A chance meeting at a creative conference in Chicago led Andrés, a native of El Paso, Texas, to head to Aotearoa 21 years ago.
Armed with a Master of Fine Arts – majoring in graphic design and a minor in printmaking and sculpture from the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History, Andrés has established himself not only as an influential lecturer but also as a crucial part of our creative community.
Andrés looks after four programmes, the Diploma of Arts and Design, Bachelor of Design and Arts Level 7, Postgraduate Diploma of Design Level 8 and the Master of Design Level 9.
"What drives me? We can give our students a career in the creative industries that will take them anywhere in the world, right here in Whanganui."
"Our alumni give our ākonga the edge," he said. "I pair our learners up with creative alumni all over New Zealand. I look for pairings to inspire and provide learners with an understanding of what they need to do before they start working, so they are ready for the real world."
There is an extensive network of Whanganui Creative alumni around Aotearoa and around the world – we have people in Australia, the US, UK, Malaysia, India and Japan – with a good concentration in Melbourne and New York. "They are always giving back," he said.
UCOL Te Pūkenga Whanganui is an attractive option for aspiring creatives. "We have small classes; our lecturers are skilled in their field and have working experience. And our graduates become part of an extensive alumni network."
"The skills you learn here will translate into jobs anywhere in the world."
Like most creatives, Andrés has a side hustle, creating branding for new and existing companies. Typography is his speciality, particularly the Swiss and Dutch styles, and he obsesses over fine furniture, football and detailing cars.
Andrés was the first grandson in his family to go to and graduate from a university. Raised as an Air Force brat (a US term of endearment for Air Force kids raised on bases around the world), he is now firmly ensconced in Whanganui, where he lives with his fiancé. He is the president of the Friends of the Sarjeant executive committee, which looks after fundraising, events, and volunteers at the iconic Sarjeant Gallery and says the creative community keeps him here.
He recently worked with his former ākonga and fellow UCOL lecturer Cecelia Kumeroa to create a new logo for the UNESCO New Zealand National Commission. And he was part of the team that helped develop the successful UNESCO City of Design application.
Andrés says he is proud of what the team at UCOL offers. "Our graduates enter the creative industries prepared with a developed methodology, discipline and self-confidence."