Faculty & Staff 

Paige Oden

Paige Oden

Director, Visual Arts Conservatory

Teaches: Mixed Media Studio, Senior Exhibition

paige.oden@ocsarts.net

Paige Oden earned her BFA in drawing and painting from the California State University abroad program based in Florence, Italy. She began her post-bachelor’s artwork at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. with a studio arts scholarship. Ms. Oden continued her studies at California State University, San Francisco under the guidance of California sculptor, Stephen DeStaebler. Ms. Oden finished her MFA in southern California under the guidance of Stephen Werlick and John Lincoln.

In addition to her work for the Visual Arts Conservatory, Ms. Oden also exhibits and sells her paintings through various galleries in California and volunteers in various art related programs throughout the Orange County community. She has dedicated her career as a Visual Arts director and instructor by developing and creating a powerful and supportive fine arts curriculum path for young fine artists of all levels, through carefully aligned and tiered studio classes and lecture education. 

Please visit her website at paigeoden.fineartstudioonline.com.

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Randy Au

Randy Au

Assistant Director, Visual Arts Conservatory

Teaches: Beginning and Advanced Ceramics

randy.au@ocsarts.net

Randy Au earned a bachelor’s degree in studio fine art at California State University, Fullerton, studying with Jerry Rothman and John Stokesbury. Mr. Au also studied at Biola University with Grant Logan and the University of California, Irvine with Gifford Myers. He was a contributing member of the Santa Ana Artists' Village Taskforce in 1993, as well as the "Mayor's Art Strategic Plan" and the Santa Ana Council of Arts and Culture. He was an invited guest curator for the John Wayne Airport, where he organized Orange County Contemporary Clay (2007-2008), an exhibit of 28 ceramic artists.

Please visit his website at www.flyingcupclay.com.

Gary R. Blackwell

Gary R. Blackwell

Instructor

Teaches: Advanced Figure Drawing, Landscape Painting

gary.blackwell@ocsarts.net

Gary Blackwell received his BFA from the Ringling College of Art and Design. He has been a professional painter and artist since 2000. He also teaches adult students landscape and still life painting throughout the year. Previously, Mr. Blackwell was employed in the advertising industry and worked as a creative director for many years.

Please visit his website at www.garyblackwell.com

Christine Choi

Christine Choi

Instructor

Christine Choi

christine.choi@ocsarts.net

Christine Choi (‘02) holds a bachelor’s degree from Otis College of Art and Design, where she earned a Saul & Sally Fifer Bernstein/Friends of Joe Mugnaini Award during her senior graduation show. Ms. Choi also holds a secondary teaching credential through California State University, Fullerton.

Christy Davison

Christy Davison

Instructor

christy.davison@ocsarts.net

Christy Davison is an OCSA alumna who graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hope International University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Art and Christian Leadership. Mrs. Davison joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2006 and has since taught 3D design, 2D Design, Camp OCSA, Portfolio Prep., and other Saturday art classes. She received a Teacher of the Year Award in 2011.

Other teaching experience includes: teaching second grade art at Acacia Elementary (as a student), teaching an after-school art class at Hermosa Valley Elementary, and teaching private art classes at various locations. She has also worked at Mattel as a Barbie Face Designer from 2003-2006, where she received four cash awards, a team award, one cashless award, and a Certificate of Appreciation from Mattel Toastmasters. In 2005, the pair of polly pocket dolls she painted sold at a charity auction for $14,000. She has also sold her artwork at McKeehan's Fine Art Gallery from 2003-2004.

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Kathleen Fochtman-Gambs

Kathleen Fochtman-Gambs

Instructor

Teaches: Beginning and Advanced Metal Arts

kathleen.gambs@ocsarts.net

Kathleen Fochtman-Gambs received her MFA from California State University, Long Beach in 3D media and metals and is a classically trained metalsmith inspired by all-things metal. She is drawn to objects that have histories and often recycles used and manufactured metal components, giving them new life forms.

Manuel Gonzalez

Manuel Gonzalez

Instructor

Teaches: Advanced Drawing, Mural Painting

manuel.gonzalez@ocsarts.net

Manuel Gonzalez received his BFA from California State University, Long Beach. He completed his apprenticeship in the mural studios of Marv Brehm and Phil Santos, doing work for El Torito, Hardee's, Burger King, and McDonald’s. He also freelanced for I. Magnin, Giorgio Beverly Hills, nine Warner Brothers Stores, the MGM Grand Casino, and Marshall-Rousso Store, as well as several prestigious private residences. In addition to teaching in the Visual Arts Conservatory, he teaches drawing at Fullerton College.

