Knowledge is power: A Transportation Design student’s journey from Zimbabwe to ArtCenter

Zimbabwe

This story first appeared in Dot magazine.

One day, when then 6-year-old future Transportation Design student Thokozani Mabena was playing with friends in the shanty town where he grew up, in authoritarian-ruled Zimbabwe, he was drawn to a magazine he spotted near some trash bins.

Poring through the magazine, Mabena saw an article showcasing a Japanese designer who conceptualized the Nissan Z sports car. The article also featured a big, round, bright orange dot. Mabena didn’t know, during that pivotal moment of curiosity, that the dot represented ArtCenter, but he instinctively liked the article’s gorgeously vivid car design sketches.

“I’ve been sketching since I was 3. I was like, ‘Wow, maybe this is something I could do one day!’ and I just stored the thought in my memory bank,” said Mabena. “I didn’t know what a classic car was. I knew public transportation. I rode in carriages, pulled by a donkey. One time I rode an actual bull. Sometimes we had to walk long distances. Sometimes we took a truck with an open bed, and stood for hours. We rode bicycles, and in trains, buses, and then cars.”

Three decades after first seeing that ArtCenter dot, Mabena—who came to the United States in 2006 as a refugee—is now set to graduate this term, and will debut his ArtCenter Grad Show thesis project Airbnb-GO on April 20.

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Faculty Council announces Spring Teaching Advancement Awards

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On Friday, March 17, the Faculty Council announced the 2017 Spring Teaching Advancement Award recipients. Teaching Advancement Awards offer faculty the opportunity to receive up to $1,000 to support a range of activities that enhance their knowledge as an educator and benefit students in classrooms and studios. A total of $3,000 is available to be disbursed each term to successful applicants for research, conferences, workshops, exhibitions and related travel expenses that are not covered by departmental classroom support.

The Spring 2017 recipients are:

Faculty Council will be accepting applications for Summer 2017 TAA grants early in the Summer Term. All faculty are encouraged to apply. Please contact facultycouncil@artcenter.edu for more information.

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Board of Trustees Sets Tuition Rates for Fiscal Year 2018

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At its recent meeting in February, the Board of Trustees set tuition rates for the next Fiscal Year. Effective Fall 2017, the tuition rates for full-time Undergraduate degree students will be $20,704 per semester; full time graduate student tuition will be $21,881 per semester; part-time undergraduate and graduate tuition will be $1,726 per unit and $1,824 per unit respectively. The Universal Access Fee for all students will be $300. Tuition rates will remain in effect for Spring and Summer 2018.

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Dialogue on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Arch motorcycles presentation for students of trans dept.

The student dining room was full, the discussion was intense and emotions ran high at the Dialogue on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Monday, February 20. A panel moderated by Humanities and Sciences Department Chair Jane McFadden and consisting of former Diversity Council Co-Chair and Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Title IX Coordinator Lydia Thompson; Illustration student and founder of WOKE, a student organization that seeks to provide, “a safe and open forum to create and grow from a dialogue about social issues and to spread awareness,” Kayla Salisbury; Product Design faculty and Faculty Council Co-Chair Pascal Wawoe; and Staff Council Co-Chair and Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Jered Gold, spoke about the College’s challenges and resources, fielded some tough questions and listened to valid concerns from the audience.

President Lorne Buchman made brief introductory remarks, noting how important this discussion is at this time, given the context of what is happening in the world and in the country. He said that we need to answer some important questions: “Who are we as a community? How do we interact with each other? How do we deal with each other in moments of disagreement? How do we learn to listen to other’s pain?”

He reiterated that, “taking action is essential. None of us should be satisfied if this is merely a talk. This is a time when we need to take action,” and concluded his remarks with an introspective reflection of the issues he is consumed with and the places he goes for guidance and inspiration.

