Author Archive

Media Design Practices alum delivers TED talk on memes as the ‘street art of our social web’

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
An Xiao Mina examines "The Meaning of Memes" on the 2013 TEDGlobal stage.

An Xiao Mina examines “The Meaning of Memes” on the 2013 TEDGlobal stage.

Think you know your memes? If you’ve spent any time online, you’ve probably run across the likes of Grumpy Cat, Scumbag Steve or, one of our personal favorites, Art Student Owl.

Those viral images and videos that people modify and spread across the Internet are always good for a laugh, but at the TEDGlobal 2013 conference in Edinburgh, Media Design Practices alumna An Xiao Mina took the stage to deliver a talk entitled “The Meaning of Memes,” shedding light on how individuals across the globe are turning memes into “the street art of our social web.”

In her talk, Mina provided examples of how people in both democracies and censorship states have used memes to speak out on controversial issues, from the detainment of Ai Weiwei to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. “These memes are about more than humor,” Mina said on the TED blog. “They do what art and visual expression have always done—make us feel less alone.”

This story originally appeared in Art Center’s Spring 2014 Dot magazine, where you can read more about alumni and faculty achievements.

Fashion forward meets emotional rescue: Art Center students imagine the future of wearables

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
Sangli Li's Expressive Wearable.

Sangli Li’s Expressive Wearables shields its user from intrusive sights and sounds.

With Apple and Google both adding fashion professionals to its regiments, it appears that the next consumer electronics war will be waged not over the smartphone in your pocket, but over the devices worn around your wrists and over your eyes.

Always ahead of the curve, Art Center students, instructors and alumni are currently imagining where wearables might head next. And while wearables will undoubtedly translate to big business, how might this technology change our behavior as human beings?

This question, and many more, were explored in a recent Intel Corporation-sponsored Wearables Ecologies course taught by Media Design Practices (MDP) Professor Phil van Allen and Associate Professor Ben Hooker.

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Wearing your heart rate on your sleeve: Inside the wearable tech revolution

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

wearables_main

By now you’ve heard of Google Glass. But what about bracelets that measure sun exposure? Headphones that double as heartbeat monitors? Or jewelry that unlocks your front door? Are you ready for the dawn of smart watches, smart earrings, smart contact lenses and smart wigs? And no, that last one isn’t a joke.

The “wearables” field is in an early yet promising stage of its evolution. But Art Center, always striving to stay ahead of industry and cultural trends, has had wearables squarely in its sights for years. Today, our students, instructors and alumni are busy imagining where this technology might head next, creating the devices that are paving the way for the future, and questioning how a wearables-saturated world will change our behavior as human beings.

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Graham Moore delivers a dose of DIY ingenuity in Saturday High classes and album cover art mosaics

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Saturday High and Art Center at Night instructor Graham Moore in his studio. Photo: Gregory Firlotte

Saturday High and Art Center at Night instructor Graham Moore. Photo: Gregory Firlotte

If you’ve been to the vinyl section of Amoeba Music in Hollywood lately, you’ve no doubt noticed a window display featuring cut up and reconfigured album covers by artists like The B-52s, Martin Denny and David Bowie.

That display was created by Saturday High and Art Center at Night instructor Graham Moore, a U.K.-born artist and graphic designer who studied at Wimbledon School of Art and East Ham College of Technology and came to the City of Angels via London. 

In addition to Amoeba Music, his other clients have included The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Mazda and JCPenney. His work has been shown at several venues, including Modern Way in Palm Springs, Barnsdall Art Center in Hollywood, and La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Feliz, which included three of his latest works in its annual group show, Laluzapalooza.

Moore’s Inner Circle, featured on the cover of the latest Saturday High catalog, is a prime example of his ongoing “Redux” series, 12”x12” works in which he cuts up vintage album covers (mostly from the ‘60s) and reconfigures them into vibrant, often abstract arrangements.

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‘Mother nature is the best designer:’ Highlights from Gordon Bruce’s spring 2014 graduation speech

Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Industrial Design alumnus Gordon Bruce (BS 72) goes bananas at Art Center's Spring 2014 graduation

Industrial Design alumnus Gordon Bruce (BS 72) goes bananas at Art Center’s Spring 2014 graduation. Photo: John Dlugolecki

“Maintain truth to your core and you will be beautiful and create beautiful things in your future,” Industrial Design alumnus Gordon Bruce (BS 72) told graduating students during Art Center’s Spring 2014 Graduation Ceremony on Sat., April 19, where he received a Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award.

Saying that the award meant “more to me than you’ll ever know,” Bruce delivered  a lively speech in which he recounted: another college’s admissions counselor telling his dad that his son “didn’t have the right stuff” to design; sharpening pencils as a part-time office boy at the studio of architect and designer Eliot Noyes; meeting the “gods of design” through the College’s lecture series, including Charles Eames, Paolo Soleri and Niels Diffrient, the latter with whom he became best friends.

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Agents of boom: Advertising alumni Melissa Thomas and Jack-Anthony Collier

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Creative duo Jack-Anthony Collier and Melissa Thomas star in their zine "Birdscouts"

Creative duo Jack-Anthony Collier and Melissa Thomas as featured in their zine Birdscouts.

