot of K-12 and STEM-Arts (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Arts) workshops around themes of nature and technology. I work on a project called Seedbroadcast, which travels the Southwest spreading seed stories.
FOCUS: What classes will you be teaching this spring?
OLGUIN: I have a mix of art and tech, Drawing I, 2D Design, Computer Illustration, Image Processing and Digital Video Production.
FOCUS: What brought you into the digital arts field to begin with?
OLGUIN: My first computer was in fourth grade, a Hewlett-Packard with a whopping 366Mhz processor, but it had Windows Paint. The first thing I did with that computer was draw a Spawn comic, from the cover of the third issue, pixel by pixel, which must have taken me over 50 hours.
FOCUS: What changes have you seen in this field over the past ten years?
OLGUIN: My personal work focuses on video for immersive environments. The explosion of private sector competition in the virtual reality (VR) segment has rapidly increased the development cycles and lowered the costs of 360 film making, which has historically been left to tech geeks like me or government and research institutions.
FOCUS: What changes do you think will happen in the future to this field?
OLGUIN: VR is great, but there is no substitute for physical interaction and out-of-glasses experiences. I think with new, smaller, brighter LED technology, we will see every wall covered with a LED film which turns every surface into a screen. We will build rooms of video or interactive living/working/shopping spaces.
FOCUS: Why is learning about the digital arts important?
OLGUIN: I think it’s important for art to reflect our experiences as human beings. Technology is everywhere, and decisions digital artists make are in everyone’s face every time they unlock their phone or purchase a product. Being a digital artist is part creative, part entrepreneurial, and part technical, and all three of those can be taught and implemented anywhere.