These two Laguna College of Art & Design students are busy crafting their expansive portfolios — as well as their futures.
Roxanne Goodcell grew up in picturesque San Clemente, but it was life in the virtual world of video games that caught her attention.
“When I would have a bad day at school … video games were just one more thing to look forward to,” Goodcell says. “And I think that’s why I’d like to make video games for other people as well. As a game developer you’re not saving the world, … but you can create a source of joy for other people, some of whom may really need it.”
Goodcell’s love of video games eventually led her to enroll in the game art program at Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD), one of the few colleges at the time that offered an art program solely based around game design.
“… The overall atmosphere of the LCAD campus made me feel at home, which I doubt I would experience at a large college or university,” Goodcell says. “I think that’s something very unique to LCAD.” In fact, she enjoyed the school so much that she is currently working toward her Master of Fine Arts degree in the art of game design.
“Much of what I make on my own is based off of personal experiences and things that I desire to see in other video games,” the artist says. “For example, I wanted to see a playable female character in a game I liked that otherwise did not have any, so I collaborated with others online to make a mod, [which is a modification of game content,] for one.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2013, Goodcell went on to work for International Game Technology, which created slot machines for casinos. Her passion, however, laid in role-playing games (RPG). Her desire to design RPG was satisfied when Goodcell joined Pixelmage Games, a San Diego-based game developer. Currently, she’s working on the company’s RPG “Hero’s Song,” a project that enables her to use her own experience to generate creative, beautiful designs. It’s safe to say that if life were a game, Goodcell would certainly be winning.
Student Schwinn Masavisut, who is enrolled in Laguna College of Art & Design’s game art program, seeks to be a jack-of-all-trades. “I’d rather be a seven or eight in many [artistic] things rather than a 10 in one thing and a six in other things,” Masavisut says. However, it’s clear that he’s quickly on his way to becoming a master of many mediums. With his hands in game art, photography, music and film, Masavisut has already established a well-rounded, beautiful portfolio.
Masavisut landed at LCAD having never heard of game art before, but after showing off his work, he was asked to enroll in the department. His pieces are largely based on his interest in fitness, with characters sporting exaggerated musculature, as well as his Thai background, with characters based on Thai mythology. “There’s a lot of things that inspire me, but of course Thai culture still sticks with me,” Masavisut says. “…I like to bring a lot of things from that [culture] out into the world.”
Since coming to Laguna, Masavisut also counts another culture—surf—among his many influences. “[It] has a good sense of design, especially graphic design and … color.”
His studies have also expanded his artistic process. “LCAD changed me a lot,” he says. “I discovered Photoshop can do all these things with different kinds of brushes. When I was in freshman year, I only used a round, hard brush to paint everything. Now I use a lot of textured brushes that my professor gave me.”
The college setting is another benefit. “We have a cool space out here, and there’s a lot of activities outdoors for people to do, especially for people who spend a lot of time indoors, like me when I start drawing for six hours straight or eight hours straight,” says Masavisut, with a laugh. He also enjoys how specialized the school is. “Not a lot of schools [have] an environment where everyone is passionate about something.”
While the future is still up in the air, Masavisut thinks he might like to go back to Thailand to show off what he’s learned. But, for now, he’s content to make art and enjoy Laguna’s beautiful weather. For anyone considering a similar path, he has this to say: “I would tell them to … [enroll in the school]. You can do so much in your life and, if you want to try something, you just go do it. You don’t hesitate.”
The Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) Bachelor of Fine Arts program in game art and Master of Fine Arts program in the art of game design will showcase “Life Through Twisted Lenses,” a collection of drawings by the college’s undergraduate and graduate students that present to viewers new, traditional and digital interpretations of familiar landscapes, through Sept. 30 at LCAD gallery at 374 Ocean Ave. (949-715-8089; lcad.edu)
~ Written by Ashley Burnett