Author Archives: Anna Macaulay

Caldecott winner and alum Dan Santat’s advice for Illustration students

Dan Santat adding his mark to Beekle at the Alumni Center

Dan Santat adding his mark to Beekle at the Alumni Center

Caldecott winner, #1 New York Times best-selling author, creator of Beekle, and ArtCenter alum, Dan Santat (BFA 01 Illustration) stopped by the Alumni Center recently to sign a copy of Beekle and mingle with Alumni Relations staff.

From the @artcenter_alumnetwork Instagram post about his visit:

We asked [Dan] what advice he would give illustration students today.

  1. Take a basic typography or lettering class.
    He’s been flexing those lettering skills in all his books; gives him an edge over the competition.
  2. Take one basic advertising class.
    Roland Young (BFA 61 ADVT) gave him some of the best advice—“He would ask us, ‘Why are you trying to be flashy? If you’re a style, then people will hire you for your style. What you really want to be is formless. You want to be known as a person that has great ideas.’”
  3. Take a basic graphic design class.
  4. Take the history of illustration class—how can you not know your history?
  5. Take a Design 1 class with Bruce Claypool (BFA 76 Graphic Design) @claypoolbruce.
Dan Santat poses with Beekle in the Alumni Center

Dan Santat poses with Beekle in the Alumni Center

Follow the @artcenter_alumnetwork Instagram account to find out more about alumni gatherings and events

Lecture and Screening auditorium gets a makeover

Photo by Juan Posada

Photo by Juan Posada

The Los Angeles Times Media Center (fondly referred to as the LAT), a popular lecture and screening event venue, received a welcome upgrade over the winter break. We replaced the carpet and chairs and we think it’s looking pretty fresh. Thanks go to Campus Planning and Facilities and Media Services.

Slip into a new comfy seat at one of these events on tap in the coming weeks in the LAT:

1950s Comic Book Love Stories with Captured Aural Phantasy Theater
Monday, February 10, 2020
7–10 p.m.

Graduate Art Seminar: Aram Moshayedi presents Tishan Hsu
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
7:30 pm

Thomas Mueller, Fjord Trends: Presentations and Workshop
Trend Presentation: Realigning the Fundamentals
Wednesday, Feb 12,
7-8:30 p.m.

Animation Outlaws Screening with Kat Alioshin
Monday, February 24, 2020
7–10 p.m.

President’s message: Syd Mead (1933–2019)

Syd Mead signing books at Car Classic 2014. Photo: Alexandra Wyman

Syd Mead signing books at Car Classic 2014. Photo: Alexandra Wyman

From President Lorne Buchman—

As you may have heard, ArtCenter alumnus and visual futurist Syd Mead passed away from lymphoma on the morning of December 30, 2019. As we return to campus at the onset of a new Spring term, I wanted to acknowledge his passing and to recognize the lasting impact he had on the Entertainment industry and on our own community.

Syd graduated from ArtCenter with a bachelor’s degree in Transportation Design in 1959. While he got his start in the automotive industry, Syd is best known for his work on such unforgettable films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, Tron, Aliens and Mission: Impossible III, to name a few. Syd coined the term “visual futurist” to describe his transcendent work as a concept designer and how he interpreted our collective future, whether a dystopian landscape or an idyllic utopia.

We are grateful that Syd remained an active part of our alumni community, returning to campus several times throughout the years as a guest speaker, to host book signings or participate in events like Car Classic (pictured above signing books at Car Classic 2014). He was always very generous with his time and admirably dedicated to the needs of our students.

I was saddened to learn of Syd’s passing but am heartened by the fact that his legacy will live on through his work and through future generations of artists and designers. I am incredibly proud to count him among our alumni and celebrate his long association with the College.

ArtCenter is in early conversations to host an event that celebrates his impact and legacy as a visual futurist. We will provide further information as the event takes shape.

