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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A celebration of dedication: Art Center employees recognized for years of service

by October 10th, 2014

Hillside Campus in 1978. Image courtesy of College Archives.

Hillside Campus in 1978. Image courtesy of College Archives.

Martina Navratilova defeated Chrissie Evert for the “ladies” championship at Wimbledon, Sony introduced the Walkman and Midnight Express was playing in theaters. The year was 1978, when Hillside Campus had been occupied for about two years, South Campus didn’t exist and three people started their careers at Art Center.

One of those people is Stephen Nowlin, vice president of the Williamson Gallery. “I’ve been pretty fortunate to have watched Art Center from up close through the years—first as a high school student visiting the little hallway gallery on 3rd street; then as a graduate student at the Pasadena campus; and as an Admissions counselor, teacher, web producer and, for most of that time, as the Williamson Gallery’s director. The most impressive thing for me through all those years and roles, I must say, has been the consistency of high quality in the work produced by Art Center’s students. It never ceases to amaze me.”

Every year Art Center celebrates employees who have reached significant milestones in their careers. On September 23, 2014, almost 60 individuals were recognized for having 2013 work anniversaries of 10 or more years. The occasion was commemorated with a formal luncheon and presentation of the service awards hosted by the Human Resources Department. Earlier this year a luncheon was held to commemorate those having work anniversaries in 2012.

“Art Center students are supported by dedicated staff and faculty who do everything they can, directly in the classroom or indirectly behind the scenes, to help students achieve their goals to become professional artists and designers,” said Nancy Duggan, Executive Director, Human Resources. “It is our pleasure to honor these individuals.”

Art Center President Lorne M. Buchman kicked off the presentations with a word of thanks, which was followed by the awards ceremony.

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Change/Makers video: Crossing borders and disciplines with Graphic Design and MDP alum Rebeca Méndez

by October 9th, 2014

Rebeca Méndez holds Art Center degrees in two different disciplines, Graphic Design (BFA, ’84) and Media Design (MFA, ’97). Her life and work stand as a testament to defying the conventions of those fields by expanding the definition of what it means to be a working artist and designer. She has forged her own path through punishingly uncharted terrain that’s taken her to the arctic tundras of the earth’s poles, as well as many untamed territories.

For these reasons among many others, Méndez was chosen to be the subject of the latest installment in the Change/Makers series of video profiles, which explores the ideas and passions informing the creative practices of some of Art Center’s most innovative and inspiring alumni.

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Rhapsody in goop: Graduate Art alumnus Michael Zahn’s Madita pays tribute to his muse

by October 8th, 2014

Video projection still from Graduate Art alumnus Michael Zahn's (MFA 14) thesis show Madita.

Video projection still from Graduate Art alumnus Michael Zahn’s (MFA 14) thesis show Madita.

Every artist has a muse: F. Scott Fitzgerald had Zelda; Coco Chanel had Etienne Balsan; and John Waters had…Divine.

For a more contemporary example, look no further than the cover of Art Center’s recently published Graduate Studies Viewbook. It’s there, underneath the diecut lettering, where you’ll find an image of a bright green alginate cast of a human hand.

That hand belongs to, and was one element of, Graduate Art alumnus Michael Zahn’s (MFA 14) thesis show Madita, which was inspired by someone he met as a foreign exchange student at Kunsthochschule Weissensee in Berlin.

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Uses of mapping (and failure) in design: The Toyota Lecture Series hosts theorist Peter Hall at Art Center

by October 7th, 2014

Peter Hall

Peter Hall

The second installment of Art Center’s Toyota Lecture Series delivers a distinctly a wide-angle perspective on the present and future state of design, tracking its evolving and expanding impact and application. Design writer and educator, Peter Hall will present a talk on Thursday, October 9 at the Los Angeles Times Media Center at 7:30 pm.

The uses of Failure. Mapping as a design process.” “Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Collaborative Planning with Loaded Tools and Wicked Problems.” “Disassembly & Immateriality: How We Make Stuff Disappear.” This is just a sampling of previous lectures by the relentlessly interesting, Dr. Peter Hall, a design writer and thought-leading authority on the manifold uses of design thinking. Hall is also the design department head at Griffith University Queensland College of Art, where his research focuses on mapping and visualization.

Hall has taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Yale School of Art. He co-edited with Jan Abrams the book, Else/Where: Mapping—New Cartographies of Networks and Territories and worked as a journalist for Metropolis and I.D. Magazine. He wrote and co-edited the books Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist and Sagmeister: Made You Look. In 2005 he co-founded DesignInquiry, a non-profit organization devoted to researching design issues.

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As seen in Star Wars Rebels, the Force is still strong with alumnus Ralph McQuarrie

by October 6th, 2014

Star Wars Rebels crew from  L to R: Sabine, Chopper, Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, Hera

The Star Wars Rebels crew from L to R: Sabine, Chopper, Kanan, Ezra, Zeb and Hera (Disney XD)

As the concept artist for the original Star Wars trilogy, Illustration alumnus Ralph McQuarrie (BFA 56) was instrumental in the creation of those films’ fantastical characters and settings. In fact, the late McQuarrie’s pre-production paintings he created in 1975—including depictions of the villainous Darth Vader, the Millennium Falcon starship and the Death Star space station—were instrumental in convincing 20th Century Fox to fund the first film.

“He was one of the main godfathers of concept design,” says Tim Flattery, chair of Art Center’s Entertainment Design Department of McQuarrie. “His groundbreaking work on Star Wars catapulted visual storytelling to a new level and will continue to inspire concept artists for generations to come.” Read the rest of this entry »

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