Monthly Archives: November 2010

Distinguished Filmmakers Series: Richard Rush

Film Department instructor Dan Perri will host director, producer and writer Richard Rush today for a lively Q&A session as part of the Distinguished Filmmakers Series.

Rush’s credits include Thunder Alley, Hell’s Angels on Wheels, Psych-Out, Freebie & The Bean, Color of Night, and one of the greatest movies ever made about making movies: The Stunt Man starring Peter O’Toole.

The event begins promptly at 1 p.m. and is open to all Art Center students, faculty and staff.

Distinguished Filmmakers Series:
Richard Rush

Tuesday, November 30, 1 p.m.
L.A. Times Media Center

Shooting from the Flip

Each term, we spotlight a student who has achieved something noteworthy with their education from Art Center at Night, the College’s continuing studies program. We recently sat down with Laura Evans, a legal assistant for Girardi|Keese, whose documentary film No Such Thing as Color has been making the festival rounds.

Dotted Line: Tell us a little about yourself.
Laura Evans
: During the day, I work for a law firm in downtown Los Angeles. At night, my husband and I play in a rock band called the Origami Llamas. I play drums and keyboards, sing, shoot our music videos and share website duties.

Dotted Line: You were initially interested in Art Center at Night for a course in Flash animation?
Yes, but while looking through the catalog, I saw a listing for Introductory to Documentary Filmmaking with Gabor Kalman. I had long wanted to make a documentary about my husband’s color blindness, and how it influenced him as a musician, and the class seemed like a great opportunity to actually get it made, so I signed up.

Dotted Line: You decided to shoot the film in a pretty unconventional way.
Right, on the first day of class, everybody shared their project concepts. My classmates liked my idea, but they were a bit nervous when I announced I was going to shoot it entirely on a Flip camera. But I stuck to my decision, and it ended up being the right one. The footage from the Flip not only looked great, but the camera’s small size meant I could take it anywhere.

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Grant to Create New Demonstration Shop

The Model Shop is one of the busiest areas of campus, buzzing with activity around the clock. The shops are where virtually all our students—from Product Design to Fine Art—learn to build models and use a variety of skills such as woodworking, metal fabrication, vacuum forming, plastic sheet fabrication, fiberglass and composite skills.

Work is already underway on the new shop

As Art Center’s student population has grown, however, space in the Model Shop has become more limited.

Luckily, a generous $100,000 grant from The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation is creating a demonstration shop, where students from all majors will have their first experience with power tools under the watchful eyes of their instructors.

The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Demonstration Shop will be equipped with miniature and model-scale tools, and having this additional shop will enable the Model Shop to be used primarily as a production facility.

“The Parsons Demo Shop will further enhance Art Center’s level of instruction, allowing us to provide students with greater knowledge and flexibility in the types of projects they’re tackling in earlier terms,” explained Wendy Adest, Chair of Art Center’s Integrated Studies Department.

“When the Demo Shop is not in use as a classroom, Industrial Design and other students may use it as an additional shop and work space. The purchase of model-scale tools compliments the current array of equipment we already have, and will allow all students access to appropriate tools for their projects, regardless of major. The Parsons grant also funds needed upgrades to classroom 229, as well as creating a clean space for our popular rapid prototyping equipment. We are all very grateful to The Parsons Foundation for their generosity and for recognizing the value of such a venture.”

Work is already underway on the new shop, which is expected to be functional in January with a formal dedication to take place in the spring.

All Roads Lead Back to Art Center

Photo © 2010 Art Center College of Design/Chris Hatcher

Alumnus and Trustee Doug Boyd has spent time across the map: he was born in Canada, went to high school in Phoenix, moved to Los Angeles to study Transportation Design at Art Center, then to Detroit for work. But he found himself returning to Southern California—the warm climate and creative energy drew him back. More than a decade after graduating from the College, he found it calling as well, and became reconnected with his alma mater and fellow alumni.

The founder and president of integrated marketing firm Boyd Communications, he was recently appointed to the Art Center Board of Trustees. We sat down with him to find out a little more about our new Board member.

Dotted Line: Any fond memories that you’d like to share about your time at Art Center?
Doug Boyd:
How much time do you have? There are so many. The classes I had with Strother MacMinn are memorable to this day. Fine art instructor Lorser Feitelson had some of the most remarkable people stop by his Saturday morning classes. One morning, we came in and Edward G. Robinson was standing there smoking a cigarette in the auditorium with Lorser. They were talking about having lunch with Picasso in Paris, and all the affairs he was having with women. It was fantastic! I have countless memories like this.

Dotted Line: Have you remained active with the College over the years?
I have, since returning to Southern California. I’ve been actively involved with alumni groups over the years. Occasionally I’ve helped instructors, coming in to a class and giving special assignments, or sometimes just sitting in on a class and observing. I love being involved and I love being around the students. Their creative energy is contagious.

Click here for a video interview with Doug Boyd

Dotted Line: You’ve witnessed the evolution of the College over the decades first-hand. How is it different from when you were a student?
The differences from when I was a student at the campus on Third Street are extraordinary and quite significant. The world has also changed a great deal–students that were in the school then had a much smaller world to deal with. As the Board, College administration, faculty and alumni look at how to prepare our students for tomorrow, we realize that the world is much more complex, and far more demanding. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the school to provide an environment and instruction and vision for students to thrive in this new world. 

