Author Archives: Anna Macaulay

Service to the community beyond the classroom: The Spring 2018 Student Leadership Award

Photo: Juan Posada

Photo: Juan Posada

Sarah Tirzah Ellis was introduced to ArtCenter at a very early age. Her mother, an alum, frequently brought her to see work in the Student Gallery. She particularly recalls noticing a car designed by a student and thinking to herself, “I want to go here.” Worry over the price of attending college, however, led her to enlist in the Marine Corps out of high school. Eight years later, with two deployments to Iraq and two to Afghanistan under her belt, she left the service, found her way back to ArtCenter and started the next chapter of her life as a student in our Photography and Imaging program. On Saturday, she will graduate with honors, with a minor in Social Innovation, an ArtCenter Honors term and she will be awarded the Spring 2018 Student Leadership Award.

Graduating from ArtCenter is itself a remarkable accomplishment; the College provides a rigorous education and everyone who satisfies our degree requirements has good reason to feel proud. Each graduation ceremony we also take the time to recognize a number of exceptional student achievements—students who graduate with honors or distinction, those who have been awarded an ArtCenter Honors term and the top academic achieving student, who is recognized as valedictorian of the class.

But perhaps the most coveted of all is the Student Leadership Award. This 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. All nominations are considered by a committee of faculty, staff and students and they select the student who most demonstrates leadership through their participation in ArtCenter’s campus life, community outreach, student organizations and department initiatives. The selection committee is often faced with a difficult task of choosing between exceptional students who are both high academic achievers and valuable contributors to the College community. This term was no exception.

Sarah Tizrah Ellis was selected to receive this valuable award on the basis of her devotion to fellow veteran students at ArtCenter. She connected with fellow veteran David Gamez during orientation and together they founded a student club for veterans. “We wanted a group for people like us to come together to share our experiences,” she recalled.

Ellis found the transition from military to civilian life difficult, describing it as like trying to write with your left hand. “It’s messy and full of zigzags and smears. It’s also a very lonely road, especially if you have no one who can relate to your experiences,” she described in a statement supporting her nomination.

The Veterans Association turned out to be much more than a social club. Members helped each other navigate the Veterans Administration system, sharing tips and tricks for getting benefits. The group later expanded to include staff, faculty and alumni.
In addition to supporting fellow veteran students, Ellis was a teaching assistant for eight different classes, served as a photography lab assistant and participated in student government; she was instrumental in the College’s adoption of an early registration policy for veterans; and she brought her unique veteran experience to two Designmatters’ studios, including one that developed campaigns to improve the lives of veterans struggling with PTSD.

All of the nominations in support of award noted Ellis’ devotion to working with veteran students, helping them find their way through the seemingly endless paperwork that is required of vets to receive their educational funding.

Photography and Imaging Department Chair Dennis Keeley raved, “ Over the last eight terms Sarah has demonstrated what service really means to country, what character and honesty means to life and she has put a real face on creativity and practice.”

Ellis found a family in the Marine Corps and she entered ArtCenter wary of others, wondering if she would fit in. She faced her fears by helping others, serving the ArtCenter community as she served her country, and, in doing so, she found a new family, explaining “no one knows the battles of ArtCenter better than an ArtCenter student. No one but an ArtCenter student can relate to what ArtCenter truly is. Through the support I received here, I was able to find myself again.”

