July is International Zine Month, and to celebrate, ArtCenter’s library is presenting a series of events promoting its circulating zine collection, which is very rare among libraries, and showcasing zines created by ArtCenter students and alumni. The library is hosting pop-up zine libraries throughout the month, a zine reading party and an exhibition in the library featuring risograph zines by Never Press (a printing company run by ArtCenter alumni and featuring many alumni works). There will also be a button making workshop on Monday July 31st from 12-2pm at the South Campus Library.
For designers, who often create structure out of chaos, it is critical to establish a common language across a variety of disciplines and have a strong point of view. Leaders, many who work in male dominated fields, reinforced those points at ArtCenter’s Women in Industrial Design Forum on July 15. Women designers from Nike, Airbnb, Sony, Mattel, MIT Media Lab, Google and Snap gathered on campus to share wisdom from the trenches.
“Being opinionated and having a point of view is even more important when working in a male dominated industry because you’ll get a lot of no’s and people talking over you but you have to push past that and not be personally offended by those obstacles,” said Angie Park (BS 2011), who is a hybrid UX researcher at Sony in San Francisco.
When asked “Why do you keep redesigning our product?” by a colleague, Sara Ortloff Khoury (MFA 1992), user experience design director at Google, responded by explaining the iterative process, reflecting a core principle of design thinking particularly relevant to the tech industry: everything can be upgraded into a new and improved product, app, service or device. Khoury lead the design on Google’s recently launched Hire, a new service that helps businesses more effectively manage their internal recruiting process.
“It’s a life long endeavor,” said Angie Park. “A large part of what we do is educate coworkers and clients, champion the idea of design thinking.”
“Engineers think of you as an afterthought,” said Kristina Marrero (BS 2014), colors, materials and finish (CMF) designer at Snap Inc., who makes it a point of educating more people about her field to make products more successful.
While it’s easy to obsess over whether or not you play up your femininity or play it down and what in the room is working against you, the consensus among attendees was that working in a male dominated field, it is important to find a support system, be strong, fight for your point of view and be yourself.
“Don’t be afraid to speak loudly,” said Jenn Kuca (BS 2012), senior strategic designer, BCG Digital Ventures. “When people are talking over you, speak louder.”
When asked if there is a way to approach the design research process that is enhanced by being a woman, panelists agreed women are better collaborators, more empathetic especially in awkward situations, and more detail oriented in their observations, generally speaking, than men.
Some projects are male driven and it’s obvious based on the output, said Angie Park. “You can’t design well if the team is not diversified, it can’t be only female driven either.” Diversity among voices represented by gender and ethnicity, they agreed, is most important.
“I was inspired to pursue a leadership position at Nike when I realized there were no women in senior positions at the organization,” said Marni Gerber (BS 1985), ArtCenter faculty and senior design director at Nike. She created a group within the footwear leader to focus on constructive changes to the corporate culture and be a safe place for women with the purpose of helping senior leaders become more supportive of women. She urged audience members to have many mentors, not just one.
Khoury said while it’s hard to bear witness to gender bias, we must stop thinking about the fairness issue because effort doesn’t know gender. “At the end of the day, I’m judged by my effort.” She encouraged the audience to read Angela Lee Duckworth’s writing about the power of passion and perseverance.
Panelists encouraged women to approach job qualifications as wish lists not check lists because, they said research shows women tend to only seek jobs they’re 100 percent prepared for and men pursue positions they’re only 60 percent prepared for.
Mariana Prieto (BS 2012), a design innovation consultant, summed up the day by saying you’re never too young or too old to be a mentor or a mentee, there’s always someone on either side to learn from and when you help others, you learn a ton. Follow your intuition she urged, because once you take the first step the next will follow.
Maribel Barcena is a fourth-term student who took the study away course Berlin: A City as Portrait in the Spring term. Wanting to take advantage of her time in Europe after the class ended, Barcena had asked around to see what opportunities were available.