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Who Will Take on Craig Ellwood?

Photo © Steven A. Heller/Art Center College of Design

More than three decades ago, Craig Ellwood Associates designed a building for the College’s new Hillside Campus nestled in the San Rafael Hills overlooking the Rose Bowl. The 200,000-square-foot modernist steel-and-glass slab soon became an Art Center icon and a Pasadena historic landmark.

A lot has changed since we originally moved here, including the way we teach and the resources our students need. At 35 years old, the Ellwood building is in need of a few changes and renovations, and we’re looking at architecture firms for the job.

The renovation will encompass not only the classroom structure of the building, but also make important seismic upgrades. We’ll be looking at issues of sustainability and access as well.

Our search for an architecture firm parallels the College’s strategic planning process, which has engaged students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and members of the community in a meaningful dialogue about the future of art and design education. The strategic plan focuses on critical issues related to curriculum and pedagogy, governance and diversity, and facilities and technology—some of which will be addressed in the renovation.

“Art Center is looking forward to getting to know each of these firms as we look for the best fit for this project, our culture, our mission and our strategic plan,” said Art Center’s Senior Vice President of Real Estate and Operations George Falardeau.

The finalist firms include:

Art Center will announce the chosen firm early next year. And that’s just the beginning! The strategic plan and selected firm will inform Art Center’s Master Plan with lots of discussion between the College, our neighbors and city officials before anything is set in stone (or glass and steel). Stay tuned!

For more details, our friends at A/N Blog first reported the story: Exclusive: Art Center Renovation Shortlist

Art Center on Display at L.A. Auto Show

Art Center students manning the L.A. Auto Show exhibit

The L.A. Auto Show kicks off today, hosting 50 world and North American debuts across virtually all vehicle categories.

This year’s show will display a number of electric vehicles and futuristic concepts, and test-drives of a number of vehicles.

Art Center again has an exhibition space in the show, featuring student and alumni work from Transportation Design and beyond.

Alumnus Chip Foose has work on display; Deep Orange, the collaborative concept electric vehicle created by Clemson University graduate students and styled by Art Center students; and examples of Art Center student work from a variety of disciplines.

Take a peek at the Art Center exhibit in the photo slide show below:

Another Art Center connection to the auto show: The Cadillac Aera concept vehicle won the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge. The concept was created in GM’s North Hollywood Advanced Design Studio, led by alum Frank Saucedo. GM Advanced Design has now won the honor more times than any other design team; this is its third victory since 2005. Congrats!

Dogs in Space!

David Wilson, director of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, visited Art Center on Monday to talk about the early days of the Russian space program.

Laika, painted by M.A. Peers, one of five portraits of Russian Space Dogs commissioned by the Museum of Jurassic Technology

Wilson was the final Big Picture Lecture Series speaker of the term. We knew right away that this talk was going to be an interesting one.

No talk of early Soviet space exploration is complete without a discussion of the Russian space dogs. As many know, Laika was the first earth born creature to leave the atmosphere.

We were amused and intrigued as Wilson taught us more about Russian space dogs. Did you know:

  • All were female.
  • All were formerly strays.
  • They went through extensive space training.
  • Nine dogs made it into orbit; sadly three of them died during their missions.
  • Strelka, who went into orbit with Belka, went on to have six puppies after her safe return to Earth. Nikita Krushchev gave one of the puppies to Caroline Kennedy in 1961.
  • Belka and Strelka are stuffed (!) and on display at the Cosmonaut Memorial Museum in Moscow.

Wilson also screened two portions of a film depicting the lives of early influencers of the Soviet space program. Obshee-Delo (translated means The Common Task)  told the stories of Nicolai Federov, who was an impoverished yet influential philosopher-librarian, and Constatine Tsiolkovski, who imagined the future of space travel.

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Fred Fehlau Named Art Center Provost

Alumnus Fred Fehlau has been named provost of Art Center after a lengthy, global search that looked at hundreds of candidates.

Photo by Ken Merfled

Fehlau is a well-known figure on campus—as a professor he has taught in multiple departments across the College, earning seven Great Teacher Awards for teaching in the areas of Fine Art, Photography and Imaging, Graphic Design and Foundation Studies.

Over the years, he has taken on increasing roles of responsibility at the College, serving as interim chair of the Graphic Design Department, Chair of the Senior Education Committee and Chair of the Foundation Studies Department (now called Integrated Studies). Most recently, he served as institutional accreditation liaison officer and dean of Academic Affairs.

Fehlau has been involved with and highly committed to Art Center for many years. He earned both his BFA and MFA in Fine Art from Art Center, graduating with distinction from the undergraduate program and with honors from the graduate program. He is a working graphic designer and a professional studio artist whose works and curatorial projects have been featured in numerous one-person museum and gallery exhibitions around the world.

His appointment cements a new era of leadership at the College, following the announcements of Lorne Buchman as President in 2009 and Robert C. Davidson Jr. as Chairman of the Board of Trustees in February. As provost, Fehlau will lead faculty and Department Chairs in improving, designing and implementing changes to bring Art Center’s goals to fruition. Additionally, he will supervise student-related functions and services and will assist the president in various external activities, including fundraising.