Monthly Archives: August 2011

Alumni Nominated for Emmy Awards

Two Art Center alums have been nominated for Emmy Awards for their animation work. Both nominations are in the same category: “Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.”

Illustration alumna Jill Daniel, an art director at Disney, was nominated for her background painting on the cartoon series Phineas & Ferb.

Fine Art alumna Vanessa Marzaroli, director at Bl:nd, is nominated for production design of a music video. Lilac Wine (shown above) was directed by Marzaroli to celebrate Dr. Marten’s 50th anniversary. The video previously won the gold in motion graphics for the 2010 London International Award for the video.

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be Sunday, Sept. 18. Good luck, Jill and Vanessa!

Emerging Ambitions: Scholarships Support Tomorrow’s Artists and Designers

A bulletproof lemonade stand, a tender childhood moment captured in the Southern California sun, a futuristic car that stores energy in chemical bonds, and a sneak peek at the future of the written word—all of these were made possible due to the generosity of Art Center scholarship donors.

This past February, Art Center President Lorne Buchman and Student Government President Erik Molano addressed the student body at an event titled “Meet the Presidents.” There, Buchman offered a preview of the College’s new strategic plan and discussed one of its most important elements: easing the financial burden to students.

While pointing out that Art Center delivers an expensive form of education—equipment, labor and team teaching all add to a per-student cost that actually exceeds tuition—Buchman said easing students’ financial commitment is critical to maintaining a diverse student body and a robust learning environment.

“A huge part of my job is to find the philanthropy and scholarships that are going to help,” said Buchman. “I think about this every day.”

He’s done more than think about it. In the last year, thanks to targeted budgetary reallocations and fundraising projects like the “80 for 80” initiative, Art Center made an additional $3 million available for student scholarships. And with a full 80 percent of current Art Center students receiving financial aid, you can be sure that every additional dollar counts.

Annually, Art Center allocates $9.6 million for scholarships; of that amount, 18 percent comes from donors. And for many students who come to Art Center seeking a bachelor’s degree, but who already have a prior degree—as is true for three of the students profiled here—those scholarships are fundamental, as they’re ineligible for either federal or California state grants.

Increasing scholarship support is a key priority for Art Center, as laid out in Create Change, the College’s new strategic plan. Here are three current students and one recent alumnus whose visions we can all delight in thanks to Art Center scholarships.

Read more in Dot magazine.

Art … or Terrorism?

Work from Schaefer's Website

A fascinating story in the L.A. Times focuses on Art Center alumnus and faculty member Alex Schaefer, questioned by L.A. police after painting a bank branch on fire.

From the article:

“They said they had to find out my intention. They asked if I was a terrorist and was I going to follow through and do what I was painting.”

No, Schaefer said. He explained that the artwork was intended to be a visual metaphor for the havoc that banking practices have caused to the economy.

A terrorist certainly would not spend hours on a public sidewalk creating an oil painting of his intended target, he told the officers.

The police took down his name, address and telephone number on a form — Schaefer declined to provide his Social Security number — and departed.

“They were friendly. They weren’t intimidating,” he said. “I figured that when they left, they probably decided the episode was stupid and they’d just wad up the form and throw it away.”

Wrong. On Tuesday, two more officers showed up at Schaefer’s home. This time they were plainclothes detectives.

Read more: An artist’s incendiary painting is his bank statement

One Month Until Forward Motion

Forward Motion: Advancing Mobility in California & Québec is just under a month away!

This half-day symposium, organized by Art Center College of Design and the Québec Delegation in Los Angeles in partnership with the Université de Montréal, will examine the impact on vehicle and infrastructure design in light of the roadmaps laid out by each particular region. Expert panelists will compare and contrast Québec and California’s initiatives for the promotion of electric vehicles and public transit, highlighting the new technologies and advanced materials rapidly driving North America forward.

Just announced: Jean J. Labbé, world-renowned transportation designer, will present the keynote presentation, How Design Is Shaping Public Transportation.

With a solid track record of over 40 projects in the public transportation sector including the U.S.’s first high-speed train, the ACELA Express; New York’s high-tech subway cars; Vancouver’s Skytrain; China’s CRH1 high-speed train and Montreal‘s new generation subway cars, Labbé is globally recognized as a leading authority in public transportation design

Registration is now open for this one-of-a-kind event. Space for the keynote luncheon is limited, so secure your spot today!

Art Center and SHE: Changing Women’s Lives

Art Center’s Illustration Department, along with Designmatters, hosted a studio this spring in collaboration with SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises), to raise awareness and motivate action addressing the lack of access to affordable, eco-friendly sanitary products for women in developing countries such as Rwanda.

Bathroom poster designed by student Amy Cook

“Menstruation is one of those things that people don’t really want to have anything to do with,” says Elizabeth Scharpf, founder of SHE. “Most of the population is left hanging after donation supplies run out.”

