Author Archives: Anna Macaulay

What is it like to be an art model at ArtCenter?

Photo: Juan Posada

Photo: Juan Posada

This story, written by Solvej Schou and photographed by Juan Posada, first appeared on Dot online.

After downing a cup of coffee, art model John Mackey—wearing a pirate hat and long brown jacket—raises a sword above his head. Next to him, art model Jonnathon Cripple grips a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other, gritting his teeth. You can imagine them shouting “YAAARRRRR!!!!!”

Instead, they’re perfectly still and quiet, facing each other fiercely like Pirates of the Caribbean foes. They stand in front of a packed classroom of students in instructor Will Weston’s Fall 2017 Illustration figure drawing course Inventive Costume.

The students sketch Mackey and Cripple as dynamic swashbuckling characters. In between five, 20 and 25-minute poses, the pair laugh and rest. Weston walks around looking at student work, and gives his expert insight about drawing a figure’s shape, designing a costume and adding folds.

“I tell the students that the models are assuming poses, and that you should change the pose you draw to suit your composition and narrative storytelling,” says Weston, who spent 18 years as an advertising illustrator before going into animation at Walt Disney Animation Studios, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon and Sony, and has taught full-time at ArtCenter for the past decade.

“In here, I’m teaching mechanics,” he adds. “How do you group figures effectively so that the eye can easily make its way through the composition? How does the costume further the storyline?”

Mackey and Cripple—former mimes who have known each other for decades—are two of 90 active art models in ArtCenter’s Model and Prop Department, modeling for academic departments including Illustration, Fine Art, Product Design and Entertainment Design. Besides Inventive Costume, other Illustration courses with art models include instructor Gayle Donahue’s Drawing for Illustration and Jeffrey Smith’s Illustrative Storytelling.

Mackey, who switches mischievously between a Southern and British accent, has modeled at ArtCenter for the past six years, and owns more than 100 costumes. An artist and actor (he appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), some of his campier costumes for Weston’s class have included a priest from the Middle Ages with bloodshot eyes and an alien jester outfit.

“Even though I’m standing still, I’m telling a story. I’m emoting,” Mackey says. “It’s rewarding when students see and draw exactly what I’m thinking. You’re pretending to smoke a cigarette as a detective, and they put a cigarette in your finger. Or they’ll draw blood on the ground, even though there’s no blood.”

Cripple—wearing rainbow striped pants and a teal embroidered pirate jacket—has modeled for 47 years, including at ArtCenter since 2008, and has an undergraduate degree in directing. He once owned and operated a Los Angeles company employing hundreds of actors and actresses for themed events.

His most wacky costume? A Charles Dickens-era rat catcher, complete with a plastic rat named Whitey, Cripple’s self-appointed mascot.

“I use him in almost all of my modeling. He gives me something to work off of as a prop,” says Cripple, grinning. “As a teacher, Will is all about how the artist can get rules and then work with them to create rather than just render. He also understands that as models, we know what we’re doing.”

On a different day in Weston’s class, Illustration student Jacki Li sits front and center—wearing big headphones—as three art models, including Marissa Gomez and Debra Haden, pose for the class in retro burlesque style lingerie.

Gomez, wearing brown lace-up boots and polka dot tights, holds a green fan in one hand, and a martini glass in the other. Haden, wearing a black corset, her bangs curled under like ‘50s pin-up model Bettie Page, points at Gomez angrily. Flowers are strewn on the ground.

“What’s the story, and are you driving the story?” Weston asks the class, lobbing nuggets of advice. “You’re the magician. Don’t have the models be equidistant from each other. Draw them close together or far away. If a hand or arm is not in the right position, move it.”

Li, her hand flying over her paper, sketches a full scene with a curtain draped around the three figures. She aspires to land a job in visual development or storyboarding at Disney, DreamWorks or another studio.

“I love working directly from the models because you can practice so much,” says Li. “You can play a lot with expressions and poses. It’s really about not just depicting the figure as is, but pushing it to be as expressive as possible.”

