Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category

Art Center Dialogues: Dede Gardner on leadership in Hollywood

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

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“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, Art Center Dialogues.  The most recent speaker was Dede Gardner. Her long list of producing credits in film and television include award winners such as Tree of Life and 12 Years a Slave, as well as box office smashes World War Z and Eat Pray Love. As President of Plan B, (Brad Pitt’s production company), she has overseen the creation of dozens of films with some of the industry’s top talent.

The auditorium was at capacity with students eager to participate in the Q & A, followed by a screening of the Academy Award nominated Selma, her most recent project. Gardner was on campus to talk about leadership, and much to the pleasure of the crowd, a little insider gossip. When an audience member asked if she was able to speak about Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe project she said, “Yes, do you have eighteen million dollars?” Or, when a student inquired if she would do everything the same again, starting over as a 16 year-old, she quipped, “Can I start at 36, instead?”

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Art Center @ SXSW Interactive 2015: Malcolm Gladwell, John Maeda, immortality and mind-clones

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
John Maeda delivers the Design in Tech Report at SXSW Interactive 2015

John Maeda delivers the Design in Tech Report at SXSW Interactive 2015

Taken as a whole, the sweeping scope of topics discussed within the sessions on offer at SXSW Interactive formed an MRI-like portrait of the sub-currents coursing beneath the surface of our society. One of the dominant themes to emerge throughout the conference was the need to populate the tech, design and creative industries with makers and leaders who reflect the diversity of the audiences and users they aim to serve.

This imperative for inclusivity among the ranks of our creative and technological influencers bubbled up early and often on Day 2 of our coverage, in a variety of milieu beginning with our first session of the day: What Does an Art and Design Incubator Look Like? The panel’s lineup of NY-based artists and innovators included Art Center alum Lisa Park (Fine Art), whose performance installation pieces deploy technology in the service of illuminating our emotional lives through the use of sensors and sound, in addition to three other artist-entrepreneurs whose creative practices straddle the intersection of the entrepreneurial, technological and creative spheres.

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Art Center @ SXSW Interactive 2015: Frank Lloyd Wright, Princess Reema and David Chang

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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Let’s face it, the essential ingredients comprising daily life in the Digital Age are in a state of head-spinningly rapid change, we’re often just racing to keep up, unaware of the impact the onslaught of the new. Sometimes it’s hard not to wonder what’s been lost now that we have unlimited distractions, a highly curated set of entertainment options and no space for boredom. What are the unforeseen implications of the increasingly widespread adoption of the internet of things, artificial intelligence and the shared economy? How do we create a more inclusive and equitable environment for everyone who steps into the digital domain?

These were just a few of the thorny and thought-provoking questions addressed within the vast offerings of the 2015 SXSW Interactive program. In fact, this year’s lineup was so densely packed with timely, topical and totally useful panels, workshops and mentoring meet-ups, navigating the offerings was an exercise in content curation, information architecture and design thinking. Because so much of the subject matter covered within the festival’s many panels and lectures is so indisputably germane to the Art Center community, we attended the festival targeting the events most Art Center-relevant events, which we’ll recap to you in the form of key takeaways parceled out within a series of blog posts over the next three days.

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Grad Film alum Elran Ofir conjures a slot in Cannes Short Film Corner

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

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Spring brings the arrival of many things. Swans pursue the thawing lakes in the north. Leaves return to barren trees. And film moguls descend on the white beaches of Cannes for premiers and deal making. This year, alum Elran Ofir (Grad Film 14), will be one of the fortunate few whose film will be included in the Cannes Short Film Corner, a special section for filmmakers to gain access to industry meetings, workshops and conferences on strategic issues.

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Stuart Fingerhut reinvents the future of retail through experiential design

Friday, March 13th, 2015
Stuart Fingerhut designs Scion's presence at major international auto shows.

Stuart Fingerhut designs Scion’s presence at major international auto shows.

The following profile of Environmental Design alumnus Stuart Fingerhut appeared in the January 2015 issue of VSMD Magazine. Read how Fingerhut’s leading-edge thinking about reconceiving the retail experience to be more about connection than commerce informs the success of his experiential marketing work for Toyota’s Scion brand as well as his personal design practice creating functional art.

Stuart Fingerhut seems to have this experiential design thing all figured out. As creative director for Toyota’s Scion brand at the George P. Johnson Experience Marketing Agency in Los Angeles, Fingerhut is responsible for creating Scion’s presence at major international automobile shows.

