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design for interactive experiences.

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UI/UX Design – MyStuff app Storyboard and Wireframe

I drew this storyboard and wireframe as part of a group project to help develop a design for an app which helps users keep track of all of their stuff and perform useful tasks, like keeping records for insurance reasons, looking up users manuals, and finding maintenance supplies.



UI/UX Design – Foodfriend App

I have been working on more UI/UX design projects, including “Foodfriend” – a meal sharing mobile app. I started with some research, talking with target user groups about their needs – it really helped me to focus the project!

Storyboards were drawn for a user interface design project for a Coursera course, where I tried two different approaches for a app to help people organize informal meals. The first storyboard is for a person eating alone, and the second is for a person hoping to organize a meal with a few friends.

I used Balsamiq to test out different layouts for the Foodfriend recipe and potluck app I was designing as part of a Coursera class. The first concept focuses on building a meal from ingredients available in one’s kitchen, and the second on finding recipes first and building from there.

The idea is to pair up friends who could have a really nice meal together with a few of the ingredients that they have at hand.

UI/UX Design – iPhone Daredevil

I’ve been working on more UI/UX designs lately – including this one for an app that lets people test the limits of their iPhones – by gauging the maximum deceleration numbers that users can achieve. (I know… it would result in lots of broken phones, but it was a fun idea for an exercise.)

The Heart, She Holler – Branding Iron, Typewriter Puppet, etc.

Artificial Glowing Embers

Figuring out how to make artificially glowing coals and a branding iron was tricky, but I eventually learned that I could create fake embers that looked realistic by embedding RGB LED strip lights in spray-insulation foam, painting the tops of the foam flat black, and then adjusting the knobs to create a flickering ember-colored light effect.


Glowing Branding Iron

I also made this branding iron (and a larger pile of artificial coals.) The branding iron was made by using a very powerful flashlight as the handle to light a heat-formed flourescent plastic iron.


Ghost Typewriter

A typewriter needed to type on its own in a ghostly manner, so I cut a hole in the desk and attached steel rods to the internal mechanism of the typewriter so that the keys could be operated from below. I then spent a couple hours under a desk typing out ghost messages as the camera rolled!


Breakaway Beer Bottles

…and a beer bottle needed to break to reveal a knife inside, so I learned that breakaway bottles can be cut open and then glued back together if one has patience and a steady hand. I cut the bottle open with a fine x-acto saw and then glued it back together with super glue.


Tiny Coffin

I also needed to make a “hot-dog-sized-coffin.”


Grape Soda Mouth Dispenser

…and someone needed to dispense grape soda from their mouth, so I bent some automotive brake line to form a hidden pipeline  (here’s a test:)


Swallowable Dynamite

…and someone needed to swallow some dynamite, so I made a few different sizes of the prop to help create the illusion that the dynamite was being swallowed.

The Heart, She Holler – David Cross ate my hand

Edible cold-cut hand

I made lots of body parts of all sorts for the second season of The Heart, She Holler, but the biggest challenge was making an edible hand that David Cross’s character needed to run through a deli-slicer – and then eat the slices.

I started by fashioning a plastic cap that would serve as the attachment point for a gelatine hand, and also as a protective shield to keep the actor’s real hand far away from the rotating blade of the deli slicer. I used my hand to make a mold, and then the hand was cast in reddish gelatine with chunks of grapefruit mixed in to make it look a bit more meaty. This hand was then dipped in skin-colored gelatine to create a layer that looked like the actor’s skin.


Fake eyes & Lips

I also cast silicone lips and modified some fake eyes to be attached to this  real-life cow heart:


Rotten Teeth

…and made some fake teeth look a bit more rotten:

(unintentional pun. I’ll leave it there.)


Severed Ears

I cast molds from the side of my head out of alginate many times to make all of these fake silicone ears:


Skeleton Hand

…and one day at work, we misplaced all of our skeleton hands, so I made a foot into a hand. We found the hands before shooting started that day, but the director used the modified foot anyway.