Miranda Lapour, our Fall 2019 Student Leadership Award winner, is ready to start a design revolution


Photo by Juan Posada
Photo by Juan Posada

“Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”—Harriet Tubman

Graduating from ArtCenter is no mean feat—everyone who satisfies our degree requirements has done much more than earned the necessary credits. They have collaborated with students from other disciplines, learned to give and accept critique, became leaders and colleagues, and they have both failed and excelled. They have become storytellers, problem solvers and makers. They are thoughtful, prepared, dedicated, driven and extraordinarily talented and creative.

This Friday, December 20, we will celebrate with these hard-working, probably exhausted, individuals as they receive their degrees. During each graduation ceremony, we also take the time to recognize a number of beyond-the-degree student achievements—students who began their ArtCenter careers in one of our Extension programs, graduates who are veterans of the armed services, those who graduate with honors or distinction, and those who have completed the requirements for a minor.

We reserve special recognition for two individuals from every graduating class—the graduate with the top academic achievement, who serves as the class valedictorian, and the individual who is the recipient of the Student Leadership Award. We ask both of these graduates to address their peers at the graduation ceremony. This term, graduates, along with their friends and family, will hear from valedictorian Dillon King (Graphic Design) and Student Leadership Award recipient Miranda Lapour (Product Design).

The Student Leadership Award, bestowed on one graduating student each term, doesn’t come with a stipend, scholarship grant or new car but it is considered a distinguished honor. What sets this award apart from other achievements is that it recognizes efforts that are extracurricular. It allows us as an institution to say thank you to students who have devoted time to improve the ArtCenter community—time that is taken away from course work, personal obligations or rest.

The Student Leadership Award fulfills ArtCenter’s vision of educating artists and designers who are not only leaders within their professional fields, but also leaders in their communities. Each term, the College reaches out to the campus population for nominations from peers, faculty and staff. A committee selects the student who most demonstrates leadership through their participation in ArtCenter’s campus life, community outreach, student organizations and department initiatives.

Product Design graduate Miranda Lapour attributes her deeply held values to her Midwestern heritage. Growing up in South Dakota she learned to care for her community, respect larger natural systems and work with purpose and grit. Recently, Miranda told Voyage magazine, “My background is my backbone, as I hold on to my values like treasures I’ve picked up along the way. This drives my ethics, and they drive the work I’m so happy to do.” Miranda’s passion is working towards creating a sustainable future for the planet—she has big plans to solve big problems.

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Life at Waymo: Designing a new transportation reality

Image courtesy of Waymo

Image courtesy of Waymo

This Fall term, one of the College’s sponsored projects was a partnership with Waymo, the company that started as Google’s self-driving car project. Two seventh term students who participated in the class, Nancy Tsai, Product Design and Joseph Robinson, Transportation Design, wrote about their experiences for Waymo’s blog, Waypoint, re-posted here with permission.

For the project, Waymo asked us to share our ideas on several forms of transportation, including trucks, cars, or even an entirely new form of transportation, and how people could interact with the Waymo Driver on those platforms. Through the process, the Waymo team encouraged us to think unconventionally, reminding us that we shouldn’t be afraid to propose radical ideas and not to fall back on traditional methods used in car design.

We had both heard of Waymo before the project, mostly in articles covering self-driving vehicles, but it wasn’t until Waymo released their Firefly prototype that people started talking more about how driverless cars might be designed. So, when we signed up to join the project with Waymo, we were excited to see what the team was looking for from ArtCenter students, as well as curious and eager to see how our backgrounds would be valuable to them.

ArtCenter Students at Waymo’s HQ. Image courtesy of Waymo

ArtCenter Students at Waymo’s HQ. Image courtesy of Waymo

Our semester began with a visit to Waymo’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, where we experienced Waymo’s self-driving technology and met with representatives from across the company. They each provided us with a wide variety of insights and helped us understand the different facets to consider when designing the Waymo Driver. For example, the engineers emphasized how the sensor suite should be tailored for each platform, taking into consideration their varying dimensions and characteristics. Meanwhile, the branding team wanted to maintain a consistent brand aesthetic across all platforms.

To tackle this challenge, our instructors paired us in groups of four with students from distinct majors ranging from user experience and brand strategy to transportation and product design. Working within a diverse team challenged us to collaborate toward a common goal despite coming from different disciplines, helping us tell a larger design story than we usually do in a strictly industrial design-focused project.

