Visual Arts Division Faculty Biographies
Christine Mallouf, Program Manager
Christine Mallouf is the Program Manager of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Gifted/Talented Programs Conservatory of Fine Arts, Visual Arts Division. She grew up in Burbank, CA, where she attended and graduated from Burbank High School. She studied at Valley Community College, Glendale College, Pierce College and California State University at Northridge. Christine’s education continued at East Los Angeles Occupational Center and National Computer School, both schools specializing in the arts. She continues her art education at the Academy of Fine Arts. Christine’s skills are varied and eclectic. Some of her many interests include painting, pen and ink, sculpture, ceramics, printing, mosaics and design. Having worked at many of the animation studios in Los Angeles, including The Disney Studios and Warner Brothers Animation, Christine is also quite proficient in computer graphics and animation (traditional and computer generated). Using her many talents, Christine has also worked in the advertising, photography, fashion, product and book illustration industries. There is no question that art is Christine’s passion and that is evident in her personal and professional life.
Kathy Lee, Assistant Program Manager
Kathy Lee has worked for the Conservatory for 14 years and currently serves as the Assistant Program Manager of the Visual Arts Division. Before this career, she was a fashion designer in Los Angeles for BCBG and was in charge of the Nordstrom collection. The position allowed her to travel to many cities in the US, as well as other countries in Europe. She has been involved in both domestic and international fashion shows. She holds a fashion design and merchandising degree from Los Angeles Trade Technical College and Paris Fashion Institute.
Blanca Alvarado, Instructor
Blanca Alvarado has been working at the Conservatory of Fine Arts for 15 years as an art teacher, and it has been both an honor and a real, fun challenge for her! She currently works as an art teacher for the LAUSD Arts Education Branch, serving different elementary schools throughout the year. Before becoming an art teacher her goal was a career in Child Development. She earned both her Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and also a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Los Angeles. Her passion for the arts led her back to school to acquire a Single Subject Credential in Art. She considers her teaching practice and expertise as her primary form of art expression, because teaching art requires a lot of creativity, time, knowledge, dedication, planning, and passion. Lately, she’s been dedicating some time learning how to draw the figure form and creating different forms of three-dimensional art. Her personal philosophy is to be happy, love life, respect yourself and others, never stop learning, value creativity and knowledge, and peace!
Cuauhtemoc Arrieta, Instructor
Cuauhtémoc Arrieta has extensive experience as a creative director and art director for different agencies in Mexico City and Los Angeles over the past years, which has provided him with a full understanding and ability to execute ad conception, creation, management, production, post-production and all tasks necessary to run multiple campaigns. It’s the job of an Art Director/Creative Director to be able to decipher trends that are actionable, recognize excellent ideas and produce creative innovations that deliver results. As a respected Art Director/Creative Director, Cuauhtemoc has a solid background working for and interacting with diverse, high-profile accounts. He has learned the craft from the ground up working in roles such as copywriter, art director and creative director. He has been working at the Conservatory of Fine Arts for ten years. His personal philosophy is “Recognize excellent ideas and produce creative work that delivers results.” Cuauhtemoc's educational background includes: Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (ENAP) and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Brianne Fatemi, Substitute Instructor
Brianne Fatemi is an artist from Los Angeles who creates acrylic paintings using an uncommon method of industrial power tools. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Studio Arts at California State University, Los Angeles. Her work is about releasing of energy and ties her work to the electromagnetic spectrum connecting art with science. Various elements from music, color and movement, including using a full body method to paint, are all forms of energy she uses to create her expressive work. The work she creates varies from her origami series of paintings to her sculptural paintings that use bright vivid colors as her inspiration.
Lori Ikediashi, Instructor
Lori Ikediashi has taught for a total of 35 years and has been at Fremont High School for the past 28 years. She attended FIDM in their interior design program. She received a textile designters certificate from OTIS Art Institute. Her interests are design and architecture. She has taught AP Art Historyy, AP 2-D Design, Drawing, Painting, and Introduction to Art courses.
Michelle Lee, Instructor
Michelle M. Lee is an experienced arts educator as well as an exhibited artist. She received her double major BA in art and art history and M.Ed in Urban Schooling and Social Justice from UCLA and her MFA and Ed.D. from USC. She holds a teaching credential in Art. She has lectured at UCLA and USC. Her artwork has been exhibited at the Bergamot Station (Santa Monica), Municipal Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park, and UCLA Hammer Museum Grunwald Center, Los Angeles, CA. She teaches art at LAUSD and Ryman Arts.
Carol Machamer, Instructor and Substitute
Carol Machamer has worked with LAUSD Gifted/Talented Programs in a variety of capacities since 1990. This has included school-site Gifted Coordinator, Conservatory of Fine Arts Instructor and Gifted/Advanced Placement Conferencing Presenter. Her education has focused on art, education, and administration with an M.A. and M.F.A. Studio Art, Mixed Media Painting. Carol continues to find her greatest joy and challenge through the ever-changing dynamic of teaching in the art classroom and feels honored to participate again with the LAUSD Gifted/Talented Programs Conservatory of Fine Arts.
