Author Archive

World-class design education, delivered digitally: Meet the online learning innovators behind The Skool

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Chris Do and Jose Caballer, co-founders of The Skool. ArtCenter photo by Jennie Warren

Chris Do and Jose Caballer, co-founders of The Skool. ArtCenter photo by Jennie Warren

The business of online learning is booming. Just ask lynda.com co-founders, former ArtCenter faculty member Lynda Weinman and alumnus and Trustee Bruce Heavin (BFA 93 Illustration), whose company was acquired this year by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion.

Inspired and mentored by these pioneers, Graphic Design alums Jose Caballer (BFA 96) and Chris Do (BFA 95) represent a new generation of innovative education entrepreneurs. Together the two have co-founded The Skool, an online learning resource for designers.

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Blazing a luminous trajectory: Doug Aitken, Jen Rosenstein, Mark Ryden and Lawrence Carroll

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
Doug Aitken, Station to Station

Doug Aitken, Station to Station. Courtesy Regen Projects.

1. Since graduating from ArtCenter nearly 25 years ago, Doug Aitken (BFA 91 Illustration) has blazed a luminous trajectory. From his breakout Electric Earth video installation at the 1999 Whitney Biennial, to the nomadic Station to Station (2013), the Southern California native creates multimedia works at once monumental and ephemeral.

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Nothing to lose: A conversation with OutNetwork president and graphic design student Gianfranco Ocampo

Monday, September 21st, 2015
Gianfranco Ocampo at ArtCenter College of Design

Gianfranco Ocampo this summer at ArtCenter College of Design’s South Campus. Photo by Chuck Spangler

Before Gianfranco Ocampo embarked on his first trip to Europe this fall as a participant in the Berlin Studio study away program, we sat down for a conversation with the upper-term Graphic Design major. Ocampo loves to travel, and over the years his family in Los Angeles has hosted many exchange students, one of whom in turn hosted Ocampo when he visited Japan for his 18th birthday. Already bilingual (English and Spanish), Ocampo learned to speak Japanese and to cook Japanese food. Confident and outgoing, he’s a people-centric person at home in the role of ambassador. As a peer mentor with the Center for the Student Experience (CSE), he welcomes incoming students to ArtCenter and this year was named president of OutNetwork, ArtCenter’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning, Intersex and Allies (GLBTQIA) student club. The group is dedicated to fostering a multidisciplinary, multigenerational community that shares an interest in the intersection between GLBTQIA identity and the creative arts; members include current students and faculty as well as alumni. For Ocampo, advocating for important causes is integral to his calling as a designer.

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Leap Before You Look: Inside the revealing new exhibition on Black Mountain College, with MOCA curator Helen Molesworth

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

 

Photo: Hazel Larsen Archer, Merce Cunningham Dancing, c. 1952-53, gelatin silver print, 8 ¾ x 5 7/8 inches. Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

Photo: Hazel Larsen Archer, Merce Cunningham Dancing, c. 1952-53, gelatin silver print, 8 ¾ x 5 7/8 inches. Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

“Most people in the room probably know a little something about Black Mountain College, and it’s probably part wrong and part true,” said Helen Molesworth. Relaxed in black sneakers and a loose sweater, the new chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, less than five months into her new job, offered a candid and engaging behind-the-scenes look at her work on a revealing new exhibition about Black Mountain College—the first comprehensive exhibition on the subject to take place in the United States.

The curator’s talk in February, a full year ahead of the exhibition’s opening in L.A., was part of both the Wind Tunnel Lecture Series and Art Center Dialogues. And as she disclosed to her unsuspecting audience at the outset, “You’re the first! I haven’t actually given a Black Mountain talk yet.”

For Molesworth, Black Mountain College’s mythic status—as the birthplace of the neo-avant-garde and the site of legendary collaborations by Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Merce Cunningham—has in fact been a problem to overcome, an impediment to a more complete understanding of its history. “It was a place charged in ways that engendered mythmaking from its inception,” she said, “and a lot of that mythmaking was self-generated.” (more…)

lynda.com acquired by LinkedIn: A billion-dollar idea, birthed at Art Center

Friday, April 10th, 2015
Lynda Weinman's BOLD keynote, September 2014

Lynda Weinman at Art Center’s BOLD symposium for creative entrepreneurs, September 2014

As a faculty member at Art Center College of Design in the late 1980s and early ’90s, on a campus nestled in the hills above the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Lynda Weinman was trying to solve a simple problem. Her classes on digital media and motion graphics—computer design practices then in their infancy but in growing demand—were filled to overflowing. She wanted to make the popular classes accessible to more students, who at the time would literally camp out in the hallway to try and get in. And so she shifted the venue and began to teach 80 students at a time in an auditorium, rather than 15 at a time in a classroom. Soon after, she and her company co-founder, Art Center alumnus and Trustee Bruce Heavin (BFA 1993 Illustration), launched lynda.com to begin offering video recordings of her lectures, distributed first on VHS tapes, then DVDs, and with the arrival of the internet, online. Together the couple evolved lynda.com from its original concept as a free web resource for Weinman’s students, to a site for her books on Web design, to a respected and ever-expanding online training library now offering thousands of courses.

In what Weinman has described as a “20-year overnight success” story, lynda.com has become an industry leader in online learning, and this week the company was acquired by social media giant LinkedIn for $1.5 billion. It’s LinkedIn’s largest deal ever, and for Weinman and Heavin, it means extending their reach to an even larger global audience of creative and business professionals.