Haden, who has an undergraduate degree in fashion design, and is also an actress, makes her own costumes and has modeled at ArtCenter since 2010. A fan of the elaborate costumes on RuPaul’s Drag Race, she says she loves to create full characters who express happiness and sadness.

“Sometimes students don’t know how to create a scenario or character,” she says. “If I can provide that inspiration for them to draw from later—‘Oh, I remember that model, I remember her bangs!’—that’s amazing.”

A musician working as an art model at ArtCenter since 2002, Gomez used to be a waitress, and artists would draw her in restaurants. At ArtCenter, her gigs have included being painter Frida Kahlo as a Siamese twin, with another model.

“I’m a very still person, and I don’t have a problem with people staring at me,” says Gomez. “As models, we bring our creativity and our costuming, and it makes it fun for the students, too, this interaction. And because we’re entertainers or performers, we are many selves, so we can be those authentically.”

Designer, Strategist and National AIGA President Su Mathews Hale joins ArtCenter Board of Trustees

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As part of a larger effort to build a strong and multitalented leadership core, ArtCenter has appointed graphic designer and brand strategist Su Mathews Hale to the Board of Trustees. A senior partner in design for Lippincott, a global creative consultancy, Mathews Hale joined ArtCenter’s Board at its meeting Saturday.

“Under a new strategic plan with efforts to provide the best educational experience possible for our students while expanding their professional network, we’re at a critical turning point for ArtCenter’s Board of Trustees,” said Board Chairman Robert C. Davidson Jr. “Su epitomizes the next stage of leadership for the College, representing the importance of industry experience and individual support for the next generation of artists and designers.”

“Joining ArtCenter’s Board is something I’ve looked forward to for a long time,” Mathews Hale said. “I have a deep respect for my professional peers who teach at ArtCenter and I’m honored to join this group of leaders to make the College as dynamic and relevant as possible for the next generation of artists and designers.”

“Given her impressive experience helping major companies build brands and identify the innovation spaces that matter most to the customer of the future, Su brings a much-needed perspective to the Board—and the College as a whole,” said ArtCenter President Lorne Buchman, who also serves on the Board of Trustees. “She’s an extremely interesting and intelligent person with a wealth of ideas for connecting design practitioners and advocates to our educational programs.”

For more than two decades, Mathews Hale has thrived at the intersection of graphic design and brand strategy. Using the power of design to develop inspiring creations and solve business problems, she has worked with a broad range of notable clients including Chick-fil-A, eBay, Hawaiian Airlines, Hershey’s, Hyatt, IHG, Liz Claiborne, New York Public Library, Red Robin, Samsung, Shutterstock, Taco Bell and Walmart.

Mathews Hale is president of AIGA, the professional association for design, that serves 70 chapters and more than 25,000 members worldwide. She spearheaded Women Lead, an AIGA committee dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in design, cultivating awareness of gender-related issues, and connecting women both within and beyond the design industry.

Additional biographic information about Mathews Hale can be found on the ArtCenter Trustees webpage.

“Su was brought into the fold by current Trustee and ArtCenter alumnus Kit Hinrichs,” Davidson added. “Kit has proven to be an engaged and dedicated Trustee. We’re extremely grateful for his leadership and his advocacy on behalf of the College.”

Alum’s Dina’s Dumpling Food Truck at South Campus

DinasDumplingsFood Truck Dina’s Dumpling, the product of a partnership between ArtCenter alum Eric David Wallace and his wife Dina, will be parked in the South parking lot at the 950 Building, South Campus on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

After running a small fashion clothing line for about five years, Eric enrolled in ArtCenter searching for an education in branding, advertising and marketing. He was a Graphic Design major but also took Environmental Design and Film courses during his approximately three years and a half years at the College. After ArtCenter, he worked at the Let There Be Dragons division of TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles, that was literally a studio on wheels. It was there that he learned how much can be achieved with a truly mobile work station.

