Monthly Archives: January 2012

Meet Jennifer Golub of Let There Be Dragons Today

Don’t miss your chance to meet Jennifer Golub, Executive Director of Content at Let There Be Dragons today at 1:00 p.m. in the Boardroom as part of the Office of Career Development’s Career Chats series.

What exactly is Let There Be Dragons? In case you haven’t seen the pink posters scattered across campus, here’s how the creative firm describes itself:

“Let There Be Dragons is a new content dream machine. The name Let There Be Dragons comes from 16th century cartography — unknown areas and uncharted waters were labeled with the phrase, ‘There Be Dragons.’ We say, ‘Bring it.’ LTBD embraces the unknown and uses it to craft new ways to tell brand stories and connect with new audiences. Led by creative thinkers and craftspeople, we bring new content and forms of creativity to the world from new games, apps, films, shows, books, memes and more.”

Organized by the Office of Career Development, Career Chats: Insights into Creative Professions (formerly the Business Dialogue Series) provide Art Center students with an exclusive opportunity to meet industry leaders in a variety of fields. At these informal presentations, students can identify potential job markets, gain insight into specific fields and solicit career advice from visiting guests, all in the intimate setting of Art Center’s Boardroom. Career Chats take place Tuesdays, 1–2 p.m. during Weeks 3–7 of every term.

Upcoming Career Chats this term include:

February 7 — OISHII: Ismael Obregon, Creative Director and Daniel Walkup, Director of Operations.

February 14 — RTT: Parker Fredlund, Director, Professional Solutions

February 21 — Diana Koenigsberg, Photographer

February 28 –EAST WEST LITERARY AGENCY: Deborah Warren, Agent/Managing Partner

For additional information, please visit the Career Chats page on Art Center’s website.

Artist Ming Wong at Art Center

“In Italy a location in not just a backdrop, it’s a character, a famous co-star even.” Ming Wong

Ming Wong will speak at Art Center College of Design on the occasion of the debut of his Making Chinatown at REDCAT gallery Tuesday, January 31st at 7:30 pm in the L.A. Times Media Center.

Dominic Eichler, Frieze, September 2010

From the REDCAT press release:

Wong has been recognized internationally for his ambitious performance and video works that engage with the history of world cinema and popular forms of entertainment. Working through the visual styles and tropes of such iconic film directors as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wong Kar-wai and Ingmar Bergman, Wong’s practice considers the means through which subjectivity and geographic location are constructed by motion pictures. Making Chinatown … draws upon Polanski’s iconic film for its use of Los Angeles as a versatile and malleable character.

Shot on location in the Gallery at REDCAT, Wong’s reinterpretation, Making Chinatown, transforms the exhibition space into a studio backlot and examines the original film’s constructions of language, performance and identity. With the artist cast in the roles originally played by Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston and Belinda Palmer, key scenes are reenacted in front of printed backdrops that are digitally rendered from film stills and kept intact within the video installation. The wall flats adhere to the conventions of theatrical and filmic staging while taking on qualities of large-scale painting and sculpture.

Ming Wong’s (b. 1971, Singapore) recent solo exhibitions have taken place at the Museum of Moving Image, Queens, New York, as part of Performa 11; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou, China; the Frye Art Museum, Seattle; the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; and the Singapore Art Museum. He has been included in such notable exhibitions as based in Berlin at Atelierhaus Monbijoupark in Berlin; the 2010 Gwangju and Sydney Biennial; and in 2009 at the Singapore Pavilion for the 53rd Venice Biennale, for which he was awarded a Special Mention. Wong currently lives and works between Berlin and Singapore. For more information, see

Student Jessee Torres Exhibits Her Work and Produces On-Site Collodion Prints

Photography + Imaging student Jessee Torres’s work is included in the 25th Annual Hearts & Flowers Exhibition currently on view at The Folk Tree in Pasadena. Torres specializes in wet plate collodion prints, the prevalent photographic method used through the end of the 19th Century.

