Author Archives: Chuck Spangler

Totally MAX’d Out: Adobe debuts showstopping digital design tools, Fujifilm partnership amid pyrotechnic razzle-dazzle

Like conventioneers to the swag table, over 7,000 creative professionals from the four corners of the globe descended on the Los Angeles Convention Center last week for Adobe MAX 2015, Abobe’s annual celebration of creativity and their amazing tools that help designers turn imagination into reality.

This year’s theme “Changing the World Through Digital Experiences” resonates well with Art Center’ ethos of changing the world through design—design made possible in large part by Adobe’s ever-widening, ever-more-powerful line up of creative software.  Indeed, many of the greatest changes that design will enable in the coming years will likely involve Adobe’s Creative Cloud at some point in the creative process.

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Close encounters of the Mac Pro kind

Mac Pros at 870

Like a fleet of alien spacecraft, over 50 new Mac Pros have landed at 870, melded with the network and firmly attached to new Wacom Cintiq touchscreen monitors. To the delight of Illustration and Fine Art students, these strange new digital organisms have taken root and are ready to start turning out some serious teraflops (1 Trillion floating-point operations per second)!

The new Mac Pro has been eagerly anticipated since its announcement last year at The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC); and it represents the next wave in desktop computing, boasting dual GPUs, PCIe flash storage, high-performance Thunderbolt 2 peripheral connectivity, new-generation Xeon processors, ultrafast memory, and support for up to three (count ‘em, 3) 4K monitors (That’s… ehem… over 24 million pixels at up to 60 frames per second = over 1 Billion pixels per second).

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Alum Jason Hill wins MIT Accelerate Grand Prize for next-gen prosthetic design

Art Center alum Jason Hill, a human factors researcher and industrial designer, is part of a four-person, interdisciplinary team that won the $10,000 Grand Prize in the MIT Accelerate Contest, for a prosthetic socket designed to change its shape throughout a patient’s lifetime.

Hill and his team have formed The BETH Project (Benevolent Technologies for Health), dedicated to developing high-impact, low-cost healthcare solutions for underserved populations. Their February 19 win over seven other teams qualifies The BETH Project for a spot in the series’ final round, the MIT Launch Contest, whose top prize is $100,000. The results of the Launch Contest will be announced May 15, 2013.

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Henrik Fisker
 to address Beverly Hills business forum April 9

Henrik FiskerNotable Art Center alumnus and leading electric car designer Henrik Fisker will be speaking at Beverly Hills Tomorrow, a forum sponsored by the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. The founder and former executive chairman of Fisker Automotive, whose tenacity and passion to pursue a childhood dream of becoming a car designer became a reality after completing Art Center’s renowned Transportation Design program in 1989.

In addition to Fisker, the forum will feature: Emcee Frank Mottek, veteran broadcaster and host of the top-rated Business Hour and anchor of Money News, on KNX 1070 News Radio; Michael Burns (Vice Chairman of Lionsgate Films), who helped engineer the acquisition of Summit Entertainment; Dr. Eduardo Marbán (Director, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute); and Lynda Resnick (Vice Chairman, Roll Global, a holding company whose business divisions include Teleflora, POM Wonderful and Fiji Water).

The Chamber, a membership organization founded in 1923, works with city officials, local businesses and the community at large to promote the local economy. The audience will include business people ranging from small business owners to chief executives and entrepreneurs.

To attend, register by April 5. For more information, visit

Zack Snyder Opens Dot Independent Film Festival at Art Center College of Design

Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, Tom Kuntz and Matthew Rolston speaking at March 16 event honoring student films from around the world

Zack Snyder at Art Center

Zack Snyder at Art Center. Photo by Chuck Spangler.

March 12, 2013, Pasadena, Calif.—Visionary director and Art Center College of Design alumnus Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, 300) is set to open DIFF | LA, the Dot Independent Film Festival, the premiere student-led film festival on the West Coast taking place Saturday, March 16, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. on the Art Center College of Design Hillside Campus at 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, Calif., 91103.

In addition to screening official selections in the categories of Directing, Cinematography, Writing and Editing, the event will feature presentations by Snyder and the critically acclaimed directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks), Emmy-winning commercial director Tom Kuntz (Old Spice, Skittles), and legendary photographer and filmmaker Matthew Rolston (Kelly Rowland, Christina Aguilera).

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Art Center full throttle at 83rd International Geneva Motor Show

Automobile enthusiasts from around the globe are gathering in Switzerland for the 83rd International Geneva Motor Show March 7–17, 2013 and Art Center faculty, alumni and staff are circulating among them.