ArtCenter students presenting their midterms to Waymo’s Head of Design, YJ Ahn. Image courtesy of Waymo

ArtCenter students presenting their midterms to Waymo’s Head of Design, YJ Ahn. Image courtesy of Waymo

It was a huge learning experience to balance multiple stakeholders’ unique needs while simultaneously applying one main idea to all the individual aspects of a vehicle. Each component has their own attributes but must communicate a clear, consistent message to the user.

Nancy brainstorming ideas for her project.  Image courtesy of Waymo

Nancy brainstorming ideas for her project. Image courtesy of Waymo

The design of the future of transportation is wide open. While it’s hard to predict how transportation will develop, we believe it will not just be about improving today’s transportation, but also about tapping into a new reality.

— Nancy Tsai and Joseph Robinson

Spring 2020 Sponsored Projects include: Make Metals Work—Metal Finishing Association of Southern California (MFASC), Designing for Mental Wellness among Cancer Patients—Blue Note TherapeuticsLife Without Plastic—Newell BrandsB2B and B2C Branding and Packaging with Sustainable Solutions—SIG and Curating the Run Experience – Under Armour. For more information and information about enrolling in these classes, refer to the Spring 2020 Open Electives and TDS Guide. For more information about Sponsored Projects, visit the Educational Partnerships website or contact

Paint can from Keith Haring’s visit to ArtCenter 30 years ago gifted to College

© Steven A. Heller/ArtCenter College of Design (Pasadena, Calif).

© Steven A. Heller/ArtCenter College of Design (Pasadena, Calif).

The Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) invites the community to celebrate and reflect on Haring’s impact on the College and world at large on Monday, December 2, from 11 am – 2 pm, in the lobby outside the library, where the paint can will be making its on-campus debut. 

Thirty years ago, prolific artist and social activist Keith Haring visited ArtCenter and, over the course of two days, painted the mural that graces the stairwell across from the library on our Hillside Campus. Intended serve as a “permanent memorial to members of the art community who have died of AIDS and as a symbol of hope and compassion,” the mural was completed as part of the first-ever Day Without Art, held in conjunction with the second annual World AIDS Day (then called AIDS Awareness Day). Haring’s mural also serves as a memorial tribute to the artist himself, who passed away two months later from AIDS-related complications.

We celebrate Haring, his memory and his contributions both to ArtCenter and the world at large every December 1 and, over the years, we have learned more about him and his visit to our Campus. In 2013, we sent out a call to our community to search for lost video footage of his visit and we were rewarded in 2015 when, following a tip, we tracked down Photography alum Hadi Salehi, who had recently digitized his Super8 video of Haring painting at ArtCenter. An edited version of the video is currently playing on the College monitors, leading up to World AIDS Day this December 1.

Haring’s mural served as inspiration for OUTSIDE/IN: The Ascendance of Street Art in Visual Culture, a group exhibition that spanned both campuses and resulted in two new murals on our South Campus, RISK’s color explosion that covers the north wall of the Graduate Art Complex and the unmistakably Kenny Scharf mural that adorns the elevator shaft atop the 950 building. Providing another connection, Scharf and Haring were lifelong friends, having met in New York when they were both art students.

Haring’s visit to the College was covered by the Los Angeles Times and noted in the New York Times. People who were there remember watching him paint as an experience of a lifetime.

One of those people was then student Doug Aitken, now a renowned artist in his own right whose multimedia work challenges and experiments with how art relates with the viewer—sharing with street artists the concept of bringing art to the people.

An alum (BFA 91), Aitken was recently honored by the College when he was chosen as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. At the Alumni Awards dinner, Aitken reflected on how, as a student, he was asked to assist artist and activist Keith Haring while he painted a mural at the College. “As a parting gift, Keith gave Doug his leftover paint cans—one of which Doug’s mother recently found in their garage. Doug, in turn, gave the paint can back to ArtCenter during the celebration,” relates Marketing and Communications’ Jered Gold, who adds that the College is exploring ways to display the paint can near the mural itself.