The other Leadership Award nominees also boasted impressive community service resumes. Fellow Photography and Imaging student Brandon Rizzuto, also graduating with Honors, was lauded for mentoring his peers, serving as an orientation leader and working in the equipment room and Career and Professional Development department. Graduate Media Design Practices MFA candidate Godiva Veliganilao Reisenbichler co-founded the student group Antiracist Classroom, an initiative that has already made a significant impact in the ArtCenter community, and will graduate with Distinction. Kristen Torralba, graduating with a BFA in Illustration and a minor in Social Innovation, was active in student government and shared governance, worked as a teaching assistant, participated in EcoCouncil and co-founded the Freestyle Dance Club. Graphic Design major Yuma Naito, graduating with Distinction, was celebrated for his mentorship efforts, both as a teaching assistant and also informally by hosting mentoring sessions. Miguel Harry, graduating with Honors from the Product Design program, worked in and out of the classroom to help create a collaborative environment at the College, assisting his peers, volunteering at events and working as a tour guide for those interested in attending ArtCenter. Film major Ana Lydia Monaco, graduating with Honors and a minor in Social Innovation, came to ArtCenter after a successful career in public relations and generously shared her industry knowledge and contacts with her peers, participated in campus life through clubs and worked with her department to host culturally significant events. Fine Art majors Bryan Ortega and Joanne Lee, nominated as a team, were celebrated for being a dynamic duo who galvanized their fellow students and worked to better the student experience in many ways, from making the case for physical spaces for students to work, socialize and relax, to advocating on behalf of inclusion, representation and cultural sensitivity.

We thank and congratulate all the nominees for their commitment and dedication to making ArtCenter a more compassionate, transformative and life-changing environment everyone.

Alum and Designer Jeff Salazar joins Board


In a move that strengthens our multitalented leadership core, ArtCenter has named alumnus Jeff Salazar (BS 94 Product Design), one of McKinsey & Company’s first design partners, to the Board of Trustees.

“In order to provide the best education for our students, we’re growing ArtCenter’s Board of Trustees to bring more breadth and depth of experience to the institution,” said Board Chairman Robert C. Davidson Jr. “Jeff’s expertise at blending the design practice into the business consulting realm is extremely valuable to our community.”

“Joining ArtCenter’s Board is an opportunity to give back to my alma mater,” said Salazar. “I have a deep respect for the alumni, faculty and students who make up this extraordinarily creative culture and I’m grateful to join the leadership as we work to make the College the best it can possibly be for the next generation of artists and designers.”

“Given his passion and impressive record of innovation as well as his leadership role in the business and design impact space, Jeff brings a much-needed perspective to the Board,” said President Lorne Buchman.

Following his graduation from ArtCenter in 1994, Salazar joined industrial design firm LUNAR, where he received numerous awards for his work including a Gold from the Industrial Designer’s Society of America (IDSA) for the Nova Cruz eX3 Electric Scooter, the Chicago Athenaeum’s Good Design Award and an iF Hannover award for projects like the Phillips Velo Handheld PC and Intuitive Surgical’s DaVinci Robot. He is currently a partner with McKinsey, which acquired LUNAR in 2015.

In 2011, he was honored as an IDSA Design CATALYST award winner for the Oral-B Cross Action toothbrush considered the most ergonomically designed mass market toothbrush ever created, which has remained in production and virtually unchanged since 1999. The CATALYST award recognizes products that exemplify how design can be leveraged to better serve realizable impact for business.

“Jeff 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.”

Environmental Design student Melissa Nguyen snags 2018 IIDA Student Portfolio Award

Image Courtesy IIDA SoCal

Image Courtesy IIDA SoCal

Environmental Design student Melissa Nguyen’s hard work was recognized and rewarded at the 2018 IIDA (International Interior Design Association) SoCal Student Portfolio Competition. Of the 20 students that were chosen to participate in the second round, only three received awards.

Melissa won the $7,000 Innovation in Interior Design Award for her boutique hotel project from Emil Mertzel’s Environmental Design 3 class. The Innovation in Interior Design Award is awarded to a student with a project that achieves a high level of innovation through design solutions that show creativity and a fresh approach. The focus of this category is in the process of achieving the end result through techniques that can include research, inspiration, ideation, experimentation and graphic thinking.

She will be formally presented with her award at the 30th Annual IIDA Calibre Design Awards on May 18, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Congratulations to the five other Environmental Design students who also made it to the second round: Moona Kim, Andres Zavala, Doris M. Huang, Zack Eisenberg and Chikako Sakamoto.

Emil Mertzel is a practicing architect and partner at Lookinglass Architecture and Design, as well as a full time faculty member in the Environmental Design Department at ArtCenter.

