Category Archives: Admissions

ArtCenter Premieres Student Self Portrait Video Series

Product Design student Miguel Harry

Product Design student Miguel Harry

ArtCenter has launched a new video series featuring student self portraits, providing a glimpse into the creative journeys of five of our students.

“In their process of researching colleges, most prospective students plan a campus visit, browse the website, or make an appointment with an admissions counselor,” said Kit Baron, senior vice president of Admissions and Enrollment Management for ArtCenter. “While these experiences are valuable and provide a great way to gather information, hearing directly from ArtCenter students to learn about their stories and their lives provides yet another deeper level of sharing. We’re often asked ‘What’s it really like to be an ArtCenter student?’ We hope the stories of these five talented individuals helps answer that common question and provide prospective students with a realistic glimpse into their world.”

Illustration Student Cristina Wilson

Illustration Student Cristina Wilson

The five students were asked to share their creative journeys and reveal personal details such as their early inspiration, decision to attend art school, current projects and long-term goals. All production in the field was completed by the individual students, who were commissioned to spend 12 weeks meeting once a month to workshop their projects, from proposal through final cut, while undertaking the challenging process of capturing their own creative evolution in a professional quality video—all in addition to their demanding studio and academic course load. Light guidance was provided throughout the creative process by a small team of staff from Admissions and Marketing and Communications. The result is a series of video self-portraits that truly capture the student’s intimate voice, motivations and distinctive viewpoints.

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Admissions staffer Tom Stern publishes his second novel

MyVanishingTwinBookCover (1)

Vice President of Admissions Tom Stern has just published his second novel, My Vanishing Twin and will be celebrating its launch at Vroman’s Bookstore in Old Pasadena on Monday, June 19 at 7:00 pm.

My Vanishing Twin tells the story of Walter Braum, who is pregnant with his own twin brother. It is an exceedingly freak manifestation of a rare medical condition called Vanishing Twin Syndrome. But it is also a sudden thorn in Walter’s psyche, bringing into question most everything he thought he knew about himself and his life.

We checked in with Stern about his book and his writing process on the eve of its launch:

Campus News: How do you have time to write when you have such a demanding job?

Tom Stern: For me, it’s the inverse. The time I invest in writing affords me the ability to navigate a demanding job and busy life.  On my good days, I can even navigate them reasonably well, occasionally getting a thing—or even two—right. On my bad days, well… the time I carved out to write helps me keep some modicum of perspective

CN: The premise of your book, the Vanishing Twin Syndrome, is kind of an obscure medical condition. Is there a reason behind this choice? Was there a lot of research involved?

TS: The medical condition was a piece of information I must have quietly tucked away in the back of my brain.  As the initial pages I was writing began to coalesce into what would become My Vanishing Twin, it dawned on me that I was about to write a book about a man who discovers he’s pregnant with his own twin brother who, once born, is obsessed with acquiring his MBA.  A classic tale, I know…  But as I puzzled over this direction, Vanishing Twin Syndrome surfaced in my thinking. I remembered having read articles about fairly unsettling instances of the phenomenon.  So I dug back into these and other articles to sort of flesh out the concept, taking much poetic license with it, of course.

CN: Both of your novels are about regular guys with regular lives whose lives turn when faced with something extraordinary. Do you write yourself into your books? Are you headed for an extraordinary adventure? Or is writing your extraordinary adventure?

TS: I like that assessment a lot. I would tweak it a bit, though. I think that both of my books are about regular guys who discover something extraordinary in what they had considered banal about their own lives. I think my books are about people coming into self-knowledge in the way that most of us do: begrudgingly. They are confronted with realities that they cannot immediately accept, having built their lives on a belief in a contrary truth. In this regard, I think I’m no different than my protagonists. They just get to experience more poetic or metaphorical manifestations of this process than I do. That said, I think our personalities are quite different.

CN: Are you working on the next book? Any hints at the direction?

TS: I am always working on something.  Right now I’m working on a few things that I think are shaping up into books. And I’m also writing some articles in support of the release of My Vanishing Twin. One essay that I’m really proud of will be published on The Los Angeles Review of Books Blog in July.

CN: Anything else you would like the community to know about your writing career?

TS: I’ve learned an incredible amount from experiencing the variety of ways that our various departments approach their creative disciplines. It has undoubtedly made me a much better writer.

Change/Makers alumni profile video: Entertainment Designer James Paick on designing a life of play

With its bookcases full of toys, games, models and monstrous action figures, the lobby of Scribble Pad Studios could double as a Comic-Con booth or a teenager’s fantasy boy-cave. Not far off is a large room full of people mouse-clicking in front of monitors containing the dark landscapes of video games. While this kind of activity might get a person in trouble at most other jobs, the work is all about play at this entertainment design firm, founded by Art Center Alum James Paick (Illustration, ’04),  specializing in character, creature and concept design for video games, TV and film.

Paick, who founded Scribble Pad in 2008, didn’t attend Art Center with the intention of becoming an entertainment designer. In fact, the Entertainment Design department didn’t yet exist back then. But in the years since, it has become one of Art Center’s most sought-after degrees, which has inspired the launch of the new Character Animation track in Entertainment Design, now accepting applications for Fall 2015.