Collodion Print (c) Jessee Torres

The collodion process requires the photographic material to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed within the span of about fifteen minutes, necessitating a portable darkroom for use in the field. In the following video, she describes her progression from digital to collodion photography. Torres credits Art Center faculty Stephen Berkman, Ken Merfeld and Steve LaVoie as influencing her work.

Torres will be at The Folk Tree this weekend photographing portraits using the wet plate collodion process. Participants who reserve a time will receive a varnished tintype/ferrotype, an 8×10 archival print a digital image, all for the reasonable price of $75. To sign up, call Gail Mishkin at 626.793.4828 or call The Folk Tree at 626.795.8733.

The Pasadena Star-News recently spoke with Torres about her participation in the exhibition. For excerpts from the article, read more after the break.

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Google Designer Jonathan Jarvis Receives Young Alumni Innovator Award

Alumnus Jonathan Jarvis GMD '09 speaking to the Fall 2011 graduates. Photo: John Dlugolecki.

At last month’s Fall 2011 graduation ceremony, Graduate Media Design alumnus Jonathan Jarvis GMD ’09 received Art Center’s prestigious Young Alumni Innovator Award for his innovative professional and creative work.

While at Art Center, Jarvis made a splash with The Crisis of Credit Visualized, a video he created which entertainingly explained the nuts and bolts behind the economic crisis of 2008 using easy-to-understand language and engaging imagery. The video became an Internet sensation and has been viewed millions of times since Jarvis first placed it online.

Just one week after graduating, Jarvis was hired by Google’s Creative Lab unit as one of the original Google Five. Currently a designer for the company, he has worked on several high profile projects for the search giant, including Androidify, the YouTube Symphony and a Google-powered love story that ran during the Super Bowl.

In addition to receiving the Young Alumni Innovator Award, Jarvis also delivered the evening’s commencement address to the Fall 2011 graduates, during which he elaborated both on The Crisis of Credit Visualized and what he took away from his Art Center experience. Here are highlights from his speech:

On lessons learned at Art Center:

“As you think about the road ahead, you’ll no doubt feel many things. I remember when I graduated from the Master’s program here a little less than three years ago, I was sitting where all of you are today, thinking about that road. I’ve been asked to tell you my story today, and how circumstances allowed me a brief glimpse of that road before I was ready to walk it. At least I thought that I wasn’t ready to walk it. But my time at Art Center had done something to me, something that made me ready. I can’t tell you exactly how it happened, or precisely when it occurred, but it did. I’m sure of it. The challenges you faced here, both personal and academic, and the ideas that you saturated in, have had a deep impact on you, deeper than you realize right now. You may not see it now, but it might manifest in an unconscious manner, like a muscle memory you’ve forgotten you developed. Something inside of you has changed, and you’ve grown more than you’ve recognized.”

On what inspired The Crisis of Credit Visualized:

“I had some studio space down at South Campus that I called the bunker because it had no windows and really thick concrete walls. I was sitting in the bunker, listening to NPR and I heard that Lehman Brothers, one of the biggest banks in the country, had just gone bankrupt. I also heard the term “subprime mortgage” for the 500th time, and I still didn’t know what that meant. So instead of working on my master’s thesis, I thought that it was the perfect time to learn what a subprime mortgage was. And I quickly discovered that to learn what a subprime mortgage was, you need to learn what a prime mortgage is. And to learn what that is, you need to understand defaulting and bankruptcy and so on. And while I was learning about all of this, a strange thing happened to me. I became fascinated.”

On the power of design:

“I started reading and watching everything available about the credit crisis. And surprisingly, for something that was so relevant, there was no basic introduction for someone who wasn’t versed in finance. Then I had this realization that, as a designer, I had the ability to turn around and explain everything I just learned to someone who, just like myself a few weeks ago, didn’t know anything about finance. And this was an amazing feeling. It was the first time that I personally realized the power of design. And it was also my first realization that what I had been learning in school was actually applicable to the world at large.”

