Tony Delap became an art professor in San Francisco before landing a job at UC Davis. In the mid-1960s, he came to Orange County to teach art at UC Irvine. During this time, DeLap was employed to work on trade shows exhibitions and practiced freelance graphic design while applying his talents at painting and sculptures. In fact, it was during his time as a designer, making displays for trade shows that could easily be constructed and taken apart, that he came up with the idea of making portable sculpture. Before he built his current studio, Tony DeLap rented a large workspace in Costa Mesa, near crafts and construction shops. He learned from his neighbors, and evolved as a craftsman as well as an artist. In 2011, Tony DeLap was involved with the SoCal art movement, Pacific Standard Time, with the exhibition, "Best Kept Secret: UCI and the Development of Contemporary Art in Southern California, 1964-1971," at Laguna Art Museum. This show exhibited works by art instructors and students at the University of California at Irvine in the late sixties and early seventies, who created conceptualism, performance, video, feminist and installation art.