MEET OUR TEACHING ARTISTS

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Denise Dion-Scoyni

Program Development/Lead Teaching Artist

Education: Orange Coast College, Associates Degree/Advertising Design. California State University Fullerton, BFA/Computer Graphics. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Teacher Institute for Contemporary Art

During my first arts career, I held various Art Director positions within the advertising industry, culminating into the position of Vice President of Production. As a charter member of SIGRAPH, I was recognized for converting one of the first Art Departments in California from paste up production to MAC desktop publishing in the mid 1980s.

Teaching is my second and most rewarding career. I have developed art education programs within several Hawaii schools garnering Arts Excellence recognition from the Kennedy Center for the arts. I am certified to teach AP Studio Art, mentoring students in preparing their portfolios for college applications. My original oil commemorating Hawaii Inaugural Peace Day hangs in the Hawaii state Capitol.

Being a Teaching Artist is important to me because using our creativity is essential for our wellbeing.

My favorite Chuck Jones character:

Marvin Martin

My favorite "ah ha" moment came from a student with Autism with a very short attention span. He attended a workshop where we painted to music. He sat for hours painting, finding color in rhythm. He found a new voice that night, an outlet to express himself.


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Cyndi Burgess

Program Manager

Education: Orange Coast College, Associates Degree/Childhood Education

I have always been a creative person, preferring a clubhouse full of art supplies over hopscotch any day. I have been a Jewelry maker most my life. After spending over a decade in the mortgage industry I sought to find employment that better aligned with my passion for thinking outside of the box.

The Chuck Jones center for Creativity is a multifaceted organization that allows me to utilize my talent for keeping all the balls in the air while standing a top a train going 100 miles an hour.

I love managing our creative teaching staff and coordinating our programs with my counterparts within the department of Education, youth and healthcare organizations.
Working at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity is important to me because... It entitles me to work in a creative environment while making positive contributions to our community.

My favorite Chuck Jones character:

Pepe Le Pew

My favorite "ah ha" moment was realizing that being on the same sight level as a student is paramount to seeing the perspective of each student both literally and figuratively. 


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Naylene Justis

Teaching Artist

Education: California State University Fullerton, BFA Animation/Entertainment Art

I have always loved cartoons since childhood. They are part art, part science, and part magic trick. After copying characters out of coloring books for years, I learned how flipbooks created the illusions of movement. I have been hooked ever since. In addition to being a Teaching Artist for the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, I work as a Caricature Artist and freelance on cartooning and graphic design projects.

Being a Teaching Artist is important to me because animation is such a huge part of our culture. I love exposing people to how it works and making it accessible for anyone.

My favorite Chuck Jones character:

Witch Hazel

My favorite "ah ha" moment from students is when they see their characters start to walk.


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Rhiannon Marino

Teaching Artist

Education: California State University Long Beach, BFA/Masters Art Education

I am passionate about providing art to those that want it and those that may not be able to receive it. My goal is to provide an open and creative environment for students where they are comfortable to explore different outlets in art. I love trying new things in art from metal work to embroidery and exploring nature.

Being a teaching artist is important to me because I have the ability to provide a creative and explorative environment for students that may not be able to get it anywhere else.

My favorite Chuck Jones character:

Gossamer

My favorite "ah ha" moments are when we go through step by step drawing of characters, many students are surprised at the ability they have to draw a character.


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Madeline Peckenpaugh

Teaching Artist & Program Assistant

Education: University of Puget Sound, BA Studio Art, emphasis in Printmaking. Minor in Art History
I have never been able to pick one medium of art to call my favorite. I rotate through them all so frequently. My goal is to share my passion for all forms of art with those who seek it and to provide an open, exciting environment in which creative minds can blossom.

My art is influenced by my love of fantasy and world building, sprouting from my interests in video games, Dungeons and Dragons, and exploring the natural world. I am passionate about art because it allows me to give life to the characters, worlds, and stories in my mind. I am motivated to create by many things and would consider myself and my work successful if it inspires at least one other person. 

Being a Teaching Artist is important to me because teachers have been responsible for fueling my passion for art and creating, and I love to do that for other budding artists.

My favorite Chuck Jones character:

Wile E. and the Road Runner

My favorite "ah ha" moment came from a student who was having a hard time engaging with the class activity. She felt disconnected from the project because her work didn’t look exactly like the example. I sat down with her and talked with her about what she wanted to draw that she would feel proud of. She didn't feel confident drawing Marvin Martin but she loved drawing herself as an alien. All it took was permission to let go of the "rules" and draw what she was passionate about. I was happy to see her so eager to create once more.