Students score sustainability scholarships

Judges Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, Patagonia's Carrie Childs and Christian Denhart enjoy a light moment. Photo courtesy Heidrun Mumper-Drumm

Judges Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, Patagonia’s Carrie Childs and Christian Denhart enjoy a light moment. Photo courtesy Heidrun Mumper-Drumm

Bringing nature back into the urban environment in a cooperative modular living complex, a thrift store that supports a children’s burn clinic in Chile and a graphic novel that brings attention to the perils of over-fishing. These student projects constitute the winning lineup of the sixth annual Denhart Family Sustainability Prize competition.

The awards recognize outstanding projects that integrate sustainability with superior design outcomes, and have the potential to influence art and design education and advance professional practice. In addition to recognition, the student designers are rewarded with significant scholarship funds.

Created through a generous gift from Gun Denhart and her son Product Design alumnus Christian, the annual prizes support students who are making environmental and social criteria a priority of their work. This year’s applications were judged by a team comprised of faculty member and Director of Sustainability Initiatives Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, Christian Denhart and this year’s guest judge, Patagonia Kids Lead Designer Carrie Childs.

The first place prize, a $15,000 scholarship, was awarded to Environmental Design student Adriana Avendano and Product Design student Alejandro Jimenez for Casa Ikiru, a sustainable, modular and cooperative living complex designed to rekindle the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature by reintroducing our natural environment into the urban setting.

The project was developed as a result of the students’ participation in a Designmatters class, Pacific Rim: Eco Research Lab Costa Rica, hosted by Environmental Design, where students from ArtCenter teamed with students from Tama Art University and traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks under the guidance and direction of Environmental Design faculty member James Meraz and his counterpart at Tama. This immersive experience challenged students to draw upon the influences of biomimicry and nature’s biological forms for concepts that reflected symbiotic relationships with natural resources.

On receiving news of the award, Meraz stated, “I am so thrilled and honored that Adriana and Alejandro’s project has been recognized for the Denhart top award. We need to keep pushing towards a sustainable future, and not only by creating opportunities for our students to be learning from nature’s time tested intelligence and performance, but also by guiding them to become stewards and educators for our precious resources.”

Second place and a $10,000 scholarship went to Product Design students Miranda Lapour and Mathew Simon for COANIQUEM red, a thrift store model that can be scaled up to provide financial support for a children’s burn clinic in Chile. The comprehensive design addresses clothing recycling and resale, and the experience of the volunteers that staff the stores.

The third place prize, including a $5,000 scholarship was awarded to Illustration student Cullen Townsend for Overfishing: Salmon fishing in the Pacific Northwest, a compelling graphic novel calling attention to over fishing; in particular, how over-fishing, aquaculture and loss of habitat is affecting the declining salmon population.

The Environmental Design department served as host for the Designmatters classes that produced the first and second prize winners. On hearing the news, Department Chair David Mocarski, gushed, “This is such wonderful news. I know James will be so proud of Adriana and Alejandro for their Casa Ikuru project and Penny [Herscovitch] and Dan [Gottlieb] for Miranda and Mathew and their Designmatters’ Coaniquem project. These are both such wonderful projects. I am very happy to see such great recognition come to our students and faculty.”

The jury also awarded special recognition to two projects:

  • Product Design student Charlie Hodges for The Urbanette, a children’s toy that significantly reduces material impacts. The modular, tiny home, provides spaces and activities for make-believe, while encouraging children to imagine what a sustainable future looks like.
  • Environmental Design student Anna Meddaugh for Night Loo, a personal toilet for women and girls in refugee camps, that considers their safety and dignity, while using innovative materials and design.

Legendary teacher Tony Zepeda’s influence celebrated in exhibition opening Jan. 23 at 870 building

Tony Zepeda at work. Photo: Juan Posada

Tony Zepeda at work. Photo: Juan Posada

A Living Treasure: Thirty Years of Anthony Zepeda and the ArtCenter Printmaking Studio is an exhibition that pays tribute to legendary teacher and printmaker Anthony “Tony” Zepeda. In 1975 Zepeda began his career at Gemini G.E.L printing studio where, for the next 11 years, he created works for artists such as David Hockney, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. In 1986, Zepeda left Gemini to establish the ArtCenter Print Shop where he inspired and influenced the work of students who went on to become artists recognized as leaders in their fields.

