Steve Jones Interview
by Ayana Airakan-Mance 2023

Steve Jones is an award-winning graphic designer/artist. He is the Principal of Oakland-based plantain studio. Working primarily with nonprofits and community-based organizations, plantain studio’s philosophy and approach to graphic design combines the personal with the formal—a place where function and form meet metaphor and allegory— a balance between design and life, the individual and the collective. plantain’s work is a fusion of culture, politics, and ideas—intended to fill the cultural void within the current design landscape.

Steve’s Jamaican/West Indian background also influences his outlook on the world. He is committed to promoting the voice of Black Design. He is a Black designer, not a designer who happens to be Black.

Interview Begins

Ayana Airakan-Mance: Knowing you over these years, you’ve always had a strong commitment to creating design for community-based agencies. What inspired you to move in that direction?

Steve Jones: I think I’m not unlike a lot of Black folk—you see a void in the field of design in terms of commitment to communities of color and lower economic communities. When I was starting, community-based design often wasn’t (and still isn’t) considered at the same level of rigor as so-called “sexy” design. It was like doing charity work, almost Peace Corp-ish - meaning, I’ll do my little community design for ‘X’ community partner—and a lot of times the design just was not that great.

I taught a community arts design class for ten years. Our clients were primarily from Bayview/Hunter’s Point, the Mission, women-led organizations, and nonprofits. But, just because the client work was pro bono, I instilled in my students that they were going do this work as if the client were Apple or some other “sexy” company were the client—and not do work that would be considered ‘good for a Black client.’ With qualifiers like that, there’s an expectation of less. That sort of thinking was passively (or not so passively) implied, particularly in school.

A lot of these organizations are so used to being either dismissed or essentially being given the crumbs, so a lot of times when I come in with the same level of rigor, questions, interrogation—they’re surprised because no one had ever asked those questions or seen them as an equal. I explain, most likely, they never received that level of rigor was because they’re Black. So that’s usually an eye-opener. You hear similar stories, whether it’s in medicine, architecture—insert whatever field—I don’t think design is any different in terms of how they treat communities of color.

AAM: Take me through the journey of how you became a graphic designer.

SJ: Like probably 99% of students in art school, we all drew as kids, and I just think those of us who end up as designers and artists continue drawing. I grew up in a strict Jamaican household, so being an artist was not seriously considered as a profession—at least beyond a certain age. My parents might have indulged my drawing, maybe up until the age of 3. But by the time you start school, the drawing career is over. In grade school, I would have to bring home progress reports every day, and if I was drawing, I’d get in trouble. But I always drew and was into comic books. I did not know what graphic design was when I started college. Growing up, computers weren’t ubiquitous on every home desktop. I didn’t know about design, typefaces, or any of that type of stuff; but I was doing it in high school with my friends. We taught ourselves how to silkscreen in my garage. We were doing typography, making posters, silkscreening t-shirts. I had no idea there was a name for it. I just thought we love art; we love pictures and type. I went to college thinking I was going to maybe be an Illustration or Drawing major.

Like most schools, in my first year Core studies at the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) I was required to dabble in all the different disciplines. Core is where I heard the term graphic design. And I was like, well, I get to draw pictures. It’s photography. It’s type. It’s all the cool things I was already doing. I can’t explain it, but when I took design, it was not hard. I almost felt a little, I wouldn’t necessarily say, guilty about it, but whenever my design instructors would assign a project, ideas came easy. In my design classes, everything made sense. It was like a puzzle where all the pieces just fit. I do recognize I was fortunate because I know folk who are good designers, but it takes effort and hard work for them to be a good designer.

My design education and pedagogy were very Western, very modernist. I learned early in my design journey that any kind of cultural expression, anything that had to do with my Black identity—all of that—literally had to be filtered through a white lens, and this is not hyperbole, I mean literally. I remember one of my first projects in design, was a self-portrait assignment, where I had to design something about my background—a personal self-exploration. My background is Jamaican, so I’ve got, you know, Jamaican things in the final comp. And my instructor essentially tried to critique it, and was like, ‘I don’t know any of these things that you’re talking about,’ so essentially you get no credit, or at the very minimum a barely passing grade.