He left the advertising world and worked with some smaller film production companies and design firms. At a low point in his life, he met Dina, who he describes as “a ray of sunshine.” Dina grew up in a small town of Rugao China, with her grandmother cooking and making dumplings by hand every day. After they were married, she mentioned she wanted to open a dumpling restaurant. As Eric recalled, “[a]t the time we couldn’t afford it, so I said, ‘how about a food truck instead?’ She agreed and we were off to the races.”

As creative director of Dina’s Dumpling, Eric decided to make the truck pink, in reference to a jump suit Dina was wearing when he first met her. He says it is, “bright, happy, approachable, warm hearted and fun. All great qualities for a brand.”

In addition to creative director, Eric wears the hats of designer, head of marketing, advertising director, driver, order-taker, and point-of-contact for any and all events. Dina makes the amazing dumplings.

Dina’s Dumpling aims to bring the traditional handmade authentic Chinese food to Americans in a modern and approachable way. In addition to the traditional pork dumplings, Dina’s offers beef, vegan and shrimp dumplings. They also offer unique side dishes and special items that change daily.

How did ArtCenter help create this tasty business? According to Eric, “ArtCenter really pushes you to have a rigorous work ethic, thoughtful design, to never give up and to have great presentation skills with a professional demeanor. All of which you need to be successful in any type of business.”

Come check out Dina on campus on Wednesdays at lunchtime in the 950 Building parking lot and be sure to sample Eric’s favorite item, Pork Dumplings + Cucumber Salad with a Mexican Coke.

Happy Birthday to Us!

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Monday, October 9, 2017 marks ArtCenter’s 87th birthday. In celebratory fashion, the Student Success Task Force, in partnership with ArtCenter’s Student Government, would like to offer you two opportunities to join in on the festivities.

At 12:00 p.m., campus-wide, BIRTHDAY PARTY TABLES will be set up with cupcakes, buttons, and balloons. Nearby you will find posters that highlight 87 years of history! Stop by the Hillside Campus south entrance, the 870 Building’s lobby, the 950 Building’s 2nd floor (near the Library) or 1111 Building’s 3rd floor (near the Student Store) for a free sweet treat and some take-a-ways!

At 3:30 p.m., in the Student Dining Room on the Hillside Campus, a POP UP PHOTOGRAPHY INSTALLATION will feature over a dozen photos (thanks to Archives and the Photo + Imaging Department) that capture ArtCenter from its early days in downtown Los Angeles to the 1990s at Hillside. Stop by to view the photographs, partake in free appetizers and refreshments, and mingle with other community members.

Both events are open to all community members, but it is important to note that food is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

A Message From ArtCenter President Lorne Buchman

Photo: Juan Posada

Photo: Juan Posada

Dear ArtCenter Community,

The events of the last few weeks and devastation to the lives of so many in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Florida, Texas and throughout the Caribbean – shake us to the core. And then last night we learn of the horrifying mass shooting in Las Vegas and horror builds on horror. But let us not mistake the suffering born of natural disasters that come of earthquakes and hurricanes with the carnage that emerges from a human act of violence. We certainly need to ask whether the tragedy of last night could have been prevented, a question that haunts me.

Beyond wrestling with that fundamental dilemma, I want to call on us all to recommit to the work we do as educators, designers and artists in a way that is compassionately directed to those in need and to a world that calls out for both the fight and the solutions that only the creative spirit can imagine. Practically, we can give charitably, according to our means, to help those in need and/or donate blood if we are well and able. And let us be unswerving in our support of our students and their commitment to making a positive difference in the world.

Please know that counseling is available through the Center for the Student Experience or Human Resources for anyone who might need help processing this latest tragedy.

In all our heartbreak, let’s find the voice to influence change. We have a calling of enormous significance.

Lorne M. Buchman
President

Exchange and Study Away Office lines up a full slate of events for International Education Week

IEW 2017 POSTER

The Exchange and Study Away program hosts an International Education Week (IEW) each Fall Term to celebrate diverse cultures and promote the program’s many study away opportunities. This term, IEW will be happening Week 4, October 2–6.

Director of Exchange and Study Away programs Hannah Huang explains “we want to bring awareness to our programs and the range of opportunities we have for students who want an international study option.

