Success in Costume Design


Photo by: Maria King

Dominick Callahan, a costume design major, sitting on campus at Fresno City College on April 17.

As an avid horror fan who would like to take the knowledge they have gained from Fresno City College’s costume design program to run their own traveling haunted house, Dominck Callahan, also designed last semesters “Festival of Fright,” on campus, an immersive walk through experience, ending with three short horror plays. 

Callahan is a returning student currently in the costume design program. After a 14 year hiatus from his academic career, he has returned to FCC to pursue his dreams in the field of design. 

“I had worked a lot in retail and decided it was really unfulfilling and I wanted to get back to doing something positive,” Callahan said.

Callahan is 34 years old and dropped out of high school half way through his senior year. Three years ago he received his G.E.D so that he could enroll in college. 

Since attending FCC he has been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA and is going to be receiving the Dean’s Medallion for the Arts and Humanities when he graduates this spring. 

He is currently a Theater Arts major and will be transferring to Fresno State next fall where he will continue his academic goals majoring in theater with an emphasis on design. Callahan discusses the classical approach his costume design professor, Rich Fine, takes to the class.

While the design profession has long been a part of the digital age, the instructors at FCC teach the older techniques as well so the students get a better picture of the history of design and take those older approaches with them into the present. 

“The approach we take to the projects is, we will have our paper, we’ll prep it. We’ll do a wash where we will do a background color and then start to sketch the characters on top. Once the wash is done you go through and watercolor paint it all out and then you can finish with pens, markers, colored pencils to make the picture really pop,” Callahan said.

The last design project of the semester will be based on the play titled “Zoot Suit Riots,” which is based on the historical Sleepy Lagoon murder trial. Other design projects have included the plays “Oedipus” and “Waiting for Godot.”

While Callahan prepares to graduate and transfer in the fall, he feels truly grateful to be a part of the theater program. 

“I really feel like my confidence in my art has grown from taking these classes,” Callahan said. 

Fine had nothing but great things to say of his student, “Dominick is a dream student. He is respectful of his peers. His work is thoroughly researched and expertly presented. I believe him to be one of the most prepared students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching, star student all around.” Fine said.

Sketches by Dominic Callahan.
Prints by Dominick Callahan