On going viral:

“In my sixth and final term and I wanted to make a short film about the credit crisis in a very simple way. So I said to myself that I would work really hard for one week, crank the video out, it would be out of my system, and I would move on. About four weeks later, it was starting to shape up, but it was still far from what I felt was ready. I had already sunk almost half of the semester into making this film and I had to do something quick, so I threw together a website. I put the film on it, and I called it The Crisis of Credit. I sent it to my professors, some friends and a few blogs. Surprisingly they watched it. And they started watching it a lot. And then more people watched it, and started to share it. Before I knew it, it had been viewed millions of times. And I couldn’t believe it. The response was far bigger than anything I had ever imagined. Back when ‘viral’ was still a cool word, my film was going viral. And it was all because I had made something I just wanted to watch myself when I started this process.”

On glimpsing life after school:

“I suddenly started getting lots of email and my phone would ring with unidentified numbers. I was getting a lot of attention, and I loved it at first. And then everybody wanted to know what my agenda was. They wanted to know my design philosophy. What did I plan to do next? Everyone started making demands on my time. I was forced to talk to the world outside of school and to find myself as a designer before I felt ready to define myself to anybody. Even myself. I couldn’t handle it. But somehow, I did. That muscle memory kicked in. I somehow responded to all the emails. I somehow answered all the questions. And somehow said what I wanted to do without sounding completely stupid.”

A research sketch by Jarvis for his "Crisis of Credit Visualized" video.

On the next move:

“The next thing I knew I was at the finish line. It was graduation day and I thought, wait a second, what’s going on? Wasn’t everything supposed to be sorted out by now? Wasn’t I supposed to have a job? Wasn’t the next move supposed to be clear? I just managed to get through this crazy situation and I thought that meant that I was ready. But I was sitting there, and I certainly didn’t feel ready. I spent most of graduation day wondering when do you feel ready? And it was about a week later and I was on the phone with a man named Andy [Berndt] from Google. He’d seen the video and he was telling me about a new group that he was putting together in New York to find new ways to use Google and YouTube and Chrome. I told him it sounded fascinating, but that I wasn’t sure that I was ready. And then I immediately thought to myself, what are you doing? You just told a prospective employer that you don’t feel ready for the job! And then he said to me, ‘Nobody ever feels ready. But if the spaceship lands in your backyard and the door opens, you get in.’ So I got in.”

On not being ready:

“Over the past three years I’ve been on a team that’s found ways to use YouTube to let people anywhere in the world audition to play with the London Symphony Orchestra, that’s used only Google Search to tell a love story during the Super Bowl, and that’s visually redesigned all of Google. I’m on a team that every day asks me to do things that I don’t feel ready to do. And all of you will be asked to do the same. Because you are going to go on to do things that have never been done before. On your road ahead, you will build new types of products that have never been built before. You will work in industries that did not even exist when you started here. One of you may even go on to create an entirely new industry. And you’re never going to be ready for that.”

Art Center Alumni Awards, which provide the College an opportunity to publicly recognize the talent, service and design influence of our alumni, were also bestowed upon Lou Danziger ADVT ’48 for a lifetime of professional and creative achievement and Wendy McNaughton FINE ’99 for realized humanitarian design impact. See all the award winners and the Fall 2011 graduation ceremony in it’s entirety here.

Vote for Art Center finalists in the IxDA People’s Choice Awards

Three Art Center student projects are finalists for Interaction Design Association’s (IxDA) Interaction Awards People’s Choice Award. Support our students, vote now! Every member of IxDA’s online community gets three votes for their favorite project. You must register on the Interaction Awards site specifically to vote. Voting closes February 3rd at 12 pm GMT.

The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced at the Interaction Awards Celebration on Friday, February 3rd, at Interaction12 in Dublin.

Sound Noodles, by Jessie Kawata, are mobile electronic music instruments that enable kids to explore the relationship between sound and movement through their own physical activity and the collaborative efforts of music creation.

Sound Noodles by Jessie Kawata

Go here to vote for Sound Noodles.

Hotdog, by Scott Schenone, is a dog harness design that keeps track of a dog’s body temperature and relays the information back to the owner.

