Author Archives: Nadia Osman

Stuck in a rut? Alum Audrey Liu’s iPad App Can Help.

Ever wish you could “unstuck” yourself from a sticky situation? Creative Director Audrey Liu of SYPartners Inc. developed an iPad app called Unstuck that helps users find motivation to overcome obstacles by understanding what’s wrong and providing a set of tools to solve the problem.

In a recent profile in The People Stories, Liu admits that she had admired SYPartners while she was studying at Art Center, where she presented her exhibit to them on recruitment day. Liu came prepared to seize the moment, at least partially thanks to the training she received while studying abroad at INSEAD, a business school in Singapore and a longtime partner of Art Center.

Creative Director Audrey Lui developed the Unstuck iPad app to help users find motivation to solve problems.


That experience, Liu said, also reinforced “the importance of design and storytelling as a communication tool.” Now, split across bi-coastal offices in New York and San Francisco, she and the rest of the SYPartners product design team brainstorm and develop products that transform the way companies do business. “Now being involved in the hiring process at SYPartners, I can see a focus on clear, simple, emotive storytelling as well as a passion for communicating information in a very human way,” said Liu.

During the past two decades, the firm has guided some of the world’s most respected companies like Starbucks, Apple, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Visa, and more. Liu feels inspired and excited by the challenges she and her team face on a daily basis. “I feel very lucky to be able to say that there are a lot of things that I love about my job.”



Alumni and Student Find Dream Jobs at Porsche, Cadillac and Tesla

Working for a carmaker is a dream come true for many, but for Transportation Design alumni Julien Bilodeau and Christine Park and Graphic Design student Bryce Shawcross, it’s a testament to their individual goals, ambition and perseverance, as well as Art Center’s stellar design programs.

Julien Bilodeau grew up in Baie Sainte-Marie, a small French Canadian town in Nova Scotia, where he dreamed about designing cars. When he came to Art Center, he said, “I was instantly impressed by the passion of the students, teachers and Southern California as a whole,” citing instructors Stewart Reed, Bumsuk Lim and Jason Hill as major influences on him as an artist and designer.

Alumnus Julien Bilodeau drafted sketches of Multiplier, a mobile, temporary & expandable parking structure.

Alumnus Julien Bilodeau drafted sketches of Multiplier, a mobile, temporary and expandable parking structure.

“Art Center really helped me develop a wide skill set, allowing me to approach design from a number of perspectives,” said Bilodeau. “The flexibility of the curriculum and supportive guidance allowed me to really pursue my own avenues with regards to my own interests.”

During his time at Art Center, he held an internship at the Honda Advanced Design Studio before transitioning into an internship at Porsche. Once his internship ended, he was offered a chance to complete his thesis project at Porsche. Although he couldn’t complete his final term at Art Center, he decided this was the best opportunity, knowing that it would be an important factor in eventually working at Porsche.

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Art Center Partners with Dwell on Design Conference


This student creation is on display in the Goodwill’s first boutique store in Tustin. The vinyl rockabilly outfit was part of a 2012 Designmatters project for Goodwill of Orange County focused on upcycling.

Art Center College of Design will be the only school recognized as an educational partner of Dwell on Design, “America’s Largest Design Event,” taking place Friday, June 21 through Sunday, June 23 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The three-day exhibition and conference will feature world-class speakers, product demonstrations, continuing education classes for design professionals and seminars for consumers.

As an educational partner, Art Center is the only design school to have an exhibition space on the showroom floor featuring the work of Environmental Design and Product Design students.

Additionally, Art Center will host a special presentation on the Demo Stage Saturday, June 22 at 2:30 p.m. Environmental Design faculty will present the concept of upcycling, or the process of converting used goods, waste material, and “useless” items into new materials or products of better quality to improve their value and reduce the overall impact on our environment, as explored in Art Center’s sponsored projects and transdisciplinary studios.

Members of the Art Center community can receive a $5.00 discount off regular prices with Promo Code EDU13. To register for tickets, visit


Related: Goodwill and Art Center embrace the upcycle lifestyle



Visual Storytelling Examined Through the Work of Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor

He experiments in a darkroom. She composes on a computer screen. Together, husband-and-wife artists Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor create haunting, layered dreamscapes that push the boundaries of photography’s possibilities.