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Connor Bell

Teaching Artist

Education: California State University Fullerton, BFA Animation/entertainment

I love drawing, reading, and writing. I am constantly coming up with new characters and story ideas. I will spend hours at my favorite coffee shop putting these ideas on paper, coming up with character designs and elaborate back stories. I also love connecting with people, just talking, listening and discovering what they are passionate about. I aspire to work in the entertainment industry and love the interaction afforded to me as a Teaching Aritst for the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity.

Being a Teaching Artist is important to me because I want to share the knowledge I have learned with others to help them on their artistic journey.

My favorite Chuck Jones character:

Bugs Bunny

My favorite "ah ha" came during a cartooning class. There was a boy who was having a hard time coming up with a character to draw, becoming discouraged as he watched others drawing effortlessly. I showed him how to start with a few simple designs and make variations of each until he found one that he liked. By the time I circled back to him, he had filled his page with different designs and was so excited to tell me about the one he had chosen to work on. Seeing that transformation was incredibly fulfilling.


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Danielle McMahan

Teaching Artist

Education: Brigham Young University - Idaho, Associates Degree/ Graphic Design
Brigham Young University, BFA Studio Art
I have spent the last 6 years teaching children and adults in the arts. I have taught various mediums, with my personal favorite being oil paint. The first time I experienced oil painting I never wanted to go back. I find inspiration for my artwork from what I do outside the studio. I love gardening and being outside, so many of my pieces include nature themes.

I believe that art is a balance of creativity and technique. As a teacher I find it to be the most rewarding when I can get my students to develop both of those skills. I am at my happiest when I am painting, and I believe that creative outlets are the healthiest form of therapy. I enjoy working in environments that support that idea, and understand the value of teaching our youth how to problem solve and think outside the box through developing art skills. I don't expect my students to walk away from my class a Picasso or Van Gogh, but my hope is that they walk away feeling accomplished and happy with what they made. 

Being a teaching artist is important to me because I want to bring balance back to the education systems, and try to help parents understand that keeping their children in the arts in one form or another is just as important as athletics and academics. 

Favorite Chuck Jones Characters:

Pepe Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat

My favorite "Ah ha" moment from a student is actually from a group of students. I was a Girl Scout growing up, and went all the way to receive my Gold Award, so I really enjoy working with the local girl scout troops once a month. One of my favorite moments was watching a troop truly work together for our "House of Cards" project.

They ended up building a pirate ship with a castle on top and a helicopter pad on the back. They let their creativity run, and they found a way to include everyone's ideas and skills. As a teacher, watching them present their piece, I could see how proud they all were of what they had come up with.


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Ina Rosca

Teaching Artist

Education: Orange Coast College, Art and Languages Candidate. Moldova State University, B.A. Foreign Languages and Literature. Moldova State University, Completed several semesters towards a B.A. in Journalism & Communication Science

I have been passionate about art since childhood. In school, I attempted Journalism while developing my 2nd passion—Foreign Languages—to which I later transferred. My love for art never faded away. I moved to the United States from Moldova several years ago, signed up for OCC, and started to take various art classes in photography, digital media, drawing, mixed media, and painting. I wanted to learn it all, but painting has always been my favorite. Currently, I am experimenting with different mediums, techniques, and styles. I started to volunteer to in the art world until I was offered to teach at a museum, gave it a try, and loved it. In February of 2018 I had the pleasure to join Chuck Jones Center for Creativity team.

Being a teaching artist is important to me because art and creativity are important on so many levels in my life and the lives of others—culturally, intellectually and spiritually. I want to spread my passion for and knowledge of art and to encourage students to stay creative.

My favorite Chuck Jones characters:

Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner

My favorite “ah ha” moments are when I watch the student’s faces and their excitement at the end of the class when they see what they have accomplished. Thank you notes and hugs are lovely bonuses.


Nicholas “Nick”  Tafarella

Teaching Artist

Education: Orange Coast College

As a child, I was inspired by the work of Chuck Jones and Hanna-Barbera Productions, and have been drawing since I was 2. I really enjoy comedy and humor in cartoons because I love to laugh. I became involved with art because of my interest in visualizing and doodling objects and characters. I am a self-taught artist and have a photographic mind. I enjoy animating and drawing in 3D. My goal is to make people laugh and smile with my characters.