In 2004, he painted a 5,000 square foot mural for the Legion of Valor Museum in Fresno. Mr. Gonzalez has also been a sidewalk art participant since 1992, painting centerpieces, conducting workshops, and initiating new festivals in Whittier and Temecula.

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Barbara Hallman

Barbara Hallman

Instructor

Teaches: 7th Grade 2 Dimensional Design, 7th Grade 3 Dimensional Design

barbara.hallman@ocsarts.net

Information coming soon.

Mihye Joy

Mihye Joy

Instructor

Teaches: 9th Grade Basic Drawing, 10th Grade Beginning Oil Painting

mihye.joy@ocsarts.net

Mihye Joy earned an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art. She is also graduate of California State University, Long Beach, holding a teaching credential in art education. Ms. Joy has over a decade of experience as a fine artist and an art educator.  Additionally, she serves as the Art Director and Curator at the Joy Art Gallery, located in the Anaheim Art District, overseeing a rigorous college art portfolio preparatory program.

Tiffany Ma

Tiffany Ma

Instructor

Teaches: Beginning Printmaking, Mixed Media, Photography

tiffany.ma@ocsarts.net

Tiffany Ma teaches Printmaking, Photography, and Mixed Media in the Visual Arts Conservatory. She received her MFA in Photography from California State University, Fullerton. She is also a working fine artist, who currently creates her work at Mutual Aid, a shared studio space in downtown Santa Ana.

Ms. Ma interned for commercial photographers, as well as at the fine art gallery, Jenkin Johnson, in San Francisco. In graduate school, she worked as a lab tech for the photography department. During graduate school, she also pursued performance art, appearing in a group performance on KCET TV. In 2014, her work was in a juried group exhibition titled Ink and Clay at the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at California Polytechnic Institute. Her installation for the show, An Orchestrated Comfort, won the Juror's Choice Award by the jurors Jeannie Denholm, Phyllis Green, and Dave Lefner.

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Lauren Mendez

Lauren Mendez

Instructor

Teaches: Winter Market Coordinator

lauren.mendez@ocsarts.net

Lauren Mendez graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in fine art. She teaches Beginning and Advanced Digital Painting in the Visual Arts Conservatory. Outside of teaching, she creates colorful and whimsy children illustrations for books, prints, and stationery.

You can see her work at www.littlelobo.com.

Ian Paul Montelongo

Ian Paul Montelongo

Instructor

Teaches: Watercolor Painting

ian.montelongo@ocsarts.net

Ian Paul Montelongo earned his bachelor’s degree in illustration from California State University, Long Beach. He teaches Watercolor in the Visual Arts Conservatory and is a working fine artist, showing at the Chemers Gallery in Tustin.

Julie Newberry-Olson

Julie Newberry-Olson

Instructor

Julie.Newberry-Olson@ocsarts.net

Julie Newberry-Olson achieved a bachelors degree in art, specializing in animation, interactive technology, video graphics and special effects, from California State University, Fullerton. Since 2007, Ms. Olson has taught classical painting and drawing with ArtSteps Inc., offering her time both in regular classes and specialized workshops in animation. While teaching, she continues to work as a graphic designer and storyboard artist for various entertainment arts industry clients, including Marvel Animation Studios.

Cara Nilsen

Cara Nilsen

Instructor

Teaches: Animal Drawing, Beginning Figure Drawing

cara.nilsen@ocsarts.net

Cara Nilsen received her master’s degree in illustration from California State University, Fullerton. She also teaches in the academic elective program and the Digital Media Conservatory. Deeply dedicated to her own work outside of teaching, Ms. Nilsen digitally paints fantasy art pieces and works on Norse mythology.

Please visit her website at https://caranilsenart.squarespace.com.

Advisory Board 

Topher Gent

Topher Gent

Admissions Counselor

Rhode Island School of Design

Information coming soon.

Erin Metzdorf

Erin Metzdorf

Admissions Counselor

Laguna College of Art and Design

Information coming soon.

Yoi Tanaka Gayler

Yoi Tanaka Gayler

Director of Admissions

New York City School of Visual Arts

Information coming soon.