Haring’s mural is part of our daily lives—it is one of the most memorable spaces on campus, it is fondly remembered by alumni, it’s a meeting place, an Instagram backdrop and a reminder of the power of art. It’s by any measure one of the College’s treasures.

Alumni recall student days at Alumni Awards dinner

Gloria Kondrup, Ini Archibong, Doug Aitken and Sterling Ruby enjoying the moment. Photo: Owen Kolasinki/

Gloria Kondrup, Ini Archibong, Doug Aitken and Sterling Ruby enjoying the moment. Photo: Owen Kolasinki/

ArtCenter College of Design celebrated its 2019 Alumni Awards on Saturday, November 16 in Downtown Los Angeles, bringing together prominent members of the Southern Californian and international art and design communities to recognize awardees Doug Aitken (BFA 91), Ini Archibong (BS 12), Gloria Kondrup (MFA 93) and Sterling Ruby (MFA 15). Beginning the evening at Oculus Hall at The Broad, guests were welcomed by ArtCenter President Lorne M. Buchman, who spoke of the unique event and how it touched on a variety of visionary leaders bringing connection between the fields of art and design.

Relating the idea of teaching courage as part of the core curriculum, President Buchman recognized the 2019 awardees for their contributions, and for their bold and challenging work. “On a personal note, I’m feeling incredibly inspired by our award recipients,” said Buchman. “You honor us with your creativity and passion, your thoughtfulness and success.”

While accepting the 2019 Young Innovator Award, the prolific designer Ini Archibong spoke of his experiences as an ArtCenter undergraduate student. “Really the first time that I focused on anything, and I had my first real achievements, was going through ArtCenter,” he said. “The first piece of furniture that I did started a trajectory for me of good things in my life, and I’ll always be appreciative of that and appreciative of the ability and the opportunity to learn how to work hard towards achievement.”

Recognized for her many contributions to the ArtCenter community with the Outstanding Service Award, Professor Gloria Kondrup said in her remarks, “I’m much richer for having the opportunity to work with and teach incredible students, and to work with such dedicated faculty and staff.” She continued to thank College leadership and the patrons, including Lowell Milken, who have supported her in establishing the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) at ArtCenter, where she has served as the executive director for the past five years since its founding.

“For me, ArtCenter was a real beacon,” said artist Sterling Ruby as he received the newly-established Distinguished Mid-Career Award. “The graduate program for me was so beyond distinguished that it really was the only option. There’s not a month that goes by that I don’t think about the choice that I made and the choice that the faculty made of letting me into the program.” Ruby continued to thank the faculty in attendance, including T. Kelly Mason, Bruce Hainley and Diana Thater, as well as the late artist Mike Kelley who mentored him when he was a student at ArtCenter.

“Life is a series of chapters, and I think much of what makes life so vibrant is that we don’t know where we are going to go,” said Doug Aitken following his introduction as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Reminiscing about one high school teacher who suggested he present his portfolio to ArtCenter, Aitken related the story of his admission to the College under the guidance of the late Phil Hays. “We’re all in this together,” Aitken said in appreciation. “Let’s create. Let’s make our voices heard.”

As he concluded his remarks, Aitken shared a story about when, as a new student, he had the opportunity to work with artist and activist Keith Haring who was invited to paint a mural at ArtCenter’s Hillside Campus to serve as a permanent memorial to members of the art community who died of AIDS. In appreciation for his assistance, Haring gave Aitken his supply of enamel paints. Aitken ceremoniously presented to Buchman a can of that paint recently discovered in his mother’s garage, which the College now intends to display alongside the mural.

President Buchman concluded the awards ceremony, thanking the awardees and highlighting the College’s overall mission of increasing accessibility for art education, “Tonight, we also reaffirm our commitment to making an ArtCenter education more affordable; to provide opportunities for future artists and designers—regardless of circumstance—to pursue an art and design education; so that they in turn can fulfill our mission: Learn to create. Influence change.”

Following the ceremony, guests strolled next door to Otium for a reception and seated dinner in honor of the awardees.