She got an assist from Ken Marchionno, one of our instructors and her Fine Art Photography teacher. Marchionno connected Barcena with the director of ArtMill, a non-profit near Prague, and Barcena is now starting her internship there, where she is setting up a darkroom for the mill and helping install a show about migration.
Because she had some time to kill between the Berlin class and starting at ArtMill, Barcenaasked the director if she knew of other opportunities, and as it turned out, they knew of two. The director helped Maribel land internships at ArtMap and Fotograf Gallery, a bookstore and gallery, respectively, both located in Prague. Her jobs varied from photographing books and events, to shooting some still life for the new issue of the magazine.
It looks like Barcena’s love for travel and eagerness to gain work experience have helped her land a pretty awesome summer.
The Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography announced the recipients of the 2017 HMCT Educator Grants today. The HMCT Educator Grants invest in the professional and personal enrichment of ArtCenter faculty members to support research, workshops, seminars, conferences and other activities which augment their knowledge and benefit their teaching. Grant recipients are asked to investigate new opportunities and ideas in the area of language and typography, and to grow as creative artists, designers and educators. In turn, faculty members bring new and refreshed knowledge and experiences back into ArtCenter’s academic community, which enhances the quality of their teaching.
Educator Grants were awarded to the following faculty members:
- Christina Aumann (Graphic Design): to produce letterpress printed specimen broadsides and a PDF booklet of the Archetype Press wood type collection
- River Jukes-Hudson & Dante Carlos (Graphic Design): to produce a website and annotated digital image collection for Design Atlas, an online educational tool for teachers, students, and designers
- Eva Forgacs (Humanities and Sciences): to present an academic research paper at the international conference on Russian Western Art at the University of Venice, Italy
- Greg Lindy (Graphic Design): to attend the 2017 ATypI conference in Montreal, Quebec; and to develop the transitional serif family typeface, currently called “Burlington”
- John David O’Brien (Integrated Studies): to create an artist book prototype with the poetry of Laura Mullen
ArtCenter has launched a new video series featuring student self portraits, providing a glimpse into the creative journeys of five of our students.
“In their process of researching colleges, most prospective students plan a campus visit, browse the website, or make an appointment with an admissions counselor,” said Kit Baron, senior vice president of Admissions and Enrollment Management for ArtCenter. “While these experiences are valuable and provide a great way to gather information, hearing directly from ArtCenter students to learn about their stories and their lives provides yet another deeper level of sharing. We’re often asked ‘What’s it really like to be an ArtCenter student?’ We hope the stories of these five talented individuals helps answer that common question and provide prospective students with a realistic glimpse into their world.”
The five students were asked to share their creative journeys and reveal personal details such as their early inspiration, decision to attend art school, current projects and long-term goals. All production in the field was completed by the individual students, who were commissioned to spend 12 weeks meeting once a month to workshop their projects, from proposal through final cut, while undertaking the challenging process of capturing their own creative evolution in a professional quality video—all in addition to their demanding studio and academic course load. Light guidance was provided throughout the creative process by a small team of staff from Admissions and Marketing and Communications. The result is a series of video self-portraits that truly capture the student’s intimate voice, motivations and distinctive viewpoints.
My Vanishing Twin tells the story of Walter Braum, who is pregnant with his own twin brother. It is an exceedingly freak manifestation of a rare medical condition called Vanishing Twin Syndrome. But it is also a sudden thorn in Walter’s psyche, bringing into question most everything he thought he knew about himself and his life.
We checked in with Stern about his book and his writing process on the eve of its launch:
Campus News: How do you have time to write when you have such a demanding job?
Tom Stern: For me, it’s the inverse. The time I invest in writing affords me the ability to navigate a demanding job and busy life. On my good days, I can even navigate them reasonably well, occasionally getting a thing—or even two—right. On my bad days, well… the time I carved out to write helps me keep some modicum of perspective
CN: The premise of your book, the Vanishing Twin Syndrome, is kind of an obscure medical condition. Is there a reason behind this choice? Was there a lot of research involved?