“We aim to dispel the notion that study away lengthens a student’s academic career or is prohibitively expensive,” she continues, “we have programs that are well integrated into the curriculum and there are financial aid and grant opportunities available for our students.”

Each day celebrates a different region of the world. The ArtCenter café menu will be tailored to match the day’s theme and there will be a “featured drink” at the coffee cart that also corresponds to the featured region.

Students are encouraged to participate in events throughout the week. Here is what to expect from the week:

Monday, October 2: Worldwide

Study Away Fair
12:00-2:00 p.m.
East Bridge, Hillside Campus

IEW 2017 will kick off with the annual Study Away Fair, which sees a variety of departments and organizations come together to promote study away programs and initiatives. Those tabling at this year’s Fair include Exchange and Study Away, Designmatters, the library, and the LA Passport Agency. Students will be able to apply for their passport, speak to current exchange students about their home institutions, or learn how to study away for free post-graduation through the Fulbright program!

Tuesday, October 3: The U.S.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Student Dining Room, Hillside Campus

Since 1963, Bob Baker has been entertaining the LA community with his handmade puppetry performances. Now, he and his team are coming to ArtCenter for a unique theatrical experience and to help renew an appreciation for the art of puppetry. Featuring a special U.S. theme, this show will utilize notable aspects of American history such as the American circus and Vaudeville.

Financial Aid & Scholarships for Study Away
2:00-3:00 p.m.
Conference Room B, Hillside Campus

During this workshop, students will be able to learn about the financial aid and scholarship opportunities available for use on study away programs. Topics covered include the difference between faculty-led and exchange programs, the Diversity and Access Stipend Award (DATSA), and other scholarship opportunities.

Wednesday, October 4: Europe

London Ancient/Modern 10th Anniversary
1:00-2:00 p.m.
6th Floor Gallery, 1111 Building
South Campus

In celebration of London Ancient/Modern, which has now run for 10 years through the Illustration department, this event will recognize the program’s achievements and inspire future students to participate. All are welcome to come hear some of the program’s lead faculty speak, enjoy “high tea” with English tea and pastries, and admire the work of past student participants.

Fika Break & Study Away Table
3:00-5:00 p.m.
1st Floor Lobby, 870 Building
South Campu

In a condensed version of Monday’s study away fair, students at South Campus will be able to learn about ArtCenter’s exchange and study away opportunities. Information will be available regarding upcoming faculty-led programs, continuing exchange partnerships, and various scholarship opportunities. Simultaneously, ESA will encourage everyone to take a “fika” – a traditional Scandinavian break time with coffee, tea, and pastries.

Thursday, October 5: Asia & The Middle East

This is How We Roll: Sushi-Making Workshop
11:00 AM – 12:30 p.m.
Room 201, Hillside Campus

Ever wanted to learn how to make your own sushi? Here’s your chance to learn from a professional! In addition to learning how to prepare, pack, and roll their own sushi, students will also be taught this Asian food’s history and evolution over time. For this event, space is limited and advance sign-up is required.

Study Away, Get Ahead: Marketing Your International Experience to Employers
1:00-2:00 p.m.
Conference Room B, Hillside Campus

International experiences grow you as a student, an artist, and a person. But did you know that they can also help grow your career? Exchange and Study Away and Career + Professional Development, with support from CSE and Academic Advising’s #workingit series, are hosting this workshop to provide students with strategies on marketing their international experiences to employers. Topics covered include resume tips, cover letter suggestions, and interview techniques.

Friday, October 6: Latin America

Jones Coffee Workshop
1:00-2:30 p.m.
Mezzanine, 950 Building
South Campus

Join us as Jones Coffee Roasters, a coffee shop located in Old Town, Pasadena, leads a workshop on coffee bean processing, production, and roasting. This special presentation will focus specifically on coffee sourced from Latin American countries, where the story of Jones Coffee first began in the 1870s. Best of all, free samples will be available for tasting – stop by for a Friday pick-me-up!

