Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category

Hope is in the bag: Saeri Dobson designs handcrafted purses in support of displaced Bangladeshi girls

Monday, July 21st, 2014
Saeri Dobson designed these wallets to support Bangladeshi girls and women rescued from brothels.

Saeri Dobson designed these wallets to support Bangladeshi girls and women rescued from brothels.

The following letter pays tribute to Art Center alum Saeri Dobson’s tireless and selfless work on behalf of Bangladeshi girls who have been rescued from brothels. Dobson (MFA 00 NEWM), whose ethically-minded creative practice is embedded right in her company name: By SaeRi: Design + Humanity.

image-1“I founded By SaeRi, Inc. to tell the stories of amazing human lives through my design,” says Dobson, who produces several lines of handmade bags and wallets ranging from bright and funky to chic and understated. She donates 10% of her profits to Speak Up for the Poor, a non-profit supporting displaced Bangladeshi girls and women. “Each By SaeRi bag is one of a kind, designed and made entirely in the USA. I handpick all the materials and oversee the production process.”

This letter, by the founder of Speak Up for the Poor, offers a snapshot of social impact design in action, exemplifying the vast potential for designers to change the world by bringing their social conscience to bear on their creative practice. We salute Saeri’s commitment to her cause, not to mention the elegant leather craftsmanship she brought to the entirely covetable Project Hope line of tote bags.

 

I am writing to express my organization’s support for the work of By SaeRi, Inc., a business which has generously supported our work for several years. Speak Up for the Poor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, serves girls in poverty in Bangladesh. We remove girls from brothels and fund a home for rescued girls; we run a large education program keeping girls-at-risk in school and out of child marriage and other forms of abuse and exploitation; and we do legal casework and advocacy for girls in poverty who have been abused.

Speak Up relies on the generous support of individuals and businesses. By SaeRi, Inc. has been a faithful financial supporter of our work for several years, giving generously since 2011 to help fund several of our projects in Bangladesh.

Starting in 2011, By SaeRi became a funder of our work at the Alingon Home, a place for girls removed from brothels. In Bangladesh many young girls who are born to mothers working in brothels are themselves destined for forced prostitution as minors, and By SaeRi’s generosity helped fund our important work to remove and rehabilitate girls at the Alingon Home.

Similarly, By SaeRi’s generous financial support towards our Girls Education Program in 2012 and 2013 helped Speak Up build four Learning Centers in impoverished villages in southwestern Bangladesh, school rooms where hundreds of girls in our program receive academic support and mentoring to rise out of poverty and avoid the pitfalls of poverty. Several of Saeri Cho’s students have also contributed generously to our general fund, further catalyzing our efforts to serve girls in poverty in Bangladesh.

Speak Up is thankful to By SaeRi, and in particular, to the founder Ms. Saeri Cho Dobson for her hard work and generosity in supporting our work. We enthusiastically support their continued business expansion. We encourage you to extend every courtesy possible to enable By SaeRi to grow in its important mission as a socially responsible business.

Please contact me with any questions.

Sincerely, Troy Anderson

Founder and International Director, Speak Up

Artworld luminaries and Art Center alums pay tribute to Mike Kelley’s legacy as an educator

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Of all the ways Mike Kelley has been celebrated for his pivotal contributions to contemporary art, since his death on January 31, 2012, his impact as an educator may be the most significant aspect of his legacy to go relatively unexamined, if not unsung. Kelley was a faculty member of Art Center’s Graduate Art Department from 1992 to 2007. And during his time teaching at Art Center, Kelley mentored such monumental talents as video artist Diana Thater (who now chairs the department from which she graduated), multimedia artist Pae White, installation artist Jennifer Steinkamp and Fine Art faculty member Jean Rasenberger.

In the above video, inspired by Kelley’s MOCA retrospective, these artists examine the ways in which Kelley influenced the kind of artists they’ve become, the work they create and, perhaps most importantly, how they go about crafting and sustaining a life as an exhibiting artist. Kelley has often been credited with helping raise the clout and visibility of LA’s art scene when his career took off and he declined to follow the well-worn path previous west coast supernova artists had followed to New York. As one of the first internationally acclaimed artists to root himself in Los Angeles, Kelley was, in essence, laying the groundwork for his students and their contemporaries to do the same.

If these artists’ upwardly-tilting career paths are any indication, Kelley’s impact on his students, his city and his creative discipline only gets deeper as time goes on.