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February 2015 Art Center alumni notes

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Illustration by Kim Ryu for the February 2, 2015 edition of the New York Times Sunday Book Review

Illustration by Kim Ryu for the February 2, 2015 edition of the New York Times Sunday Book Review

It’s been a fruitful awards season—and not just for the creative team behind Birdman. Art Center alums have amassed an impressive array of accolades, from the Caldecott Medal (the Oscars of children’s literature) to the Oscars themselves. So in lieu of glitzy after party, we’ve done the next (or perhaps next, next) best thing and compiled highlights from our alumni community’s recent accomplishments below. Enjoy!

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Giving design the business: The ROI on Art Center’s longstanding partnership with INSEAD

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

What at first felt like a total culture clash just a decade ago is now standard practice in most top-earning companies. The idea of blending design innovation with business strategy has quickly evolved from a seedling, to a trend and now to a “must have.”

Art Center alumni and friends reunited in San Francisco on February 28 to celebrate the 10-year partnership of the College and INSEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools. Close to 150 industry leaders gathered at the posh play-inducing headquarters of Airbnb on Brannan Street to toast the success of a concept early adopters admitted seemed wacky.

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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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Furniture designers square off on Spike TV’s “Framework,” featuring Product Design alum Nolen Niu

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Common, Nolen Niu, Brandon Gore. Image courtesy Spike TV.

Framework judges Common, Nolen Niu, Brandon Gore. Image courtesy Spike TV.

When a casting agent called Product Design alumnus Nolen Niu (BS 99) asking if he would be interested in participating as a judge on a Spike TV show, he said “Hell yeah!” A fan of such shows as Bar Rescue and Catch a Contractor, Niu didn’t even ask what the show was about before agreeing to participate. That enthusiasm, and his well-earned reputation as a furniture designer, landed him a stint as one of three judges on the furniture design reality competition, Framework, Spike TV’s newest reality show, where contestants vie to be named best furniture maker—and win a $100,000 prize. There is still time to binge watch the entire series online before the finale, which will air March 10th.

At first it was a bit surreal for Niu to see himself on TV and to get recognized at some of the most random places. Overall though, “[this] has been one of the best experiences I’ve had during my career as a designer, says Niu. “The opportunity to judge a competition and hold a position of authority related to design was an absolute honor.”

In tune with the current maker movement, Framework offers a glimpse into the process of creating handcrafted goods. “The design and build process is very analog in nature compared to the completely digital lifestyles that we live in today. It’s important that these shows continue to be produced since it shines light on the level of complexity of the work we as designers and makers perform,” notes Niu.

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Harriet Rubin on speaking beauty to power and rebranding the meaning of leadership

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Princessa: Machiavelli for Women by Harriet Rubin

Princessa: Machiavelli for Women by Harriet Rubin

Last week, the Humanities and Sciences department played host to Harriet Rubin, Art Center’s first Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

Rubin founded Currency, an imprint of Doubleday. She has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, was a senior writer and columnist for Fast Company (a “Currency Magazine” prototype became Fast Company), and is the author of Soloing: Realizing Your Life’s Ambition,  Princessa: Machiavelli for Women and Dante in Love: The World’s Greatest Poem and How it Made History.

Rubin spent a week at the College spurring discussions both in and out of classrooms; and on Wednesday she presented an Art Center Dialogues lecture titled “The Secret Life of Leaders,” which included a thought-provoking discussion on the nature of leadership and the powerful role that poet-priests play as societal influencers.

Below are highlights from her lecture:

On the word “leadership”:
“Leadership” is a word we use a lot, but it is sounding increasingly archaic,  like “zoo” or “Triceratops” or “mini-skirts.” The media, Washington, business schools, colleges all talk reverently about leadership, but why? This Monday I heard two wonderful presentations by students in Gerardo Herrera’s class on marketing Coffee-mate to millenials. And it occurred to me that leadership may be just like Coffee-mate. Maybe that’s what we should do with leadership. We need to rebrand it.

On the actual power of “leadership”:
We’re living in a bottom-up world. Social media undermines centralized power. Flash mobs, Kickstarter, sleeper cells, tribal consciousness, shadow governments. The most-watched TV anchor Brian Williams, the leader in TV news, is revealed as no leader at all. I keep wondering if secretly nobody wants to be a leader. Maybe Brian Williams created the circumstances of his own firing. Maybe he really wanted to get out of his soulless role, and the only way he thought he could do it was by kicking it all apart.

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