The Heart, She Holler – Tumor Time!

Cigarette-smoking Tumor

One of the most fun props I’ve ever made was a basketball-sized tumor that  needed to smoke a cigarette while on camera – making the end of the cigarette ember glow red and then puff out a plume of smoke. I did this by first getting an old basketball and using some fittings and sealant to attach a 1″ vinyl hose to a hole in the ball.

Then I cut a hole in the opposite side of the ball that was the same size as the neck of a hot water bottle. The hot water bottle was placed inside the ball so that it would act kinda like a lung does the human body – expanding and contracting due to the change in air pressure.

I made a hand-operated air pump to force air into and out of the ball, and then made a fitting that attached to the hot water bottle’s neck which would hold both a cigarette and a one-way air valve salvaged from a fancy dust mask – the idea being that air (and smoke) would be drawn in through the cigarette and collect inside the hot water bottle, and then smoke would be blown out through the one-way valve. Here is a video of the test:

Bleh! It worked as planned, but it made our workshop smell like Marlboroughs.

And here is an image of the finished tumor – with a covering made out of cling wrap, paint, and liquid latex:


Miscellaneous Tumors

I made many more tumors of all shapes and sizes for the show this season – here are a few:

The Heart, She Holler – Blood-n-Guts

Exploding Pies

It seems like the second season at The Heart, She Holler involved lots of blood and guts. Gallons and gallons of blood and heaping armloads of guts.

I worked with Courtland Premo when we were tasked with making pies erupt with blood and guts, eventually settling on pressurized tanks that forced fake blood mixed with chunks of bananas and a bunch of other gross stuff through some thick vinyl tubing. Here’s a video of one of our tests:


Bleeding Diary

We also worked together to create a bleeding diary (a tube was hidden within the book’s binding and then pierced.) Here’s a video showing our test results:


Bucket of Guts

…and then we made lots of guts. Below is a photo of one bucketload. I used twine dyed blue or red to make veins and arteries, and then mixed in some kinda-coagulated gelatine:

Googleween – Spaceship fabric structure for DPEM

DPEM in San Francisco hired me to design and build this 30′ fabric structure for a Halloween party that went on last week at Google. The Flying saucer was required as a location for an space-alien-themed “haunted house.”


I started with some sketches to make sure that DPEM and I were on the same page for the basic layout and appearance of the tent.


Sketchy Renderings

After receiving feedback, I created some more finished images with Sketchup and Photoshop to better describe the Flying Saucer to DPEM and Google.



Then I used Vectorworks and Illustrator to start working out construction details of the structure so that I would know how it would be built, and the materials that I needed to gather.


Construction Planning

I used the measurements from my drafts and 3D modeling to figure out some patterns for the fabric covering (Commando Cloth inner layer to block the light with a shiny silver Tulle Tex outer layer. The dome is a blue Tendo fabric.)


Site Setup

Along with invaluable help from Gabriel Colaluca, it took me until almost 2am to finish setting up the flying saucer on the Google campus.



…and here is the finished product! A 30′ flying saucer, with sod added around the edge to make it appear as if it had crashed to earth. I also created the “Area 51” banner.

Sesame Street – Signs for Guests

Part of our job in the Graphics Department at Sesame Street was fashioning some dressing room door signs whenever a celebrity guest would stop by – Pete Ortiz and I would take turns drawing the signs (or call dibs if someone we liked a lot was going to be on the show!)

Here is a selection of some of my favorite signs that I made over the four years I worked on the show. …along with two signs that were rejected by the powers that be – can you guess which two?

Art Supplies – Sesame Street Season 43

One of the main concentrations of this past season at Sesame Street was Art, so I had quite a bit of art supplies to create!


Grouchy Art Supplies

Oscar the Grouch wanted to paint himself a big gloppy painting, so I made some fake paint squeeze bottles for Oscar and the other puppets – they can’t get their fur near any real paint. I also made a great big pile of icky paint out of some upholstery foam and latex.


