Graduating students with friends and family following Spring 2015 commencement. Photo: John Dlugolecki
“Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.” Bob Marley
This Saturday, following a sometimes exhaustive, always intensive, memorably vigorous and astonishingly creative commitment to making and learning, 91 ArtCenter students will receive their diplomas. This will be the second graduation ceremony to be held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, a thankfully climate-controlled venue conveniently located between Hillside and South campuses.
As the day approaches, let’s celebrate these creative and talented individuals who are about to take on the world. Here’s the lowdown for the week:
Julian Smith, Hayden Smith, Chris Lundy and Mark Smith worked together as the “Sarasota Brotherhood” to gather and ship the paintings for the exhibition.
It’s no surprise that lifelong friendships are often forged out of the rigor and intensity of an Art Center education. Take Mark Smith (BFA 88 Graphic) and Chris Lundy (BFA 89 Illustration), who met at Art Center in 1985. What’s followed has been 30 years of artistic collaborations, a shared love of music, film and writing and surf days on the beach. When Chris was diagnosed this past September with glioblastoma multiforme, a cancerous tumor of the brain, the two friends met the challenge side by side. Inspired by each other and their shared Art Center experience, they decided to create a scholarship in Chris’s name.
On Saturday, July 18, an exhibition spearheaded by Mark will showcase Chris’s extraordinary paintings, with proceeds going to support the Chris Lundy Creative Scholarship. The fund will provide financial assistance to talented Art Center students. Mark offered to talk to us about the exhibition, which will take place at the headquarters of Hurley in Costa Mesa, and his friendship with Chris. Here’s our conversation:
Detail of an illustration from Beekle by Dan Santat. Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
It’s been quite a year for Illustration alumnus Dan Santat (BFA 01).
Back in February, he was awoken at 4:30 a.m. by a call from the American Library Association (ALA) with the news that his childrens’ book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friendhad won the Caldecott, the nation’s most prestigious award for childrens’ literature.
And this Wednesday it was announced that Jason Reitman, the Oscar-nominated director of Thank You for Smoking, Juno and Up in the Air, would be writing and directing an animated film based on Beekle for Dreamworks Animation.
“I was book shopping with my daughter, when a little tooth-shaped character wearing a paper crown stole our hearts,” said Reitman in a press release announcing the deal. “His name was Beekle, and I’m now honored to be adapting Santat’s charming story into a feature film.”
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 a 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!