The exhibition opens Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at the Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall, 870 South Raymond and continues through August 20, 2018. The opening reception on Tuesday, January 23, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. is free and open to the public.

A Living Treasure is co-curated by Tom Knechtel, chair, undergraduate Fine Art, and David Tillinghast, associate professor and director of Special Projects, Illustration. The exhibition features works by alumni artists and illustrators including Gregory Chapuisat, Josh Cochran, David Jien, Alex Kroll, Lisa Madonna, Mehregen Meysami, Paige Jiyoung Moon and Ryan Perez.

“We are very proud of the work Tony has done with our students, and we invite you to savor this wonderful banquet of imaginative, gorgeous work that has emerged from the ArtCenter Print Shop under the guidance of Tony Zepeda, master printer and teacher,” said Knechtel and Ann Field, chair, Illustration.

Known as wildly entertaining, Zepeda has a storied past, working at Gemini G.E.L. with acclaimed artists such as Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Then Fine Art Department Chair Laurence Dreiband invited Zepeda to create a print shop at ArtCenter in 1986. Zepeda’s stewardship of the print shop and his teaching have become the stuff of legend among students. Alumni speak fondly about how he influenced the way they saw themselves and their work. Current students tell stories about Zepeda as a stern taskmaster, who then pulls a student aside who is looking a little famished, gives them $20 and tells them to go get lunch. He is famous for staying late and on weekends to help students with their projects, for encouraging them to take risks and to try something new.

This show speaks volumes about that encouragement and inspiration of Zepeda during his more than 30 years on campus. In this show, visitors will see etching (hard and soft ground), drypoint, lithography, silk screen, cyanotype, salt prints and platinum prints, woodblock and wood engravings. The aesthetic range is even wider, from the most delicate figuration to raw expressive work, from abstract images to conceptually-based approaches.

The work in the show comes from people now recognized as leaders in their fields who once were students in the print shop, encouraged by Zepeda to produce work that is true to their vision, and, at the same time, embedded in the multiple possibilities of printmaking technologies. This goes to the heart of the work at ArtCenter: to engage deeply with craft while learning to take creative risks and speak with your own voice.

A print fair and sale will take place on Saturday, March 24, 2018.

Week 14—It’s the busiest time of the year

Grad Show Preview. Photo: Juan Posada

Grad Show Preview. Photo: Juan Posada

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”—Abraham Lincoln

Week 14 at ArtCenter is always a dizzying feast of activity—walls are being transformed into exhibition spaces; projects are being completed in classrooms, shops, hallways, parking lots and any conceivable available space; final presentations are underway and every single person on campus appears to be going somewhere in a hurry. After years of dedication, hard work, little sleep and countless crits, 188 graduating students will say sayonara to Week 14 forever.

Saturday’s commencement exercises will be the culmination of a week of graduation-related activities and events celebrating these creative and talented individuals who are about to take on the world. As is custom at our Fall Graduation, we also honor alumni who have already paved the way. Here’s what’s in store for the rest of the week.

Thursday, December 14, Hillside: Recruitment Open House, Graduation Show Preview and FullCircle Panel Discussion

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 Fall term’s graduating artists and designers at the invitation-only Graduation Show Preview, held from 6–9 p.m.

Undergraduate candidates from Advertising, Environmental Design, Entertainment 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.

This year’s Alumni Award recipients will be in conversation with President Lorne Buchman at a FullCircle panel discussion being held at 6:30 p.m. in the Hyundai & Kia Innovation lab on Hillside Campus. FullCircle membership is required to attend this event but anyone can view the livestream.

Thursday, December 14, South Campus: Fine Art Graduation Show Preview, Brown & Proud Dance Party, MDP Work-In-Progress Show and Grad Art Open Studios

Fine Art graduates will be exhibiting their work from 7–10 p.m at the 870 building at South Campus, which is also the location for the second annual Brown & Proud dance party that starts runs from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.

