Archive for the ‘Alumni Relations’ Category

Looking to fire up your Fourth of July? Check out these blast-tacular movie explosions!

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Wherever you decide to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence—in a small town watching a patriotic parade or an urban center sampling designer cocktails on a hotel rooftop—we know you are really just passing time until dark, waiting for the fireworks start.

To whet your appetite in anticipation of the pyrotechnic exhibition of your choice, we offer up some dynamite detonation displays from the silver screen.

No 4th of July celebration should go by without a viewing of the spectacular demolition of Paris in Michael Bay’s (BFA 88 Film) Armageddon.

An oldie but goodie, it is always worth watching the final scene of David Lean’s classic, The Bridge on the River Kwai.

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Design polymath Michael Sans immerses Bikini Berlin in a high-intensity trans-disciplinary experience

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Michael Sans with Art Center students in Berlin

Michael Sans with Art Center students in Berlin

“Inspiring and helping each other goes both ways,” says Product Design alumnus Michael Sans of his engagement with students at Art Center Bikini Berlin, the College’s satellite studio where he is managing director.

Sans’ own education began at the workbench of his woodworker grandfather in a small German town on the Rhine. He apprenticed as a cabinetmaker, briefly studied architecture in Florence, and turned to product design when he entered the program at Art Center Europe in Switzerland—emerging forever shaped by its “professional approach, intense schedule, small classes and perfect facilities.”

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The female gaze: Shestock photography agency focuses on women behind and in front of the camera

Thursday, June 25th, 2015
The stock photo agency Shestock is the brainchild of Photography alumna Karen Beard (pictured), who aims to change how women and girls are portrayed.

The stock photo agency Shestock is the brainchild of Photography alumna Karen Beard (pictured), who aims to change how women and girls are portrayed.

“Girls today are inundated daily with imagery that is overtly or covertly sexist,” says Photography alumna Karen Beard. “They have not developed the skills to question the visual language that surrounds them. I wanted to do something about that as a mother, and I realized that I could.”

In 2012 Beard founded Shestock, a stock photography agency that offers compelling and visceral female-centric images created exclusively by professional women photographers. Early on in her career, Beard was drawn to the freedom that stock photography made possible. “Stock allowed me this open free space to create, to make mistakes, to evolve as a photographer—it gave me an outlet for that and a place to put the images. If they sold, that was great. If people passed, that was fine too.”

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No developing world emergency is too great for UNICEF Innovation Lab lead and MDP alum Jeff Hall

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
Media Design Practices alumnus Jeffrey Hall, in black T-shirt, conducted fieldwork in Uganda before being named UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia.

Media Design Practices alumnus Jeffrey Hall, in black T-shirt, conducted fieldwork in Uganda before being named UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia.

As UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia, alumnus Jeffrey Hall has developed a simple standard for his projects: to use design to improve the quality of people’s daily lives. “I collaborate with some amazing people, both in the U.N. and the creative community, to see how innovative approaches can be applied to improving their programs, technology, process or partnerships,” says Hall.

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Art Center students pave the road into the future of autonomous cars

Friday, June 19th, 2015
First cars to travel The Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940. Photo (detail): Los Angeles Public Library

First cars to travel The Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940. Photo (detail): Los Angeles Public Library

In On the Road, Jack Kerouac wrote, “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

But what does it mean when that “next crazy venture” is fueled by a set of algorithms?

As we’ve previously reported, the arrival of autonomous cars could very well usher in a new era of safer roads. But might the public be hesitant to hand over the keys of their vehicle–often seen as a bedrock American symbol of freedom–to Apple, Google or Uber?

“The promise of the automobile 100 years ago was being able to go anywhere, anytime,” says alumnus Stewart Reed (69), chair of Art Center’s transportation design programs. “This idea freed people from structuring their lives around stagecoach or train schedules and opened up a world of new experiences.”

What wasn’t the promise 100 years ago? Moving 11,700 vehicles an hour at peak times through the Sepulveda Pass. (more…)

Illuminating Lumi: charting a startup’s path from Shark Tank to Y Combinator to VC funding

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
Jesse Genet with Inkodye display

Jesse Genet with Inkodye display

When 16-year old Jesse Genet began printing tee shirts in her parents’ basement, the enterprising teen could have scarcely fathomed a future in which her bright idea would morph into Lumi, a company with $2.5 million in sales, which appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, earned a coveted spot in Silicon Valley’s hottest startup incubator Y Combinator (think Airbnb, reddit, Dropbox) and has just closed on a seed venture round of financing.