I learned early, any project about my Black identity would not be seen as a valid narrative. Most Black students soon realize they get penalized for any kind of cultural expression. My design education was about the grid, Helvetica, and white space… and that counts as a solid design education. But when I got out of school, I had a wake-up moment. A friend of mine, who’s Black, had a side hustle as a promoter, promoting comedy clubs, dance nights, and things like that, and needed a logo. The events were under the banner Chocolate City—I don’t need to tell you what color the audience was (laughs).

My friend was like, you got your fancy design degree, design me a logo. It was one of my first jobs out of college. I’m thinking, this is great. So, I designed a logo, and I kind of knew that it didn’t speak to the audience, but I designed it with my design education, with what I was taught. I gave my friend the final iteration, and he was like, what the hell is this? This is not speaking to Black folk. So, I went back to the drawing board, and I ended up doing what I knew I should have done intuitively in the first place, and it turned out great. But that was a seminal moment in my design journey, where I thought to myself, if I can’t design for folk who look like me, that’s a problem.

That experience was a big turn in my design career—a fork in the road, and would eventually lead me to grad school. I got my first design job about a year out of school. I was living in Washington, DC, and worked for a magazine called YSB (Young Sisters and Brothers), which was owned by BET (Black Entertainment Television). At YSB we did design with a Black focus, but it wasn’t stereotypical Black design. Often what passed as “Black” design was essentially adding some Kente cloth, or you know a raised fist, red, black, and green—which is fine, but it just becomes a cliché of what Blackness is. This is not unique to Black design. Visit a bookstore, check out the religion section, and the Buddhist books all look the same. The LGTBQ section is rainbows, half-naked men, and pink triangles. It’s this idea that our visual expression is seen through this narrow window, and you never see that for white representation.

At YSB all the designers in the art department were Black—the Art Director, the Associate Art Director, I was Black, and the freelance designer was a Black woman. We were doing work that spoke to the audience, which was young African American adults. The work spoke to Blackness—and it wasn’t just white design with a Black face. The magazine had its own typographic vocabulary and graphic language. It was great. I won my first design award there. My time at YSB was really important to my growth as a designer. It’s where I started asking the questions, is there a Black aesthetic in graphic design? Is there a Black design filter? One way I thought about it, was to use music as a metaphor—in Reggae for example there seems to be a Reggae version of every pop song—and I thought, is there a similar thing as a Black design filter? What makes a design Black? And I’m still looking for the answer because I haven’t quite found it.

I applied to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) for grad school with the intent of studying this so-called Black Aesthetic. That interest evolved into Black icons and their representation in printed mass media.

AAM: What led you to CCAC and RISD?

SJ: I’ve only applied to two schools in my entire life, one for undergrad, and one for grad school. Something you should know about me, I rarely have a plan B. It’s like failure is not an option. That’s probably not the best expression, because I think it’s fine to fail. But there’s a naïve quality about me—not in a negative way—but sometimes I think people overthink things, and they get paralyzed. I’m the kind of person where I don’t overthink it or question it—I’m like, oh, was I not supposed to do that?

When I was in high school, CCAC was well known. It had a great reputation in terms of an art school. It’s one of the top art schools in the country. It’s where the Bay Area School of design was born. Hands down, it was the only art school on my radar. I knew it was the only school that I wanted to go to, so it wasn’t a hard decision. I never felt I wouldn't get in—even though I never took art classes in high school. It just so happens that CCAC was in the Bay Area, but I’m quite sure if I was living in New York, I’d probably want to go to CCAC. I applied, and I got in. But I did not have a backup plan. There was no safety night. I just thought, what do you mean I won’t get in?

Obviously, reputation was a big deal, but I also liked that CCAC had a nice balance between its fine arts and design programs. Some art schools are more, fine arts driven, or at a school like Art Center, it might be more design/architecture driven—CCAC was a good fit for me—because I either consider myself a designer trapped in a fine artist’s body, or I’m a fine artist in a designer’s body, so it was good to be in a space where I could be both.

It was a similar process when it came time for applying to grad school. I looked at reputation, and again I wanted a school that had a balance between the design and fine arts programs, and RISD checked those boxes. And, in the fine print on the application, RISD offered a Presidential Scholarship, which covered full tuition. They awarded this to only two grad students for the entire graduate program. And I thought that was my ticket. This is like the golden ticket because it seems almost ludicrous now, but RISD at that time, tuition for grad school was $26,000, which might as well have been a million dollars for me.

