Monthly Archives: January 2011

Art Center Dialogues in Portland

Calling all Portland alumni: Art Center’s Alumni Relations Office invites you to join fellow area alumni in celebrating Art Center’s 80th anniversary with the latest Art Center Dialogues with College President Lorne Buchman.

Join the conversation about the College’s future, and learn more about where we’re headed as we finalize our five-year strategic plan.

RSVP by Feb. 4 to or 626.396.2305.

Art Center at 80: Dialogues with President Buchman
Feb. 9, 7-9:30 p.m.
250 NW 13th Avenue (at Everett)
Portland, Ore.

Reflecting Back at 80: Alumni Faculty Look Back on 80 Years

Eighty years ago, Edward “Tink” Adams had a revolutionary idea for a school that would teach real-world skills to artists and designers. Even more radical: classes would be taught by working professionals, at the top of their respective fields.

Third Street campus, 1950

In 1930 the Art Center School opened its doors at West Seventh Street in Los Angeles, with just 12 instructors and eight students. Adams, a former advertising executive from Chicago, served as director. Since then, Art Center has changed its name, moved twice (to Third Street in 1947 and to Pasadena in 1976), maintained a satellite campus in Switzerland for 10 years and opened a second campus in downtown Pasadena in 2004. Today, the College boasts a student body of 1,500 and nearly 600 full- and part-time faculty members.

Over the decades, Art Center has been home to world-renown faculty including automotive designer Strother MacMinn TRAN ’35, illustrator Phil Hays ILLU ’55, lettering and logo designer Doyald Young ADVT ’55 and illustrator Barron Storey ILLU ’61.

As we celebrate our 80th anniversary, who better to ask about Art Center’s history than our faculty—in particular those who were students here before becoming instructors? What are their favorite memories of the College?

Read more: Looking Back on 80 Years

Design’s Flexible Future

More on Saturday’s Made Up: Design’s Fictions show in a lovely story in today’s L.A. Times quoting Tim Durfee and Ann Burdick.


From the article: “Preparing students for the unknown is the basis of the program’s curriculum, creating designers who can imagine the unimaginable. Made Up showcases successful works of flexibility and openness to new ideas.

Take, for instance, ‘The Rather Large Array,’ a 50-foot wooden beam that visitors to the former aerodynamics lab will see suspended from a network of PVC support rigging. Some 24 cameras are mounted on the beam itself to collect images from the reception. The images will be projected in real time onto a window in the gallery and later be printed out on the premises, creating a sort of live catalog of the show.

If all that sounds a touch complicated, that’s because it is. But for Durfee, experimenting with structural complexity in the name of philosophical complexity (‘Who we are is not just where we are at the moment’) offers opportunities for growth. In addition to academic tradition, he cites strong interest from the students as inspiration for the project.”

Read more: Design’s flexible future

Making Up This Saturday

Art Center’s Graduate Media Design presents Made Up: Design’s Fictions, showcasing the work of major and emerging international practices that forecast, hypothesize, muse, skylark, role-play, put on airs, freak out or otherwise fake it to produce work that is relevant to our increasingly confusing and accelerated world.

Held in the South Campus wind tunnel gallery (where jets were once tested!), a panel and opening reception, MAKING UP, will be this Saturday, Jan. 29.

MAKING UP will feature Fiona Raby and Bruce Sterling, two of the world’s most influential voices at the intersection of fiction and design, joining MADE UP curator and MDP core faculty Tim Durfee for a panel discussion on tactical anachronisms, designing for ambiguous reality, and the re-emergence of speculative practice in the 21st century. It will be moderated by MDP Chair Anne Burdick.

Organized by Durfee and Burdick, MADE UP is part of a larger initiative to bring emergent themes in the work of the Graduate Media Design Program into dialogue with similar trends in art, architecture and design worldwide.

Made Up: Design’s Fictions
Saturday, Jan. 29
Presentations and discussion, 5-7 p.m.
Exhibition opening reception, 7-10 p.m.