Jerry Uelsmann's "Untitled" and Maggie Taylor's "Magnolia Charmer"

Jerry Uelsmann’s Untitled and Maggie Taylor’s Magnolia Charmer showcase their unique approaches to visual storytelling. A new documentary from explores the artists’ work and creative relationship.

Art Center hosts a special screening and panel discussion Wednesday, June 12 of the documentary “Jerry & Maggie: This is Not Photography,” new from, which takes viewers inside the artists’ quiet Florida compound for a peek at their complementary work, contrasting processes and inspiration-seeking expeditions through an alligator-dwelling swamp. The documentary explores both the technical and emotional aspects of the couple’s unique form of visual storytelling, from the composition to the criticism, with insight from other preeminent voices in photography.

Whether it’s graphic design, branding, environments, illustration, photography or film, the art of visual storytelling is a powerful method to convey messages in an elegant, entertaining and informative way,” said Graphic Design professor Petrula Vrontikis, who helped spearhead the event and will moderate the panel discussion.

Jerry Uelsmann's  "Journey Into Night" and Maggie Taylor's "The Collector," side by side. “Jerry & Maggie: This is Not Photography,” new from, shows the artists and their complementary yet contrasting work and processes.

Uelsmann’s Journey Into Night and Taylor’s The Collector.

On hand to discuss the film and the larger subject of visual storytelling will be the documentary’s executive producer Bruce Heavin ILLU 93, director Scott Erickson and cinematographers Aron Ives and Mia Shimabuku.

Celebrated for its pioneering spirit in the realm of online education, was co-founded by Art Center alumnus Heavin and former faculty member Lynda Weinman. Art Center continues to benefit from their creative vision and often partners with to offer special events for its students, faculty, alumni and members of the general public.

The screening and discussion are free and open to the public, no reservations needed. Join us Wed., June 12, 7 p.m., in Ahmanson Auditorium at Art Center College of Design’s Hillside Campus, 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91103. For more information call (626) 396-2251 or email



Sold-out conference features Art Center faculty, highlights vitality of photographic education 



Art Center Student Artwork on Display at Jones Coffee

Opening Reception Tuesday, June 11, 5—8 p.m.

Marking the first in a series of events to be held at Jones Coffee Roasters in partnership with Art Center, Community is an art exhibition debuting more than 25 new works from Art Center students on June 11, 2013 in Pasadena.

"Community" by Jess Zhang
“Community” by Jess Zhang will be part of the Community art exhibition at Jones Coffee Roasters, exploring the nature of community, identity and social connection.

“We’re thrilled to be kicking off our Art Center collaboration with Community,” said Chuck Jones, owner of Jones Coffee Roasters.  “Like Art Center, we value public discussion around important issues, and it’s an honor to serve as the forum for such reflection and dialogue.”

Community explores the intersection of identity and social connection, examining individuality and group identity in everyday life. Participating artists include Dylan Bocanegra, Kristina Halcromb, Luis Angel Sanchez, Brenda Chi, Jessica Portillo, Vladimir Almonnord, Valerie Pobjoy, Leonardo Santamaria, Jessica Zhang, Tyler Bennet, Simon Estrada, Taleen Keldjian, Rachel Moore, Sarang Byrne, TK Kuk, Antoinette Adams and Ana Maria Pino.  Community will feature works produced from a variety of art mediums including illustrations, paintings, digital photography, silkscreen and mixed media.

In the Company of Others by Simon Estrada is one of 25 new works from Art Center students at Jones Coffee Roasters.
In the Company of Others by Simon Estrada is one of 25 new works from Art Center students at Jones Coffee Roasters.

“The phrase Community came to embody a unique way of approaching interpersonal dynamics and creativity,” said Simon Estrada, illustrator and curator of the show.  “We took great care to craft an exhibition that would be an impactful and surprising in-person experience.”

Tribute to Woody Guthrie by Taleen Keldjian is a participating artist in the Community art exhibit at Jones Coffee Roasters.
Tribute to Woody Guthrie by Taleen Keldjian is a participating artist in the Community art exhibit at Jones Coffee Roasters.

Community will be on exhibit at Jones Coffee Roasters located at 693 S. Raymond Ave. in Pasadena. The show, which is free and open to the public, will open Tuesday, June 11, with an opening reception from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and run through August 1.




Alumni Featured in AllSpark Platinum Winners Video

Yves Béhar displays the durability of his See Better to Learn Better glasses in the new AllSpark video.