I remember when I called RISD for an application, the office manager was like, ‘are you sure, you know we only admit six to eight grad students a year.’ And I’m thinking, okay, it’ll be me and seven other students. But I think hearing something like that might scare away a lot of people—that they only admit eight people into the program. They might feel ‘There’s no way I’m going to get in, I’m not worthy.’ I’ve never felt that… I’m kind of detouring, but I had a discussion about imposter syndrome with my students a couple of weeks ago. This was a new thing to me. I’m wondering what the hell does that feel like? This idea, that I don’t feel I deserve a seat at the table. I’ve never felt that. I don’t get it.

AAM: So how did you get the Presidential Scholarship?

SJ: At RISD final grad school candidates have to interview before a final decision is made. I knew my application was good. Living in DC and working at YSB served me well. I got into spoken word big time when I was in DC. Less as a performer, but I loved the environment and watching others perform. My application to RISD and my letter of intent were done in spoken word form, and I guess that intrigued them.

I killed my interview. I’m not sure what they made of me (I was the first Black student they would eventually admit to the graduate graphic design program). I just remember feeling super comfortable and confident, and I left that interview, just knowing I was getting in—and also, I was not embarrassed to let them know I was broke. I told them I knew about the Presidential Scholarship. I also knew I need to be nominated, so I said, you need to put my name in the hat. It was my one shot, right? I didn’t want to leave the interview thinking ‘maybe’.

What was interesting about that interview, which was maybe a kind of foreshadowing of things to come. They knew the reason I wanted to go to grad school was this idea about the Black aesthetic, Black identity. And I remember saying this several times in my interview—and I remember them kind of saying to me, “You’re not a Black graphic designer, you’re just a graphic designer who happens to be Black.” And I’m thinking to myself, no, no, no, you’re not listening to me—I am a Black graphic designer. My Blackness is very much a big part of my design identity.

What I got from their line of inquiry was that whenever Blackness is attached to anything, there’s a negativity. But they didn’t want to see the world through this racial lens. The problem with that, and it says more about them than me—they had this negative association with anything Black, and the way that they try to see you as a person is to essentially remove a big part of your identity; meaning, they didn’t see me as Steve, the Black graphic designer. I was just a person, an American, you know, or whatever. My Blackness is important to me. It informs a lot of how I see the world. It’s not my problem when someone associates negativity with it, and the only way you can see me as a person, to have a conversation with, to respect my humanity is to remove my Blackness. That was essentially what they were trying to do, and I’m letting them know that wasn’t going to happen. You know (Black folks), our alarms go up when we hear, “Oh, I’m not racist. I don’t see color. You could be plaid, purple, orange…,” and all these made-up colors. But I could see, that would be an issue in grad school—asserting my Blackness—but it was not something that I was just going to dilute or put away to make white folks feel comfortable. That’s something they’d have to get over or deal with it.

AAM: So, you were accepted at RISD, and you said your interview was kind of an indication of what was going to come. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?

SJ: From the first day it was a challenge. Although RISD has this great reputation it’s no different than the real world. The Graphic Design department did not have the faculty or the tools or the resources or the knowledge to help with a thesis like mine. During my first semester, pretty much all the research that I was doing on Black representation, a Black aesthetic, and so on—it was all based on knowledge and things that I already knew—and I just thought to myself, ‘I’m in grad school to learn new things, right?’ And the reason I knew that there was a problem, in meetings, with our professors, 1-on-1, and in seminars, whenever my white classmates would discuss their projects or interests, the professors were like, oh, go read this book, talk to this person, watch this video, here are X resources. The advice and help were floor to the ceiling deep to help them expand on their research and their knowledge. And I’m like, oh, so these guys are smart, they know things. But when it came to me—where I’m dealing with Black representation and identity politics—it was crickets.

After a few months of this, I wasn’t quiet, and I let it be known. There was a great woman at RISD, her name is Dot Ford, and she is a Black woman. She became like a second mom to me. And I let her know my department was bankrupt in terms of what they could do to help me, that I wasn’t getting the research help that I think I needed. Someone had mentioned a professor in Humanities named Jennifer Gonzalez, that she was someone that I needed to talk to, because she dealt with design and representation. I made an appointment, and in one hour with Jennifer Gonzalez, I got more information and help than the previous semester from my own department. She was a lifesaver—I couldn’t write the notes and the resources down fast enough. It was like the whole world just opened up, and I was like holy hell. I would check her calendar and book any open appointments, I didn’t know what I was going to talk about, but I just needed to be in her presence. Even now I go through some of my old notebooks, and I find things Jennifer told me or hipped me to twenty years ago that are still relevant today.