Students score grants and internship offers at San Diego hackathon

Image courtesy Dillon Chi

Image courtesy Dillon Chi

Interaction Design and DesignMatters student, Dillon Chi organized a group of ArtCenter students to attend SDHacks 2019, one of the largest hackathons in California, for an intense 36-hours in San Diego. He reflected on the experience.

I started a club at school with the purpose of assembling transdisciplinary teams of designers and artists to attend hackathons. Late October, two teams from ArtCenter went to SDHacks 2019 along with 800+ other students from all over Southern California. This three-day trip was almost completely paid for by my SLED grant and the club stipend provided by the Center for the Student Experience. We were able to hack away in an Airbnb close by, which gave us the wall space needed to put up a couple of hundred Post-It notes and conduct remote testing. Both teams from ArtCenter placed in the ActivBody Challenge, taking two of the hackathon’s 15 awards. Each member of both teams received an educational grant and an offer to intern at ActivBody.

As interaction designers at ArtCenter, we are taught to use multi-step research exercises along with the iterative process to create a great system. Steps that include lean canvas, affinity diagramming, competitive research, posture analysis, blob scenarios, and user journeys. The challenge at the hackathon was how to condense your 14-week class plan into something that you can execute in 36 hours with your three teammates?

sdhacks_5 (1)

This is some of what we learned:

  • Three first-term students, who had just completed their first 7-week abbreviated project in groups for IxD 101, came with us. Going in I was a little hesitant about what they could accomplish. I was wrong and when crunch time hit they were phenomenal. Their insights helped shape the work we produced. I learned as a group leader to allow my team to run with it instead of holding in the reigns.
  • Both teams took a risk and decided that it would be better to thoroughly research the topic and design the solution instead of jumping straight in and they ended up devoting 80% of our allotted time to these aspects of the challenge.
  • One student led a group for the first time and the 36 hours helped her develop as a leader and allowed her to voice her opinions in a way she hadn’t in 14-week long group projects she had before. She will be doing so from now on in her groups at ArtCenter.
  • Another student remarked that it was an empowering experience to understand that the process that we are taught at ArtCenter is mutable and bendable to the constraints of the brief.

Through the SLED Grant and the club stipend, I was able to make this experience cost just 15 dollars each for all participants. I know this was a factor in their participation and I encourage ArtCenter to play an active role in sponsoring experiences such as this in the future.

It is my goal during my time here and after to create or share experiences that people can learn and grow from.

Dillon Chi

Staff Spotlight: Maria Martinez serves up coffee and sunshine

Photo: Juan Posada

Photo: Juan Posada

Maria Martinez has worked for Sodexo at ArtCenter for 13 years as a cashier, barista and grill cook. Marketing and Communications staff member Jered Gold says, “Like much of the Sodexo team, Maria is one of those people who doesn’t always get the recognition she deserves. She’s been making coffee, serving food and ringing up my purchases since I started working here. I don’t get to see her as often since we’re at different campuses, but every time I do, she brightens my day.”

ArtCenter News: What’s your favorite part of your job?

Maria Martinez: Talking with customers.

AN: What is your favorite place on campus?

MM: The Sculpture Garden.

AN: What do you do when you’re not at work?

MM: I enjoy spending time at home resting and being with my family

It takes a lot of people to run a College—faculty to teach classes, administrative staff who handle everything from admitting and enrolling students to maintaining facilities and paying the bills and academic department staff who juggle classroom schedules, faculty needs and student requests. We employ shop technicians, projectionists, accountants, writers, fundraisers and librarians. We also rely on other organizations to provide us with security personnel, shuttle drivers, food services and our student store. Everyone who works here contributes to the success of the College, whether they are officially employed by ArtCenter or by someone else. Everyone is a valued member of our community. The Staff Spotlight series provides a brief introduction to a few of them.