Yves Béhar displays the durability of his See Better to Learn Better glasses in the new AllSpark video.

Earlier this year, Art Center alumni swept the first ever AllSpark Platinum Awards, which honors “the best of the best of the best” of the 2012 entrants to the Spark Awards.

Spark recently released a video in which AllSpark winners Yves Béhar PROD 91, Franz von Holzhausen TRAN 92 and Sujin Hwang PROD 11 are interviewed alongside other top designers, including Sam Lucente and alumnus Earl Gee GRPK 83.

In the video, Béhar speaks about See Better to Learn Better, a program his company fuseproject created in partnership with the Mexican government and Augen Optics. The program distributes hundreds of thousands of eyeglasses every year to schoolchildren in Mexico. Children have the opportunity to choose their glasses’ frame, size and color, giving them a chance to be involved in the design process.

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Getty “Overdrive” Exhibition Designed in Collaboration With Environmental Design Students


The exhibition “Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990,” organized by the Getty Research Institute and the J. Paul Getty Museum and on view through July 21, 2013, is the first major examination of the innovation and influence of Los Angeles architectural history. As Los Angeles in the second half of the 20th century grew rapidly into an industrial and creative capital, its architecture transformed the city’s landscape.

Designing the installation of “Overdrive” was a collaborative project between Art Center and the Getty. To develop the spatial and graphic design of the exhibition, the museum’s curatorial and design teams worked closely with a Transdisciplinary Studio class of 20 Art Center students in Environmental Design and Graphic Design, led by Art Center Environmental Design faculty member and alumnus Rob Ball, with the additional participation of Environmental Design instructor Dewi Schoenbeck.


Environmental Design Students Take Top Prize in 2013 LAIAC Competition



Film Alum Turns Low-budget “Ball of Crazy” Into Music Videos for Two #1 Hit Songs

Recent Art Center Film alumnus Jon Jon Augustavo has more than one reason to celebrate. The music video “Thrift Shop” that he directed for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis—with 324 million YouTube views and counting—has been nominated for BET Music Video of the Year.

On top of that, their second music video collaboration, “Can’t Hold Us,” has racked up nearly 44 million views on YouTube in six short weeks. Both songs made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and “Can’t Hold Us” is now four weeks into holding top spot.

But Augustavo sees that success in a more humbling light.

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Art and Science Intersect at “Intimate Science” Exhibition Opening at Williamson Gallery

Intimate Science, an exhibition showcasing contemporary artists conducting projects in scientific and technological domains, opens at Art Center College of Design’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery on Friday, May 31. An opening reception, free to the public, will take place Thursday, May 30, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Williamson Gallery, says Stephen Nowlin, founding director of the Gallery, has helped define this “briskly emerging international cultural movement.” He explains, “Science enjoys a popular patina of certainty, while behind art there is in fact cerebral order, structure and intent. The true kinship of art and science is to be found…when each discipline is allowed to encourage and ignite each other.”

Curated by Andrea Grover and organized by the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Intimate Science explores the shift from artists aiding science to artists “doing” science, and how this impacts the way scientific knowledge is acquired, used and shared. The exhibition continues through Aug. 18 at Art Center’s Hillside Campus in Pasadena.

Philip Ross's Mycotecture Series at the Williamson Gallery exhibit Intimate Science is an experiment in growing architectural structures and furniture from the fungus Ganoderma Lucidum, also known as Reishi or Ling Chi.

Philip Ross’s Mycotecture series in the Williamson Gallery exhibition Intimate Science is an experiment in growing architectural structures and furniture from the fungus Ganoderma Lucidum, also known as Reishi or Ling Chi.


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Film Alumnus Directs Most Watched Commercial

Dove Real Beauty Sketches, directed by John X. Carey, sets new record

Viewed more than 114 million times and counting, it became the most watched Internet commercial of all time in less than a month online, the New York Daily News reports. This week it surpassed the previous record holder, the Evian Roller Babies, notes Mashable.

What makes the three-minute video, directed by Art Center College of Design film alumnus John X. Carey for Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, so compelling?

A woman walks behind a curtain, where a forensic artist draws her based on her description of herself. What she doesn’t know is that another person will come in later and describe her as well. When the two sketches are placed side by side, there’s an obvious difference between how these women perceive themselves and how others perceive them. And when the forensic artist asks, “Are you more beautiful than you think?” the video captures their emotional responses.

In the end, they’re all beautiful.

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