Category Archives: General Interest

Spring 2016 orientation: Back-to-school pro tips for surviving and thriving at ArtCenter


Student orientation

Student orientation

Ah, the first day of school. It’s an initiation fraught with the anxiety of the unknown and flashbacks to the horrors of middle school cafeteria mishaps. Fortunately, ArtCenter has built in a full schedule of activities to provide a soft landing to incoming students and their families.

Orientation Week’s busy agenda features social mixers and in-depth information sessions on everything from campus sustainability to the infamous ArtCenter critique. Students are also matched with Orientation Leaders, who act as guides, companions and resources for the latest insider information on navigating the academic, social and geographic peculiarities of life at ArtCenter

In the spirit of optimizing the orientation week experience for the incoming class of 2016, we’ve compiled the following authoritative collection of pro tips from our Facebook community of current and former students to help ArtCenter newbies avoid rookie mistakes.

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ArtCenter Holiday Card 2016: Iterate. Ideate. Celebrate.

Happy holidays from ArtCenter!

Jules Itzkoff, a 7th term Illustration student, designed our holiday card mural, made from thousands of Post-its — the ubiquitous building blocks of making at ArtCenter. He wanted to celebrate the passing of another year, saying, “let’s all just forget about this whole 2015 business and focus on the future.” Jules came to ArtCenter from Cincinnati, Ohio and has been drawing and writing on things as long as he can remember. His work varies widely, from exacting and realistic drawings, to the bizarre and surreal. He has also tackled a variety of commercial advertising projects, including his most recent commission from Proctor & Gamble where he hand painted six Metro Gold Line trains.

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Student opinion: What’s the role of activism and the #blacklivesmatter movement at ArtCenter?

Current student, Kayla Salisbury

Current Illustration student, Kayla Salisbury

The following piece, by Illustration student Kayla Salisbury, emerged out of a dialogue that began in the comments section of ArtCenter’s Instagram page. Kayla sought to connect with other ArtCenter community members around the activist movements calling for policy change on college campuses across the country and around the world. Because ArtCenter can be an intense, focused and sometimes isolating environment, Kayla wasn’t sure where or how to engage her peers in a public dialogue around these issues. So we offered her this space to begin that conversation. Please feel free to use the comments section below to weigh in with your own opinions. And should you need more space to express yourself, we also welcome student submissions from all viewpoints.

I am writing this blog for ArtCenter students, particularly those who don’t spend much time talking to people outside their apartments and classrooms. I feel it is vital to know what is going on in the world. Everything has an effect on us, whether we know it or not. Stereotypes, the media and the current state of America are just three factors that influence us in ways we can’t even measure.

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Watch legendary artists create OUTSIDEIN: The Ascendance of Street Art in Visual Culture

ArtCenter’s OUTSIDEIN exhibition, on display at both campuses through January 10, 2016, was inspired in part by the mural Keith Haring painted at the College’s Hillside Campus in 1989, commemorating the World Health Organization’s second annual AIDS Awareness Day. That piece, which took two days to paint, was Haring’s last completed work. Three months later he died of AIDS.

To commemorate Haring’s legacy as well today’s celebration of the 28th anniversary of AIDS Awareness Day, the above video traces the origins of ArtCenter’s longstanding relationship to street art and the insurgent role graffiti-based street murals have played in embedding social and political messages in an emerging, evolving and now mainstream form of creative expression. Combining in-depth artist interviews and time-lapse footage of their creative process, this piece provides a rare glimpse inside the creative process, connecting the dots between the legacy of this subversive art form to its current role as an arbiter of pop culture aesthetics and an access point for popular engagement with the arts.

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

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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Tales from the art side: ArtCenter launches Untold Stories to share alumni Q&As

Jon Jon Augustavo (MFA 13 Grad Film)
This short is not only something I’m proud of—the tone, the look and the story are all representative of my voice as a filmmaker and it is probably the last time I was able to create something that’s not weighed down by expectation or inundated by other voices. This is something that is truly me. More recently I’m waking up and developing a few independent feature films. Films go much slower than commercials and music videos and the projects start out seeming so far away, like a pipe dream. But in the blink of an eye everything starts to happen and it’s all on top of you.

We have created a virtual sharing space, Untold Stories: Q&As with ArtCenter Alumni, for alumni to talk about their past, present and future projects as well as the ideas and challenges that shape their careers, lives and work.

ArtCenter alumni are some of the most accomplished art and design professionals in the world. We hail their prominent successes in our various digital and print publications, including Dotted Line, Dot magazine, the Viewbook and social media channels.