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Jeff Wall on artifice, actuality and accident — and why he doesn’t make films

Monday, March 9th, 2015
Jeff Wall spoke about his work and its influences. (Art Center photo by Juan Posada)

In the Grad Art Seminar series, Jeff Wall spoke candidly about his work and its influences. (Art Center photo by Juan Posada)

Vancouver-born and -based artist Jeff Wall is now living and working part-time in Los Angeles, which is good news for students at Art Center. A capacity crowd filled the L.A. Times Media Center at Hillside Campus last Tuesday night, eager to hear what he had to say.

Jack Bankowsky, who co-curates the popular Grad Art Seminar series with fellow faculty member Walead Beshty, introduced Wall, and reminded the audience of three of his works—opaque black and white prints—that are set in Los Angeles: Citizen (1996), a man lying on the lawn in a public park; 8056 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles (1996), a cinema-turned-synagogue, framed in a circular black vignette; and Office Hallway, Spring Street, Los Angeles (1997), a man in a dimly lit, nondescript hallway.

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Designing for net-positive water: SoCal students take on turf, not surf

Monday, February 23rd, 2015
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Environmental Design student Katie Healey’s design proposal for removing turf and expanding outdoor spaces for dining and recreation on the east side of the Ellwood Building.

 

Turf removal.

Not exactly a siren call to emerging designers regularly invited to put their brilliant minds to work developing sports cars, wearable tech and high-end furniture.

Or so one might assume.

A handful of Art Center students defied that assumption, and many others, as they enthusiastically explored possibilities for transforming Hillside Campus into an Eden of eco-innovation during last Fall’s Sustainability Studio.

Linda Estrada, an administrator who manages Art Center’s programs fostering alternative transportation options for campus commuters and other sustainability initiatives, got the ball rolling when she saw an opportunity to participate in a City of Pasadena program offering cash incentives—two dollars per square foot—to replace thirsty green lawns with drought-resistant plants and hardscape.

“And up here,” says Estrada, at Art Center over 17 years, “we have nothing but grass.”

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Art Center Dialogues: Catalyzing Creativity, Criticality and Community

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
Valerie Casey, head of Samsung's Innovation Accelerator, delivers the opening lecture in the Spring 2015 Art Center Dialogues series

Valerie Casey, head of the Samsung Accelerator, delivers the opening lecture in the Spring 2015 Art Center Dialogues series on February 4, 7 p.m.

Spring term brings the next exciting installment in a long-running annual lecture series endowed by the Toyota Motor Company. This year, Art Center Dialogues highlights influential leaders in creative fields and also explores what leading creatively means.

Confirmed speakers include Valerie Casey, head of the Samsung Accelerator; Helen Molesworth, chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; Harriet Rubin, Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and author, consultant and lecturer on leadership trends; Dede Gardner, President of Plan B Entertainment and producer of the films 12 Years A Slave, The Normal Heart and Selma; and Jessica Yellin, former Chief White House correspondent for CNN.

“Leaders in art, film, business and design practices, our speakers have changed both the questions we ask and the solutions we might find when it comes to thinking about 21st-century culture,” says Humanities and Sciences (H&S) Chair Jane McFadden, who curates the series. “We have invited them to inspire thoughtful discussion and broaden perspectives by engaging with our community across a variety of educational platforms, including lectures, panel discussions, workshops and collaborative endeavors.”

The Art Center Dialogues series kicks off February 4. Schedule and location details are at the bottom of this post. Admission is free and open to the public and to our campus community, and reservations are not required.

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Cloud 9 formation: Environmental Design students draw inspiration from nature and Buckminster Fuller for innovative pavilion on Spain’s Costa Brava

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Cloud 9, an award-winning Barcelona-based firm known for its dynamic, cutting-edge architecture, has collaborated with Art Center’s Environmental Design Department to design and fabricate a work/play pavilion for a residential site located on Spain’s Costa Brava.

Students from multiple disciplines were challenged to create an innovative structure that would draw inspiration from the local environment (a Mediterranean hillside amid tall pine trees), integrate new media, and become a case study for future projects. Cloud 9 director Enric Ruiz-Geli, imbued by Buckminster Fuller’s interest in natural geometry and parametric design, gave students their brief in February 2013 and followed up with regular visits as the project progressed. Concepts were developed and prototyped at the College’s Hillside Campus in Pasadena before being implemented at the site in Spain.

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Art Center president (and theater director) offers expert advice to creatives upping their presentation skills

Monday, January 12th, 2015

In her autobiographical presentation, Alex Mon de la Guardia included an X-ray and a photograph of her back.

It’s a chilly Wednesday morning in late November, and it’s showtime for a dozen students in Petrula VrontikisCreative Presentations and Critiques class. Gathered in semi-darkness in the nearly empty Ahmanson Auditorium, they are joined by a few invited guests, among them Art Center President Lorne M. Buchman.

For their end-of-term critique, the 12 students will present 15 images for 15 seconds each—an abbreviated PechaKucha. Standing alone on stage and narrating their slideshows without a script, the students have all been given the same assignment, to trace their own individual journeys as artists and designers. For six of them, today is a rehearsal; for the rest, this presentation will be their final. Some are more nervous than others.

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