Hotdog by Scott Schenone

Go here to vote for Hotdog.

Steps, by Kevin Kwok, Nancy Chui, Rachel Thai, Winnie Yuen and Wayne Tang, are interactive tools and encouragement for 21st century teacher to use 21st century social interaction. The Steps project is also a finalist for the 2012 Interaction Award in the field of Connecting (facilitating communication between people and communities).

Steps by Kevin Kwok, Nancy Chui, Rachel Thai, Winnie Yuen and Wayne Tang

Go here to vote for Steps.

Art Center will be offering a new degree program towards a B.S. in Interaction Design beginning in Fall 2012. Interaction Design students at Art Center will learn to think deeply about the user’s experience, apply technology creatively and invent new approaches to interaction and design, whether designing a mobile app or a gestural interface for an exhibition, a new consumer electronics product or a rich informational website. For more information, see

Inside Look at Ford and Art Center Students

In town for the EcoStilleto salon, three senior execs from Ford Motor Company’s Design and Sustainability team recently made a special trip to Art Center for an informal–and insightful–chat with a number of students and faculty.

Carol Kordich, Global Fabric Strategy/Sustainable Materials Lead Designer; Susan Svek, Group Chief Designer, Color and Material Design; and Anthony Prozzi, Senior Interior Designer, discussed the use of sustainable materials in auto manufacturing, the psychology of color and materials, and the ways in which history and culture influence design.

As summarized on the Ford Social website, “The interaction between the students and working professionals brought insight to both groups, and gave them a window into the ideas, philosophies and priorities of each other.”

Lights, Camera, What Now? Meet Saturday High Instructor Chris Gehl

Writer/director/producer, Art Center alumnus and Saturday High instructor Chris Gehl. Photo: Mike Winder

In a recent interview, The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola said, “The cinema language happened by experimentation—by people not knowing what to do.”

For Chris Gehl, an Art Center alumnus and a film instructor in Saturday High—Art Center College of Design’s program for high school students (grades 9–12)—venturing into unknown territory is par for the course. The Los Angeles-based writer/director/producer spends most of his Saturdays at South Campus, teaching Directing for Film and Writing for Film during the Spring and Fall terms and the Writing for Film and the Film Production workshops during the Summer.

With the beginning of the Spring Term less than two weeks away, we caught up with Gehl to ask him more about his Saturday High classes.

How much filmmaking experience do your incoming students have?

The nice thing about Saturday High is that it attracts a great cross section of the universe. Because we’re in Southern California, sometimes you get students who have parents or relatives in the industry. Then there are some students have more sophisticated tastes because they’ve been exposed to more film history. And some students come to class with no experience whatsoever. In fact, for some kids, this might be the only art education that they’re getting. So it’s a really nice mix.

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Be Part of Pacific Standard Time

Grad Art Faculty Member Seeks Bodies to be Part of Performance Art Event This Sunday

Grad Art core faculty Lita Albuquerque is creating a large scale performance for the Pacific Standard Time Public Art and Performance Festival and is looking for students, faculty and alumni from the Art Center community to sign up to participate this coming Sunday, January 22nd at noon at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Outlook in Culver City.

Spine of the Earth, Lita Albuquerque, 1980. Ephemeral installation at El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, CA. Lita Albuquerque © Lita Albuquerque Studio, 1980.

As described on the Pacific Standard Time website, Spine of the Earth 2012 is taking place this Sunday and is a recreation of Albuquerque’s 1980 Spine of the Earth, where the artist created a land based work at the bed of the El Mirage Dry Lake. The piece created a giant “geometric pattern over six-hundred feet in diameter” and turned the Earth into a artist’s canvas. In Albuquerque’s recreation twenty two years later, she won’t be painting the earth but will be making a “performative sculpture” that requires at least five hundred people.

As part of the open call to artists, designers and the general public, Albuquerque is looking for students, faculty and alumni from the Art Center community to participate in the performance. Sign up is easy at According to the site, participants will be involved in a very simple walking based movement (choreographed by LA-based choreographers WIFE) and will receive a signed, limited-edition artifact of the performance.

