Category Archives: Illustration

ArtCenter Premieres Student Self Portrait Video Series

Product Design student Miguel Harry

Product Design student Miguel Harry

ArtCenter has launched a new video series featuring student self portraits, providing a glimpse into the creative journeys of five of our students.

“In their process of researching colleges, most prospective students plan a campus visit, browse the website, or make an appointment with an admissions counselor,” said Kit Baron, senior vice president of Admissions and Enrollment Management for ArtCenter. “While these experiences are valuable and provide a great way to gather information, hearing directly from ArtCenter students to learn about their stories and their lives provides yet another deeper level of sharing. We’re often asked ‘What’s it really like to be an ArtCenter student?’ We hope the stories of these five talented individuals helps answer that common question and provide prospective students with a realistic glimpse into their world.”

Illustration Student Cristina Wilson

Illustration Student Cristina Wilson

The five students were asked to share their creative journeys and reveal personal details such as their early inspiration, decision to attend art school, current projects and long-term goals. All production in the field was completed by the individual students, who were commissioned to spend 12 weeks meeting once a month to workshop their projects, from proposal through final cut, while undertaking the challenging process of capturing their own creative evolution in a professional quality video—all in addition to their demanding studio and academic course load. Light guidance was provided throughout the creative process by a small team of staff from Admissions and Marketing and Communications. The result is a series of video self-portraits that truly capture the student’s intimate voice, motivations and distinctive viewpoints.

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ArtCenter Alumni Notes: November 2015 through January 2016

Diana Thater, A Cast of Falcons, 2008. Four video projectors, display computer, and two spotlights. Installation Photograph, Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. ©Diana Thater, photo ©Fredrik Nilsen

Diana Thater, A Cast of Falcons, 2008. Four video projectors, display computer, and two spotlights. Installation Photograph, Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. ©Diana Thater, photo ©Fredrik Nilsen

With the holidays behind us and election season upon us for the foreseeable future, this is the perfect time to divert our attention to the edifying pursuit of creative fulfillment. And what better way to do that than with this extra bulky edition of ArtCenter Alumni Notes.


Guy Bove (BS 96 Product Design) was recently featured in a Tatler Magazine Hong Kong article about watch design. Hong Kong Tatler

Edward Eyth (BS 85 Product Design) was on a panel discussion for his concept designer work on Back to the Future Part II as part of the Toyota Mirai premier event. Toyota Newsroom

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MLK Day shines a light on the enduring and symbiotic relationship between civil rights and creativity

Freedom is as hard to quantify as it is easy to take for granted. But without freedom of expression, there is no creativity. And ArtCenter, as a community of artists and designers, owes its enduring culture of innovation, influence and impact to the strides made by the struggle for civil liberties, both in the distant and recent past.

MLK Day offers an opportunity to recognize our debt to the original civil rights pioneers as well as to the new generation of #blacklivesmatter student activists who have laid the groundwork for generations of iconoclasts, innovators and change makers of all persuasions to continue to create a more just, equal and artful world.

Look no further than Illustration alum, Emerson Terry, for the living embodiment of that first-wave pioneering spirit and integral relationship between freedom of expression and creative fulfillment. Terry, at age 90, is one of the College’s first African American graduates whose, um, illustrious career included award-winning work for the entertainment and aeronautics industries. The above video pays tribute to Terry’s creative and cultural legacy, fittingly produced by current ArtCenter Film student, Amadu Haruna, with assistance by fellow Film student Matthew Plaxco and Photography alum Edward Cushenberry.

In a more contemporary iteration of the spirit of protest that inspired this holiday, Illustration student, Kayla Salisbury, voiced her own questions about our collective responsibilities in this courageous essay exploring the ways in which ArtCenter community might better support its students of color and begin to foster an honest and meaningful dialogue around human rights.

Indeed, the conversation around social justice takes many shapes at ArtCenter. Humanities and Sciences faculty member and accomplished entertainment attorney, Michelle Katz teaches a course entitled The Evolution of Civil Rights, which examines the greatest civil rights threats and champions and the ways in which artists have been instrumental to the march toward a more egalitarian society.


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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Illustration alum and legendary Star Wars poster artist Drew Struzan on the awakening of his own creative forces at ArtCenter

Illustration alumnus Drew Struzan (center) receives the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award at ArtCenter's Fall 2015 graduation ceremony. Photo: Ross LaManna

Illustration alumnus Drew Struzan (center) receives the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award at ArtCenter’s Fall 2015 graduation ceremony. Photo: Ross LaManna

It’s not hyperbole to say that billions of people around the globe have seen the work of Illustration alumnus Drew Struzan (BFA 70).

As “the man behind the poster,” the 68-year-old Struzan has created iconic imagery for the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Muppets and Harry Potter series of films. Other instantly recognizable works of his include posters for Coming to America, The Goonies, First Blood and The Thing.

And though he’s retired from the entertainment industry to focus on his studio work, he recently lent his deft hand to a poster for Batkid Begins, the documentary about the boy who became Batman for a day thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and a D23 convention exclusive poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens in theaters today.

This past weekend at ArtCenter’s Fall 2015 graduation, Illustration chair Anne Field presented Struzan with the ArtCenter Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. After eliciting a standing ovation from the crowd inside the packed Pasadena Civic Auditorium, a visibly moved Struzan asked Field with a laugh, “Does this mean my life is over?”

After the ceremony, I met with the living legend and he was kind enough to share memories of his time at ArtCenter in the mid-to-late 1960s, when the College was located at Third Street in the Hancock Park Neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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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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Persistence, perseverance and Pixar paved the path to The Dam Keeper’s Oscar nomination

Alumnus Robert Kondo, co-director of Tonko House's short The Dam Keeper. Photo: Jennie Warren

Robert Kondo, co-director of Tonko House’s short The Dam Keeper. Photo: Jennie Warren

In the 2015 Academy Award-nominated animated short The Dam Keeper, a young pig selflessly operates a windmill to keep a poisonous cloud from destroying his town.

Keeping imminent disaster at bay doesn’t seem to be an issue for Illustration alumnus Robert Kondo (BFA 02), who co-directed the film along with Dice Tsutsumi, the first project to emerge from their Berkeley-based animation studio Tonko House.

Take, for example, the story of how Kondo landed his first job. He recalls feeling sick one day during his final term at ArtCenter, walking out of class and heading to the parking lot to recuperate in his car.

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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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