Also at South Campus, at the 950 building, Graduate Media Design Practice students at all levels will be displaying their work in progress from 6–9 p.m. and Graduate Art students will open their studios from 7–10 p.m. The festivities here also include the Kogi food truck and live music.

Saturday, December 16, Hillside: Graduation Ceremony

Our Fall commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m., in the tent in the Sculpture Garden on the Hillside Campus. It will also be viewed by livestream on our homepageFacebook or YouTube.

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, Illustration graduate Kayla Salisbury and valedictorian Carly A. Chubak, who is graduating with a degree in Fine Art.

As is our custom during the Fall graduation ceremony, we will be presenting our annual Alumni Awards, publicly recognizing the talent, service and influence of our alumni.

Global design icon Kit Hinrichs, class of 1963 in Advertising, will receive the Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of his extraordinary career; executive education leader Julian Ryder, class of 1972 in Advertising, will be honored with the Outstanding Service award recognizing his significant service to the College; and pioneering industrial designer Jacques Perrault, class of 2014, will receive the Young Innovator award, which honors an alumnus or alumna of the past 10 years for notable professional achievement or creative innovation.

A distinguished designer, author and educator, Hinrichs is considered one of the most influential, respected and revered designers in the field of graphic design. Currently, principal and creative director of Studio Hinrichs in San Francisco, he served as principal in several design offices in New York and San Francisco before spending 23 years as a partner with international design consultancy Pentagram. Throughout his five-decades long career, he has won hundreds of awards and has been the creative force behind several of the most recognized graphic and brand identities known today. His list of distinguished clients includes United Airlines, Sappi Fine Paper, Design Within Reach, Muzak, Gymboree, University of Southern California, Safeco, Museum of Glass, Symantec, KQED, the San Francisco Zoo, Restoration Hardware and many more. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress. He is co-author of five books, including TypewiseLong May She Wave and The Pentagram Papers.

A practicing artist since high school, Ryder started his career at Lockheed Aircraft in the engineering department but quickly realized his calling was to be a creative. After going to night classes to develop his skills, he applied and was accepted to ArtCenter. A committed lifelong learner, he spreads the design thinking gospel to legions of business leaders each year as chief creative officer of The Right Brain Project, a creativity education and training firm. His goal is to help build creative cultures and bring design thinking to bear on challenges and opportunities in the business world. Prior to starting his own businesses, he was a creative director for major advertising agencies in New York and Los Angeles. He produced advertising for world-class brands such as Nike, Proctor & Gamble and Honda Motors. In terms of his outstanding service to the College, Ryder was a member of the faculty and co-chaired the advertising program from 1983 until 1986. Today, he serves as co-chairman of FullCircle, ArtCenter’s membership community open to anyone interested in supporting art and design education.

“We have the opportunity, if we reflect on a challenge, to question fundamentally what’s been done and respond to it with things that haven’t been thought of yet, that haven’t been imagined,” said Jacques Perrault who, through the use of new computational design tools, is pioneering a revolutionary new process to create high-performance running shoes. He integrates sports science data with writing scripts and algorithms to reduce creation time and more efficiently pave the way to making a midsole custom fit to each athlete’s movements. As a computational designer with Adidas Futures, he is leading the way to a new level of additive manufacturing in mass production on a global scale.

Following the presentation of the awards, Lifetime Achievement award winner Kit Hinrichs will present the commencement address.

Saturday, December 16: 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.

Service to the community beyond the classroom: the Student Leadership Award

Fall 2017 Student Leadership Award Winner Kayla Salisbury. Photo Juan Posada

Fall 2017 Student Leadership Award Winner Kayla Salisbury. Photo Juan Posada

Graduating from ArtCenter is a remarkable accomplishment; the College provides a rigorous education and everyone who satisfies our degree requirements has much to be proud of. During each graduation ceremony we also take the time to recognize a number of exceptional student achievements—students who graduate with honors, with distinction, those who have been awarded an ArtCenter Honors or LAUNCHLAB Creative Entrepreneurship Term and the top academic achieving student is recognized as valedictorian of the class.