Marker Package Design

I made a package of smiley markers too:


Collage Art

…and Baby Bear wanted to make art …out of porridge. I dyed some oatmeal with different colors, and Pete Ortiz and I carefully glopped colorful oatmeal goop onto our canvasses to make images for the show – the images made from wet oatmeal were meant to slide off of the canvasses on camera, so I don’t have any photos of those, but I do have some pictures of the images I made from a variety of dried seeds (I needed to wash the wasabi off of some wasabi peas since I couldn’t find any dried green peas!

Museum Camp – Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

This July 10th-12th I took part in the “Museum Camp” event at the Santa Cruz MAH.

This was an event where about a dozen teams of museum professionals teamed up to create an exhibit around a seldom-displayed object in the museum’s collection – all over the course of three days. I was Teamed up with Adrienne Lalli Hills & Elizabeth Spavento, and we were assigned the sceptre from the Miss California Pageant, which was staged in Santa Cruz until 1985.

We learned quite a bit about the history of the pageant in the short amount of time that we had for research, and then assembled a prototype of out exhibit to test with input from some of the other Museum Campers.


Prototype Testing

Afterward, we worked late into the night and refined the exhibit, then assembled the final version over the next day – it was nice to work on a project that went from beginning to end so quickly!


Finished Exhibit

Meat Racks – 2013 SF Chefs Event

I designed and built a set of three racks to hold various meats for the 2013 SF Chefs event – everything from deer to fish. I designed these with some nice artificial grass on the bases so that they wouldn’t be unsightly pools of meat juice. Also, I learned that no stores in the Bay Area stock meat hooks.

I got nominated for an Emmy!

This year, I was nominated for an Emmy along with the rest of our Art Department team at Sesame Street (Bob Phillips, Pete Ortiz, Keith Olsen & Rickey Boyd)  for an “Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction / Set Decoration / Scenic Design” Emmy. I got to bring my dad along to the awards ceremony and we ran into a few friends that I wasn’t expecting to see, and had fun playing the “guess who plays a villain in a soap opera” game.

False-Bottomed Wheelchair – Inside Amy Schumer

I modified a wheelchair for a skit on Amy Schumer’s show. The actress needed to fit her legs into a box below the seat and have false skinny legs hinged onto her lap. The box below the seat is made from painted plywood and padding, and the legs are latex-skinned foam with “bones” made from wooden dowels. This was tricky to build because the actress (Booker Garrett) was much more tall than I was expecting!

Playground concept sketches – Frolic Playspace

Frolic in Brooklyn, NY. asked me to sketch out some quick ideas for a redesign that they were considering – here are a few of my super-fast ideas.

Perforated Pedestals – Kikkerland – ICFF

For this year’s ICFF show, I made some new pedestals for Kikkerland so that they could be used with the long lighted counters that I had built the previous year. It was an interesting challenge to plan my cuts so that all of the perforated holes in the masonite surface would align on all of the pedestals’ surfaces.

Mechanical Cupcake Dispenser for Jet Blue

I was called in to make a mechanized cupcake dispenser over a weekend for Jet Blue, to be set up in their JFK terminal. This was a challenging project because I needed to design a mechanism that would feed out the small plastic balls without accidentally crushing them. Also, the cupcake was not centered in the plastic ball, so  the various ramps and feeding mechanisms needed to be angled so that they would overcome the plastic ball’s tendency to come to a rest instead of rolling, with the heaviest end of the ball weighing the ball down.

I ended up solving the problem of the balls jamming in the machine by adding an agitator made out of sections of a retractable measuring tape – the spring steel would clear up jams without crushing the cupcake balls to bits!

Padded Columns for L’Oréal

I made these padded columns for a L’Oréal event so that they would fit around existing columns at the event site. Jessie Voris and I worked together on the upholstery – there were 200 buttons to sew!