Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 by Rachel Walther
It was Alison Bailey's fearlessness that brought her home. A 2003 graduate of CCA's Photography Program and now an associate producer for the Travel Channel TV show Bizarre Foods, Bailey asks herself every day as part of her job, "Where haven't I been before?"
It's this enthusiasm for exploration that originally brought her from Minneapolis to CCA, then across the country to New York, and finally back to Minneapolis in search of a creative career that felt like home.
She landed this job with Tremendous! Entertainment, the company that produces Bizarre Foods, in 2010. The show, now in its sixth season, introduces audiences to exotic and regional foods of the world, from Alaska to Thailand. As an associate producer, she plans the day-to-day pre-production schedule, researches people and locations for future shows, and coordinates the details of filming.
"It's a position that utilizes the curiosity I acquired at CCA. My favorite part is that I get to talk to crazy dreamers all day, all over the world. I have so much random knowledge now from all the time I spend researching for the show."
The Art School Decision
Bailey's decision to attend CCA came as a surprise to most of her friends in high school. "They told me, 'We had no idea you had any interest in art!'" Bailey spent three weeks of the summer before her senior year at CCA's Pre-College Program, having saved up for living expenses with a job at an ice cream shop.
"I was absolutely floored at my Pre-College experience. It was amazing to be around so many people who talked about art, and thought about things the same way I did. I applied to several California colleges and ultimately was deciding between art school and studying Spanish in a more liberal-arts type school. I made my decision standing in front of the mailbox holding two acceptance letters in my hand, one from CCA and one from another college. I decided it was time to start a new adventure, so off to Oakland I went."
She recalls working with stand-out instructors Franklin Williams, Jim Goldberg, Chris Johnson, and Larry Sultan. "They helped me develop the intellectual side of what I was doing and gave me strong encouragement. They taught me how to make creative decisions and have the confidence to back them up."
Bailey completed her degree in 2003, and was the commencement speaker at graduation. "I couldn't believe how the Bay Area had entered my psyche. There's a vibe to it that's so different from the rest of the world. At CCA I was able to be serious about the work I was producing, but still with that laid-back ability to see things in context."
Onward & Upward: Vehicle SF, dress code
After graduation she transitioned into a position at Vehicle SF, a design agency founded by CCA Graphic Design faculty member Dennis Crowe Then two years later, she and her then-boyfriend (and CCA alum) Andre Andreev (Graphic Design 2005) moved to New York.
While working a series of day jobs that were sometimes rewarding, sometimes maddening, she helped Andreev and his creative partner Dan Covert (Graphic Design 2004) set up their design studio, called dress code.
They initially had day jobs at MTV, and were able to build from there a solid client base and eventually go full-time with dress code. "I was there when they named the company, and worked with them while they were setting up the business and transitioning it from a small partnership to a successful studio. They're really talented designers."
Adventures in Television: KMSP
By spring 2007, Bailey was reevaluating her life in New York. She traveled back home to Minneapolis for a break and a new perspective. "There was this big question of 'What do I do now?' And then I realized that Minneapolis is a really nice place."
She landed a position on the local Fox TV affiliate KMSP and over the next four years was promoted to a position in Strategy and Media Planning. "I was given a lot of latitude to try to improve ratings across many programs, from Maury Povich to the late-night news. I never thought I'd be interested in this type of work, but I discovered it was perfect for my personality."
It’s been 10 years since Bailey graduated from CCA, and she couldn't be happier. "My mom always said I was getting a degree in creative problem solving. Although I'm not actively making artwork now, it was the many times in school that I stayed up all night trying to get a certain block of wood to work in a certain way in a particular piece -- all that kind of creative thinking, I now use every day. There have been so different parts to my career: times I've tried and failed, and others when I've succeeded. Right now, I feel like I'm on the right path."
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