Each year in developing countries, girls and women miss about 50 days of work and school because they lack access to affordable and hygienic sanitary pads. The sanitary pads sold in Rwanda are imported, expensive and subject to a prohibitive 18 percent tax.

According to a United Nations study, females are the economic and social engines of their communities, with one dollar invested in a female offering a much higher return on investment than in a male. As a result, the high rate of women and girls dropping out of school and work just reinforces the poverty and loss of opportunities for entire villages.

SHE challenged a group of Art Center students to create an advertising campaign using traditional and non-traditional media aimed at educating young women in the United States and the rest of the developed world on the critical lack of access to basic sanitary health supplies.

The project presented significant challenges for the students, most notably: How does one tackle a “taboo” issue that no one wants to talk about, even in the U.S.? How can we solve a problem that negatively affects millions of females every year?

Learn more about SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises): Awareness Campaign Directions

Tony Luna: Making Change Happen

Change naturally occurs as careers evolve. Sometimes change is forced upon us; other times we have to make it happen.

Based on the principles laid out in his book, How to Grow as a Photographer: Reinventing Your Career, creative consultant, artist and educator Tony Luna created Crafting a Meaningful Career, a series of Art Center at Night courses aimed at helping mid-career professionals revitalize their career perspectives.


We recently took a much-needed break our day-to-day assignments to talk to Luna about these courses.

Dotted Line: Tell us about Crafting a Meaningful Career.
Tony Luna: The course is loosely based on my own personal life. Looking back at my career, I realized that every five to seven years there was some change that had to take place. Sometimes it was caused by the economy, sometimes it was caused by technology, and sometimes it was caused by boredom. I started talking to other people, and virtually everyone I spoke with experienced the same challenges. The basic tenet of the course is that we have to change and we have to grow, so the Crafting a Meaningful Career courses are about taking control and creating a new path for yourself. It could be a small change, or it could be a large one. I advocate that people take a serious, mature look at what they’ve accomplished, give themselves credit for all they’ve been able to achieve, and then plot out a plan for where they’d like to take their career.

Dotted Line: Do people commonly feel like they need to start all over, and that all they’ve done up to this point is useless?
Luna: People acquire skills along the way that they don’t even recognize. They pick up organizational or communication skills, learn new languages or become computer savvy. And they think that’s just what they had to do. We often float through life and not recognizing the impact our personal experiences can have in expanding our business opportunities. I have a class assignment called “asset matching,” in which I ask students to examine their personal skill sets, experiences, interests and influences. They write down what they have going for them, and then as a group we try to find new options for how they can turn their career into something that makes them excited about starting each day. That’s the “meaningful” part.

Continue reading

Art Center Garden Makes Its Debut

Erik Molano, Heidrun Mumper-Drumm and Linda Estrada at the ribbon cutting

There was plenty of goodwill sown at the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Art Center Food Garden.

Speaking to the assembled crowd, instructor Heidrun Mumper-Drumm said student group EcoCouncil first approached her a year ago with the idea of creating a garden for the College. She was enthusiastic about the project, but acknowledged there were some setbacks initially.

“We tried and we tried, but we just couldn’t get it going,” she said. “But then, we found out that collaboration was the secret ingredient that had been missing.”

That collaboration meant EcoCouncil teamed up with Art Center Student Government, the Facilities department and individuals from the Technical Skills Center to move the project forward.

Art Center’s Vice President of Real Estate and Operations George Falardeau was on hand to do the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon. Falardeau, along with Mumper-Drumm, thanked many individuals who helped make the garden a reality, including Art Center President Lorne Buchman (“He was a big proponent of the garden”), Art Center Student Government President Erik Molano (“Erik has taken this garden on as his own personal mission”) and Environmental Design student Carlos Vides (“He came up with the original sketches for the garden”).

“Art Center as a whole is very proud of this garden,” Falardeau said before cutting the ribbon.

For more information and to reserve a plot within the Art Center Food Garden, visit the garden’s Facebook page.

A Student Perspective on Formula E

Here’s a fun video for a Monday afternoon: a documentary on Art Center’s annual Formula E races made by Grad ID student Hugo Giralt.

Department Chair Andy Ogden writes about the event on the Grad ID blog:

“At the end of every summer term for the last 6 years, teams of Grad ID students have been running on the sidewalks of Art Center’s campus chasing Radio Controlled cars propelled by 16 feet of rubber band. That scene is the culmination of a term long project in which the students go on a journey through the phases of conceiving of and then developing unique race vehicles that go far beyond the typical theory, visualization, model making and presentation activities that make up most of a design education experience —to developing, producing, testing, integrating technical systems and deploying an invention that actually has to work—in a high visibility forum,”

Read more.