Study Away Table
3:00-5:00 p.m.
6th Floor Gallery, 1111 Building
South Campus

In a condensed version of Monday’s study away fair, students at South Campus will be able to learn about ArtCenter’s exchange and study away opportunities. Information will be available regarding upcoming faculty-led programs, continuing exchange partnerships, and various scholarship opportunities.

South Campus population expands

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Welcome to the 2017 Fall Term! As you are settling in to your classes, you probably noticed that some things have changed around campus. Over the Summer Term, interdisciplinary departments Humanities and Sciences and Integrated Studies moved their base of operations to the third floor of the 1111 Building at South Campus. Despite the move, H&S and Integrated Studies classes continue to be held throughout the College, including classes at Hillside as well as South Campus.

Over the break, between Summer and Fall, the Graphic Design and Advertising departments moved into their newly renovated spaces on the fifth floor of the 1111 Building. Graphic Design, Interaction Design and Graduate Graphic Design Senior Coordinator Danielle Ferrer gushes, “I love the new floor it looks absolutely amazing. I saw what it looked like before and what it is now—talk about night and day. The lighting alone is amazing.”

Graduate Graphic Design’s space on the North end of the floor is beautifully outfitted with Herman Miller furniture and has a fantastic view of the San Gabriel mountains. Although a fair amount of Graphic Design classes are being held in the new classrooms, the department is still running some classes at Hillside at the 950 Building.

Advertising is housed on the South end of the floor and is currently holding all of its on-campus classes at 1111.

The fifth floor also boasts ample gallery spaces to show off student work.

The influx of Graphics and Advertising students, staff and faculty has had an impact on the infrastructure at 1111 and there have been a few growing pains. The popular Foodies Café prepared for increased demand by increasing their grab and go items but the line can get a little long at peak demand times. To help with demand for sustenance, the third floor vending machines have been replaced by a Micro Market that offers self-serve coffee drinks, assorted energy drinks, water and other beverages along with fresh salads and sandwiches, an assortment of frozen entrée offerings and snack and dessert items.

The elevators are a little more crowded and it may take a little more time to catch one at peak times. Please note, you can use the stairwells at the North and South of each floor to travel throughout the building (except the parking levels—you will need to use elevators to reach P1 and P2).

Parking has also been affected with increase demand for P1 parking slots. As a reminder, valet parking is available when needed at the 950, 888 and 870 lots—just across the train tracks. Staff are also reminded that they should be parking on P2 to allow students and faculty access to the spaces on P1.

Like other Campus buildings, 1111 is open from 7:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. every day. The elevators to the second and fourth floors are restricted after 8:00 p.m. because no classes are scheduled on those floors. After hours access is available to students through their faculty or department staff. Any questions about access for 1111 or other buildings, please contact Director of Security Jim Finch.

There are more changes planned for the 1111 Building. The Mullin Gallery is slated to open at the end of the Summer/beginning of the Fall of 2018, in the lobby of 1111. The second and fourth floors will be built out after current tenants move out and Foodies Café will expand into a larger space to be better able to serve a larger hungry population.

All of these moves are part of the College’s Master Plan that envisions a robust presence at South Campus as well as needed renovations at our Hillside Campus.

H&S Faculty Rocío Carlos: Poet, Teacher, Camp Counselor

Carlos

This Summer, poet, girls’ rock band camp counselor and Humanities and Sciences faculty member Rocío Carlos participated in a panel, Poetry as Witness, at the Allied Media Conferencein Detroit. We caught up with Carlos shortly after her trip to find out a little more about her role at ArtCenter, her work as a poet and teacher, and her experience presenting at the conference.

What classes do you teach?

I have been teaching at ArtCenter since January 2012. I teach writing courses such as Writing StudioWriting Studio: Intensive, and Narrative Strategies. Also Literature courses such as The Heroine and Immigrant and First Gen Voices in American Lit. The course I’m most excited about is a participatory poetry course offered this past Summer Term called You Are Here: Poetry in and of Los Angeles.

What is your research about?