I also got turned onto another guy, James Montford, who was at the RISD Museum. And RISD is next door to Brown University, where I took a class with a professor, named Ferdinand Jones. It was a class on Cross-Cultural Communication—I was interested in classes, particularly ones, I thought would help with my thesis. I just wanted to audit that class, but in the first lecture, I was instigating an interesting debate, and Professor Jones thought it was great—and I told him I wasn't interested in taking the class for credit, I was just really there to audit. But he was like, “No, you’re taking this class.” Ferdinand Jones and that class were great resources.

Between Jennifer Gonzalez, James Montford, and Ferdinand Jones, it highlighted what I wasn’t getting from the Graphic Design department that I thought I should be getting, and it was made clearer when I see my white classmates getting all this help, and I’m getting nothing. I had no problem turning my back on the department. In my last semester at RISD, I taught a class that I called Hybrid Design. It was a class that explored identity, politics, representation, and personal narratives. They actually let me teach this class. There were only four students in the class, but I treated it more as a workshop for my thesis.

There were people when I was in grad school, when I was causing problems—what do they call it? Good trouble, John Lewis coined that term. I had white classmates who wanted to kick me out of school. Some were upset. After all, they chose to attend RISD because they thought diversity was not going to be an issue, and the issues I was addressing in my work were making them feel bad. Folk found out I was a scholarship kid. Some of my classmates suggested RISD take away my scholarship—that it would quiet me down. They wanted to take my money because they figured if RISD did me the favor to give me this scholarship, I needed to toe the line. And then other folk said to me, “Don’t you feel if the school gives you a full scholarship, you need to kind of like, not be too controversial?” No. I didn’t see any strings attached to this money. I’m not going to get a full scholarship, but then only do work to appease folks, which is what they essentially were suggesting.

AAM: Unfortunately, graphic design is still the purview of white men—who consider themselves the guardians of design… What was your next step after you completed your MFA?

SJ: RISD was such a paradox because I did learn a lot, but it was always a challenge, and there were a lot of systemic problems at the school. But it did shape my future. I mean, I would argue the designer and educator that I am today is in large part due to my RISD experience. Another reason why I chose RISD was that, in terms of pedagogy, it was so much different than CCAC. CCAC emphasized the “magic” of design. It was very much about metaphor and meaning—about “making your heart thump” as well. Whereas RISD pushed semiotics, design psychologies, and how meaning works. I’m a product of a little bit of the intuitive, the magic, but mixed with the science. It’s like having street smarts, with book smarts—and both are valid and applicable in appropriate situations. After I graduated from RISD, I did a brief stint back in DC, before I moved back to The Bay. All the while I’m asking how do I pursue the Black aesthetic, Black representation, a Black voice—how do I now leverage the design education that I have?

In ’99 or 2000, the Organization of Black Designers (OBD) had their conference in Los Angeles, and plantain studio was invited to present at the conference—this was with my business partner, Nick Gomez. We did our presentation, and afterward, a man, Ricardo Gomes, came up and complimented us. Long story short, a few months after the conference, the Design and Industry Department at San Francisco State University was looking for a lecturer to teach an intro design class. Ricardo Gomes knew a mutual friend, Fo Wilson. Fo, another mentor of mine reviewed my portfolio before sending me to interview for YSB. At the time I was working in San Francisco at a company called Tendo, and Fo recommended me to Ricardo—that he should call me and see if I’d be interested in the teaching position. Ricardo called me, and when I met him, it was like, oh we met at the OBD Conference! I started teaching at San Francisco State University in the fall of 2000. Before that, my first “official” teaching gig was at CCAC, in their Pre-College summer program in 1999.

AAM: Was being a design educator on the radar at all, as you were working through your studies?

