Around the turn of the new millennium at the University of Florida, two young fine art undergraduates, Stephanie Hutin and Florencio Zavala, first met in a Photoshop class. They sported the same outfit—cargo shorts and flip-flops.
“I first spotted him at the picnic table at the ‘Ash Tray’ as I happily spray-painted a street-art inspired stencil inside my sketchbook for Monika Lidman's WARP class,” says Stephanie. “We finally ended up in Wendy Babcox's Computer Montage class about a year later. We connected through our mutual interest in rave culture and were both designing CD covers for various DJ friends.
He had a certain finesse with compositing.”
The two developed a relationship during their years at UF. He was a graphic design student while she worked in electronic intermedia. They began collaborating soon after relocating to California and both attended California Institute of the Arts for their graduate work. “We continue to collaborate under the moniker BigSkills,” Stephanie shares. “Flo works as the design director at BBH LA and I am the director of media studies production at Claremont Colleges.”
Stephanie and Florencio enjoy the balance of art, nature and diversity in East Los Angeles, where they have lived since 2001 and were married in 2009. They are raising two girls, Mena Louise Hutin Zavala, 3, and they welcomed their newest edition, Françoise Feyd Hutin Zavala, in November of 2014.
Stephanie believes their success is due in part to the support of each other’s creative pursuits.
“Our romance of the ages started off as a friendship based on a mutual respect for our creative identities.”