Bruno Gallardo shows off his Zero Motorcycle prototype to alum Miguel Galluzzi of Aprilia/Piaggio. Photo by Jennie Warren
A fresh crop of creatives, 205 strong graduated from Art Center this past weekend, ready to harvest and haul their skills to the marketplace. The first pages of these grads’ yet-to-be-told professional narratives could involve launching a start-up, diving into a new position at a high-profile agency or escaping on a global adventure to see the world and collect some inspiration in the wilderness instead of the concrete jungle.
We decided to check in with a few during Spring 2015 Grad Show—our annual recruitment open house.
Lynda Weinman at Art Center’s BOLD symposium for creative entrepreneurs, September 2014
As a faculty member at Art Center College of Design in the late 1980s and early ’90s, on a campus nestled in the hills above the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Lynda Weinman was trying to solve a simple problem. Her classes on digital media and motion graphics—computer design practices then in their infancy but in growing demand—were filled to overflowing. She wanted to make the popular classes accessible to more students, who at the time would literally camp out in the hallway to try and get in. And so she shifted the venue and began to teach 80 students at a time in an auditorium, rather than 15 at time in a classroom. Soon after, she and her company co-founder, Art Center alumnus and Trustee Bruce Heavin (BFA 1993 Illustration), launched lynda.com to begin offering video recordings of her lectures, distributed first on VHS tapes, then DVDs, and with the arrival of the internet, online. Together the couple evolved lynda.com from its original concept as a free web resource for Weinman’s students, to a site for her books on Web design, to a respected and ever-expanding online training library now offering thousands of courses.
In what Weinman has described as a “20-year overnight success” story, lynda.com has become an industry leader in online learning, and this week the company was acquired by social media giant LinkedIn for $1.5 billion. It’s LinkedIn’s largest deal ever, and for Weinman and Heavin, it means extending their reach to an even larger global audience of creative and business professionals.
With its bookcases full of toys, games, models and monstrous action figures, the lobby of Scribble Pad Studios could double as a Comic-Con booth or a teenager’s fantasy boy-cave. Not far off is a large room full of people mouse-clicking in front of monitors containing the dark landscapes of video games. While this kind of activity might get a person in trouble at most other jobs, the work is all about play at this entertainment design firm, founded by Art Center Alum James Paick (Illustration, ’04), specializing in character, creature and concept design for video games, TV and film.
Paick, who founded Scribble Pad in 2008, didn’t attend Art Center with the intention of becoming an entertainment designer. In fact, the Entertainment Design department didn’t yet exist back then. But in the years since, it has become one of Art Center’s most sought-after degrees, which has inspired the launch of the new Character Animation track in Entertainment Design, now accepting applications for Fall 2015.
Ultimately, it was Paick’s passion for popular culture and science fiction informed his illustration work, which he leveraged to land work in various video game design firms before he set out on his own and launched his own business. There’s a lot to admire about James Paick (the subject of our newest Change/Makers alumni video profile) who now spends his days creating fantasmagorical alternate realities and conjuring the creepy creatures who inhabit them. Check out the above video and the Q&A below to learn more about his creative inspirations and the wisdom behind making work out of the booming business of play.
Dotted Line: What have you been doing personally since you left Art Center?
Antrese Wood: I’ve had a windy path.
I left Art Center and worked for Disney for about 12 years. I got that job by being extraordinarily persistent, possibly stalker-ish. Sometimes, I wondered if they hired me so I’d finally leave them alone.
Working at Disney allowed me to mature and continue to develop skills I learned at Art Center. The real lesson in all the class critiques is not so much about the details of the work itself; it’s about being able to objectively talk about the work. To listen to other people’s opinions about your ‘baby’ without taking it personally or getting defensive. Part of my job at Disney was providing art direction for video games. I can tell you the people who did not pick up that skill were not happy and did not make it very far.
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!
On the occasion of his recent feature filmmaking debut, we invited Illustration alumnus and Linkin Park turntablist Joe Hahn to share his thoughts on the creative process and his Art Center experience.
I attended Art Center in the fall of ’95. Having a love for comics, illustration and films, I knew that I wanted to pursue a life where I could create things. Attending Art Center for 2 semesters was the beginning of the journey I’m still on. For me, it was an institution of talented instructors and a mixed bag of talented students that were on a journey of their own. Although, my focus at the time was Illustration, my mind didn’t settle on the fact that I would settle on that as a career. It was more of a feeling than an intellectual acknowledgement that I would realize years later. However, many of the principals in the foundation of art and illustration are principals that I apply to all of my creative endeavors that anchor much of my intentions. These endeavors include art, music, film and communication.
Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how and what to celebrate on Presidents’ Day. Sure it’s nice to have a long weekend. But the occasion of our forefathers’ birthdays doesn’t quite resonate with the force of, say, Independence Day or even Memorial Day.
However, alum Travis Asada’s viscerally impactful series of P.O.T.U.S. paintings may remedy that Presidents’ Day malaise by offering an unusually intimate take on the presidency. A wildly ambitious project, the Illustration alum set out to capture each president, first as a drawing and then later in paint. Asada illuminates the above curated selection of images from his P.O.T.U.S series with an artist’s statement as well as a Q&A about his creative practice below. The combination of the two just might offer an opportunity for a deeper connection to our nation’s Commanders in Chief and their namesake holiday.
Illustration student Ashley Pinnick shows off some appreciation by Blair High School’s Art Club.
Illustration student Ashley Pinnick helped initiate the leadership exchange program between Art Center College of Design and Blair High School in the Pasadena Unified School District, along with students Cassie Zhang (Illustration), Tom Eichacker (Illustration), Martel McCornell (Film), D’Angelo McCornell (Graduate Film) and Vanessa Shababzadeh (Product), with guidance from Illustration faculty member Esther Pearl Watson. Below is her account of the experience.
Over the course of the Fall 2014 term, I had the privilege of being one of the students who forged a connection between Art Center and Blair High School as a student mentor.
Being a Designmatters Concentration student, it was a great opportunity for me to be thrust into a position where I could make a positive impact somewhere just down the street from Art Center’s South Campus.
Spike TV’s Framework, a furniture design reality show, features Product Design alum, Nolan Niu as a judge
From Oxygen’s Street Art Throwdown to Spike TV’s Framework to the 2015 Academy Awards to Toyota’s MIRAI—Art Center alumni were featured across the media landscape, doling out expertise on art and design-based reality shows and creating inventive animation and futuristic vehicles. See the full scope of this month’s alumni accomplishments below.
The following Pasadena Now article adds a concise bit of context to Art Center’s new show of work by illustrator Carol Johnson. The exhibit opens today in the College’s newest gallery space, the Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall, located within South Campus’ Illustration and Fine Art hub at 870 South Raymond Avenue. This show offers a rare glimpse at both Johnson’s uniquely evocative illustrated narrative about WWII and, ultimately, our evolving relationship with war and how its atrocities and triumphs are conveyed and covered. And for those who have yet to visit Art Center’s newest building, this ongoing exhibition also represents the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to the meticulously renovated former US Post Office warehouse.
Art Center College of Design presents Drawing Fire, an exhibition curated by alumnus Brody Albert, bringing attention to the work of his grandfather, illustrator Carol Johnson. As a World War II correspondent, Johnson helped translate the immediate experience of war into raw observational sketches for nationally syndicated newspapers, conveying a first hand experience of the war into the households of thousands of Americans.