As we prepare to celebrate Richard Pietruska’s remarkable accomplishment of 40 years as an instructor at Art Center, we are receiving numerous notes and images from his former students expressing their appreciation for his impact on their lives and careers. I just received a particularly heartfelt and personal email from our alumnus Chris Bangle.
As you may know, Chris is one of our most notable Transportation Design alumni who has had an amazing career (still in progress) – first, as a designer for Opel, then Fiat, then a long and distinguished career leading the BMW global design team.
I greatly value Chris’ authentic and kind words about Richard, which are undoubtedly echoed by many.
– Stewart Reed, Chair of Transportation Design
It was my great fortune to have had Richard as an instructor during my time at Art Center. And judging by his perennially youthful looks today, it must have been around that time he painted his own “Portrait of Dorian Gray” and gave it to another instructor to lock away forever (they tend to do that).
Richard was inspiring in content and method of instruction: one of the first really empathetic instructors I encountered after quite a few semesters experiencing the terrorizing “boot-camp” teachers who were pulling our collective hair out (theirs included) trying to get us neophytes over the hump of learning the basics. Richard treated us as young professionals who should already know which end of the pencil to sharpen but had not been challenged by the illustration techniques and depths of composition assignments he had in store. I still have the paintings I did in his class on my walls and still tell stories of their creation with pride.
Perhaps more importantly Richard was (and no doubt still is) the eye level reference-professional for young designers; someone who speaks their language and can absorb their angsts and talk through their dreams over a beer––not from behind a lectern. For many of us he was a psychological anchor in a maelstrom of real and imagined stresses; the one you could always go to with a problem or when in need of an ear that was really listening and who’s encouragement was authentic and heartfelt.
To know the man is to know Art Center College of Design at its best.
For all that caring––besides the sharing of his craft––I am deeply indebted to Richard Pietruska and very proud to call him friend. I am sorry I am far away (but not in spirit!) on his big day but wish him well and hope he has the opportunity to tour the world of his ex-students and glow in the spirit he has sown.
–Chris Bangle is Managing Director Chris Bangle Associates SRL, Clavesana, Italy
Art Center will hold a reception for alumni, fellow instructors and the broader community to honor Pietrushka’s 40 years with the College on October 24, from 7pm to 9pm. RSVP