Archive for the ‘Faculty’ Category

Sky-high architectural praise for Pasadena’s Sequoyah School, designed by Art Center instructor Alice Fung

Monday, January 26th, 2015
The Sequoyah School expansion, designed by Fung+Blatt and featured in Architectural Record. View full slideshow.


The Sequoyah School expansion, designed by Fung + Blatt and featured in Architectural Record, features lofty classrooms that echo the original buildings on the site. View full slideshow.

For the last 12 years, architect and visual artist Alice Fung has been teaching a materials course in Art Center’s Integrated Studies Department while working as a principal with her architecture firm, Fung + Blatt. One of Fung + Blatt’s recently completed projects, the Sequoyah School in Pasadena, is featured in the January 2015 Schools of the 21st Century special issue of Architectural Record, in an article by Sarah Amelar, excerpted below. The magazine’s annual review looks at “the world’s most architecturally significant K-12 schools…that exemplify good design as a crucial component in a school’s programmatic development.” The issue is currently on newsstands and available at Art Center’s Student Store at Hillside Campus. The project also received an Honor Award from the AIA last fall.

True to the collaborative spirit of the progressive Sequoyah School, in Pasadena, California, its students played active roles in the recent architectural changes on campus. Architects Alice Fung and Michael Blatt asked the pupils at this independent K-8 school to list their “wild dream” improvements and prioritize their needs. Their input had impact: Fung + Blatt Architects’ (F+B) initial intervention here, in 2009, was a shaded pick-up/drop-off shelter, addressing a top priority of its users. The architects also tackled small projects, gradually weaving together the eclectic campus, before transforming a long-overlooked section with new buildings.

Instead of disrupting learning, the multi-phased design work inspired it, engaging students, for example, in mapping and analyzing the existing campus. In Sequoyah’s “place-based” pedagogy, its surroundings are fodder for learning.

But the site—a 2.25-acre parcel between a freeway off-ramp and a major artery—is not an obvious spot for a school. Sequoyah leases its campus from Caltrans, the state highway agency, yet the school has flourished here for decades, striking a balance among seemingly irreconcilable conditions. (more…)

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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LA Art Show casts a New Eye on Illustration’s emerging artists

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

The West Coast’s most comprehensive art experience, LA Art Show, is commemorating its 20th Anniversary at the LA Convention Center from January 14-18, 2015 and a handful of recent alumni from Art Center’s Illustration Department will be there to help celebrate.

Building on the success of last year’s partnership, Red Truck Gallery owner Noah Antieau again invited Associate Chair Aaron Smith to assemble a collection of work by Art Center’s Illustration alumni to showcase in “Littletopia,” a curated selection of galleries that are “bucking convention” in the art world. Smith has tapped emerging artists Zander Bice, Ranee Henderson, Ariel Lee, Valerie Pobjoy, Chris Youssef, Cassie Zhang to display their work under the “New Eye” banner, a term borrowed from the diverse tracks of study available within Art Center’s Illustration program. To add to the spectacle, upper-term students Addison Eaton and Erica Buttenschen will be presenting large, site specific sculptural installations at the fair.

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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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Typography Center to be Established with $2 Million Gift, Honors Beloved Professor Leah Hoffmitz Milken

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Leah_Hoffmitz_with-student-Copyright-Steven-A-Heller-Art-Center-College-of-Design

Letterform expert and Professor Leah Toby Hoffmitz Milken works with a student at Art Center where she taught for more than 20 years. © Copyright Steven A. Heller and Art Center College of Design

Typography is the hidden power player influencing the way we read, talk, write and interact with the digital world. Storytellers throughout corporate America, from soap makers to car manufacturers, articulate ideas through common visual languages. Similarly, global initiatives like the (RED) awareness campaign thrive from strong visual recognition. Armed with 21st-century visual literacy skills, artists and designers can be among the most important drivers in reaching consumers and influencers, helping business leaders communicate with each other and creating value for industry as well as nonprofits.

To that end, Art Center, this week announced a $2 million gift to the College from the Lowell Milken Family Foundation that will establish the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography. The Hoffmitz Milken Center’s aim is to advance the research, teaching and understanding of letterform design and typography. Recognizing typography as a vital component of our visual culture, the College has been developing plans to make Art Center a central influential force in this field. The Foundation’s gift helped turn those plans into reality.

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Artist Frederika Roeder explores “the shimmering luminosity of it all” with Art Center at Night

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Artist Frederika with her work Nightfog from her 2012 "Fog Series." Photo: Chuck Spangler

Artist Frederika Roeder with her work Nightfog from her 2012 “Fog Series.” Photo: Chuck Spangler

What kinds of students enroll in Art Center at Night (ACN), Art Center’s continuing studies program? Everybody from recent high school graduates to mid-career professionals to more experienced individuals pursuing new creative passions.