Wind Tunnel Gallery
Art Center South Campus
950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105

Getting Ready for the Superstorm

The ARkStorm scenario, a massive superstorm capable of causing unprecedented damage to California, has gotten a lot of attention following the USGS ARkStorm Summit earlier this month. Art Center and Designmatters served as lead design partner for the summit, and a video made by MDP alumnus Theo Alexopoulos envisioning the event has been circulated far and wide.

From MSNBC’s Cosmic Log: “Experts say such a hurricane-style storm occurred over a 45-day period in 1861-1862, causing severe flooding and turning the Sacramento Valley into an inland sea. Today, that kind of storm could cause $300 billion to $400 billion in damage. The video [by Alexopoulos] paints an apocalyptic picture, made worse because ‘the public at large does not comprehend the extreme danger the storm poses.’”

View the video below, and read more:

Instructor Wins Big With Invention

Art Center Technical Skills Center instructor Miles Elledge has invented a new device geared for athletes suffering from sore arms and shoulders.

The Wonderweight, a device weighing between two and four pounds and designed to strengthen shoulder muscles without causing traumatic stress, won the coveted Best of Show award at the American Baseball Coaches Association Conference earlier this month in Nashville.

The Glendale News-Press has a great article on Elledge and his invention. From the article: “‘It’s about giving something back to their lives that makes it the most rewarding,’ said Elledge, who added that Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels, a former World Series Most Valuable Player, recently tried the product for the first time. ‘It doesn’t fix arthritis, but it can greatly alleviate the pain, along with carpal tunnel and tendinitis.’”

Currently, cases of amateur and professional baseball pitchers using the device are being documented and evaluated at USC under the supervision of Dr. Tom House. The device appears to improve pitching velocity, accuracy and strength. In addition, Wonderweight is being used for brain injury rehab in the case of stroke, Alzheimer’s and trauma patients.

As CEO of Mile High 3D, Miles specializes in product research and development. He also works full-time as a shop instructor in Art Center’s Technical Skills Center, assisting students and staff in making prototypes and replicas of their conceptual designs. Miles’ achievement in the fields of physical therapy, health and wellness is one example of the multifaceted individuals who work at the College, whether they’re practicing professionals who bring real-world experience to the classroom or entrepreneurial minds that support students in the application of technical skills.

Read more: Local man creates small wonder

At the Crossroads of Art and Science: Art Center’s Williamson Gallery

From Caltech to the Norton Simon Museum, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Craig Ellwood Associates’ modernist design for Hillside Campus, Pasadena has always been a city of art and science. Art Center’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery is a perfect fit for a city like Pasadena, establishing a national reputation for its exhibitions exploring the boundaries, relationships and perspectives on art and science.

© Steven A. Heller/Art Center College of Design

Drawing inspiration from all areas of Art Center’s educational programs, the gallery’s mission is twofold: to serve as an active partner in the education of our students, who will shape visual culture in the future; and to engage the broader public community in a progressive dialogue about art and design for the 21st century.

We caught up with Vice President and Director of the Williamson Gallery, Stephen Nowlin, to learn more about his relationship with the gallery and to find out what we can expect in the coming year.

Dotted Line: You have a long history with Art Center.
Stephen Nowlin
: I do. The first time I visited Art Center’s Hillside Campus—shortly before I became a student, and before there was a single tree growing on campus— was to see an exhibition by the famous photographer Richard Avedon in 1976. The first show I helped curate for the College was a retrospective of the pop artist Wayne Thiebaud, a few years later in ’79.

I’d learned about Art Center in high school—and at the risk of dating myself, that was before the College had moved to Pasadena. I used to visit the Third Street campus and stare in awe at the drawings in the little hallway gallery, and then I’d go home, get my pencils, and imitate what I’d seen. I earned my BFA from Calarts, but came to Art Center a few years later for my MFA. Then, three weeks after graduating, I was hired by Laurence Dreiband to teach a couple of painting classes and to help with recruitment for the Fine Art Department. I was terrified of teaching for the first time, but also grateful for the job.

