You are currently viewing A talk with Scholarship winner Raymundo Ochoa

A talk with Scholarship winner Raymundo Ochoa

We had the opportunity to catch up with Raymundo Ochoa, the 2022 Hispanic Motor Press scholarship winner. We are sharing part of the conversation to help future applicants. 

RL: How did you know cars were so essential for you?

RO: My story mirrors many of the great designers currently working in the industry. Many of us carry it from childhood. It’s a place of absolute, intense passion for automotive design.

It started by drawing cars when I was in second grade. I was into Hot Wheels and music videos. It was just something that my mind gravitated towards. The pivotal moment for me was when one of my second-grade classmates asked me, hey, can I have one of your drawings? I’ll give you a chocolate for it. For me, it was weird. For example, oh, wait a minute. I’m doing this for fun and already getting value out of it. That was my first exposure to art and design. I saw that your passion could become your job. Work can be something that you love to do, and still be able to be a contributing member of society. 

During the pandemic, a lot of stuff started going super digital. I thought, you know what? This may be the time. If all schools are remote, I may be able to sign up for school. It just happened that the university I had dreamed of attending since I graduated from high school, the Academy of Art University, offered a virtual class. It happened to line up at the perfect time with all the technological advancements. I had worked with computers, and now I could showcase my work by bringing innovation to that cross-section of two industries. That was a huge deal.

RL: As one of the winners of the Hispanic Motor Press scholarships, what did it mean to get that scholarship, and did it help you?

RO: There are two really great parts to that. On one end, the connections that I got to make were enormous. It is essential to have people put a name to the face and to have people reach out afterward as a networking thing. It was fantastic.

I want to touch on the Hispanic aspect of it. We sometimes have a deep connection to our roots. Especially if you’re a second generation. I’m first generation; my parents speak Spanish, and they came from Mexico. Still, I can’t say that I fully understand the culture of being Hispanic. This scholarship made me think in broader terms. Some things I started doing with AI are exploring what it means to have Hispanic culture as a way to celebrate what it means. Bring Mexican culture into design. That’s a huge unexplored Avenue.

The scholarship represented two things for me. One is a big hug from my people. Which is like a huge embrace and affirmation. Second, career-wise, I met the CEO of Viscom at the LA Auto Show. They’re one of the most prominent players in the visualization space for the automotive industry, one of the big companies that everybody talks about. I also got to meet one of the designers at Toyota and others. It was a great way to start conversations and to understand what the design process looks like. As soon as I know all the building blocks, I can build my career. That was the most significant catalyst that I ever had before. Start reaching out to people just to have one person introduce me to another.

Getting the scholarship is a big deal in terms of networking. You might have a lot of ideas, but if people do not know about them, it does not matter. It’s easier to get those ideas across to people. So it meant a lot to be able to do that.   

RL: since you got the scholarship, have you started collaborating with any automakers?

Yes, I got to speak with designers at Rivian, I got to speak with designers at Rolls Royce, and I even had conversations with Pininfarina. How can new technology be incorporated in a way that keeps the soul and art alive? To get the attention of a design house and have the opportunity to have a design conversation means to be a special kind of Unicorn in the automotive industry where design is king. To reach manufacturers and talk to them,  listen to what you have to say. I mean, what an honor, 

RL: it’s nice to hear about these successes. It’s our mission to help students like you. I’m so happy to know that many doors have opened since you won the scholarship. Any words you would like to say to any future students with the scholarships opening for this year?

RO: You never know how these events can create a domino effect. So apply, apply, apply. Always network whenever you can. Sometimes, sending a quick DM or a comment to somebody on social media might make their whole day, and you might become best friends for a very long time. They will help you as a result of a small act.

Ricardo Rodriguez Long