Author Archives: admin

The brains behind the muscle (cars): Stingray designers to be honored at Car Classic

Behold the Tom Peters-designed Stingray

Behold the Tom Peters-designed Stingray

Ranked #1 on Automobile Magazine’s “100 Coolest Cars” list, the 1963-1967 Sting Ray designed by Art Center alumnus Peter Brock set the standard for all sports and muscle cars to follow. That achievement in design, performance and pure chrome and steel sex appeal has been near impossible to meet, which Chevrolet all but conceded to when they retired the Sting Ray name in 1976.

Now, 50 years after the original Sting Ray first hit the road, Chevrolet’s parent company, General Motors, is reviving the brand and launching a car worthy of the (now slightly altered) name. Meet the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. You might say it takes a certain sensibility to capture the visceral appeal of that first Sting Ray and reinvent it for the 21st century. So it seems only natural that—just like the original—the 2014 Stingray would be designed by an Art Center alum.

Art Center will celebrate this transportation design legacy at its annual Car Classic on Sunday, October 27, where the College will present alumnus Tom Peters (TRANS ’80) with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his many design accomplishments with General Motors, including his work for Chevrolet and Corvette, and his leadership role in breathing new life into the legendary Stingray.

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A Decade That Matters: Leading the Way in Social Innovation

Ten years after its founding, Designmatters is making a difference within and beyond Art Center.


“This University is not maintained…merely to help its graduates have an economic advantage in the life struggle. There is certainly a greater purpose, and I’m sure you recognize it.”

—John F. Kennedy, October 14, 1960, speaking to students at the University of Michigan

Faculty member La Mer Walker consults with students and UN Population Fund partner Christian Delsol.

As he campaigned for the White House, John F. Kennedy challenged America’s younger generation to use their talent not just to better themselves, but also to somehow make a difference in the world. Shortly after taking office in 1961, President Kennedy formed the Peace Corps, a transformational government agency that celebrated America’s core values, galvanized our national will and has facilitated service in support of that “greater purpose” for more than half a century.

Forty years later, Art Center students were surveyed on their desire to have some sort of curricular “Peace Corps-type” opportunity. The overwhelmingly positive response set the wheels in motion for what would soon become Designmatters at Art Center, the College’s innovative social-impact initiative. In addition to the Peace Corps model, the brain trust that conceived and developed Designmatters also had other influences. Erica Clark—then Art Center’s senior vice president of International Initiatives—had investigated a number of socially engaged design programs at European institutions. And here at Art Center, “Community Workshop” was already a popular graphic design class that engaged students in projects with local social-impact objectives.

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UPDATED: Graphic design art exhibition of M/M (Paris) makes West Coast premiere

VIDEO:  Watch artists Augustyniak, Amzalag in conversation with Illustration Associate Chair Aaron Smith and instructor Nancy Reigelman here

Art Center College of Design is pleased to announce the first ever West Coast exhibition by M/M (Paris), the celebrated Paris-based art and design partnership created by Mathias Augustyniak and Michaël Amzalag in 1992.

The exhibition M/MANIFESTATION runs March 8–April 28 at the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at Art Center’s Hillside Campus.

The free opening night events on Thursday, March 7 begin with a conversation with M/M (Paris) at 7:30 p.m. in the Ahmanson Auditorium, followed by a book signing and reception in the gallery. Please R.S.V.P. to

M/M’s close associations with the art, music and fashion worlds have led to their becoming one of the most distinctive and acclaimed creative voices of their generation, within graphic design and beyond.

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Diversity: good for education, good for business

GM Design Chief Ed Welburn (second from right) speaks with Transportation Design student.

Most Art Center students will tell you that being part of a diverse student body enriches their educational experience. The opportunity to collaborate with other artists and designers from a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives is a hallmark of the Art Center experience. It’s one of the reasons that diversity and inclusion are included in the College’s six governing values and principles, and broadly represented throughout the College’s strategic plan.

Of course, diversity isn’t just good for education. It’s also good business. Many of Art Center’s corporate partners are choosing to enhance their philanthropic support of the College with scholarships that promote diversity – of experience, economic background, race, gender and more.

Art Center partner Sodexo is a case in point. The food services and facilities management company, which priorities diversity and inclusion, recently made a gift to continue its annual Sodexo Diversity Scholarship. Established in 2011, the scholarship provides financial assistance to qualifying students from diverse and historically underrepresented groups.

