Jesus Jacobo, co-founder of Yo Soy ArtCenter, a network of Latino/a students at the College.

student, people, visual arts
Writer: Anna Macaualy
Photographer: Juan Posada
April 21, 2017

Graphic Design student Jesus Jacobo's Yo Soy ArtCenter connects Latino/a students across disciplines 

Student leader. Graphic Designer. Latino.

Jesus Jacobo, graduating this term with honors and a degree in Graphic Design, is all of these things.

As a student worker in the Alumni Relations and Career and Professional Development (CPD) offices, Jacobo gained exposure to students, alumni and other professionals outside his major of study. He came to recognize the usefulness of making connections beyond his major at the College.

And he noticed a lack of community for Latino/a students.

Last year he co-founded Yo Soy ArtCenter, a network of Latino/a students across diverse disciplines who share a cultural heritage. The student group recently hosted and curated Yo Soy: Graphic Design Group Exhibition, the first Latino/a graphic design group exhibition at ArtCenter, organized and curated by Michael Rosales, with support from the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography.

We caught up with Jacobo during his final term at the College to find out more about Yo Soy, his favorite ArtCenter projects, and what he’d like to do after graduating.

What’s the first site you look at when you open your computer in the morning?

I have bookmarked design agencies that publish blogs such as Landor and verynice. I'll also open up LinkedIn to see if there are any interesting published posts.

Guests attend Yo Soy: Graphic Design Group Exhibition at the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography.

Where do you go when you’re taking a break?

I head to Santa Monica or go explore downtown Los Angeles. I try to use public transportation or park my car and walk around as much as possible. I try to be a tourist in my own city.

If you had superpowers, what would they be?

Teleporting. So I can have coffee in Sweden and dinner in Italy.

What is the most useful piece of advice you’ve received here?

Grades do not matter! Also, in the context of workflow, "fail as fast as you can." Meaning, sketch out an idea and execute it—it is the only way you can see if that concept is working or if you need to try a different approach.

Describe a project or challenge you are proud of completing at ArtCenter?

Play the L.A. River (Spring 2016), sponsored by Designmatters, was by far the most challenging and rewarding project I have worked on. It was a transdisciplinary course, which means all majors are welcome to join the class. For the final project we were placed in teams and were faced with approaching the topic of gentrification in the Elysian Valley. By no means did we attempt to "fix" gentrification. For our final, we decided on a strategy that would become an intervention. We created a speculative design piece which took the form of a vending machine where we imagined two different outcomes for the future.

Visitors to Yo Soy: Graphic Design Group Exhibition were greeted by a piñata of President Trump.

What happened while working in the Alumni Relations and CPD office to inspired the creation of Yo Soy?

While working on an exclusive list of alumni, it became apparent to me that, as a Graphic Design major, I had no limit to the roles I could take on after graduation. From entrepreneurship to research-based strategy, the options were endless. While working on that alumni list, I saw an opportunity to connect Latinos across majors. One of my peers, a former student coworker from that same office, and I decided we needed a platform for Latinos to have a presence and a voice at ArtCenter. Realizing the difficulty of transitioning into ArtCenter and the difficulty of keeping friendships with students outside your own major, we wanted to form a group of Latino peer mentors. So on February 26, 2016 we officially formed Yo Soy ArtCenter, a group that connects Latinos together on campus.

What do you do with Yo Soy on a day-to-day basis?

I manage the group’s Instagram page, which is our main communications platform and where we feature students’ work, along with their majors. You’re graduating soon.

Where would you like Yo Soy to go next?

As co-founder, I would like to see the club evolve into a professional group—an organization of Latinos from ArtCenter, across all of our disciplines, that culturally understands its members.

What is your dream job?

I would love to be creative director of the in-house design team for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Although they do not currently have a design department—maybe I can convince them to form one!