My favorite cartoon is Tom and Jerry because it inspires me to continue creating my own original cartoons. I’m interested in auto mechanics and enjoy traveling, camping, and going to the beach. Being physically fit and active is an important part of my life. I plan on continuing my art education so that I may share my artistic abilities with people of all ages.

My favorite Chuck Jone’s Character:

Daffy Duck

Being a teaching artist is important to me because it allows me to share my love of creative expression through art.


Josephine “Josie” Beltran Flores

Teaching Artist

Education: California State University Fullerton/BFA Entertainment Art/Animation

I have always been fascinated by the world of art and animation. The thought that someone can create a whole world with just a paper and a pencil is amazing! I have experience with both traditional and digital art. And, enjoy creating new characters. Other than art, I enjoy playing video games and people watching

My favorite Chuck Jones Character:

Pepe LePew

Being a Teaching Artist for the Chuck Jones Center is important to me because growing up, I didn’t have much opportunity to learn art. I like the idea of providing that creativity and help for others.


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Robert Louis Gerard Lamakūokana’auao Sassone

Teaching Artist

Education: University of Hawaii at Mānoa, BA in Creative Media, emphasis in Animation

I’ve been drawing ever since I first picked up a pencil. Although I can appreciate art in all of its various forms, animation, illustration, and comic art are my true passions. There’s nothing quite like telling a story through drawings—I’m a comic book nerd and happy to talk for hours about my favorite super heroes and graphic novels! I’m eager to help foster creativity here at the Chuck Jones Center, and to share my love of drawing with fellow creatives.

My favorite Chuck Jones Character:

Daffy Duck

Being a Teaching Artist for the Chuck Jones Center is important to me because of how much I’ve learned about art from teachers that have been there to nurture me. What better way is there to give back than to be a teacher myself?


 Volunteer teaching artist and Chuck Jones Council for Creativity ambassador, Doug Lothers, left, with volunteer teaching artist, and Chuck Jones Council for Creativity president, John Gaydos, right.

Volunteer teaching artist and Chuck Jones Council for Creativity ambassador, Doug Lothers, left, with volunteer teaching artist, and Chuck Jones Council for Creativity president, John Gaydos, right.

Doug Lothers

As an adjunct professor at Chapman University and instructor at Orange Coast College, Doug has taught traditional animation in a character focused approach.  His knowledge of Chuck Jones' work and animation history adds context to his instruction.  Doug has a Masters in Art from Cal State-Fullerton as well as training from the Hanna Barbera studio school and the Cartoonists Union. 

Doug has been a Center volunteer since 2012 and has served on the Center’s Council for Creativity since 2013.

“Like so many young boys, I enjoyed sitting cross legged in front of the TV watching hours of Looney Tunes cartoons.  I was especially enamored by the cartoons of one Charles M. Jones.  I was fortunate enough in the 1980's to take in a couple of lectures by my childhood hero, Chuck Jones himself. 

I very much believe in the direction Chuck's family has taken the Chuck Jones Center of Creativity in bringing creative programs to those folks that may not have access to endeavors that exercise their genius.”


 Volunteer teaching artist and Chuck Jones Council for Creativity president, John Gaydos, right with teaching artist and Council ambassador, Doug Lothers, left.

Volunteer teaching artist and Chuck Jones Council for Creativity president, John Gaydos, right with teaching artist and Council ambassador, Doug Lothers, left.

John Gaydos

John, a Southern California native loved watching Saturday morning cartoons like Scooby Doo, Jonny Quest, Jabber Jaw and Looney Tunes.  He dreamt of being an animator and would watch the movement and extreme poses of characters such as Daffy Duck and The Grinch.

John studied 2D animation at Orange Coast College in the late 80's taught by Doug Lothers. Many years later, he found out that Doug was a volunteer at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Costa Mesa. Doug invited John to the Saturday Drop In And Draw program and he loved it so much he became a volunteer, then later a Council member.

John wanted to bring animation to the program, so he built some light tables and developed a simplistic 2D animation program to give participants a feel of animation that they could not get elsewhere.

“The best part about being a volunteer is the smile on people's faces when you help them do something creative that they'd never expect they'd ever do when they came through the door.” John Gaydos is the current president of the Chuck Jones Council for Creativity, the volunteer ambassadors of the Center and the group that mounts the two yearly fundraisers, the Red Dot Auction in May, and the Chuck Jones Big Draw in October.