SJ: I taught that class (Hybrid Design) at RISD, and I loved it. Before that, I was a teaching assistant, and I loved being even a TA—but I was kind of the worst teaching assistant, in a back-handed way, because in a class of sixteen or so students, I would spend, like an hour with each student trying to help them with their project. So, after a 3-hour class, I’d only helped two or three students—so I had to learn I can help, but like 10-minute help (laughs). I also found out that teaching and putting together a curriculum came easy, or at least it was not hard. I love coming up with projects.

I loved teaching at San Francisco State University, because like a lot of my students, I was a scholarship kid, a financial aid kid, and of color. And I always felt one shouldn’t have to spend $50,000 in tuition to get a good design education. I brought my own spin to design education. I taught and incorporated identity politics, and culture in my classroom. I got around it by teaching it under the guise of a typography class. I taught Graphic Design II, which was the Typography class—but I had projects that were centered around activism under the umbrella of a type class. My students were learning typography but using the life story of activists and cultural icons as ingredients to pull from and drive their typographic projects.

In 2003, or 2004, I had an opportunity to teach a class at CCAC that dealt with identity politics, race, and representation—all the stuff I was into. But at CCAC, a predominantly white institution, when you make clear in the course announcement that this is a class about addressing systemic racism, representation, and the empowerment of Black people—only two students signed up for that class, so my class got canceled. But serendipitously CCAC had just started a Community Arts major, and the woman who ran that program saw my course announcement and was like if those fools in the graphic design department don’t want it—Community Arts was interested—and my “canceled’ class ended up becoming one of the first pilot studio courses in the Community Arts major. In all my classes there are always going to be issues around empowering communities of color, and highlighting voices of color—and I’m not shy—I’m not trying to do it any kind of hidden way.

Currently, at CCA, I teach a seminar with a freshman cohort of students of color, and we deal with issues around identity, politics, imposter syndrome, and representation, as they navigate their first-year CCA experience. I see myself, now, as a voice and advocate, a mentor—but it was not an easy title to adopt or adjust to. I remember a time I was teaching a class, and I had a guest crit visiting, and a student was presenting their work. And I just clearly remember the student said, something along the lines of, “I placed the type here because Professor Jones said that this is how the type works…” and I was like who? I realized, oh my God, the students are listening to me, and they’re actually doing something, and using my teaching to justify what they’re doing—what? Holy shit, right?

Another time I ran into a former student of mine, and he was with a friend, and he introduced me as his mentor, Professor Jones—and I’m like, a mentor? I was probably not even 35—my image of a mentor was an old, bearded guy wearing tweed and smoking a pipe. Now, that I’m a little older, and I’ve been teaching for 25 years, that’s not the case, though it did take a while. Now I own it. I teach it, and I advocate for it. I tell Black students to call me when there’s drama in a class or with a professor, I’m your backup, and any kind of foolishness their professors think they can get away with, they’re not going do it with me, and I will go toe-to-toe with them because I’m not afraid of them.

I’m also currently working with a student (in the MFA program at CCA). I met him at the very end of last semester— I only wish I was there at the beginning two years ago when he was starting, because he’s doing this interesting thesis project—designing a typeface that changes in response to music, Black trauma, Black male identity…—and it’s pretty amazing. I went to his mid-semester review. He starts his presentation on Black music and the Black experience, and how it intersects with his creative process. And his three white thesis advisors kept chipping away at the essential Blackness of the thesis. And when they were done talking, their critique tried to transform his thesis, essentially into something to satisfy the white gaze. When it was my turn to give my feedback, I made it a point to say that everything that they (his thesis committee) just said, I disagree with. I told him his thesis is awesome because it’s dealing with issues around Black trauma, and police brutality. Things that his, not-Black, thesis committee didn’t have any kind of entry into. But the problem is that I came to his thesis journey late, and I advised him to complete his thesis, get his MFA—and then continue with this project in its fully articulated form.

I still let Black students know to make sure I’m in the room—and that’s just me paying it forward. I had people who did it for me. James Montford, one of my mentors at RISD, had my back during my big presentations. We still need this.

AAM: We need more of us in this realm for these students. Let’s go back to the drama on how you got your start teaching at CCA.

