Monthly Archives: August 2010

Art Center Summit 2010: September 22-24

We are pleased to announce that the fourth Art Center Summit will be held in September. Projects and Partnerships in Sustainable Design will highlight our association with the Opportunity Green Business Conference, taking place September 22 through 24 at L.A. Center Studios. The conference, developed alongside Art Center’s Sustainability Summits, seeks to innovate, collaborate and inspire industry leaders and the next generation of thought leadership, helping to develop and implement sustainable business solutions.

In 2007, Art Center successfully launched and hosted a series of annual Summits, bringing international leaders and experts in topics related to sustainability and mobility to the College. Envisioned as a five-year program, the first three Summits took a critical look at environmental, social and economic issues surrounding sustainability supporting the College’s desire to integrate sustainability into its curriculum. In this fourth year, we are taking components of the Summit to Opportunity Green to share with a broader audience how we are integrating the lessons learned so far.

Learn more at the Summit website.

Making Concept Cars That Work

Check out this great L.A. Times profile on Art Center Transportation Design alum Freeman Thomas, design director for Ford Motor Co.’s strategic concepts group in Irvine.

Thomas has helped design the new Beetle, the first Audi TT and the Chrysler 300. Now his latest creation is the eco-friendly Start.

From the article: “The Ford Start concept vehicle is a small, ‘eco-friendly’ car with a 1-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder engine that puts out 120 horsepower. He said it could get more than 60 miles per gallon, depending on driving conditions. ‘The basic idea of the car was finding a polished pebble on the sand. You are attracted to that pebble and you want to pick it up and play with it. We want the car to look as if nature had shaped it,’ Thomas said. Although there are no production plans for the vehicle, he says it is a serious concept that is ‘buildable.’ Anything else would be a waste of time and Ford’s money, Thomas said. ‘If we don’t combine design and marketing and engineering into the concept cars, it is a fruitless exercise. You have to be able to make the concept cars that work.’”

Very cool. Read more: Ford’s Freeman Thomas has a better idea, and check out this video of the Start featuring J Mays, another of our Transportation Design alums and Ford’s chief creative officer below:

Reflecting Back at 80: The Art Center Dot

As the unofficial school mascot, Art Center’s Orange Dot has a long and storied history. When the school was founded in 1930, designers were exploring primary shapes, so it is no surprise that a simple filled-in circle was chosen to augment Art Center’s printed materials. Advertising alum Robert Brown claims that the Dot was his idea, while Don Kubly, the College’s president from 1969 to 1985, noted that the school’s founder, Tink Adams, chose the Dot because it was an easy way to add a splash of color to the school’s publications.

1931 Art Center Catalog

The Multi-Colored Dot
The Art Center School, as it was then known, opened in 1930 in downtown Los Angeles in a courtyard of buildings on Seventh Street.  The glass front door had a red-orange border, and in the front window, the name of the school carried a matching red-orange dot. The Dot was not limited to this color nor was it the only shape Art Center used in promotions. However, the use of dots in published materials undoubtedly began nearly at the same time as the school.

The Dot Goes Into Semi-Retirement
Due to changes in contemporary design, or perhaps because of an association with the Japanese flag, Art Center stopped using the Dot, in any color, toward the end of World War II (mid-1940s). The timing also happened to coincide with the school’s move to its second location (Third Street in Hancock Park) and Art Center may have wanted to present a new look along with its new address. The essence of the Dot lingered, however, as many publications carried photographs cropped into circles.

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In Case You Missed It

As you know, there’s always something going on when it comes to Art Center alumni, students and faculty. Some of the latest:

  • New works by Illustration alum Edwin Ushiro opening September 10 at Seattle’s Roq La Rue Gallery. Roq La Rue

    All Signals Configuring to a Position Seeping from Words Either Unspoken or Intangible, by Edwin Ushiro

  • Former Rolls-Royce senior designer and Art Center instructor Marek Djordjevic talks about the rise of Hyundai. The Wall Street Journal
  • Best-selling author, radio host and previous Art Center Visionary-in-Residence Kurt Andersen to speak at Cazenovia Forum in New York. Madison County Courier
  • After a long and successful career as a creative director where he created thousands of album and ads, alum Bill Barnes has committed himself to pursuing his passion: painting. PR Web
  • Alums Eli Marmar and Martin Kim launching new sandal line. Transworld Business
  • Checking in with visionary alum Syd Mead. Car and Driver
  • Grad Art alumna Emilie Halpern showing work at Pepin Moore in L.A.’s Chinatown through September 12. Pepin Moore

Week 14 in Pictures

It’s pretty quiet (and extremely hot!) here on campus today as we are in the first week of break. But what a busy past few weeks it’s been, culminating in Saturday’s Graduation and Graduation Show! Enjoy some photos documenting campus life from the last week:

Stopping by Art Center at Night’s Open House

Art Center at Night, the College’s continuing studies program, held their biggest event of the year last week—Open House.

