Thursday, August 22, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 25

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on March 13th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 2 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 2

Former Allan Hancock College student Jesslyn Brundy wins design contest with LA Opera


Jesslyn Brundy has a good reason to celebrate these days. The Cal State Northridge student, a former Allan Hancock College design student, recently won $5,000 as part of a design contest with the LA Opera.

“It’s very exciting, and I am so thankful,” Brundy said of her big win. “I am pleased with how it all turned out.”

Art and design student Jesslyn Brundy, who hails from Lompoc, recently won $5,000 as part of the LA Opera’s annual college design contest. Brundy designed a piece that was used as cover art for the opera’s program book for their latest production, 'The Clemency of Titus.'

Every year, LA Opera asks local college students to submit original artwork inspired by the company’s latest production. The winning artwork is then featured as the cover art for the opera’s program booklet. The contest also awards cash prizes up to $5,000 for the winners.

Brundy’s path to the big win started on the Central Coast in Lompoc, where her family still lives.

“I started my graphic design exploration at [Hancock],” she said. “That’s where I got my roots in graphic design, and I’m really thankful for the graphic design department there. They really know what they are doing ... every day I look back and say, ‘Thank God for [Hancock].’”

After taking some time to work, Brundy eventually transferred to Northridge to pursue the university’s graphic design program. She is set to receive her bachelor’s degree in art at the end of the semester in May. While studying art and design, Brundy also works with an organization at the school called Intersect LA.

“We are a creative strategy team,” she explained. “The team is comprised of all kinds of disciplines, [such as] psychology majors, marketing majors, graphic design majors, fine arts majors ... I learn a lot over there.”

Brundy said she didn’t know about the art contest until she was approached by other members of Intersect LA. The LA Opera College art contest was started through a philanthropic initiative of the Annenberg Foundation called GRoW @ Annenberg. According to its website, the initiative “is dedicated to supporting humanitarian efforts across the globe, as well as innovative projects in health, education, the arts, civic and cultural life, and more.”

This year’s production at the opera was The Clemency of Titus, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final production.

“The prizes were so large for the contest, I thought I might as well submit something,” Brundy said. “[GRoW @ Annenberg organizers] really love art and they want to keep it alive in the schools, and they want to represent that.”

Brundy said the contest asked for key art to accompany the Mozart production. Key art is the primary piece of art used to advertise a theatrical or film production. Brundy said the opera provided a picture online of the set piece, which she first tried to use to in her design.

Former Lompoc resident Jesslyn Brundy, who started her graphic design career as a student at Allan Hancock College, said she was inspired by the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 'The Clemency of Titus' when creating the winning piece for the LA Opera’s annual contest. Brundy received $5,000 as part of her win.

“I started drawing based off of the set design,” she said. “That’s when I decided to go in another direction. In the opera, one of the characters is strung along by a villainess ... she makes him do her bidding for her.”

The Clemency of Titus tells the story of the beloved Roman Emperor Tito, who is despised by Vitellia, the daughter of his predecessor on the throne. Vitellia schemes to marry her way back into power, and when that fails, she turns to Sesto, Tito’s close friend, to convince him to assassinate the emperor. Sesto is helplessly in love with Vitellia, and initially agrees to go along with her scheme and betray his friend.

For her piece, Bundy decided to go more conceptual, with the design based on the story, creating a marionette figure ensnared in his own strings. The figure of the marionette man also resembles a Greek figure found on vases, which was how Brundy tied elements of the classics to her design.

“I did a contemporary take on the classics,” Brundy explained. “I did a lot of sketches and got to the point where I was happy with it.”

To create her work, she always starts with hand sketches, working through ideas until something clicks. She then imports the design into Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to make the design come to life digitally. She estimates that it took her less than 12 hours to complete the project from start to finish.

The final winners were selected by a jury made up of art, opera, and marketing professionals based largely in Los Angeles. Other winners included Dalia Marin from Cal State San Bernardino, who received $2,000 for second place; and Alyssa Damore of Pasadena City College earned$1,000 for third place. In addition to her $5,000 prize for first place, Brundy got to attend the opera (a first-time event for her) as well as meet the cast and crew.

“It was amazing,” she said. “I got to hear a lecture from the conductor as well, who talked about Mozart and a lot of other things. It was a really great experience.”

A lot of times, people don’t apply to contests such as this one, Brundy said. People don’t apply because they think contests have too many applicants or the chances are too slim to actually win, she noted.

“In reality, nobody is applying,” she said. “Third prize was $1,000, and I thought I would at least win that if I tried.”

As for the future, Brundy said she is currently interning at SwartAd, an advertising firm in Glendale and is hoping to continue working in the advertising industry, although she’s not quite sure if her path will take her into designing for a theater or opera again.

“I like all aspects of advertising,” she said. “I particularly like the entertainment industry, like movies and film. If theater comes along those lines, then of course, absolutely I would do it.”

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose is very classical. Contact her at 

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