We are proud to share these triumphant moments. But fame—or even outsize accomplishment—is not the only evidence of success. We believe that inspiration, innovation and authenticity are the true hallmarks of a creative and fulfilling life. So, as we celebrate our 85th anniversary we are embarking on an effort to understand meaningful achievement in all its variations and to share the many untold stories of ArtCenter alumni.

In many ways the site is an anthology of alumni work and will be used as a source for content on all of our communications channels where we will continue to share the ArtCenter story with the world. Alumni have been invited to explore and engage with Untold Stories by answering questions and submitting images to this highly visual and highly personal space. This is the place where designers and artists share their thoughts as well as their work. Here is a small sample of posts already inhabiting the space. We invite you to visit Untold Stories to peruse the rest and keep checking back for new entries.

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HQ:LA Part 3 Spencer Nikosey – Creatives calling LA home

Alumnus Spencer Nikosey at Killspencer in Silver Lake. Photo: Stella Kalinina

Alumnus Spencer Nikosey at Killspencer in Silver Lake. Photo: Stella Kalinina

For creative professionals, the allure of Los Angeles goes far beyond ‘You can’t beat the weather.’ In this series, ‘HQ:LA,’ we invite you to meet three thriving entrepreneurs who have made the City of Angels their headquarters. Today: Alumnus Spencer Nikosey.

Drive four miles northwest from our last stop, and you’ll arrive in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood. And it’s here on a stretch of Sunset Boulevard filled with storefronts pitching everything from antique furniture to Spanish-language Pentecostal services, that you’ll find Killspencer, the burgeoning company founded by Product Design alumnus Spencer Nikosey (BS 08).

Killspencer began as a project at ArtCenter in which Nikosey, inspired by a field trip to the American Military Museum, repurposed the tarp of a Humvee into a waterproof backpack.

To say his idea caught on quickly would be an understatement. Killspencer launched as the centerpiece of Nikosey’s graduating portfolio in December 2008; in January 2009 the company began selling products internationally. So why did Nikosey choose to manufacture in L.A.? That was also inspired by a field trip of sorts.

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7 inspiring and delightful nuggets of ArtCenter wisdom from the 2015 Core77 conference

Alumna Jessie Kawata speaks at the Core77 conference.

Alumna Jessie Kawata speaks at the Core77 conference.

Core77’s second annual conference came to town last week and set up shop in downtown Los Angeles at Vibiana, the former cathedral now event space, which Core77 called “an architectural gem” and touted as a venue that once hosted a concert by Snoop Dogg (“If it’s good enough for Snoop, it’s good enough for us.”).

It was also good enough for seven members of the ArtCenter community who appeared on stage at the conference, whose theme was Designing Here/Now, and who delighted and inspired the packed audience with “thought-provoking ideas and projects that are years ahead of schedule.”

Appearing on stage were: alumni Nadine Schelbert, Matthew Manos, Jessie Kawata, and Javier Verdura, the latter appearing in conversation with Transportation Design faculty Eric Noble; Advertising and Graphic Design faculty Nicole Jacek; and former faculty Ravi Sawhney.

For your own inspiration and delight, we’ve assembled seven of our favorite ArtCentric quotes from the stage:

“Water has its own will. When you design with it you have to develop an understanding for that will. You can never truly control it, but you can entice it to behave a certain way.”

Nadine Schelbert (BS 02 Environmental Design)
Director of Design, WET

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In the zone at Yosemite: A photography class hits the road

Captain_DogV2 copy

El Capitan on left. Oliver at the Eureka Valley Sand Dunes on right.

Ansel Adams famously taught at ArtCenter in the 1940’s and invented Zone Theory with Fred Archer while at the school. Peter Suszynski is still teaching their timeless concept, and offering students the unique opportunity to visit and photograph Yosemite National Park – a favorite haunt of Adams and the ideal place to put his theory to the test. The assignment for the class is to create six unique but cohesive images. It is a difficult project but Pete’s guidance and the Zone Theory system make it possible. Continue reading

Totally MAX’d Out: Adobe debuts showstopping digital design tools, Fujifilm partnership amid pyrotechnic razzle-dazzle

Like conventioneers to the swag table, over 7,000 creative professionals from the four corners of the globe descended on the Los Angeles Convention Center last week for Adobe MAX 2015, Abobe’s annual celebration of creativity and their amazing tools that help designers turn imagination into reality.

This year’s theme “Changing the World Through Digital Experiences” resonates well with Art Center’ ethos of changing the world through design—design made possible in large part by Adobe’s ever-widening, ever-more-powerful line up of creative software.  Indeed, many of the greatest changes that design will enable in the coming years will likely involve Adobe’s Creative Cloud at some point in the creative process.

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