“Open House is the perfect opportunity for people to become acquainted with educational opportunities offered by ACN’s nearly 200 innovative courses in art and design,” says Public Programs Managing Director and ACN Director Dana L. Walker.

Held at South Campus, several hundred attended the annual summer event, which gave participants the opportunity to sit in on classes, view student work and speak with faculty members. Among the various classes open to the public were Motion Design 1; Still Life Drawing; Letterpress Printing; Shoes: Fact and Fantasy; and Unplugged: DIY Graphic Design and TEXTure. Class demonstrations, including an Artist Trading Card workshop, were also open to Open House attendees. A prize drawing awarded ACN goodies and the grand prize—a free ACN class—was won by both John Reager of Irvine and Marsekal Tirtadji of Santa Monica.

A wide variety of people attended the event, including current, prospective and past students, parents, ACN faculty and community members. Holly Hofgaarden attended Open House to learn more about ACN and the classes offered. “I want to eventually attend Art Center’s degree program in Graphic Design,” she explained. “I came by Open House to learn more about the ACN courses that they offer in that subject. I want to build my portfolio, and think that I can do this through ACN classes.”

“Open House gives potential students the chance to have a conversation with their potential instructor, which is really nice,” says ACN instructor and Art Center alumnus Ronald J. Llanos. “Also important is the fact that they can see the physical work that comes out of the classes, especially in classes like mine, Composition and Painting and Introduction to Figure Drawing. I think it helps potential students get the vibe of the class they’re considering, and what to expect.”

Tony Luna has been an Art Center instructor since 1985, teaching in both the degree and Public Programs. Luna teaches three popular ACN classes: Crafting a Meaningful Career: Parts One, Two and Three. The courses aim to help creatives rediscover their passion, examine the interconnection of their personal and work histories, and analyze their creative strengths and weaknesses.

“There is nothing like having the opportunity to sharing your enthusiasm for ACN classes face-to-face with prospective students,” says Luna. “In these uncertain economic times, it is refreshing to offer classes which help the students to rediscover their potential get back to what is important to them in their careers. Open House provides that interface and gives hope to those who want to do more with their lives and livelihoods.”

It’s not too late to sign up for the Fall 2010 term of ACN. Classes begin September 13—find out more about ACN, and register for Fall classes today.

Alumna Laura Crawford Talks Art Center

Co-founder and creative director of Goodkin, Media Design alumna Laura Crawford received her MFA from Art Center in 2005. An entrepreneur, educator and creative director, Crawford’s experience in trans-media design disciplines and unique creative passions allow her to push the new evolution of technology, physical space and interaction design to find new incarnations of engagement.

In the video below, Crawford discusses her time at Art Center and some of the most valuable lessons learned here:

Reflecting Back at 80: Sponsored Projects

Guest post by Art Center Archivist Robert Dirig

It’s Week 14, which means that students across campus are finishing up final projects, participating in final critiques, and preparing for Graduation as the term’s sponsored projects are coming to a close.

Sponsored projects, giving “real world” design problems to students, have been a hallmark of the College curriculum for years. But did you know that Art Center’s history with sponsored projects goes back to 1960? It was in that year that students took part in a space capsule project sponsored by General Electric. George Beck, manager of industrial design at G.E.’s Light Military Electronics Department, approached Art Center with the idea for students to design a space capsule and interior computer, providing for the most efficient relation between the computer and the pilot.

Take a look at great photos from the project below.

Visit the College Archives, and check out the Archives Facebook page, to learn more about Art Center’s history.

Meet Annis Naeem

What’s the most important life lesson that Entertainment Design student Annis Naeem has learned while at Art Center? It’s a pretty simple one—to share.

“Don’t hide what you create from your peers and the world because you are afraid of your idea being stolen,” explains Naeem. “If you do, you will never have the chance to hear someone else’s criticism, input and thoughts on the matter—and that might help improve your original idea.”

Read more about Annis and his Art Center experience at in this great interview.