My work concerns itself with the possibilities of witness and cartography, and the role of the poet as observer/participant.

Can you tell us a little about the conference and your experience presenting?

The Allied Media Conference is held every summer in Detroit—according to its website, “it brings together a vibrant and diverse community of people using media to incite change: filmmakers, radio producers, technologists, youth organizers, writers, entrepreneurs, musicians, dancers and artists.”

I presented on a panel titled “Poet as Witness.” My participation was in partnership with the independent Los Angeles press Writ Large Press, whose editors seek to give voice to authors overlooked by systemic biases. My work “Attendance,” published by poet and editor Chiwan Choi in the online magazine Cultural Weekly was a factor in being selected for the panel, but for me, my selection was also directly related to the course I taught in the Summer term, You are Here: Poetry in and of Los Angeles. In the course, students attended poetry events in the city and wrote poetry of witness and documentation as an exercise of resistance against erasure of marginalized spaces and experiences and as an exercise of cartography. In addition to being an opportunity to present my praxis as a poet, it enriched my pedagogy and directly informed my curriculum at ArtCenter.

The experience of presenting was both thrilling and humbling. I was excited to propose that poetry could be a tool of documentation even as it maintained a kind of beautiful mystery, that when we look back at movements of struggle against erasure, that the poetry as much as legal briefs or historical analysis, will tell the story of human experience. And that as much as any finely-made thing, such as a painting or a film piece, a poem acted as a capsule of context and impact.

ArtCenter funded* my flight and housing for the duration of the four-day conference. Without their support, my participation would not have been possible. I am an adjunct faculty, which means I am not promised any number of courses. Summers are particularly light in course-load, which means I must choose between expenses carefully. That ArtCenter did this for me even as a part time faculty communicated to me that they value exploration in all fields (even poetry!) and that they believe in my pedagogy and methods. This is a wonderful feeling. I admire their commitment to their faculty in this way.

How is your research informed by your teaching?

The classroom is naturally where a lot of questions and problem-solving opportunities present themselves, through group discussions and thinking together about readings or the living field of poetry. I’m quite grateful that my students believe in problem-solving in the fields of art and design. We are able to experiment with form and style and ask ourselves what the role of the poet and work out what poetry looks like when the poet’s role is this or that. Specifically, when the poet’s role is as witness.

How is your teaching informed by your research?

In my poetry workshop You Are Here: Poetry in and of Los Angeles, we exercised adopting constraints and parameters informed by a kind of poetics of place. Context and impact are explored, just as in creating a prototype for a product. Aesthetic and genre are considered, just as in creating a fine-art piece or film. Since my field research and practice is a participant in the field of poetry, observations and problems I encounter in the field are entertained in class.

How have your students changed you or your work?

Since for at least a term, they too are gathering observations and language systems in the field and arranging them for prompts and making decisions about language in order to convey a voice or a style, their problems are problems I too consider and try to solve in my own work.

You mentioned you volunteered as a camp counselor for a girls’ rock camp. Can you tell us a little about that?

Girls rock camps began springing up a little under 20 years ago to foster a sense of empowerment when it came to making music. Girls and women may not be visible in music, even though there are women working in the industry as game-changing producers (Sylvia Robinson, the godmother of Hip Hop) or capable instrumentalists on tracks we know well (bassist Carol Kaye who played with the Beach Boys, Neil Young and many staples of American Pop). When girls and women seem most visible it may be as muses, as back-up singers or dancers or as fans clamoring for an artist’s attention. Girls may be directly or indirectly discouraged from playing instruments or taking risks or making noise.

Chicas Rockeras of South East L.A. is one of many such rock camps for girls, specifically located in a working-class, mostly immigrant, bi-cultural and bilingual, mostly brown and black community. This is where I grew up. As a camp counselor or “band manager,” I stayed with my “band”—a group of five girls between 14-15-years-old—throughout the day as they moved from instrument practice to workshops to band practice. I watched five strangers become creative collaborators. The girls learned rudimentary instrumentation, formed a band, wrote a song, designed and hand printed band shirts and played a showcase at the end of five days. It was important that I grew up where they grew up. That I went to college and returned to foster creativity in my community. That I validated and affirmed their home cultures and languages. And I am so grateful that I was able to do this.