An Art Center alumni event
is set for Wednesday, March 6, 17:00-20:00 
at the C Bar and Lounge, Starling Geneva Airport Hotel.

Alumni and friends are invited to meet up at an informal reception in conjunction with the show. Geoff Wardle, executive director of Graduate Transportation Design, and Cathy Karry, director of the College’s Career and Professional Development office, will be among the faculty and staff in town to connect with alumni who live in, or near Geneva as well as those visiting for the auto show. For more info, please contact Alumni Relations at

Wardle will be meeting with industry and media representatives to discuss Art Center’s new Grad Trans program that offers two tracks for students to pursue:

Geoff Wardle

Geoff Wardle, executive director of Graduate Transportation Design

  1. The Vehicles Track is for those who are intent on entering or returning to the vehicle manufacturing industry who have strong strategic thinking skills and the ability to focus on the bigger issues facing the field relating to its customers and its future business models.
  2. The Systems Track is geared to individuals who have a more varied background plus are interested in a more holistic, systems-thinking approach to innovative transportation solutions from personal mobility in the urban environment through to more sustainable freight transportation, for example.

Wardle will also discuss the development of automated road vehicles, future business models for the industry and generally what the outlook is for the future of the automobile—which, in his opinion, is positive!

– Teri Bond

For more information on the graduate program, visit

Three Boys From Pasadena: A Tribute to Helmut Newton Opens at the Williamson Gallery

UPDATE:  You’re invited to the closing party Thursday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
Last chance to see exhibition honoring Helmut Newton

Join the photographers, models and friends for a celebration of this critically praised exhibition featuring the photography of three Art Center alumni who were mentored by Helmut Newton.  Please RSVP to or call 626.396.2368 for more information.

Art Center’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery is proud to present Three Boys from Pasadena: A Tribute to Helmut Newton curated by June Newton. The show features the photographs of Helmut Newton’s proteges Mark Arbeit, George Holz, and Just Loomis, exploring both their individual talents and their longstanding friendship with Newton and each other. In June 2010, Three Boys from Pasadena premiered at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. An expanded version of the original show will be on exhibit in the Williamson Gallery, opening June 14, 2012 and continues through August 26, 2012.  The opening reception and panel discussion at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 14 is free and open to the public. A companion book originally published in France with a foreword by June Newton, will be available for purchase. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to

Photographers Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis first met Helmut Newton in 1979 while students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. All three became Helmut’s assistants during one of the most exciting and prolific times in his career. For almost thirty years, as each went on to his own professional lives as photographers, they kept in touch and shared their personal work with both Helmut and June Newton. After Helmut’s death, his widow and longtime artistic collaborator June conceived of a tribute exhibition for Helmut by showcasing his influence on their “three boys.” In her words: “They were the only three assistants who worked with him and became photographers in their own right. Each had a unique relationship with Helmut. They’ve become his offspring – each with his own voice. It was a special time in their lives, and I was the witness.”

This show is a homecoming, arriving back at the site of the first meeting between the Boys and Helmut. The exhibit consists of each photographer’s individual work, as well as several vitrines of memorabilia, consisting of snapshots, handwritten notes, journal pages, contact sheets, and other souvenirs. In the sensual, striking fashion editorial and portraiture by Arbeit, Loomis and Holz, the viewer is able to trace a direct line of influence from Newton to his apprentices. Three Boys from Pasadena: A Tribute to Helmut Newton is an unusual memorial to one of the 20th century’s most iconic photographers, and an exceptionally revealing look at personal and professional relationships among artists and proteges.

Mark Arbeit trained under Irving Penn as well as Newton and is the author of Mark Arbeit Work (2009), featuring an introduction by June Newton. Many of the pieces in the show come from his exquisite ‘Artist Atelier’ series, in which Arbeit shot female nudes in Parisian artists’ studios, posed next to sculptures or draped on canvases. His work, much of it composed in natural light, is concerned with the abstract interplay of light and shadow, of empty and filled space. He has shot for InStyle, Marie Claire, Vogue Paris, People, Forbes, and many other publications.

George Holz’ work betrays a sensuous, nuanced vision, especially in the black and white nudes that he has been perfecting since 1974. In the mid-90′s, Holz began a unique project of photographing nudes with animal bones and antlers, contrasting living flesh with ancient relics. Like Newton, George Holz has moved smoothly between personal projects and commercial work. Having published his imagery in Vanity Fair, Vogue Italia, Madame Figaro, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, and The New York Times Magazine, his forthcoming book of celebrity portraiture, Holz Hollywood, will be published by Damiani.