Kyle Fitzpatrick, who blogged about the upcoming event, wrote that he received the following details after signing up to participate:

  • The event is this Sunday between 12PM and 2PM. If you are participating, you need to be on site no later than 8AM.
  • This actually will not be in the desert (phew), but in Baldwin Hills Scene Overlook in Culver City, between Jefferson and La Cienega.
  • All participants will be involved in a very simple walking-based movement that will take place outdoors
  • What will you be wearing? A red jump suit! You should wear dark clothing and “comfortable walking shoes” in neutral colors to go underneath, though. You’ll also be keeping your red jumpsuit, which Lita will be signing as a thank you for participating.
  • Don’t bring your kids: all participants must be 16 and over.
  • Bring food money, as they will have food trucks there for eating. You’ll also be getting free coconut water!

The piece is a part of Pacific Standard Time’s Performance and Public Art Festival, which begins Thursday, January 19, continuing through Saturday, January 29. Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-80 is a collaboration of cultural institutions across Southern California coming together to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene.

San Marino League Docents Invest in Art Center

Did you happen to notice a large group of women listening carefully, taking notes and following Williamson Gallery Director Stephen Nowlin around the student gallery? If you ever wondered who these women are who turn up the first Tuesday of every term, they are volunteers and members of the San Marino League on campus for a half-day of docent training.

Student Gallery. Photo © Crystal Jean Photography/Art Center College of Design

The San Marino League in California is a nonprofit organization of women committed to philanthropic work in the community as well as furthering their own knowledge of fine arts. Its purpose is exclusively charitable, educational and all volunteer.

According to its website, “The League’s association with Art Center College of Design began in 1976 when the League funded the opening of the student gallery and began conducting tours. The association continues to this day, enhancing knowledge of and interest in one of the most renowned art and design education centers in the world.”

Today, docents from the San Marino League conduct tours for community groups interested in visiting Art Center. They also volunteer in the library and help staff the registration desk for Grad Show Preview. In addition to the many volunteer hours they invest in the college, they fund a Fine Art Scholarship helping countless students attend Art Center.

More information about the San Marino League can be found here.

For more information on scholarship giving opportunities, and joining Art Center support groups, contact Director of Annual Giving Amy Swain at or 626.396.2427.

Pay Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. by Being of Service

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail

Art Center is closed? What should you do?

There are many things you can do to honor the life and legacy of the civil rights leader while campus is closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first signed into law as a national holiday in 1986 to mark Dr. King’s transformative leadership in advancing civil rights through non-violent activism. Less than a decade later in 1994, Congress further designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national day of service that asks all Americans to actively improve the lives of others in their community.

Check out for local MLK Jr. Day volunteer opportunities. This year’s projects includes a group that will be revitalizing the campus of a Title I elementary school in the Los Feliz neighborhood. Volunteers will spend the morning creating colorful murals in the playground space; painting school buildings and grounds; planting flowers, shrubs and landscaping to create an outdoor literacy space; renovating an unused blacktop area to create a community garden; and assisting the teachers in organizing and beautifying the interior classroom areas. Also, back by popular demand, Zumba instructor Wilson Williams will be warming up the volunteers in the morning.

As part of the day, L.A. Works is also collecting toiletries for veterans to donate to the local Veteran Affairs facility. They are asking all volunteers to consider bringing shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, disposable razors, shaving cream, deodorant, and/or soap with them.

The Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Coat drive, sponsored by Burlington Coat Factory, runs through Martin Luther King Jr. Day. They encourage donations of new and gently worn coats. See for more information and find your nearest story by visiting the Burlington Coat Factory Store Locator.

Visit for other local day of service opportunities.

In addition to serving, there are many celebrations held locally. The Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles is held today, beginning at 11 am at Martin Luther King Blvd and Western Ave, traveling west on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd to Crenshaw Blvd, south on Crenshaw Blvd to Vernon Ave and ending with a festival at Leimert Park.