There was no Williamson Gallery back then. There was the student gallery, and occasionally shows like Avedon’s were organized and installed in a studio space shared with the Transportation Design Department. In those days, it was not unusual for staff to wear multiple hats, and so I was also conscripted to help Midge Quenell, who was a sort of quasi-provost and seemingly in charge of all things having to do with admissions and curriculum, in addition to many other things. One of her duties was changing the student gallery at the end of each term, and overseeing anything exhibition-related. Things just kind of grew from there. From the perspective of hindsight, I realize how privileged I’ve been to have had an opportunity to shape the Williamson Gallery’s exhibition program from its earliest beginnings.

Continue reading

West Coast Bright Design Challenge Brings Scholarships to Art Center

In December, five Art Center students were awarded generous scholarships through the inaugural West Coast Bright Design Challenge.

Sponsored by the National Association for Surface Finishing (NASF), the West Coast competition was co-sponsored by the Metal Finishing Association of Southern California (MFASC).

The West Coast Bright Design Challenge was incorporated into last term’s Material Explorations class, led by Art Center instructors Catherine McLean and Krystina Castella. A transdisciplinary team made up of Product Design, Environmental Design, Fine Art and Graduate Industrial Design students spent the term learning about surface finishing technologies and applications, and worked with local electroplating companies to enhance their understanding of the process. Students were challenged to create innovative works utilizing these technologies.

At the end of the class, students presented finished 3-D prototypes and presentations to a panel of faculty and MFASC judges. The students with the top three concepts as judged by the panel were each awarded $5,000 scholarships, and two additional students received honorable mentions and $2,500 scholarships.

Scholarship Winners:

  • Viirj Kan, Environmental Design: $5,000 Prize
  • Carlos Vides, Environmental Design: $5,000 Prize
  • Ed Schofield, Graphic Design: $5,000 Prize
  • Byron Wilson, Product Design: $2,500 Prize
  • Ji Hyun Lee, Product Design: $2,500 Prize

Art Center and the MFASC were thrilled with the collaboration and plan to continue the West Coast Bright Design Challenge in 2011. Congratulations to the student winners!

(Pictured, from left to right: Edward Schofield, $5,000 scholarship award recipient; Virginia Kan, $5,000 scholarship award recipient; Bryan Leiker, K&L Anodizing; Carlos Vides, $5,000 scholarship award recipient; Dan Cunningham, MFASC executive director; Alan Olick, MFASC president and president, General Plating Co.; Byron Wilson, $2,500 scholarship award recipient; Ji Hyun Lee, $2,500 scholarship award recipient; Gregg Halligan, former MFASC president.)

Flattery Named Chair of Entertainment Design

Concept artist, designer and educator Tim Flattery has been named Chair of Art Center’s Entertainment Design Department.


Most think of Entertainment Design as how films come to look the way they do. Yet today, the field is much greater, encompassing any project in which storytelling is important—themed environments, exhibitions, gaming and learning institutions such as museums and libraries.

“For 24 years, I’ve worked in the entertainment industry and have been fortunate enough to have realized my dreams,” Flattery says. “As Chair of Entertainment Design at Art Center, I hope my passion and expertise will influence the next generation of talented designers so that they, too, can realize their dreams.”

Flattery is a multi-talented creative concept artist and designer with expertise in concept development, design and fabrication. In a career spanning more than two decades, he has worked on some of the biggest films for some of the most famous directors in the world. Among the number of highly anticipated projects he has worked on are Green Lantern, Real Steel, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Mission: Impossible IV.

He has overseen the full-size construction of custom vehicles, which he designed for films such as the Fantasticar for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the Batmobile for Batman Forever, and the Amphibicopter and other vehicles for A.I. Artificial Intelligence. He has raised the creative bar with acclaimed design work on award-winning and blockbuster films, including Terminator Salvation, The Incredible Hulk, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Spider-Man II, Saving Private Ryan, Men in Black and many others. Beyond his career as a concept artist and illustrator in the film industry, Flattery has done creative work for Walt Disney Imagineering and Chimera Design in the area of theme parks and resorts. He has also done worked independently for Entertainment Arts and the EA Games Label.

This appointment represents a homecoming of sorts for Flattery, who taught visual communication at Art Center to industrial design students in the early ’90s. He received a Teacher of the Year award from the College in 1994. Flattery graduated from College for Creative Studies with a bachelor’s degree in Transportation Design.