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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frances Stark, Portrait of the Artist as a Full-on Bird, 2004, Collage on casein on canvas board. 20×24 in. RSC Contemporary, London. Photo by Marcus Leith.
With the arrival of the holiday season comes a time for hot beverages and brightly-patterned sweaters; for giving and receiving, at work and at home. We’re excited kick off the next six weeks’ worth of non-stop merriment by presenting you with with an early gift in the form of the latest installment of ArtCenter alumni notes, which is teeming with impressive news and accomplishments, from book releases and public engagements to major exhibitions at the Hammer Museum and LACMA.