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Fresh Food Round the Clock at South Campus

micromarkets

Micro markets are now open and serving food 24/7 in the 950 and 870 buildings at South Campus. There are plenty of food options at the 950 micro market, located on the mezzanine. You can choose from sandwiches, salads and other fresh food that is prepared daily and stocked twice a day. There are also a number of frozen food options, including entrée items, White Castle burgers, breakfast sandwiches and frozen burritos. There are two coffee machines, one offering regular coffee and one offering espresso-style drinks. The espresso machine uses Peet’s Coffee that is fresh ground for each drink and it makes a mighty tasty cappuccino. There is also a wide candy selection, plenty of snack options and a number of ice cream choices. The micro market is a grab-and-go operation, where you select your choices and pay at a self-serve machine, similar to a grocery line self-pay. You can use your credit card or load cash onto a special micro market card.

The micro market at the 870 Building is smaller, almost a mini-micro market, but still offers fresh food items, cold beverage selections and a coffee machine. You will need to use a credit card to obtain your items, with payment based on a system of weights and measures.

Both micro markets are accessible 24/7 so you can choose your favorite midnight snack to get you through your latest project. But don’t grab and walk off without paying because the micro markets are monitored round the clock with video surveillance.

These micro markets are welcome additions to our South Campus, where the food offerings were slim for students studying into and through the night. Sodexo is maintaining the markets and is open to suggestions for items to be included.

Please send your thoughts to catering@artcenter.edu and make sure to note that the suggestion is for items to be carried in the South Campus micro markets.

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Interns Tell All

InternPanel

Internships are often seen as “dating” your future employer. They are also a great way to test your skills in the real world and make valuable connections. Over 50 percent of ArtCenter students complete at least one internship during their tenure here.

On February 1, five students shared their internship experiences with a full Board Room of future interns on Hillside Campus: Interaction Design student Minji Gim interned at Designit (Copenhagen, Denmark); Transportation Design student Mason Watson interned at Tesla Motors (Hawthorne, CA) and General Motors (North Hollywood, CA); Illustration/Entertainment Arts student Kristen Psinakis interned at Dreamworks Animation (Glendale, CA); Product Design student Lori Nishikawa interned at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA); and Product Design student Kelly Kim interned at Karten Design (Marina del Rey, CA) & HTC (San Francisco, CA).

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Seeking Solace: The Travel Ban’s Impact on ArtCenter Students

TravelBan

Note: This story first appeared in Dot magazine online.

Inside Graduate Art student Delbar Shahbaz’s South Campus art studio, several of her smaller sculptures—with pale birdlike bodies and human-looking heads—line a high shelf. A quote by British artist Tracey Emin declaring “Love is what you want” is scrawled in big black letters on a wall. In the corner, on a hot plate, sits a tea kettle, trailing fresh steam.

The studio is a safe space for the 38-year-old, who moved to the United States from her native Tehran, Iran in 2013, and started at ArtCenter in 2015. It’s a zone where Shahbaz—who has a green card and is set to graduate this term—can think, imagine, work and feel free.

That feeling of freedom changed on January 27 for Shahbaz and Iranian Transportation Design student Ehsan Momeninejad they said. That day President Donald Trump issued an executive order—currently blocked by federal courts—banning citizens from Muslim-majority countries Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. Shahbaz’s sister, a Canadian citizen in Vancouver, was about to give birth to a son. Their parents live in Iran.

“I really want to go and see my sister, to help her, but I’m afraid. What if they don’t let me come back?” said Shahbaz, drinking tea in her studio. “I’ve already built my career here. I’m teaching an ArtCenter at Night sculpture class in the summer. I was feeling, with this order, ‘I’m alone, and I don’t have any land.’ Until then, I thought the U.S. was my land.”

Shahbaz and 27-year-old Momeninejad—who has a student visa—both protested at Los Angeles International Airport the day after the executive order was announced. News surrounding the order, and an updated one reportedly in the works, has shifted week by week. Momeninejad had intended to visit his parents and sister in Tehran in April, and now doesn’t want to risk going back and not be able to return to finish his degree, he said. Shahbaz has thrown herself into her work, seeking solace from ArtCenter faculty.

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Advertising students rack up multiple awards

Advertising Students

The Advertising Department reports that its students won the most awards for the program ever in major award shows this year. According to Department Chair Gary Goldsmith, “beyond the satisfaction of feeling good about your work and gaining respect among your peers, it’s leading to more visibility for our program, more internships at better places and more job offers at the most desirable companies to begin your career.”