But perhaps the most coveted of all is the Student Leadership Award. This award fulfills ArtCenter’s vision of educating artists and designers who are not only leaders within their professional fields, but leaders in their communities. Each term, the College reaches out to the campus population for nominations from peers, faculty and staff. All nominations are considered by a committee of faculty, staff and students and they select the student who most demonstrates leadership through their participation in ArtCenter’s campus life, community outreach, student organizations and department initiatives. The selection committee is often faced with a difficult task of choosing between exceptional students who have achieved not only academic success, but have taken valuable time outside their demanding coursework to help others and provide service to the ArtCenter community. This term was no exception. We would like to take the time to highlight this year’s winner and nominees.

Illustration graduate Kayla Salisbury, the Fall 2017 Student Leadership Award winner, was nominated for her substantial contribution to the discussion of diversity and sensitivity at the College. Her activism here started with a comment on the institutional Instagram page, which led to an invitation in 2015 to author a blog post for ArtCenter’s then blog, Dotted Line (now ArtCenter News), where she made a call to action to her fellow students to get involved, speak up and participate in the solution. Since then she has taken a leadership role in promoting dialogue and action at the College. Some of her contributions include: participating in campus club Chroma’s “Diversity Open Dialogue;” serving as the student voice on the College’s “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” panel discussion; creating a forum and support group “Woke” for students who felt marginalized to gather, share, heal and organize; representing ArtCenter at the Race on Campus College Conference at Redlands University; and working with Director of Faculty Development Sam Holtzman on creating a handbook for faculty illuminating the nature and impact of micro-aggressions. She has attended faculty and Diversity Council meetings, received a College Diversity grant, served as a consultant for a Designmatters class looking into the issue of food deserts in Compton, and brought her voice to Berlin, where, while participating in one of ArtCenter’s Study Abroad programs, she was invited to speak at an Anti White Supremacy and Unite Berlin gathering and was interviewed at a rally with a panel of others speaking out against racism, misogyny and homophobia.

In a statement in support of her nomination, Kayla says, “What I did here is no more than what I want to do for the rest of my life, loudly and unapologetically representing others.”

Kayla’s contributions to ArtCenter cannot be measured. She has been instrumental in pushing the College to continue to make changes and take action to create a learning atmosphere that is positive and constructive for all students. As one of her nominators noted, “we should consider ourselves truly fortunate to have role models like [Kayla] who remind us all of the necessity to question, reflect and embrace change for the benefit of all.”

Other nominees also boasted impressive community service resumes. Graphic Design graduate Jimena Gamio Valdivieso was lauded as “hands down the most generous, hardworking, helpful, engaged students I’ve had in the 3+ years I’ve taught at ArtCenter,” according to one of her nominators. Impressively, she organized a successful petition to have a specific faculty member teach a course that was not going to be offered due to faculty unavailability. She was also a teaching assistant and was very involved in ArtCenter student organizations. She founded the Picnic Club, and provided substantial support and leadership to others. She also created a group, Design Broads, that brought together female students and alumni that became an important support group especially following the election.

Photo graduate Yasara Gunawardena was celebrated for her service as an Orientation leader, department student representative and mentor. Many of her fellow students praised her for her willingness to assist others both in and out of the classroom. As one of her nominators noted, “Yasara is extremely rare, you don’t fine many people who show so much compassion for others around her, who is so selfless and always willing to provide a hand for those who need it.”

Environmental Design graduate Emily Nyburg was commended for her participation in Designmatters’ Safe Niño’s project, her performance as a teaching assistant and her leadership with the early stages of the College’s Art Reach program, developing curriculum for and leading a workshop for girls ages 7 through 15 at Pasadena’s YWCA. Emily sums up her extra-curricular activities at the College, “[a]lthough I may not have been part of every program at ArtCenter, and may not have led a trophy leadership role during my time here, I believe I may have left an impactful trace on the side lines.” We suspect Emily’s lasting impact at the College will be more than just a trace.