Jesse and Lumi business partner Stephan Ango met as Product Design students at Art Center. Before starting college, however, Jesse was a natural-born entrepreneur who sought out a better way to print photography on textiles. A ton of research led her to a reference about a dye process that intrigued her and eventually led her to the man who owned the rights to the dye and the last inventory of the substance. She first contacted him while still in high school. “He didn’t take me seriously at first,” Jesse recalls. “After all I was just a high school kid. It wasn’t until Stephan and I joined forces and we made several trips to Northern California to meet with him that he finally began to negotiate with us seriously.” (more…)

Autonomous for the people: cars of the future will need to balance new features with safety

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

 

Still from Media Design Practices students Elaine Cheung’s Connected Mobility “video sketch.”

Still from Media Design Practices students Elaine Cheung’s and Shan Shen’s Connected Mobility.

Last week, Chevrolet announced that more than a dozen of its 2016 cars and trucks would be compatible with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, the tech giants’ competing in-dash interfaces for vehicles that connect to the driver’s smartphone.

Considering both CarPlay and Android Auto were only publicly announced last year, the speed of Chevrolet’s adoption of these interfaces could signal a sea change in how quickly automakers respond to consumers’ demands.

Geoff Wardle, executive director of Art Center’s graduate Transportation Systems and Design program, says Silicon Valley’s forays into the transportation arena have lit the proverbial fire under Detroit.

“Traditionally the car industry has designed vehicles over a three- to four-year time period,” says Wardle. “But people want the same features in their cars that they have on their smartphones, which change every few months.”

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Doing the unimaginable: Alum Dan Santat’s Caldecott-winning book to become animated feature

Friday, May 29th, 2015
Detail of an illustration from Beekle by Dan Santat. Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Detail of an illustration from Beekle by Dan Santat. Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

It’s been quite a year for Illustration alumnus Dan Santat (BFA 01).

Back in February, he was awoken at 4:30 a.m. by a call from the American Library Association (ALA) with the news that his childrens’ book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend had won the Caldecott, the nation’s most prestigious award for childrens’ literature.

And this Wednesday it was announced that Jason Reitman, the Oscar-nominated director of Thank You for Smoking, Juno and Up in the Air, would be writing and directing an animated film based on Beekle for Dreamworks Animation.

“I was book shopping with my daughter, when a little tooth-shaped character wearing a paper crown stole our hearts,” said Reitman in a press release announcing the deal. “His name was Beekle, and I’m now honored to be adapting Santat’s charming story into a feature film.”

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Alumni video: Strategic brand storyteller Michael Etter sources his inspiration for the ‘beerification’ of wine

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Pizza delivery, filmmaking and teaching are not typical bullet points on a designer’s resume. But Michael Etter (BFA 03 Graphic Design) took a roundabout route to his chosen field at Art Center, which he ultimately came to see as the most effective means to exercise his passion for storytelling. The thread connecting all his diverse interests has always been a narrative one, which continues to inform his work today as a strategic brand storyteller.

What does that mean exactly? As you’ll see in the above video and the Q&A below, Etter works to define brands as if they were characters in a story he’s writing. He then shapes a campaign around the specific attributes of the company. It’s a process that has yielded supremely successful results. Case in point: His recent campaign for Union Wine Company, which was designed to take the pretension out of wine drinking and make it more casual and accessible to non-oenophiles. The resulting campaign combined design innovation—selling wine in cans. But it was Etter’s bold narrative about the “beerification of wine” that distilled the essence of the idea into a media-friendly easily digestible package, generating a smash hit for Union, which quickly sold out of its first run of cans and is now expanding its reach far beyond its roots in Oregon.

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Film alumnus Chris Campbell’s Maglite commercial wins student Emmy

Friday, May 15th, 2015
CCampbell

Alumnus Chris Campbell accepts the 1st Place Commercial award for “Maglite – Dreamweaver” at the 36th College Television Awards, presented by the Television Academy Foundation at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 23, 2015.

And the College Television Award for best commercial goes to….Art Center alumnus, Chris Campbell, for his Maglite—Dreamweaver spot, a heartwarming ad concept which features a father and son bonding while using the flashlight to make shadow puppets.

The Television Academy, which hosts the Emmy Awards, created The College Television Awards to offer film students a national platform to showcase their work and talent. Modeling itself on the Primetime Emmy judging process, entries are reviewed by active Television Academy members. With more than 1,100 students from 500 schools across the United States vying for a few slots it is also extremely competitive.

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