The Department is particularly excited about this year’s success in the D&AD competition, one of the most prestigious competitions in the industry. “The entries are global and plentiful. The judges are demanding and hyper-picky. The awards are few,” says Goldsmith.

Last year the Department had some finalists, which was an accomplishment in and of itself. This year, Advertising students Teague Miller, Andrew Kim, Laura Proenza, Michael Chesler, and Graphic Design student Tian Wang were awarded a pencil and the Department sent them to London to accept their award, get some valuable exposure to the British ad community and generally have some fun.

The image above is from the Chesler, Kim and Proenza D&AD winning entry, Amnesty International.

Below is a link to a full list of all of our winners and the awards they’ve won. Congratulations to everyone on the list!

2016 Competition Winners list

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An Intern’s Blog: Jonathan Hsiung

InternsBlog

After going through six terms straight at ArtCenter, I decided to take a term off to do an internship. I wanted to learn more about what product designers do as professionals and validate what I’ve learned at ArtCenter. One opportunity led to another, and a term off turned into an entire year away doing three internships. The first was at Propelland, the second at Facebook and the third at Mercedes-Benz. Each of these experiences have taught me different lessons that have helped me to grow tremendously.

Come to think of it, doing internships is just like prototyping my life. Prototypes represent possible futures, and I get to learn from my internship experiences what works for me and what doesn’t.

While each internship was drastically different from one another in terms of company culture and work environment, the skills required were generally similar. As a product designer, I worked in cross-functional teams, conducted user research, designed user flows, built prototypes, produced specs and final assets and worked on implementation with engineers. Many of these functions validate the skills I need as a product designer that Art Center has helped me hone and acquire.

As an ArtCenter student, I’ve come to realize is that the hefty amount of deliverables and presentations required weekly in ArtCenter’s program has allowed me to develop a strong work ethic and good communication skills. These skills have helped me navigate various difficult situations in the workplace, and enabled me to work and perform more effectively under pressure.

If I have to pick the most important top three things that I learned during the entirety of my internship experiences, they would be self-awareness, self-initiation and prioritization. Acquiring a higher sense of self-awareness has allowed me to constantly reflect on how I can perform better. Self-initiative allows me to better drive my own project and not have to constantly depend on the progress of others. Learning how to prioritize has enabled me to make decisions and tradeoffs quickly and become a more efficient designer.

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Time Magazine’s 12 African American Photographers You Should Follow Right Now includes ArtCenter’s Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin

Kwasi

Education Technology Specialist, Digital Teaching and Learning, Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin was one of 12 photographers included in Time magazine’s Lightbox feature.

From the article:

For Black History Month, LightBox gathered a panel of experts—from major artists such as Carrie Mae Weems to curators such as Azu Nwagbogu and educators like John Edwin Mason—and asked them to each nominate one under-the-radar, exciting African American photographer. By no means a definitive list of panelists or nominees (for that, check out TIME’s “100 Photos” project), this is instead a personal and subjective tribute to the thriving field of contemporary African American photography.

While some artists such as Joshua Rashaad McFadden make use of archival material, others like Jasmine Murrell incorporate sculpture, while Gerald Cyrus’ work is firmly documentary in nature and Shamayim’s is clearly fashion-based.

The nominators include Awol Erizku, artist; Azu Nwagbogu, director African Artists’ Foundation; Carrie Mae Weems, artist; Deborah Willis, chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University; Derrick Adams, artist; Jamel Shabazz, artist; John Edwin Mason, Associate Professor at University of Virginia; Rujeko Hockley, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at Brooklyn Museum; Kalia Brooks, Adjunct Professor in the Photography and Imaging Department in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University; and the staff of The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin
Year and City of Birth: 1977, New York, NY
“For the last decade, Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin has been documenting what he calls ‘the desolate beauty of the urban landscape’ in Los Angeles. His images often incorporate wide vistas and washed-out colors, evoking high noon on a summer’s day. These deceptively simple photographs invite viewers to linger and decipher their meanings. At first they seem to be concerned only with the ways in which photographs can play with form, color, line, and mass. Cumulatively, however, they reveal Boyd-Bouldin’s interest in the city’s unending transformations and their power to shape the lives of its citizens, especially the poor and marginalized.” — John Edwin Mason, Associate Professor at University of Virginia

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