She’s a copywriter at Deutsch. He’s a copywriter for Mullen. Together, they’ve worked on campaigns for companies like Taco Bell, AT&T, Carls Jr., Kia and JetBlue.

But Art Center Advertising alumni Melissa Thomas (BFA 12) and Jack-Anthony Collier recently put their professional interests aside to tackle one of today’s most pressing issues: the dreaded boom mic mistake. Their solution? CATBOOM.

Okay, on a more serious note, today these creative partners are preparing to channel their creative energy in a different direction. This summer, they’ll be teaching at Art Center’s continuing education program, Art Center at Night, helping students get their advertising portfolios in shape in Advertising Portfolio Workshop.

“We’ll be going through the students’ books, and offering suggestions on how to improve and tighten them up,” says Collier. “We’ll be reviewing their work from an agency’s perspective before they head out into the big wide world.”

And of course, there will be fun.

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Ten Art Center “bling nuggets” from Student Leadership Award winner Kristina Marrero

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Product Design graduate Kristina Marrero

Product Design graduate Kristina Marrero

“I equate designing with cooking,” says Kristina Marrero, who graduated this past Saturday from the Product Design program and also received Art Center’s Student Leadership Award for the Spring 2014 Term. “It’s when I share my creation with others that I see the complete experience come to life.”

Marrero describes herself as an experience crafter, and indeed she crafted an exceptionally full experience at Art Center. She served as Art Center Student Government’s (ACSG) Executive Secretary as well as its Product Design representative.

She attended Tama Art University in Tokyo as part of the Future Craft Student Exchange as well as multiple sessions of the Pensole Footwear Design Academy in Portland, Ore. first as a workshop participant and twice as a teaching assistant.

Marrero interned at both Tesla and at Adidas, participated in several Designstorms, served as co-president of Girls of ID, an industrial design club, and helped many a student elevate their design concepts as a lab assistant in the Color, Material and Trends Exploration Lab.

At graduation, Marrero shared with the audience the following 10 takeaways–or “bling nuggets” as she said her Visual Communication instructor Derek Howard would call them–from her studies at Art Center:

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Art Center and Intel forge an alliance in the war of the wearables

Monday, March 10th, 2014
(L-R) Intel's Steven Holmes, Artefact's Jennifer Darmour (MFA 05 Media Design Practices), Intel's Lama Nachman and Karten Design's Eric Olson (BS 96 Product)

(L-R) Intel’s Steven Holmes, Artefact’s Jennifer Darmour (MFA 05 Media Design Practices), Intel’s Lama Nachman and Karten Design’s Eric Olson (BS 96 Product) at the Connected Bodies symposium

At last month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung showed off its upcoming Gear Fit, a wrist-worn device that performs double duty as an activity tracker/personal trainer and as an extension of your smartphone. It’s just the latest salvo in the escalating war of the wearables, a battlefield already crowded with devices from companies like Jawbone, Fitbit, Nike and Pebble, and about to get even hairier with Google and Apple preparing to enter the fray.

While companies were showing off their wearables in Spain, here in Pasadena, Art Center’s graduate Media Design Practices (MDP) and pioneering technology company Intel were exploring the future of the field itself in a public symposium titled Connected Bodies: Imagining New Wearables.

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Products become customized vehicles of personal expression in Art Center at Night’s surface design class

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Patterns from Debra Valencia's Kyoto collection.

Patterns from Debra Valencia’s Kyoto collection.

Can you imagine a world filled with nothing but solid colors and smooth surfaces?

If not, then thank a surface designer, those daring individuals who transform our vanilla products—everything from iPad cases and coffee mugs to tote bags and pillowcases—into personalized vehicles for individual expression.

In this spring’s upcoming Art Center at Night Introduction to Surface Design course, taught by artist and designer Debra Valencia, students will learn about the styles and techniques used in creating surface designs by exploring case studies, product categories, themes and other business basics of earning a living as a surface designer.

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Fine Art student Kristy Lovich to receive the Student Leadership Award

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Fine Art student Kristy Lovich on board the Metro. Photo by Jennie Warren.

Fine Art student Kristy Lovich on board the Metro. Photo by Jennie Warren.

“My practice as a culture worker is hinged on the belief that art making lives in tandem with social action,” says Fine Art student Kristy Lovich, who this weekend will receive Art Center College of Design’s Student Leadership Award.

Each term, Art Center presents the Student Leadership Award to a deserving student from the College. The award is a distinguished honor granted to a graduating student who exemplifies leadership qualities and accomplishments that stand out above their peers.

Students who receive the Student Leadership Award represent the character, the integrity and the skills that Art Center desires for all students to develop during their time at the College. Recipients must have represented student interests by providing outstanding leadership through broad involvement in Art Center campus life.

Politically engaged and dedicated to creating an artistic community based on a culture of mutual support, Lovich provided a vivid model for how art and design can directly confront today’s crucial issues. “As a student at Art Center, I knew that the rigor of my studies would limit my ability to maintain my activism outside of school,” says Lovich. “The solution to this was to bring my desire for social justice directly into the school community.”

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