June 2014 alumni news and notes

Friday, July 11th, 2014
Photograph by Damon Casarez for the New York Times

Photograph by Damon Casarez for the New York Times

From The New York Times to Esquire, from Cannes to the Venice Biennale — Art Center alums have been busy making, making headlines and making their talents known within some of the world’s most prestigious events, platforms and publications. In addition to this primer on their accomplishments, we’re also inviting the Art Center alumni community to nominate candidates for this year’s Art Center Alumni Awards. Read on to learn more.

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Entertainment Design alum Edmund Liang is shaping the future one video game at a time

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Edmund Liang

Entertainment Design alum Edmund Liang

Edmund Liang is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in transmedia narratives and multi-sensory spatial experiences. Last fall, Liang was named one of Complex Art+Design’s 25 People Shaping the Future of Design and his projects—video games, interactive media, film and animation, motion graphics, photography—are as eclectic as his client list, which includes the Famous Group, Jim Henson Company, Dreamworks, Psyop, Imaginary Forces and Logan.tv.

A self-described “provocateur” in his field, Liang was once an “art kid” in high school who had no idea that there was a world of design. “I didn’t know that the keyboard in front of me was designed,” he recalled. “I didn’t know that the video games I was playing had people behind them.”

By the time it came time to consider colleges, Liang was first attracted to Art Center’s Illustration program and touring the campus prior to enrolling, he said, “I got the impression that it was a very rigorous and serious school. That’s what I wanted.”

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Artwork by Edmund Liang

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Change Maker: Remembering Chavez Ravine photographer Don Normark

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Don Normark (BFA 49) was a 19-year-old Photography student at Art Center College of Design, taking pictures near the freeway in Los Angeles one day, when a neighborhood high on a distant hillside caught his eye. Normark’s curiosity drew him to Chavez Ravine, an intact rural enclave of hundreds of Mexican-American families, and his love and compassion for the community kept him coming back. His 1948–49 photographs of Chavez Ravine became an in-depth document of a soon-to-be-lost world—a painful chapter in LA’s history culminating in the construction of Dodger Stadium in the 1950s. The work was largely unknown until 2003 when Chronicle Books published Chavez Ravine: 1949, along with former residents’ memories collected by the photographer.

Normark, who lived in Seattle, passed away on June 5 at age 86 following a battle with lung cancer, leaving a legacy of elegiac and iconic images that capture the transitory character of Los Angeles with uncommon sensitivity and resonance. His contributions have elicited an outpouring of recognition for his singular contribution to LA’s photographic history, including this moving obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

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The future of the digital novel is here thanks to Art Center faculty members Norman Klein and Margo Bistis

Friday, June 20th, 2014

I20C2.3map

Built with a team of artists and designers, Art Center Humanities & Sciences faculty Norman Klein and Margo Bistis released The Imaginary 20th Century, a ‘wunder-roman’ online narrative engine where fact and fiction split off and return to each other to tell the story in a unique form.

The Imaginary 20th Century is a tale of seduction, as well as espionage; of archiving and the transitive poetics of excavation. According to legend, in 1901 a woman named Carrie selects four men to seduce her, each with a version of the coming century. Inevitably, the future always spills off course. We navigate through the suitors’ worlds, follow Carrie on her travels and discover what she and her lovers forgot to notice. In 1917, Carrie’s uncle sets up a massive archive of her life.  For decades, Uncle Harry had worked for the oligarchs of Los Angeles erasing crimes that might prove embarrassing.  Thus, as he often explains, seduction itself is a form of espionage. In 2004, this archive was unearthed in Los Angeles.

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Art Center Business Club launches design networking tour through San Francisco’s most innovative design studios

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 2.25.08 PMHailing Uber cabs, grabbing a cup of the Bay Area’s finest coffee, snapping photos of Fisherman’s Wharf and meeting with some of the biggest design consultancies on the West Coast—it’s all in a day’s work for the the members of Art Center Business Club.

This past May, 14 members of the Art Center Business Club (ACBC) packed up for a week of exciting studio tours in San Francisco– ten in all. The agenda included meetings with such consultancies as IDEO, frog design, inc., and NewDealDesign, as well as print and media companies like Chronicle Books and WIRED.