SJ: My last year at RISD, I was a TA, and had the opportunity to teach a class… and I thought, you know, I like this. I knew I was going to end up back in California. A year before finishing grad school, I reached out to CCA about teaching there. At the time, they were ‘It’s great that you’re in grad school. Call us when you’re back in town, and we’ll pick up then.’ In the fall of ‘98, I move back to the Bay, and I looked into teaching at CCA—and essentially, they might as well have just put a sign up that said, ‘we don’t hire Black faculty in the graphic design department,’ because they were giving me every excuse there was to not to hire me. I recall one of the last conversations I had with the Chair or Dean of Design, and she had said something to the effect of, “You’ve been back East for six years? What cool San Francisco design studios have you worked for lately?” And I’m feeling, you know, someone’s going to get a smack. And then, in a very patronizing tone, she says, “Well, you know we have a Pre-College program. Why don’t, you go practice with the high schoolers and then maybe come back to us.”

To put this in context—folk who were classmates of mine that I went to school with, were teaching at CCA. Folk that graduated the same year as I did with no MFA, that had the same level of work experience, were teaching at the college. There were also folk saying, “Hey, Steve, would you want to teach a class? Because we need a Typography teacher.” And I’m like, oh, that’s interesting because I was just told CCA wasn’t hiring. I was like, wow, this is how it is. I get it. But you know what? I did take the Chair up on her offer and submitted my CV/resumé to the summer Pre-College program—and I never heard anything back from them. Flash forward a few months later, and Pre-College is about to start, and they hadn’t found a graphic design instructor. And they’re scrambling. Now, mind you, I submitted my resumé to Pre-College in February or March and never heard back from them. But then I get a call a month or so before the start of Pre-College. It turns out the reason I got the call was one of my former instructors at CCAC (who’s white) knew I was back in town, just finished grad school, and was interested in teaching. The lesson I learned (and it’s happened more than once since), is if you get co-signed by a white dude you get a callback. I ended up teaching graphic design in Pre-College for twenty years.

So that’s my story. But I don’t think it’s some peculiar or shocking story. You put a group of Black people in a room, and they’ll have similar stories, right?

AAM: And now you’re teaching in the regular program at CCA?

SJ: Yes. I currently teach in the Critical Ethnic Studies department, but I’ve taught in many programs at CCA—Extended Education, Community Arts, Upper Division Core, First Year, and Critical Ethnic Studies. Do you know what’s funny? I’ve taught in all these different departments, except for Graphic Design. As far as I know, in the last 30+ years, they might have only had two Black lecturers that have taught in the Graphic Design program.

AAM: So, let's talk professional practice.

SJ: I started plantain studio in ‘99. I started the studio with a good friend of mine, Nick Gomez, a classmate of mine at CCAC. Nick was probably with me, maybe the first two or three years. I’m solo now. When we started, the design landscape was not much different than it is now. Still a lot of white faces. Our name, plantain was a reaction to that, because, at the time, there were studios like Celery, Tomato, Pomegranate, all these hipster studios named after vegetables or fruits. We brought a Third World perspective to our work, and I just thought, you know, I eat plantains all the time. And I didn’t name it plantain because it’s just some cool-sounding name. It’s utilitarian and the idea that plantains are produce, and that we produce work. And we liked the fact that plantain is considered a staple in many African and West Indian diets. The name alone introduced who we were, and what we were about.

Many of my clients are non-profits and community-based organizations— that’s been my main focus. It’s a client base that’s not always respected in some graphic design circles. I’ve been told that communities of color aren’t qualified to evaluate good.

AAM: Any parting words you would like to give?

SJ: I understand my personality, and how I advocate for what I believe in—I’m loud—maybe that’s the Jamaican in me—and I get that not everyone is loud. I teach my students to assert their voice. But for those who can’t, I will be your voice. I am loud by nature. This is not hard for me—mentoring, advising… Maybe some people see it as an additional burden or responsibility. But I know it’s just not about teaching a class—a lot of times I’m a de facto advisor/mentor for many Black students on campus.

AAM: Thank you. I’m going to stop recording now.

SJ: Thank you! It’s been lovely.

Interview was conducted in March 2023.

Ayana Airakan-Mance is a graphic designer, consultant, educator, and user experience researcher. She is the principal of design : speak, whose primary focus is providing graphic design services for non-profits, women-owned businesses, and small businesses. Her work covers print, web, and various interactive projects. She is an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University’s School of Design. She’s also taught at City College of San Francisco, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the University of California, Berkeley Extension Center. Her writings have been featured in Print Magazine, and she is an accomplished photographer working for such clients as the Berkeley Jazz Festival.