This is from my ABQ Design Summit 2019 (AIGA) Keynote Presentation. The Summit was held August 16th and 17th, 2019 at the CNM Montoya Campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Graphic design is a complex interdisciplinary field which includes animation, UI/UX, digital media arts, video game development and so much more. There is no aspect of modern commerce that is not touched by graphic design. This makes the skillset of the graphic designer very valuable and in high demand across the economy.

I believe that our reality is shaped by the interfaces we share. Graphic designers and creatives play a big part in the development of interfaces, and thusly, in the creation of our shared realities. As part of my quest to find what makes New Mexico such a great place to create, I have met with many different artists and entities who are working to create better interfaces in our community everyday.

Too often, New Mexicans are often quick to dismiss their contributions to the creative community. And yet, we have a rich tradition of being a place where creativity thrives…we have designers, writers, artists, inventors, performers and a wealth of creative talent in New Mexico and the Southwest. I choose to celebrate this rich creative tradition and in doing so, I would like to share my discoveries with the global design and creative community.

During the course of my research over the last year, I’ve discovered so many fascinating creative design projects in New Mexico, it was hard to choose what to present for the keynote. However, one place I keep returning to over the last several months is the STEMulus center by CNM Ingenuity, Inc. in Downtown Albuquerque.

Deep Dive Coding

Digital Media Bootcamp

I was invited to attend the graduation of Deep Dive Coding’s most recent bootcamp on August 9th, 2019. The Digital Media Arts Bootcamp is an immersive 12 week, 40 hour a week skills training program which includes instruction in commercial animation, video game design and computer generated graphics.

The STEMulus Center is a state of the arts creative production facility which houses classrooms, open space work environments (with super comfy pod couches), a complete Maker lab and also houses several area startups including ABQID. The graduation ceremony was held in a building that also serves as a prop house for the film industry. These students are living and working up close in a hands on environment on projects that they can continue to develop after graduation from the Bootcamp program. Their projects are both self initiated as well as actual client projects. CNM Ingenuity partners with small business, government and non-profits in the community to solve real world problems with the help of the Bootcamp students. This way, students graduate with actionable job skills and connections in the local job market.

The breadth and depth of the projects I saw presented during the graduation and demo day was impressive. The staff and teaching faculty of Deep Dive Coding clearly care about their students and have designed a high quality program to meet the needs of New Mexico’s digital design students. All of the projects I saw were done to a high standard of professional practice and creativity.

The goal of the program is to bring students with diverse interests into one fully functioning unified web studio by the end of the 12 week bootcamp.

Here are the student reels I shared during my keynote:


Kasie Cochrane – AR Tattoos to Life

Kasie was a graduate of the 2nd Digital Media Bootcamp and is now an Assistant Teacher for the Program. A perfect example of local talent, Kasie grew up on the Westside of Albuquerque. She is a fine artists and a digital creative. Her older sister completed the Deep Dive Full Stack Development program and this inspired Kasie to pursue the Digital Media Bootcamp. During her studies, she learned about AR as it was used in a wayfinding app project on CNM’s Westside campus.

Kasie and I both have a shared love of tattoos. Her own project took her love of tattoo art and her interest in AR technology to help create a new way of telling the story of a tattoo.

Every tattoo has a story. Kasie used animation, documentary video of the tattoo creation process and interviews with local tattoo artists to help tell the story of her tattoos using augmented reality (AR).

This blend of the personal and the practical is the hallmark of the student work at CNM and a huge part of why the students love this program.


Art by Kasie Cochrane - ABQ Design Summit 2019

Visit to learn more about Kasie’s work and see samples of AR Tattoos to Life in action.


Christopher Short

In addition to representing student work from CNM’s Digital Media Arts Bootcamp, I also met with established artist Christopher Robin Short.

Christopher is an internationally known Laser Artist and co-creator of the Radiator Synthesizer. He lives in Santa Fe, NM. He is Citizen Potawatomi (fr. Oklahoma) and was attracted to New Mexico for its deep cultural heritage.

I recently got a chance to sit down and talk to Christopher at his home in Santa Fe. A collector of vintage planetarium ephemera and a professional laser artist, Christopher’s home is filled with both Native American art and laser devices. He has performed laser shows around the world including at the Kennedy Space Center, Meow Wolf, and most recently, SELEM (Southeastern Laser Enthusiasts Meeting).

Christopher was doing a documentary photography project on the petroglyphs outside of Phoenix, Arizona when he caught the attention of the BBC who interviewed him about his laser diorama work.

I shared some clips from this BBC interview during the Keynote. I have included the whole video here for context.

Christopher’s most recent work with his team Neon Captain is the Radiator Synthesizer, a portable laser controller with programmable presets. The goal of the Radiator is to bring the live performance aspect of laser art back to laser shows.

Christopher Short - Neon Captain - Radiator Synthesizer
View this project on Kickstarter


I got to take the Radiator Synthesizer for a tour and I was not disappointed. The Radiator is a portable yet sleek laser controller with MIDI input. When connected to a laser projection system, the laser artist can use the Radiator to create live laser performance art in the air to the accompaniment of music.

The Radiator recently met its funding goal (as well as some bump goals) on Kickstarter and is now in the early stages of pre-production.

You can learn more about Christopher’s work with LED dioramas, UV reactive light painting and more on his website,


I closed this keynote presentation with a tour of my book and recent artwork. Please feel free to explore my site to learn more about what I do. If you are looking for Resources for Creatives, you can find that on my Resources page.