TS: The medical condition was a piece of information I must have quietly tucked away in the back of my brain. As the initial pages I was writing began to coalesce into what would become My Vanishing Twin, it dawned on me that I was about to write a book about a man who discovers he’s pregnant with his own twin brother who, once born, is obsessed with acquiring his MBA. A classic tale, I know… But as I puzzled over this direction, Vanishing Twin Syndrome surfaced in my thinking. I remembered having read articles about fairly unsettling instances of the phenomenon. So I dug back into these and other articles to sort of flesh out the concept, taking much poetic license with it, of course.
CN: Both of your novels are about regular guys with regular lives whose lives turn when faced with something extraordinary. Do you write yourself into your books? Are you headed for an extraordinary adventure? Or is writing your extraordinary adventure?
TS: I like that assessment a lot. I would tweak it a bit, though. I think that both of my books are about regular guys who discover something extraordinary in what they had considered banal about their own lives. I think my books are about people coming into self-knowledge in the way that most of us do: begrudgingly. They are confronted with realities that they cannot immediately accept, having built their lives on a belief in a contrary truth. In this regard, I think I’m no different than my protagonists. They just get to experience more poetic or metaphorical manifestations of this process than I do. That said, I think our personalities are quite different.
CN: Are you working on the next book? Any hints at the direction?
TS: I am always working on something. Right now I’m working on a few things that I think are shaping up into books. And I’m also writing some articles in support of the release of My Vanishing Twin. One essay that I’m really proud of will be published on The Los Angeles Review of Books Blog in July.
CN: Anything else you would like the community to know about your writing career?
TS: I’ve learned an incredible amount from experiencing the variety of ways that our various departments approach their creative disciplines. It has undoubtedly made me a much better writer.
The Fellow award program is a means of recognizing designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community as well as in their local AIGA chapter. The areas of education, writing, leadership and reputation, as well as the practice of design are given equal consideration in measuring significant contribution.
The last current ArtCenter faculty member to receive this award was Petrula Vrontikis (2007). Former faculty Agustin Garza was named a Fellow in 2012. This is the first time that two ArtCenter faculty have received this honor in the same year.
They will be honored at a ceremony June 22 at the Millwick in the Arts District in Downtown L.A.
Fine Art faculty member Kerry Tribe was one of five winners of the 2017 Herb Alpert Award. The award is given to “risk-taking mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theater, and the visual arts,” and includes an unrestricted award of $75,000.
Tribe, who lives and works in Los Angeles, frequently examines the themes of memory, time, and the ethics of representation through a variety of media including multichannel videos, 16-mm films, installations, sculpture, performance, and photography. Her subjects have ranged from an urban river, aphasia, and a butterfly’s wing to a man with a twenty-second memory, the night sky, and her senile grandfather.
“I started out thinking I should try to ‘change the world.’ I don’t know how often art can do that, and I think there are more practical ways to channel one’s energies into social change if that’s the goal. But I do think that the ethics of representation count, and I hope that the representations I make provide opportunities to think critically about topics that matter, free from the demands of more traditional, instrumentalized or commercialized media,” explains Tribe, in conversation with Diana Nawi, associate curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Read the entire interview here.
Antoinette Adams is the first to admit she’s not your typical art student. Just before her 50th birthday, she made a life-changing decision to go back to school as soon as her youngest child was old enough to drive. The bold choice to enroll at ArtCenter seemed an impossible dream after a long career as an attorney.
With trepidation based on the 20-year plus age gap between her and fellow Fine Art majors, she persevered and happily established lasting bonds with a close-knit family of artists.
Forever moved by the thrill of stepping onto campus and the encouraging, yet brutally honest, community of artists she’s now firmly a part of, Adams is giving back to the college that changed her life forever. She recently donated $50,000 to fund scholarships and Study Away travel expenses for an annual art sojourn to Berlin, Germany.
“We’re grateful to Antoinette for this generous gift to help our talented current students cover their educational expenses as well as provide vital support to recent alumni with the launch of their careers as working artists,” said Tom Knechtel, chair of the undergraduate Fine Art department at ArtCenter College of Design.