One student who took full advantage of ACN’s opportunities is artist Frederika Roeder, a California native whose work reflects the wide vistas, horizons and expanses of the Golden State. She uses mixed media—including acrylic, gels, resin and molding paste—to explore what she calls “the shimmering luminosity of it all.”

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Beyonce and beyond: Fine Art department responds to debate over “Pretty Hurts” course description

Monday, November 24th, 2014
Beyoncé Inc. (S, M, L, XL) by April Bey Oil on maternity mannequin and board 36''X48'' 2014

Beyoncé Inc. (S, M, L, XL), by April Bey. Oil on maternity mannequin and board, 36”X48”, 2014

This guest blog post comes in response to recent digital conversation sparked by an article on MTV.com taking issue with the description for an undergraduate Fine Art course (co-taught, not incidentally, by a woman of color) entitled “Pretty Hurts.” This piece, composed by Fine Art department chair Vanalyne Green and course instructors Ariel McCleese and April Bey, was intended to contribute to this vital and momentous exchange as well as to elucidate the intentions animating the description’s provocation. We hope the dialogue will continue as we wholeheartedly embrace the values of inclusivity and gender equality that have informed this conversation as well as the work of all the artists discussed below. Please continue to weigh in with your thoughts and ideas on this dynamically shifting terrain in the comments section below. 

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Art Center in Asia: It Began in Japan

Friday, November 21st, 2014
Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57), second from right, arrives in the United States in the 1950s.

Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57), second from right, arrives in the United States in the 1950s.

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we take a look at Art Center College of Design’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Take a trip with us through time and across the Pacific as we look back in history and forward to the future. Today, we explore the College’s historic relationship with Japan.

In 1956, Edward A. “Tink” Adams, Art Center’s first president, traveled to Japan with Advertising alumnus George Jergenson (BFA 35)—then the director of the College’s Industrial Design (ID) Department—and ID faculty member John Coleman. They had been invited by the Japanese government to tour the country and to share their thoughts on how industrial design could provide a competitive advantage for a nation still early in its post-war recovery.

After returning to the U.S., they filed a formal report containing several recommendations for Japan, including instilling a sense of national pride in products being “Made in Japan”—they cited Nikon’s confidence in placing its name on its camera, “one of the finest cameras anywhere”—and making sure Japanese students fully grasp their country’s rich cultural history. The future designer, it stated, “will learn more…from studying Japanese masters of painting and design than he will from Western art.”

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Art Center in Asia: Create Change Design Forums at Beijing Design Week

Friday, November 14th, 2014
Art Center's Mark Breitenberg welcomes participants to the 2014 Create Change Forums in Beijing.

Art Center’s Mark Breitenberg welcomes participants to the 2014 Create Change Forums in Beijing.

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we take a look at Art Center College of Design’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Take a trip with us through time and across the Pacific as we look back in history and forward to the future. Today’s focus: the College’s growing relationship with China.

Whether it’s the impending arrival of China-made cars to the U.S. market or Film alumnus Michael Bay’s (BFA 88) Transformers: Age of Extinction breaking the $300 million barrier at the Chinese box office, these days all eyes are on the Middle Kingdom. And Art Center is no exception.

Just ask Mark Breitenberg, special assistant to the College’s president, who led the Create Change Design Forums, a three-day series of presentations and workshops which took place in China this September during Beijing Design Week.

At the packed forums, co-organized by Graduate Industrial Design (Grad ID) alumnus Lan Yu and sponsored by her company, Art Center leaders and alumni met with employees from 70 Chinese companies to introduce them to Art Center’s methodologies and creative processes.

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Art Center’s Berlin program highlighted in Superior Magazine Q&A with Graphic Design’s Simon Johnston

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
Simon Johnston

Simon Johnston

The following interview with Graphic Design faculty member Simon Johnston originally appeared in Superior Magazine. We’re republishing it here because it’s incredibly illuminating about Art Center’s BIKINI Berlin program as well as the depth of Art Center’s iterative process. And it’s not every day that a faculty member makes the pages of a men’s fashion magazine!

We live in a world that is controlled and dominated by technology. But students from Art Center College of Design, who are currently guests in BIKINI Berlin, have carried out an experiment. Banned from any technology, they focused their creativity on the actual process of design, and worked with analog methods and tools in their creative process. The results are remarkable, and will be shown in the form of an exhibition on November 20th. This project is directed by the designer and typographer Simon Johnston.

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