Ultimately, it was Paick’s passion for popular culture and science fiction informed his illustration work, which he leveraged to land work in various video game design firms before he set out on his own and launched his own business. There’s a lot to admire about James Paick (the subject of our newest Change/Makers alumni video profile) who now spends his days creating fantasmagorical alternate realities and conjuring the creepy creatures who inhabit them. Check out the above video and the Q&A below to learn more about his creative inspirations and the wisdom behind making work out of the booming business of play.

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Stave off back-to-school angst with the latest episodes of our Student/Space videos

Spring 2015 Orientation begins today. And while an Art Center initiation holds the potential to overwhelm and intimidate with its alphabet soup of acronyms (extra credit to any new student who can define ACCD, CSE,  JFK and LAT). Then there are those daunting tales of Art Center’s punishing workloads and cringe-inducing crits.

Of course, it’s worth noting that any challenges encountered here will not be experienced in vain. There is a method behind the madness. An Art Center education, above all else, instills a process-driven approach to the audacious act of bringing innovative and imaginative ideas to life.

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Worth a rewatch: Graphic Design department’s new Begin Here video

Still from the Graphic Design department's Begin Here video.

Still from the Graphic Design department’s Begin Here video.

Have you watched the Graphic Design department’s new Begin Here video for prospective students? If not, do so now. All finished? Okay, now watch it again. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

Notice anything unusual? Besides department chair Nik Hafermaas posing with a hawk?

No, you’re not going crazy—several elements in the video change upon a second viewing. For example, the individual students featured during the “people like him and her” portion of the narration. Watch it again and you’ll see yet another pair.

What’s going on here? This two-minute recruitment video is not a video in the traditional sense. Rather it’s an interactive work that mixes together a series of dynamically populated video segments as well as time- and location-based information—like the user’s current location, current weather for both the user and for Art Center students, and the current week and term at the College—into a cohesive narrative.

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Capturing Art Center in close-up: Viewbook photographer, alumna Stella Kalinina

Viewbook photographer Stella Kalinina (BFA 13) with the finished product in hand. (Photo by Chuck Spangler)

Viewbook photographer Stella Kalinina (BFA 13) with the finished product in hand. (Photo by Chuck Spangler)

Remember when you were shopping around for college? You were likely deluged with thick catalogs and eye-catching viewbooks sent by institutions vying for your attention. Even in the internet era, the printed viewbook remains a vital tool for communicating a school’s value proposition to prospective students—especially when it comes to art and design schools.

Art Center’s 2015–2016 Viewbook, showcasing student work in 11 undergraduate and six graduate degree programs, was published in September, both in print and online. Content and design for the biennial publication are developed by a core team of Marketing and Communications staff members, in collaboration with Kit Baron, senior vice president, Admissions and Enrollment Management, and the College’s Provost Fred Fehlau.

High-quality visuals are key to the Viewbook, which this year features contributions from photographer Stella Kalinina (BFA 13), commissioned to capture student life on campus and in classrooms. It was a large and complex project, one that Stella was well prepared for as a recent graduate of the College’s Photography and Imaging program, with its emphasis on technical and professional skills along with creative expression. Continue reading

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

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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Fall 2014 Orientation: Ready. Set. School!

New students touring campus with peer mentors

New students touring campus with peer mentors

“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

This week, 450 new undergraduate and graduate students will meet with key staff members who will aid in their transition to Art Center, get to know peers, mingle with upper term students from various disciplines, receive insight from faculty members and have a chance to get acclimated to campus life through a networking gathering. This is Art Center orientation—expertly crafted and designed by the Center for the Student Experience (CSE) to prepare the entering class for success in their studies.

It is a week defined by securing ID cards and parking passes, touring the campus, eating, listening and observing. Everything planned this week will help the rookies succeed at Art Center. But one of the most important ways to prepare for what lies ahead is to listen to those who have done it. In the spirit of learning from others’ mistakes and successes, The Dotted Line gathered some nuggets of expert advice (solicited on Facebook from current and former students) for the newcomers among us:

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If I knew then what I know now: Alumni advice for incoming students


A new crop of students sprouted at Art Center on Monday. The group of newbies was humming with excitement and anxiety about the eight terms of full-immersion art and design education that lay ahead. Many of their concerns will be addressed and allayed during their week-long initiation into Art Center’s community of high-intensity creatives.

But the official orientation doesn’t quite cover everything a new student needs to know about life at Art Center. The most useful, actionable advice for incoming students—we’re talking about security-cleared insider intel—can only be gleaned from people who’ve been there and done that.

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New to Art Center? This orientation week survival guide may come in handy.

This week Art Center welcomes new students for a week of orientation and acclimation to life in the arroyo. Before getting down to the nitty gritty, here’s a few fun facts you may not know about the College:

  • The Sculpture Garden once held world-class sculptures on loan from LACMA.
  • Mary Lambert’s recent Body Love video was filmed on the sound stage at Art Center by alum Jon Jon Augustavo.
  • Some say the best bathrooms (and showering facilities) on campus are in the basement of 950 South Raymond.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for the deer wandering around and through Hillside campus. They are often photographed, frequently filmed and much loved.
  • Bears also make an occasional appearance. These appearances are less Facebook-friendly.

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