Product Design graduate Riley Gish’s nomination noted her extensive work with Designmatters, “Riley has been a team player, leader and collaborator,” according to one of her nominators. She represented Designmatters at the National Net Impact conference in Seattle, where she engaged in a series of workshops and lectures around designers’ role in the business of social and environmental change. She also developed a student club that showcases female designers through online platforms. Like other nominees, she boasts a long list of service but, in her words, “more impactful than any of those [things], I did the most important thing my parents taught me how to do; I’ve connected with people.”

Graduate Industrial Design graduate Chen Chen was nominated for her dedication and leadership with the student club ACBA (ArtCenter Branding Atelier). As president, she introduced the ACBA Pitch—a sort of “Shark Tank” that offered students a platform to pitch their ideas and designs to investors, industry professionals and the public. She also helped organize Pitch Bootcamps, to prepare students for the Pitch event, and facilitated Xboarder Industrial Design Competition, with Hanhai Studio, a venture capital company based in Burbank and China. Her nominators commended her dedication to networking to help fellow students build connections with professionals.

Product Design graduate Nicolas “Nico” Ramirez “inspires others to join him on his quest to make the education at ArtCenter a constructive and transformative experience while helping those that are in need of assistance,” according to one of his nominators. Noted for his contributions to the Designmatters “Fresh Eyes Cuba” studio, INSEAD study abroad program, JPL/NASA design symposium and Mexico earthquake relief effort, Nico also served as a teaching assistant for the Graphic Design Department. All his nominators remarked on his energy, passion, sense of humor and leadership.

Environmental Design graduate Jingze “Cooper” Dai, was so inspired by the ArtCenter mentor he met during orientation that he, in turn, devoted much of his time here to mentoring others. He served as a peer mentor twice, he represented his department on student government and he was a teaching assistant. He received the most peer nominations of all this term and his nominators were unanimous in recognizing his assistance, patience and kindness.

ArtCenter thanks and congratulates all the nominees for their commitment and dedication to making the College a more compassionate, transformative and life-changing environment for all of us.

Educational Technology’s Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin’s photo series featured in The New York Times

blog (7)Educational Technology Specialist Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin spends his days helping our faculty with educational digital technologies. Like many other ArtCenter staff, he also has an outside creative pursuit. In 2017, he was included in Time magazine’s 12 African American Photographers You Should Follow Right Now. Recently, The New York Times featured his current series, The Los Angeles Recordings, a long term project documenting the changing urban landscape of Los Angeles, in its Lens section.

From the article:

When Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin and his family migrated to Hollywood in 1980, they found a neighborhood of short brick apartment buildings, strip mall laundromats and liquor stores with bars on the windows and doors.

They had escaped from New York to California the romantic way, by train, three kids in their tweens and teens. They had fled Brownsville, Brooklyn, at a time the New York City was broke and dirty and crawling with mobsters.

Change was necessary. Also, Kwasi’s father had moved to Hollywood shortly after he was born. If they were going to have a relationship — and his mother wanted them to — they would have to live nearby. That this lead them to the land of endless sun and countless movie stars made the move seem charmed, even magical.

Mr. Boyd-Bouldin, now 40, grew up on the streets of a humble neighborhood in Los Angeles that would eventually go bad. It would even claim one of his sisters during the crack era. But he still loved Hollywood. As a near-native, he rolled through the sun-bleached streets on his skateboard, taking in the scenery. He picked up his first camera, an Olympus Pen-F half-frame his dad left him, at 23, a trained observer of his cityscape. He’d studied the alleys and avenues, the angles of buildings against the sky, like Jane Goodall studied lowland gorillas.

These days, when he is not at his day job (as an education technology specialist at a Pasadena art school), Mr. Boyd-Bouldin, who is married and has two daughters, is haunting the streets of his youth. “The Los Angeles Recordings,” his continuing documentary profile of his adopted hometown, serves as a visual introduction to his Hollywood, as he likes to say, among other fond places.

You can read the entire article here and check out all of his projects on his website.

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.”