What’s something you aren’t good at, but wish you were?

Well, there are things that I don’t work enough at but want to be great at, like other languages (I love being multi-lingual) or dance (I danced one form for about 16 years and recently switched form and it’s difficult). Also playing drums.

*Carlos’ participation in the conference was supported by a grant from ArtCenter’s Faculty Professional Development Fund, a new opportunity at ArtCenter for Faculty members to engage with peers through national or international non-profit professional settings – specifically presenting or being featured on a panel at conferences, or professional organization meetings, or speaking engagement by invitation in a not-for-profit situation. For more information about the Fund, contact Sam Holtzman.

Faculty member Frido Beisert publishes Creative Strategies

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Can you teach creativity? According to alumnus and ArtCenter instructor Fridolin “Frido” Beisert (MS 08 Industrial Design), the answer to that question is an unequivocal “yes.”

The author of Creative Strategies, a book that offers 10 approaches to solve everyday problems, Beisert asserts that the creative process is a skill that can be learned and practiced just like riding a bicycle.

“I see evidence of this regularly in my classroom where students with an open-minded approach produce far greater creative leaps in their work,” said Beisert, who has 18 years of experience working as a professional designer while also teaching at the College’s Pasadena campus.

Beisert’s goal for Creative Strategies, written in a breezy style with plenty of humor, is to help artists and designers eliminate the fear of failure and gain the freedom and confidence to approach any task. The book features illustratations by ArtCenter alumna Jessie Kawata (BFA 11 Illustration) and the cover was designed by alumna Tomo Ogino (BFA 12 Graphic Design).

The 10 creative strategies featured in the book, published by Design Studio Press, are about using both the right and left hemispheres of the brain simultaneously and in harmony, responding to challenges with a flexible mind.

In the book, Beisert lays out what he believes are key steps in the creative process. These steps include: identifying the blind spot, refueling on inspiration, and reality hacking. One chapter is devoted to 10 ways to live more creatively.

And Beisert should know.

Prior to his current roles as creative director of Baum-Kuchen studio and a director in the Product Design department at ArtCenter, he worked in Tokyo developing futuristic video games, played as an international underground deejay, and studied traditional arts and crafts in Japan.

At ArtCenter, Beisert has taught creative problem solving, design innovation and dynamic sketching to thousands of young designers. More broadly, Beisert teaches what is often referred to as design thinking, an area of study that merges business and design and uses close, almost anthropological, observation of people to gain insight into problems that may not yet be articulated.

In a nod to ArtCenter’s famous culture of critique that has been a rite of passage for decades in the College’s classrooms, he explores the value of “Crit Culture” in Creative Strategies.

In fact, the book functions as an excellent primer to ArtCenter’s pedagogy. Beisert refers to this as the College’s “secret sauce” which has produced some of the world’s most respected designers of automobiles, technology, footwear and furniture.

“Frido is by far the greatest instructor of my life,” said alumnus Andrew Kim (BS 13 Product), Tesla’s lead designer who wrote the book’s forward. “But he’s the scariest man I’ve ever met.”

Quirky? Sure. Eccentric? Definitely. But “scary?”

Well, Beisert’s enthusiasm for getting to the core of a problem or challenge can sometimes border on obsession. But it’s an enthusiasm whose results are hard to argue.

Many of his students have gone on to leadership roles for some of the world’s most innovative companies, including Adidas, Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Nike and Under Armour.

“If it weren’t for his class, I would have never approached design the way I do today,” wrote Kim about Beisert. “I discovered a newfound clarity and began to see paths to a solution that I was previously blind to.”

These paths were not something that Beisert saw immediately either.

While a graduate student at ArtCenter’s top ranked Industrial Design department, Beisert spent two years researching prototype methods on how to teach creativity.