Nicole Marquez-Johnston, Instructor
This year marks the start of Nicole Marquez-Johnston’s thirteenth year working for the Conservatory of Fine Arts. She has been teaching for LAUSD since 2008 as a substitute teacher and a fine arts teacher, and is currently teaching at Walnut Park Middle School STEM Academy. She received her expertise in art by taking courses from Pasadena City College where she received her Associate of Arts degree before transferring over to Cal State LA earning not only her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Art Education, but also her Master’s degree and teaching credential in art. She has the privilege of collaborating with other educators to enhance her teaching practice in addition to making art a fun and enjoyable experience for teachers and students alike. Some of her personal interests and hobbies include reading, drawing, watching movies, listening to different varieties of music, and she is a big fan of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Disney.
Jacqueline Monroe, Instructor
Jacqueline Monroe is a traditional artist with a background in illustration. She earned her BFA from CSULB in 2010. This is her second year teaching with the Conservatory and fifth year with LAUSD.
Tomas Parra, Instructor
Tomas Parra has worked for the Conservatory of Fine Arts for a total of eleven years (1998-2003, 2016-present). His teaching experience spans 30 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Woodbury University, and a Master’s Degree in Education from The University of Phoenix. As an artist, Tomas appreciates stimulating shapes, vibrant colors and functional design. He likes to sketch, draw, paint, and build. His artwork reflects all that moves him. He sees beauty in a human form, an inspirational space or location, a colorful sunset, an interesting animal or plant. He also enjoys the aesthetics in a building interior, the feel and look of classic architectural forms. Over the years, he has painted portraits, landscapes and created cultural displays. He has built small-scale models and sculptures. Tomas's favorite artworks are large-scale paintings and street murals.
Atilio Pernisco, Instructor
Atilio Pernisco is a Los Angeles painter, who makes contemporary impressions of suburbia Los Angeles. Existential at its core, his work interrogates the human condition in the quotidian moments that are marked by absence and anxiety. This absence turns Atilio into the observer and chronicler of the repetitiousness of life, observing this process in itself as some sort of spectacle. As a result, the actual process of painting is done with a liquid fluidity – with his marks striving for a glimpse of something more authentic in the now. Atilio's works have appeared in many group exhibitions in Los Angeles.
Ewa Pietraszak, Instructor
We all love fairytales. They scare us, they teach us life lessons and they make us happy. Ewa Pietraszak’s goal is to tell adult stories through lyrical, expressionist and surrealist visual imagery and some found object or reclaimed art to keep a memory; because memories are quintessential to art. We are all connected and art connects us the most. Ewa currently has six series: 1) Abstract Expressionism and Found Object Art: Acrylic on Canvas with Resin. 2). Feminist Series: Gender Roles and what it’s like to be a Woman. 3) Christianity: Religion vs. Faith, Iconography vs. Hypocrisy. 4) Endangered Species Series. 5) Trees: Spiritual Beings- A Metaphor. 6) Political Series: Abstract Acrylic and Resin. Ewa holds a B.A. from U.C. Irvine and teaches art, history/fine art, and English at Ramona High School. She has been with the Conservatory for 16 years.
Sergio Raygoza, Instructor
Sergio Raygoza is an LAUSD high school visual arts teacher currently working at LIBRA Academy. He has been working as an instructor for the Conservatory of Fine Arts, Visual Arts division, for over ten years. Sergio has a Bachelor of Art in Art Education and a Masters’ degree in Curriculum and Instruction. The reason why he has committed himself to this great profession is that he really enjoys working with students who he feels have the potential to become great young artists and productive citizens. What Sergio has learned along the way is that every single student has a voice, and in many instances, art is the best way for them to express their thoughts and concerns.
Rachelle Scarpin, Instructor
Ms. Rachelle Scarpin has been with the Conservatory of Fine Arts for eight years as a visual arts instructor. She also works as a specialist for Apple, freelance cosmetologist and designer of jewelry and hair accessories. She also works on her own art and enjoys costuming design. She studied Fine Art with a minor in Art History. She is a licensed cosmetologist and certified floral designer. Rachelle has had her artwork in the "Picture This" gallery for a Frida Kahlo art exhibit. Her jewelry has been sold in "A Pin-Ups Closet" and "Moss & Rock." She has done hair for Blizzard for "BlizzCon" and worked with airbrush artist Mark Frazier. Rachelle is a lover of all things creative and enjoys everything from photography to mixed media.
Lisa Seid, Instructor
Lisa Seid is an artist/maker from Orange County. She has a BFA from CSUF and currently teaches high school graphic design. If she isn't teaching art in some capacity, you will find her at Disneyland, kayaking, or gaming.
Alejandro Zendejas, Substitute Instructor
Alejandro Zendejas has worked for the Conservatory for the past eleven years as a substitute teacher and visual arts instructor. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from the University of Southern California in 2008. He has professional experience in the field of painting. Alejandro wrote the article “Collection Illuminates Spirituality: Rico Lebrun,” published in the Daily Trojan on April 24, 2001.