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Art Center gets interactive at SXSW

Art Center tech-heads will have a chance to talk design at the 20th annual SXSW Interactive festival, held March 8 to 12 in Austin, Texas.

The College will host an alumni event March 7 with panelists – including Anne Burdick, Chair of Graduate Media Design Practices, and Maggie Hendrie, Chair of Interaction Design – discussing challenges facing designers in a networked global future.

Additionally, a trio of alumni from the Media Design Practices program will sit on panels: Jayne Vidheecharoen (Shaping the Future of Play Is Serious Work), Carina Ngai (Design for Aging, Your Future-Self) and Jennifer Darmour (The Next Frontier of Interactive: Smart Fashion).

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Alum Leslie Ekker reveals how he designed modern-day ‘Munsters’

Visual Effects Supervisor and alum Leslie Ekker recently earned a Visual Effects Society award nomination for “Mockingbird Lane,” NBC’s reboot of the 1960s classic “The Munsters.”

The pilot, which earned a nom for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program, starred Jerry O’Connell as family patriarch Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as his wife Lily, and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa. We caught up with Ekker to learn how he helped design modern-day Munsters.

Describe the visual effects your team is being recognized for on “Mockingbird Lane.”

There were 75 visual effects shots for a 40-minute pilot. For example, specially designed particle animations were created to show the appearance and special powers of matriarch Lily Munster (Portia De Rossi), who first arrives in a wooden crate. A languid vapor begins to flow from the chinks in the crate and then flow together to form a nude Lily. Continue reading

‘Rise of the Guardians’ director to speak at Art Center

“Rise of the Guardians” director Peter Ramsey will speak at Art Center Thursday at 4 p.m.

Ramsey’s Hollywood credits include “Panic Room,” “Fight Club,” “Batman Forever” and “Backdraft.” And by helming DreamWorks Animation’s “Rise of the Guardians,” Ramsey became first the African-American to direct a major animated film.

His decades-long Hollywood career includes turns as a storyboard artist, illustrator, continuity artist and production illustrator.

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Art Center hosts distinguished speakers from the art world

Andrea Fraser

The Graduate Art Seminar at Art Center College of Design welcomes internationally recognized artists, critics, art historians, architects, filmmakers and writers to Pasadena to share their insights into the world of contemporary art. The seminar — a core component of Art Center’s Graduate Art program — takes place at the Hillside campus Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. throughout every Spring term.

All events are free and open to the public.

Next up Tuesday evening is New York-based performance artist Andrea Fraser, whoseinstallations have been featured at the Berkeley Art Museum, the Kunstverein Munich, the Venice Biennale and the Whitney Biennial.

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Black History Month: A few things you might not know

Carter G. Woodson

In terms of socio-political significance, February is also an important month in the United States. It is Black History Month. It is a time when the country recognizes the struggles, achievements and contributions of the African-American community. In the course of researching this topic, I learned something I didn’t know before. I want to pass it along.

Black History Week was founded at a time (the 1920s) when forces actively tried to write famous African-Americans, such as Harriet Tubman and Crispus Attucks, out of the history books.

The annual observance was created by Carter G. Woodson. He was an educator who graduated from the University of Chicago and was the second black man (behind W.E.B. Du Bois) to receive a doctorate from Harvard University.

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Re-designing movies: How Art Center educates the next generation of filmmakers

During a break on the set of Man of Steel, the upcoming Superman reboot directed by Zack Snyder FILM 89, Jack Foley, a teen actor whose character in the film bullies a young Clark Kent before the two become friends, started asking questions. “I began talking with Zack about how he became a filmmaker, and the conversation led to film school,” Foley says. “I asked him about where he went, and he spoke very highly of Art Center.”

Like many others, Foley is an actor who wants to direct. And in Snyder he saw his college future. “I was pretty much set to go to a different film school, but after seeing Zack’s methods and the way he controlled his set, it was clear to me that I was working with a true artist. I started looking into Art Center.”

The Visual Storyteller, Act One:

As befits a successful screenwriter (Rush Hour), novelist and, most recently, graphic novelist, Ross LaManna, chair of the undergraduate Film Department since 2006, has countless stories to tell. Many center on the program’s students, such as Dan Bartolucci FILM 10, who got a job on the graveyard shift at special effects house Lola, right after graduating.

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