During his career, he recognized that creativity was indeed a skill that he had learned, but he didn’t exactly know how he had acquired this ability. So he set out to discover the secrets of creativity pedagogy by first analyzing the evolution of his own design process. The journey from that analysis lead to writing Creative Strategies.

“The most important thing I learned is that I could achieve anything I want in life as long as I set my mind to it,” said Beisert.

Graduation Events: Summer Edition

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“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” B. B. King

The creative energy on both campuses is kicking into high gear as ArtCenter prepares for its series of Summer graduation events. Here’s what’s in store as the College prepares to launch the next wave of creative talent in to the professional world.

Thursday, August 17: Dual-Campus Graduation Show Preview

Thursday activities start in the morning, when students get to meet select potential employers during Recruitment Open House. In the evening, industry leaders, employers, corporate partners, donors and alumni get the first look at the Summer term’s graduating artists and designers at the invitation-only Graduation Show Preview, held from 6:00–9:00 p.m.

Undergraduate candidates from Advertising, Environmental Design, Film, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interaction Design, Photography and Imaging, Product Design and Transportation Design will be showing at Hillside Campus. Graduate Film, Graduate Industrial Design and Graduate Transportation Systems and Design master’s candidates will also have work on display at the Hillside Campus.

Fine Art graduates will have an exhibition at the 870 Building at South Campus from 7:00–10:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 19: Graduation Ceremony

ArtCenter’s Summer graduation ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Following welcoming remarks by President Lorne Buchman, the baccalaureate and master’s candidates—along with faculty, staff, family and friends—will hear from this term’s Student Leadership Award recipient. The Student Leadership Award is given out each term to a student who exemplifies standout leadership qualities and accomplishments. This term, a committee of students, faculty, and staff affirmed the values of this award by selecting Product Design major Lori Nishikawa. Product Design Chair Karen Hofmann said, in nominating Nishikawa, “[a] Hawaiin native with a deep commitment to sustainability, social equity and collaboration who is laser-focused on leveraging her creative talents to bridge multiple disciplines in taking on the world’s wicked problems. Without a doubt, I see Lori Nishikawa moving on from ArtCenter to take what she has learned here and truly make the world a better place.”

Those assembled at the Civic Center will also hear from valedictorian Victor Artiga Rodriguez, who is graduating with a degree in Fine Art. In addition to lauding his leadership qualities, Fine Art Chair Tom Knechtel noted, “since he first came to us, Victor has demonstrated a notable intellectual curiosity and willingness to take aesthetic risks. He has not defined his practice by any one media, pursuing painting, sculpture, printmaking, film and performance not as shallow explorations but as serious questions about the roles of viewers and producers. His art is informed by humor but his questions are completely serious.”

Following the student awardees, as is Summer Graduation custom, the College will bestow Great Teacher Awards to one full-time and one part-time faculty member.

ArtCenter first began formally honoring great teachers in 1986. Once a year, recipients are selected by a committee of students following an open nomination process by all students. During the award’s history, instructors from across all departments have been recognized for their significant and life-changing contributions toward student learning.

Accomplished professionals in their own right, ArtCenter instructors choose to develop the next generation of artists and designers who will go on to influence change and shape culture. By recognizing excellence in its full-time and part-time teachers, the College appropriately honors the profession for the transformative role it plays in advancing art and design theory, practice and discourse.

The Great Teacher Award embodies ArtCenter’s remarkable spirit of excellence, the extraordinary contributions and skill of our revered instructors and, perhaps most importantly, our commitment to prepare students for a life marked by professional and personal impact.

This year, Integrated Studies faculty member Jon Nguyen will receive the full-time faculty award and Kevin Beard, who teaches classes in Product Design and Humanities and Sciences, will receive the part-time faculty award. Nguyen will give the commencement address.

Saturday, April 22: Graduation Show

After the ceremony, Graduation Show opens to the public at both Hillside and South Campuses from 1–6 p.m., where work by the newest ArtCenter graduates will be on display. The College’s dual-campus Graduation Show offers friends, families and the general public an opportunity to see the stellar work of this term’s graduating students.