Just Loomis worked as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times Magazine before turning to documentary work. His uncompromising portraits of people in the American West – from diner waitresses and cowboys to strippers and skate punks—are at once stark and compassionate, and were recently collected in his monograph As We Are, published by Hatje Catz.

All three artists are represented by Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1930, Art Center College of Design is recognized as a global leader in art and design education. The Photography and Imaging department dates back to the College’s earliest days, with such notable instructors as Will Connell, Charlie Potts, Fred Archer and legendary photographer Ansel Adams.  The 4,600 square-foot Williamson Gallery draws inspiration from all the fertile domains of Art Center’s educational programs, producing three major exhibitions per year. Previous exhibitions in the Williamson Gallery have focused on the work of photographers Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Andre Kertesz and alumnus Hiroshi Sugimoto, but Three Boys from Pasadena is the first group showcase of its kind.

Formula-E Race Goes Global After Scholarly Exchange

Beijing Team “Ghost” Top Winner in 7th Annual Design Competition

For the first year ever, the Formula-E Race has gone global. Known as the race where the rubber meets the road, Formula-E is the annual contest of rubber band-powered miniature cars designed by teams from Art Center and Pasadena Community College.  But 2012 will be remembered as the year the Department of Industrial Design at Beijing University of Technology joined the competition – and when the dust settled, the international visitors smoked the locals.

Devoted race fans endured sweltering heat at the August 9th event on Art Center’s Hillside campus to witness Beijing’s team “Ghost” take first place in two races plus Best in Show.  Art Center’s team “Ahn and Ahn” took first in The Sinclair Hill Climb track and the team from Pasadena Community College won The Eckles Design, Build, and Approach Award.

A highlight of Art Center’s Graduate Industrial Design (GradID) program, the race is judged by a panel of distinguished industry leaders. This year, the panel included designers from Honda R&D, Disney, BMW Group Designworks USA, LEGO Concept Lab, Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive, Mattel Hot Wheels, Calty, and Nissan. Judging was based on a variety of criteria including quality, craftsmanship, materials, style, engineering, branding, innovation, and, of course, performance.

Sweating it out as MC for the event was the humorous Matt Gallant, host of ABC’s American Inventory and Animal Planet’s The Planet’s Funniest Animals.

The purpose of the class project is to teach lessons in strategy, product development, science, engineering, design, fabrication, branding, communications, and event planning through a fun and real world product-development experience. In the process, students learn about competition, teamwork, setting goals, and creating design plans that are then executed to varying degrees of success. Continue reading

Art Center featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Top 25 Film Schools ranking

Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Film Schools

The Hollywood Reporter has included Art Center’s stellar film program in its new list of the top 25 film schools in the world.

The second annual list of outstanding film educational institutions was decided on by the editors at the entertainment trade publication and an unidentified list of industry insiders.

The Art Center entry mentions alumni Michael Bay, Tarsem Singh Dhandwar (Mirror, Mirror) and visionary director Zack Snyder who’s highly anticipated Superman reboot Man of Steel is set for a June release.  In the story, alumnus Snyder recalls how his mentor, Mike Ahnemann, influenced his career.

Visionary Director Zack Snyder stops by Art Center

Watch the Man of Steel trailer here.

Art Center Promotes Wellness – Committed to Creatives’ Success

BEING WELL: Introducing Darshana Lele, Ph.D., Art Center’s New Director of Counseling and Wellness

Art Center's new Director of Counseling and Wellness Services, Darshana Lele, Ph.D.  photo by Chuck Spangler

Art Center's new Director of Counseling and Wellness Services, Darshana Lele, Ph.D.

You may be a brilliant artist or designer, but if your health and emotional well-being are not optimum, your short and long-term success is at risk.

That’s why the campus community recently welcomed Darshana Lele, Ph.D., as Art Center’s first Director of Counseling and Wellness.  The move reflects the College’s increased commitment to help students succeed, as part of the Create Change initiative.

“Our students are famously known for working hard to be at the top of their game, sometimes at the unacceptable cost of their own well-being,” said Jeffrey Hoffman, M.S., Dean of Students.  With Dr. Lele’s leadership, experience and dedication to improving the balance between the intense challenge and the vital level of support necessary for our students to be successful, we look forward to more on-campus and off-campus opportunities to stay well – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”

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