Author Archive

The creativity of environmental and social accountability: Q&A with artist Amy Balkin

Friday, October 17th, 2014
Amy Balkin

Amy Balkin

Complex questions about our relationship and responsibility to the physical world we inhabit lie at the heart of Amy Balkin’s creative process and the work itself. Balkin, who studied with Fine Art Chair, Vanalyne Green while attending Art Institute of Chicago, recently visited Art Center to speak about the ideas that inform her creative practice, which explores issues of environmental justice, legal borders and the geopolitics surrounding the land we inhabit and the air we breathe.

Her major projects include This is the Public Domain, an ongoing bid to create a public commons from a piece of land she purchased in Central California; Public Smog, a clean air park she opens periodically by purchasing carbon emissions; and A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting, a collection of items from places under threat of disappearance due to political, physical and economic shifts.

Just prior to her talk at Art Center, Balkin sat down with Dotted Line to discuss her approach to these ambitious works.

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Seeing stars with Dan Goods: NASA’s resident wizard of wonderment and REALSPACE exhibitioning artist

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Dan Goods and David Delgado Refraction, 2014 on view in REALSPACE. Courtesy of the artists.

Dan Goods and David Delgado, Refraction, 2014; on view in the Williamson Gallery’s REALSPACE show. Courtesy of the artists.

What are you doing with your special moment in time today? This pointed challenge culminates an inspiring TEDx Talk by Graphic Design alumnus Dan Goods, who works as a visual strategist (aka resident artist) at NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. Here’s how Goods answers his own question: “I’m creating experiences for people that give them a moment of awe and wonder about the universe we live in.”

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Street to Screen Car Classic 2014 is around the corner. Start revving your engines!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

On Sunday, October 27 2013, Pasadena’s rustic hillside played temporary home to an array of fierce creatures nonnative to these bucolic climes. On Art Center’s lawn alone, there were reported sightings of Barracudas, Mako Sharks, Stingrays, Cobras, Beetles and a herd of Italian bulls of the Lamborghini variety.

Last year’s “Inspired by Nature” theme of Art Center’s annual classic car confab inspired the above video, directed by Graduate Film student Tatyana Kim. And we have little doubt that this year’s version of the event, “Street to Screen,” celebrating the automotive stars of screens big and small, will similarly gun engines, spark plugs, charge batteries and maybe even catalyze converters.

This year’s fleet of cinematic concept cars will include Batmobiles through the ages, Bumblebee from the franchise (directed by Art Center alum, Michael Bay) and Herbie the Love Bug, among many others. Festivities kick off on October 26th at 11 am at Art Center’s Hillside campus. Advance tickets and information can be found here.

For more than 10 years, Art Center’s Car Classic has examined automotive culture and vehicle architecture through the lens of design. More than just another high-profile car show, this popular public event celebrates the very best in automotive design, showcasing the College’s strong ties to industry and honoring many of our noteworthy alumni.

This year, transportation designers, car collectors, filmmakers and auto and lifestyle enthusiasts will converge at Art Center’s annual event to hear from and meet the people who design the vehicles that we love to see cruising Sunset Boulevard, coasting along scenic byways or roaring to life on the big screen. This daylong celebration will provide attendees an up-close-and-personal look at a carefully curated selection of innovative vehicles, rare automobiles and stunning concept cars.

For those who can’t attend, keep your eyes on this space for our own video tribute to the icons of LA’s two defining industries, each dedicated to stylishly transporting us into other realities, literally and figuratively.

Change/Makers video: Crossing borders and disciplines with Graphic Design and MDP alum Rebeca Méndez

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Rebeca Méndez holds Art Center degrees in two different disciplines, Graphic Design (BFA, ’84) and Media Design (MFA, ’97). Her life and work stand as a testament to defying the conventions of those fields by expanding the definition of what it means to be a working artist and designer. She has forged her own path through punishingly uncharted terrain that’s taken her to the arctic tundras of the earth’s poles, as well as many untamed territories.

For these reasons among many others, Méndez was chosen to be the subject of the latest installment in the Change/Makers series of video profiles, which explores the ideas and passions informing the creative practices of some of Art Center’s most innovative and inspiring alumni.

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Uses of mapping (and failure) in design: The Toyota Lecture Series hosts theorist Peter Hall at Art Center

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
Peter Hall

Peter Hall

The second installment of Art Center’s Toyota Lecture Series delivers a distinctly a wide-angle perspective on the present and future state of design, tracking its evolving and expanding impact and application. Design writer and educator, Peter Hall will present a talk on Thursday, October 9 at the Los Angeles Times Media Center at 7:30 pm.

The uses of Failure. Mapping as a design process.” “Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Collaborative Planning with Loaded Tools and Wicked Problems.” “Disassembly & Immateriality: How We Make Stuff Disappear.” This is just a sampling of previous lectures by the relentlessly interesting, Dr. Peter Hall, a design writer and thought-leading authority on the manifold uses of design thinking. Hall is also the design department head at Griffith University Queensland College of Art, where his research focuses on mapping and visualization.

Hall has taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Yale School of Art. He co-edited with Jan Abrams the book, Else/Where: Mapping—New Cartographies of Networks and Territories and worked as a journalist for Metropolis and I.D. Magazine. He wrote and co-edited the books Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist and Sagmeister: Made You Look. In 2005 he co-founded DesignInquiry, a non-profit organization devoted to researching design issues.

MDP + UNICEF: make AND break designs empower Ugandan youth

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Peer-to-Peer Mentoring: VJs Shafic, Venas, and Bashir learn basic circuitry in a workshop facilitated by a peer mentor. Photo credit: Tina L. Zeng / 2014.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring: VJs Shafic, Venas, and Bashir learn basic circuitry in a workshop facilitated by a peer mentor. Photo credit: Tina L. Zeng / 2014.

