Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2008 by Jim Norrena
Alumnus Josh Gorchov has had a recurring nightmare about the college every week since graduating in 2001: “It’s the end of the school year and I forgot to go to a humanities class or something. In my dream, I never graduated. It’s hard to get the hell out of that place,” he laughs.
Perhaps it’s Gorchov’s remarkable success as an editorial illustrator at numerous world-renowned publications, or that he became highly accomplished so soon following graduation that makes his nightmare somewhat of an indebted allegiance to CCA. “My career is exactly what I went to school for—I couldn’t have hoped for anything else.”
If Gorchov illustrated his college experience, it probably would be picture perfect: he met his future wife, fellow CCA alumna Ellen Gould (Graphic Design, 2001), while at CCA. (They even received their diplomas together due to alphabetical necessity.) Thus they walked hand-in-hand down not one but two isles: graduation in 2001 and the matrimonial isle in August 2007, with plenty of CCA faculty and friends in attendance.
Gorchov’s clients include such high-profile publications as Time, Rolling Stone, CosmoGIRL!, Men’s Health, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Harvard Business Review, Wired, Canadian Business, San Francisco Chronicle, United Airlines, Converse, and Playboy, among copious others. He has been honored by Communication Arts, American Illustration, and the Society of Illustrators, and profiled in Step Magazine.
“I do about 200 illustrations a year. There are lots of deadlines, and things keep getting busier. This is a great career with a great future for anyone interested, and I don’t see an end in site,” Gorchov reveals.
“I always knew I wanted to go to art school,” he explains. “I took a local art class with Barron Storey and starting out this opened the gates for me. I caught the Barron bug.” (Barron Storey is an advisor in the Illustration Program who offers more than 40 years of teaching experience.)
Gorchov eventually gravitated toward graphic design. “The Graphic Design Program offered a cohesive education strategy. There was a magazine and several student organizations. They tackled conceptual thinking from every angle,” he explains. He remembers much-celebrated artist-instructor Michael Vanderbyl, professor in the Graphic Design Program: “Michael was the boss. There was lots of structure, and thesis class was ‘the one.’ That’s where my gray hair came from.”
With creative opportunities teeming on each CCA campus, Gorchov admitted, “For me, the hardest part of school was figuring out what to do.” He recalls how the late graphic design professor Steve Reoutt explained to him the importance of holding onto ideas, but Gorchov had too many ideas.
Gorchov now offers some sage advice to those who are struggling with college: “I was never good at tests, and I actually got a lot of F’s—including one in core orientation class!” As a result he lost his full scholarship, yet the experience forced him to get organized and to develop better study skills. He proudly remembers, “Learning how to learn—that’s what college is all about.”
Gorchov admits initially he was a self-described “motivated, but unshaped mess.” Yet he emerged a motivated, successful illustrator and husband.
The CCA experience has come full circle as his wife, Ellen, and he coteach a CCA thesis class. “Ellen’s good cop, and I’m bad cop,” he laughs. And he remains busy with his commercial assignments, as well as creating fine art and selling prints.
Recurring nightmare aside, Gorchov is in fact a CCA alumnus. And today Ellen and he enjoy a new home, a 1910 treasure that reminds him of his success: “If I had to go back to school, I’d pick CCA. I’d do it all the same . . . but I don’t want to do it all over again,” he chuckles.
Born in 1976 in Marin County, CA
BFA 2001, Graphic Design
Editorial illustrator (the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time, and Rolling Stone);
Design thesis committee member (CCA)
Influences at CCA:
Barron Storey, Michael Vanderbyl, Mark Fox, Bob Aufuldish
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