The gift from Adams, who graduated with her degree in Fine Art in 2015, is set to fund two new programs that will benefit enrolled students and recent alumni of the Fine Art department. Adams is a resident of downtown Los Angeles and also has a home in Berlin.
Kicking off this fall (2017), the Antoinette Adams Alumni Award will provide a recipient with studio space in ArtCenter’s 35,000 square foot building at 870 South Raymond Avenue, a thriving collaborative nucleus for the visual arts. The alumnus, to be selected by faculty, will receive a $2,000 stipend for two 14-week terms. Additionally, the chosen individual, who will have been out of college for at least two years and no longer than 10, will curate an exhibition of student work, help seniors prepare solo shows and present a talk about their own work.
“We anticipate that when alumni with life experience come to work in our studios alongside current students, they’ll engage in useful conversations about life after ArtCenter,” said Knechtel.
The gift is also set to provide travel stipends to make a Berlin trip possible for several students and alumni through the College’s robust Study Away program. During the excursion, students and alumni will have the opportunity to experience the depth and excitement of the museums, galleries and cultural life of Berlin. Covering expenses such as airfare and museum passes will be a tremendous relief for ten artists in the Fine Arts community. Adams plans to host both “welcome” and “farewell” dinners for the group at her home in Berlin.
The Spring 2017 issue of Dot magazine is now available. You can find copies at various locations around campus including the Library, CSE, the DCO, the Faculty Lounge, the President’s office and the Provost’s office. Magazines are also available at the security desk of each building. Dot magazine is published by ArtCenter’s Department of Marketing and Communications. Stories are published online throughout the year, and a print edition comes out twice a year.
ArtCenter is a community of bold imagination and innovative spirit, and the creative contributions of our alumni faculty and students inspire pride and energize our growth. As the College’s flagship publication, Dot magazine explores and celebrates their far-reaching influence within professional disciplines and on culture and society as a whole. The magazine’s wide readership includes alumni and donors; corporate and foundation supporters; industry, educational and cultural partner; and local officials.
What follows is President Lorne Buchman’s introduction to this issue.
“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” That bit of dialogue from Casablanca, spoken by Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine to Claude Rains’ Captain Renault, is perhaps the most famous final line in cinematic history.
As you peruse this issue, you’ll encounter similarly recognizable works by ArtCenter alumni that have become part of our national, if not international, cultural fabric—from the silhouetted surfers of John Van Hamersveld’s Endless Summer poster, to the brightly hued world Kendal Cronkhite created for last year’s animated Trolls, to Ignacio Gomez’s striking poster for Zoot Suit, featuring El Pachuco looming large over Los Angeles.
Looking through this issue you’ll also discover work by several alums that have recently reached out to us. For example, the mesmerizing photomontage featured on the cover was sent to us by Wing Chan via Untold Stories, our website where all our alumni friends can share, in their own words, their stories and latest projects.
Additionally, much of the work highlighted in the 4 x 4 gallery—from Ranee Henderson’s highly textured painted portraits to Nora Shields’ mind-bending, site-specific sculptures—first appeared on our website’s Alumni Now page, a digital destination featuring timely updates from our graduates.
We couldn’t be happier with all the stories you’ve been sending our way, and it’s truly an honor to share them with both our community and to a wider audience.
Another collaborative project we’re proud to share with you in this issue is Create Change 2.0, ArtCenter’s strategic plan for the next five years. The plan was unanimously and enthusiastically approved by the Board of Trustees this past October and officially adopted earlier this year.
A natural extension of Create Change 1.0, the new plan focuses on how the College creates value for its students while realizing its mission. The plan was a major undertaking—assembling thoughtful input from multiple voices across ArtCenter over a period of 18 months—but the results are compelling and promise to have positive ramifications well into the future.
So sit back, enjoy this issue, and keep those submissions coming! Because, as Rick Blaine might put it, without your stories this crazy world wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans.