Artworld luminaries hail Stockholm debut of Sculpture After Sculpture, curated by Grad Art’s Jack Bankowsky

by October 24th, 2014

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By all accounts, Sculpture After Sculpture, an omnibus exhibition curated by Art Center faculty member, Jack Bankowsky,  is a major event, capturing nothing short of a pivotal moment in the evolution of modern sculpture. The show opened last week at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet to great fanfare, including this piece in Artforum. For those who can’t make it to Sweden, the following catalog excerpt offers a glimpse at the compelling story this audacious show tells about sculpture’s relatively recent past and possibly its not-so-distant future.

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Under the influence of Richard Pietruska: 40 years training the world’s top car designers

by October 23rd, 2014

Richard Pietrushka

Richard Pietruska

As we prepare to celebrate Richard Pietruska’s remarkable accomplishment of 40 years as an instructor at Art Center, we are receiving numerous notes and images from his former students expressing their appreciation for his impact on their lives and careers.  I just received a particularly heartfelt and personal email from our alumnus Chris Bangle.

As you may know, Chris is one of our most notable Transportation Design alumni who has had an amazing career (still in progress) – first, as a designer for Opel, then Fiat, then a long and distinguished career leading the BMW global design team.

I greatly value Chris’ authentic and kind words about Richard, which are undoubtedly echoed by many.­

– Stewart Reed, Chair of Transportation Design

It was my great fortune to have had Richard as an instructor during my time at Art Center. And judging by his perennially youthful looks today, it must have been around that time he painted his own “Portrait of Dorian Gray” and gave it to another instructor to lock away forever (they tend to do that).

Richard was inspiring in content and method of instruction: one of the first really empathetic instructors I encountered after quite a few semesters experiencing the terrorizing “boot-camp” teachers who were pulling our collective hair out (theirs included) trying to get us neophytes over the hump of learning the basics.  Richard treated us as young professionals who should already know which end of the pencil to sharpen but had not been challenged by the illustration techniques and depths of composition assignments he had in store.  I still have the paintings I did in his class on my walls and still tell stories of their creation with pride.

Perhaps more importantly Richard was (and no doubt still is) the eye level reference-professional for young designers; someone who speaks their language and can absorb their angsts and talk through their dreams over a beer––not from behind a lectern.  For many of us he was a psychological anchor in a maelstrom of real and imagined stresses; the one you could always go to with a problem or when in need of an ear that was really listening and who’s encouragement was authentic and heartfelt.

To know the man is to know Art Center College of Design at its best.

For all that caring––besides the sharing of his craft––I am deeply indebted to Richard Pietruska and very proud to call him friend.  I am sorry I am far away (but not in spirit!) on his big day but wish him well and hope he has the opportunity to tour the world of his ex-students and glow in the spirit he has sown.

Congratulations Richard!

–Chris Bangle is Managing Director Chris Bangle Associates SRL, Clavesana, Italy

Art Center will hold a reception for alumni, fellow instructors and the broader community to honor Pietrushka’s 40 years with the College on October 24, from 7pm to 9pm. RSVP

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Worth a rewatch: Graphic Design department’s new Begin Here video

by October 22nd, 2014

Still from the Graphic Design department's Begin Here video.

Still from the Graphic Design department’s Begin Here video.

Have you watched the Graphic Design department’s new Begin Here video for prospective students? If not, do so now. All finished? Okay, now watch it again. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

Notice anything unusual? Besides department chair Nik Hafermaas posing with a hawk?

No, you’re not going crazy—several elements in the video change upon a second viewing. For example, the individual students featured during the “people like him and her” portion of the narration. Watch it again and you’ll see yet another pair.

What’s going on here? This two-minute recruitment video is not a video in the traditional sense. Rather it’s an interactive work that mixes together a series of dynamically populated video segments as well as time- and location-based information—like the user’s current location, current weather for both the user and for Art Center students, and the current week and term at the College—into a cohesive narrative.

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Holy grand slam, Batman! Batmobiles times four on display at Car Classic

by October 21st, 2014

1966 Batman TV Series Batmobile designed by George Barris

1966 Batman TV Series Batmobile designed by George Barris

Four authentic, full-scale Batmobiles will roll onto the field at Art Center’s Street to Screen: Car Classic 2014 event this Sunday. Exploring the impact transportation and entertainment design has had on Hollywood and the entertainment industry—on camera, on the road and behind the scenes—this year’s Bat-tastic concours confab will host a critical mass of the caped crusader’s legendary vehicles.

Art Center’s ties to the Dark Knight extend well beyond transportation. Entertainment Design Chair Tim Flattery designed the Batmobile Val Kilmer used in the 1994 film Batman Forever. Alumnus Harald Belker (BS Transportation Design 90) created the 1997 Batmobile George Clooney drove in Batman and Robin and Illustration Chair Ann Field worked on character design for Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy in that same movie. Alumnus Zack Snyder (BFA Film 89) has added the great detective to his latest Superman epic, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, scheduled to be released in 2016. And who owns Batman/DC Comics? None other than Warner Bros., led by Trustee Greg Silverman, who reigns as its President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production.

Batmobile from 1997 Batman and Robin film, designed by Harald Belker

Batmobile from 1997 Batman and Robin film, designed by Harald Belker

With all of Art Center’s ties to the Batman franchise, it might not surprise you if we were harboring our own Batcave on campus. Rumor has it that there was a tunnel running from Caltech to the basement of South Campus’ 950 building when it was originally operated as the Southern California Cooperative Wind Tunnel. Could this be the entrance to the Batcave? Are there really more than three basement levels at 950? Could Bruce Wayne have lived in Pasadena? It would be nice if we could tune in to the Bat-channel for answers.

Perhaps some clues lie within the Batmobiles that will be on the field this Sunday. The Ford Motor Company concept car that was purchased for one dollar and turned into the Batmobile seen in the 1996 Batman TV series by George Barris will be on display, thanks to the designer himself, who will also be in attendance at the event. You can also see the original 1963 Batmobile Tour Car, which was used by DC Comics Licensee All Star Dairies to promote their Batman-themed ice creams and drinks. And we will of course have Tim Flattery’s Batman Forever and Harald Belker’s Batman and Robin Batmobiles as well.

Batman Forever Batmobile designed by Tim Flattery

Batman Forever Batmobile designed by Tim Flattery

The show will feature a number of other car stars including Herbie from Herbie Fully Loaded and the Bumblebee Camaro from Transformers: Age of Extinction (directed by alumnus Michael Bay, BFA Film 88). There will also be vehicles from The Thomas Crown Affair, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Addams Family, Singin’ in the Rain and The Italian Job.

In addition to all the star cars, the afternoon will feature panel discussions with street and screen luminaries including Pixar StudiosCars Legacy Guardian, Jay Ward; alumnus Chip Foose (BS Transportation Design 90); alumnus Syd Mead (BS Transportation Design 1959), the legendary visual futurist responsible for designs for science-fiction films such as Blade Runner, Aliens and Tron; Daniel Simon, the designer behind Tron: Legacy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier; as well as the legendary George Barris.

Word has it there will also be full-sized Hot Wheels! For more information and to purchase tickets, see artcenter.edu/carclassic.

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Alum Loris Lora’s debut book offers contemporary twist on California Modernism

by October 20th, 2014

This month, hip British publisher, Nobrow, releases Eventually Everything Connects, a book by recent Art Center Illustration alumna Loris Lora exploring the artist’s insight into the Californian modernist movement.  If this book, which makes its U.S. debut in March, is anything like previous Nobrow works, it’ll be a far cry from your typical tome, more closely resembling an objet d’art.

The project began during the Illustration department’s recent Ancient/Modern study abroad class in London, taught by Paul Rogers, Clive Piercy and Ann Field, department chair. Students were assigned to create a piece related to California Modernism and then present their ideas to representatives from London’s professional community.

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The creativity of environmental and social accountability: Q&A with artist Amy Balkin

by October 17th, 2014

Amy Balkin

Amy Balkin

Complex questions about our relationship and responsibility to the physical world we inhabit lie at the heart of Amy Balkin’s creative process and the work itself. Balkin, who studied with Fine Art Chair, Vanalyne Green while attending Art Institute of Chicago, recently visited Art Center to speak about the ideas that inform her creative practice, which explores issues of environmental justice, legal borders and the geopolitics surrounding the land we inhabit and the air we breathe.

Her major projects include This is the Public Domain, an ongoing bid to create a public commons from a piece of land she purchased in Central California; Public Smog, a clean air park she opens periodically by purchasing carbon emissions; and A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting, a collection of items from places under threat of disappearance due to political, physical and economic shifts.

Just prior to her talk at Art Center, Balkin sat down with Dotted Line to discuss her approach to these ambitious works.

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Seeing stars with Dan Goods: NASA’s resident wizard of wonderment and REALSPACE exhibitioning artist

by October 16th, 2014

Dan Goods and David Delgado Refraction, 2014 on view in REALSPACE. Courtesy of the artists.

Dan Goods and David Delgado, Refraction, 2014; on view in the Williamson Gallery’s REALSPACE show. Courtesy of the artists.

What are you doing with your special moment in time today? This pointed challenge culminates an inspiring TEDx Talk by Graphic Design alumnus Dan Goods, who works as a visual strategist (aka resident artist) at NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. Here’s how Goods answers his own question: “I’m creating experiences for people that give them a moment of awe and wonder about the universe we live in.”

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Street to Screen Car Classic 2014 is around the corner. Start revving your engines!

by October 15th, 2014

On Sunday, October 27 2013, Pasadena’s rustic hillside played temporary home to an array of fierce creatures nonnative to these bucolic climes. On Art Center’s lawn alone, there were reported sightings of Barracudas, Mako Sharks, Stingrays, Cobras, Beetles and a herd of Italian bulls of the Lamborghini variety.

Last year’s “Inspired by Nature” theme of Art Center’s annual classic car confab inspired the above video, directed by Graduate Film student Tatyana Kim. And we have little doubt that this year’s version of the event, “Street to Screen,” celebrating the automotive stars of screens big and small, will similarly gun engines, spark plugs, charge batteries and maybe even catalyze converters.

This year’s fleet of cinematic concept cars will include Batmobiles through the ages, Bumblebee from the franchise (directed by Art Center alum, Michael Bay) and Herbie the Love Bug, among many others. Festivities kick off on October 26th at 11 am at Art Center’s Hillside campus. Advance tickets and information can be found here.

For more than 10 years, Art Center’s Car Classic has examined automotive culture and vehicle architecture through the lens of design. More than just another high-profile car show, this popular public event celebrates the very best in automotive design, showcasing the College’s strong ties to industry and honoring many of our noteworthy alumni.

This year, transportation designers, car collectors, filmmakers and auto and lifestyle enthusiasts will converge at Art Center’s annual event to hear from and meet the people who design the vehicles that we love to see cruising Sunset Boulevard, coasting along scenic byways or roaring to life on the big screen. This daylong celebration will provide attendees an up-close-and-personal look at a carefully curated selection of innovative vehicles, rare automobiles and stunning concept cars.

For those who can’t attend, keep your eyes on this space for our own video tribute to the icons of LA’s two defining industries, each dedicated to stylishly transporting us into other realities, literally and figuratively.

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Art Center’s evolving social platforms: Come connect, create and engage with your community

by October 15th, 2014

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As you may have noticed, there have been some changes on our social media sites. We’re working hard to streamline our various digital channels and we’re happy to announce that our major platforms, (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Behance, Myspace) have now been unified under the same handle, artcenteredu.

Our goal is to expand our presence online and keep our networks consistent and connected. Not only is Art Center an educational institution, but the College is also a creative hub of artists and designers, each with a unique story to share.  Our new projects aim to do just that. Let’s share these stories!

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Capturing Art Center in close-up: Viewbook photographer, alumna Stella Kalinina

by October 13th, 2014

Viewbook photographer Stella Kalinina (BFA 13) with the finished product in hand. (Photo by Chuck Spangler)

Viewbook photographer Stella Kalinina (BFA 13) with the finished product in hand. (Photo by Chuck Spangler)

Remember when you were shopping around for college? You were likely deluged with thick catalogs and eye-catching viewbooks sent by institutions vying for your attention. Even in the internet era, the printed viewbook remains a vital tool for communicating a school’s value proposition to prospective students—especially when it comes to art and design schools.

Art Center’s 2015–2016 Viewbook, showcasing student work in 11 undergraduate and six graduate degree programs, was published in September, both in print and online. Content and design for the biennial publication are developed by a core team of Marketing and Communications staff members, in collaboration with Kit Baron, senior vice president, Admissions and Enrollment Management, and the College’s Provost Fred Fehlau.

High-quality visuals are key to the Viewbook, which this year features contributions from photographer Stella Kalinina (BFA 13), commissioned to capture student life on campus and in classrooms. It was a large and complex project, one that Stella was well prepared for as a recent graduate of the College’s Photography and Imaging program, with its emphasis on technical and professional skills along with creative expression. Read the rest of this entry »

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