In a time of unprecedented competition for art and design jobs, students actively seek out studios and companies they can join to jumpstart their careers. Students participate in internships offering a deeper understanding of a particular company’s creative ethos and workflow without the commitment of a full-time job. However, internships are seasonal and require a significant time commitment in order to determine whether that particular organization is a good fit. This is where studio visits come in. They deliver valuable insights into working culture, company culture, company structures—all the things you don’t learn as a student searching a firm’s website. With this knowledge, applicants emerge more informed and prepared to face the professional world.

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Designmatters and Aspen Institute examine the social, creative and economic impact of the new culture of ‘intrapreneurs’

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Mariana Amatullo speaking at Desigmnatters' Leap Symposium on the New Professional Frontier in Design For Social Innovation." Photo by Alex Aristei

Designmatters’ Mariana Amatullo opening the Leap Symposium: The New Professional Frontier in Design for Social Innovation. Photo ©2013 Alex Aristei for LEAP

This week the Aspen Institute launched a new series of essays on the growing importance of social intrapreneurs — change-agents within organizations large and small who are fusing business success with positive social and environmental impacts — and the value they are adding to their organizations and society. To kick off the series, the Institute, in collaboration with The Huffington Post, published the following piece by Mariana Amatullo, co-founder and vice president of Designmatters at Art Center College of Design.

Safir BellaliThe Institute also named 2001 Art Center alumnus Safir Bellali, Design Innovation director for Vans, to its incoming class of 2014 First Movers Fellows. Each fellow will tackle a project that will have a positive financial, social and environmental impact on both their company and society. Bellali, who maintains close ties with the College though his participation in critiques and hiring student interns, will explore how new manufacturing technologies will allow Vans to work toward bringing production back to the United States. In Fall 2014, Vans will sponsor a Designmatters/Product Design studio at Art Center.

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New series of alumni video profiles launches with this profile of tech design visionary Yves Behar

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Yves Behar has spent much of the past two decades inhabiting the rarefied air at the peak of design innovation. After graduating from Art Center College of Design in 1991 with a degree in Product Design, Behar became an early adopter in bringing a design ethos into the tech space, conceiving product identities for the likes of Apple and Hewlett-Packard. And in the years since founding his own forward-thinking industrial design and branding firm, Fuseproject, Behar has become something of an iconic brand in and of himself.

The above video represents the first in an ongoing series of video profiles of Art Center’s vanguard of mold-breaking, creatively audacious alumni. Behar welcomed Art Center’s video team into the hive of creative activity that is Fuseproject’s warehouse-like studio in San Francisco’s Mission District. The cavernous space was designed to promote collaboration and co-creation, with its long communal lunch table covered with bountiful fruit bowls full of healthy snacks, ripe for the picking. SodaStreams are stationed throughout the facility. And broad worktables are covered with mockup designs for top secret products that will most certainly one day make many lives easier, if not better. We hope you’ll come away as inspired as we were by Behar’s reflections on his own creative trajectory and the ways in which he’s continuing the Art Center tradition of learning to create and influencing change.

View from the Bridge: Grounded in reality and ready for professional liftoff

Monday, June 9th, 2014
Students present work to Honda Research and Development executives.

In a Sponsored Project, Graphic Design student Sungmoon Chung, center, presents work to alumnus and Honda R&D Americas Division Director Dave Marek (BS 87 Industrial), far right.

Summertime is traditionally set aside for leisurely activities—poolside lounging, pleasure reading and, at least through June, watching the Stanley Cup Final.

But here at Art Center, our students are as busy as ever. Many students continue their studies through the Summer term, while others, thanks to our dedicated staff in the Office of Career + Professional Development, scatter across the globe working as interns at an impressive array of organizations. It’s amazing, really, when you stop to look at where our students have landed internships:

  • Illustration student Adriana Crespo is at design firm IDEO in San Francisco;
  • Film student Juliana Rowlands is at director Roman Coppola’s production company The Director’s Bureau in Los Angeles;
  • Transportation Design student Harrison Scott Yen is at Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology division in Michigan;
  • Graphic Design student Siyun Oh is at the Museum of Modern Art in New York;
  • Transportation Design student Yang Fu is at vehicle manufacturer Renault in France;
  • Product Design student Benji Kurada is at Google in Switzerland; and
  • Transportation Design student Sean Peterson is at Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. These are not your everyday assignments; our students are working with some of today’s most prestigious companies.

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