The following story, by Media Design Practices post-grad fellow, Tina L. Zeng, was originally published on UNICEF’S Stories of Innovation blog. The inspiring innovations reflected below are the result of the independent graduate work she began conducting in Kampala, Uganda in September 2013, supported by the UNICEF Innovation Lab.

What if technology was made to break?

What?

I recently wrote a post about a project that disrupts the current product-oriented mentality for designing technology for development. This project, weDub, is a set of platforms for youths in a slum area named Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda to make, instead of consume, technology. weDub is a locally developed audio mixer and preamplifier that youths make to perform live improvisations of media content they reinterpret to an audience; this is locally known as VJing. I talk about the three key outcomes of the project here.

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Critical Faculties: Meet Art Center’s 2014 Faculty Enrichment Grant recipients

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
"January, Julia F. Parker, Yosemite Visitors Center" Photo by Jonas Kulikauskas.

“January, Julia F. Parker, Yosemite Visitors Center”
Photo by Jonas Kulikauskas.

Providing a top notch education in art and design requires an intricate ecosystem comprised of state of the art facilities, a driven and talented student body and, perhaps most of all, a broad body of skilled faculty members committed to engaging students and their own creative and professional practices in equal measure.

It’s no accident that Art Center’s faculty is comprised of working artists and designers, many of whom are game changing iconoclasts and leading innovators in their fields. In addition to being steeped in the most up-to-date best practices in any given field, Art Center’s faculty members offer incentive to students to continue pursuing their creative dreams.

But maintaining dual careers requires a surplus of passion and resources, both temporal and financial. To that end, Art Center’s Faculty Council has has marshaled funds to help out with the latter in the form of its annual Faculty Enrichment Grant program, which distributes up to $40,000 to faculty members actively pursuing projects “related to creative or professional development.”

Last month, the Council announced the seven recipients of its 2014 Faculty Enrichment Grants. Each will receive an award of up to $5000 to support their work outside of the classroom. The Dotted Line reached out to each of the seven recipients to learn more about their award winning projects. Here’s what we learned:

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Ike Morgan’s portraits of cultural icons inaugurate Art Center’s newest exhibition space

Friday, September 5th, 2014
Ike Morgan's paintings are the first to grace the walls of South Campus' Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall

Ike Morgan’s paintings are the first to grace the walls of South Campus’ Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall

In 2014 Art Center College of Design opened a new home for two of its dynamic visual arts programs—Fine Art and Illustration—at the College’s South Campus in Pasadena. Renovation of the former post office was made possible in part due to the generosity of the Hutto-Patterson Charitable Foundation, providing a dramatic atrium space in the center of the building to showcase the work of Art Center students and visiting artists through a rotating series of exhibitions.

On Thursday, September 11, the Hutto-Patterson will unveil its inaugural show: California’s first solo exhibition of self-taught, Texas-based artist Ike Morgan, which will remain on view through December 5, 2014. “U.S. Presidents and the Mona Lisa” features 16 unframed paintings on paper and two larger works on canvas, reflecting Morgan’s enduring interest in making pictures of George Washington and Mona Lisa.

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Art Center challenges career changing creatives to ponder: Why work?

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
Ad for Art Center's Why Work campaign

Ad for Art Center’s Why Work campaign

Why work?

It’s a compelling question; but one most of us are too busy working to contemplate. Beyond the practical necessities of gainful employment, however, lies a whole set of considerations that have more to do with personal fulfillment and authentic creative expression. It may seem like a luxury  to factor these qualitative variables into one’s employment equation. But in today’s growing creative economy, there’s a strong argument to be made for cultivating a career that leverages those right brain talents.

Art Center has long been a training ground for those seeking to land a day job that also happens to be a creative calling. It’s a defining characteristic of both the College itself and its students, faculty and alumni. It also happens to be the driving force behind the College’s new “Why Work” campaign developed by award-winning advertising firm WONGDOODY, which hinges on one question:  “Why work for a living?” Because the corollary to that question is that when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Compelling, isn’t it?

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Of fellowships and new (adjunct) faculty: Checking in with Grad Art chair Diana Thater

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Thater applied for the CCF fellowship with this work entitled Chernobyl, 2011

Thater applied for the CCF fellowship with this work entitled Chernobyl, 2011

For over two decades, Grad Art chair Diana Thater’s groundbreaking film, video and installation work exploring the tension between humans and the natural world has been widely discussed and admired. But the spotlight on Thater’s role as a leader in the global art world seems to have gotten even brighter over the past few months. In April, she named chair of the Art Center department from which she graduated in 1990 and where she’s taught for many years. In June, Thater was honored in a major gala by the Orange County Museum of Art. And earlier this month, she was awarded a 2014 California Community Foundation Fellowship.

Additionally, Thater has already begun placing her creative stamp on Grad Art by making some exciting additions to its adjunct faculty roster. She announced an impressive lineup of new fall adjunct faculty, including Philippe Vergne, director of MOCA, and Bennett Simpson, senior curator at MOCA and artist Harry Dodge. Her adjunct faculty additions for the spring are equally exciting: Getty Scholar and curator for the National Gallery in Washington Lynne Cooke, artist and Getty Scholar Tacita Dean and curator Charlotte Cotton.

To honor Thater’s accomplishments and better understand the ideas informing her creative practice, we’ve included the artist’s statement that compelled the foundation to grant her the award. Consider this a behind-the-scenes snapshot of what it takes to be a successful working artist.

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