Entertainment Design student cruises through a Summer internship and lands a full time job

Image courtesy Anya Radzevych

Image courtesy Anya Radzevych

Continuing our series on Summer internships, we checked in with Entertainment design student Anya Radzevych, who interned with Royal Caribbean Cruises at their Innovation Lab in Miami, Florida. Known for driving innovation in the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean is known for a number of firsts, such as rock climbing, ice skating and surfing at sea. Anya was the first intern and the first woman to join the Innovation Lab team full time. Graduating this term, she has accepted an offer from Royal Caribbean for a position as an Experience Designer at the Innovation Lab.

Alum Josh Nakaya, who serves as creative director and lead designer on all Innovation Lab projects, will be on campus on Thursday for an info session at 1 p.m. in Conference Room B at Hillside.

Campus News: How did you get your internship?

Anya Radzevych: I applied for the internship through the ArtCenter career website straight after Josh’s visit to one of the Product Design classes I was taking. I was very compelled by the projects that are in the works at the Innovation Lab. And as an Entertainment Design student with a strong interest in industrial design and prototyping, I thought I might be a good fit.

CN: Can you tell us a little about your internship experience?

AR: Over the three months of my internship, I truly felt what it means to be a hybrid designer. I could work on an entertainment concept one day, a food and beverage project the next and logistics process improvements the day after that, a physical product, a digital one, or a blend of both.

The highlight of my internship was a research trip on a cruise ship! With one day notice (seasoned designers at Royal Caribbean literally keep a packed suitcase in the office), I joined a research team to conduct interviews with the travelers and get first-hand insights on the experience and identify the future opportunities for the Innovation Lab.

I got to the St. Thomas Island at sunset and had a whole evening to explore, swim in the pristine clean ocean and eat the local food. This mini-vacation got me ready for the intense next couple of days on the ship.

The next morning, I embarked on the largest cruise ship in the world – Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. The ship looks and feels like a city neighborhood with restaurants, bars, water slides, a massive hotel and a park (with real trees and occasional birds that join the cruise during the visits to the islands). It can, and always does host 6,000 people, cruises on the Symphony are always fully booked. My goal was to talk to as many of them as possible. By the end of the trip, our team surveyed 320 people and was ready to present the results back at the Miami HQ.

CN: What is the Innovation Lab like?

AR: I worked at the Innovation Lab building in Miami. This space is unique. The campus, in the shape of the signature Royal Caribbean crown, is located on the island, surrounded by the ocean with iguanas sunbathing at the open-air cafes. Innovation Lab has a VR cave, huge spaces to demonstrate and test full-size prototypes of the innovative experiences, a whole library of digital devices for any sort of modeling and designing works and a bunch of VR rigs and games for a lunchtime break.

The campus is currently undergoing a massive transformation. The result will be a state-of-the-art system of campuses with futuristic architecture, large open areas and a lot of glass to take in a breathtaking view of Miami.

CN: How does this internship fit in the grand scheme of the career path that you want to craft for yourself?

AR: I’m graduating from Entertainment Design this term. I work on entertainment and industrial design projects, on a small and large scale. From packaging design and household items to interior designs and environments for video games.

I’m always taking opportunities to work on future scenarios and innovation. In my career (that is just starting), I was very fortunate to design the future of the third-place at Starbucks, envision the future of play for Adidas, design the future workspace at Haworth, and, most recently, imagine the future of travel at Royal Caribbean.

I was very happy to accept the offer from Royal Caribbean and I’m very much looking forward to starting working straight after graduation. Eventually, I would like to apply the knowledge and skills from this first job to a broader spectrum of design for themed environments.

“We are always pleased to hear a student is the first ArtCenter intern at a company,” says Amanda Webb, director of ArtCenter’s Career and Professional Development Department (CPD), “and we’re excited that Royal Caribbean is back on campus to talk to students about their internship program.”

CPD supports students interested in interning by offering resources, best practices information and tools to ensure they take full advantage of their internship opportunities wherever they are found—through ArtCenter Connect, networking, approaching a company directly, or LinkedIn. Although the office provides resources to help all students throughout their internship experience, if a student wants to receive academic credit, they must register their internship with CPD by Week 1 of their internship term. For more information about internships and how to get one, stop in at the Career and Professional Development (CPD) office or visit