Archive for the ‘Transportation Design’ Category

Under the influence of Richard Pietruska: 40 years training the world’s top car designers

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Richard Pietrushka

Richard Pietruska

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.

Congratulations Richard!

–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

Holy grand slam, Batman! Batmobiles times four on display at Car Classic

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
1966 Batman TV Series Batmobile designed by George Barris

1966 Batman TV Series Batmobile designed by George Barris

Four authentic, full-scale Batmobiles will roll onto the field at Art Center’s Street to Screen: Car Classic 2014 event this Sunday. Exploring the impact transportation and entertainment design has had on Hollywood and the entertainment industry—on camera, on the road and behind the scenes—this year’s Bat-tastic concours confab will host a critical mass of the caped crusader’s legendary vehicles.

Art Center’s ties to the Dark Knight extend well beyond transportation. Entertainment Design Chair Tim Flattery designed the Batmobile Val Kilmer used in the 1994 film Batman Forever. Alumnus Harald Belker (BS Transportation Design 90) created the 1997 Batmobile George Clooney drove in Batman and Robin and Illustration Chair Ann Field worked on character design for Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy in that same movie. Alumnus Zack Snyder (BFA Film 89) has added the great detective to his latest Superman epic, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, scheduled to be released in 2016. And who owns Batman/DC Comics? None other than Warner Bros., led by Trustee Greg Silverman, who reigns as its President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production.

Batmobile from 1997 Batman and Robin film, designed by Harald Belker

Batmobile from 1997 Batman and Robin film, designed by Harald Belker

With all of Art Center’s ties to the Batman franchise, it might not surprise you if we were harboring our own Batcave on campus. Rumor has it that there was a tunnel running from Caltech to the basement of South Campus’ 950 building when it was originally operated as the Southern California Cooperative Wind Tunnel. Could this be the entrance to the Batcave? Are there really more than three basement levels at 950? Could Bruce Wayne have lived in Pasadena? It would be nice if we could tune in to the Bat-channel for answers.

Perhaps some clues lie within the Batmobiles that will be on the field this Sunday. The Ford Motor Company concept car that was purchased for one dollar and turned into the Batmobile seen in the 1996 Batman TV series by George Barris will be on display, thanks to the designer himself, who will also be in attendance at the event. You can also see the original 1963 Batmobile Tour Car, which was used by DC Comics Licensee All Star Dairies to promote their Batman-themed ice creams and drinks. And we will of course have Tim Flattery’s Batman Forever and Harald Belker’s Batman and Robin Batmobiles as well.

Batman Forever Batmobile designed by Tim Flattery

Batman Forever Batmobile designed by Tim Flattery

The show will feature a number of other car stars including Herbie from Herbie Fully Loaded and the Bumblebee Camaro from Transformers: Age of Extinction (directed by alumnus Michael Bay, BFA Film 88). There will also be vehicles from The Thomas Crown Affair, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Addams Family, Singin’ in the Rain and The Italian Job.

In addition to all the star cars, the afternoon will feature panel discussions with street and screen luminaries including Pixar StudiosCars Legacy Guardian, Jay Ward; alumnus Chip Foose (BS Transportation Design 90); alumnus Syd Mead (BS Transportation Design 1959), the legendary visual futurist responsible for designs for science-fiction films such as Blade Runner, Aliens and Tron; Daniel Simon, the designer behind Tron: Legacy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier; as well as the legendary George Barris.

Word has it there will also be full-sized Hot Wheels! For more information and to purchase tickets, see artcenter.edu/carclassic.

Street to Screen Car Classic 2014 is around the corner. Start revving your engines!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

On Sunday, October 27 2013, Pasadena’s rustic hillside played temporary home to an array of fierce creatures nonnative to these bucolic climes. On Art Center’s lawn alone, there were reported sightings of Barracudas, Mako Sharks, Stingrays, Cobras, Beetles and a herd of Italian bulls of the Lamborghini variety.

Last year’s “Inspired by Nature” theme of Art Center’s annual classic car confab inspired the above video, directed by Graduate Film student Tatyana Kim. And we have little doubt that this year’s version of the event, “Street to Screen,” celebrating the automotive stars of screens big and small, will similarly gun engines, spark plugs, charge batteries and maybe even catalyze converters.

This year’s fleet of cinematic concept cars will include Batmobiles through the ages, Bumblebee from the franchise (directed by Art Center alum, Michael Bay) and Herbie the Love Bug, among many others. Festivities kick off on October 26th at 11 am at Art Center’s Hillside campus. Advance tickets and information can be found here.

For more than 10 years, Art Center’s Car Classic has examined automotive culture and vehicle architecture through the lens of design. More than just another high-profile car show, this popular public event celebrates the very best in automotive design, showcasing the College’s strong ties to industry and honoring many of our noteworthy alumni.

This year, transportation designers, car collectors, filmmakers and auto and lifestyle enthusiasts will converge at Art Center’s annual event to hear from and meet the people who design the vehicles that we love to see cruising Sunset Boulevard, coasting along scenic byways or roaring to life on the big screen. This daylong celebration will provide attendees an up-close-and-personal look at a carefully curated selection of innovative vehicles, rare automobiles and stunning concept cars.

For those who can’t attend, keep your eyes on this space for our own video tribute to the icons of LA’s two defining industries, each dedicated to stylishly transporting us into other realities, literally and figuratively.

Art Center alumni notes: August and September 2014

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Doug Aitken: Still Life Regen Projects, Los Angeles

Doug Aitken: Still Life
Regen Projects, Los Angeles

Art Center’s enterprising diaspora has been making a creative impact far and wide during August and September. Here’s a primer of the past two months’ worth of alumni accolades and accomplishments.

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Money magazine ranks Art Center grads among the most employable in the nation

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

 

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Alumnus Dan Goods, Visual Strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, stands with “Refraction,” an artwork he created with fellow alum David Delgado.

An Art Center education doesn’t come cheaply. It requires a high-deposit, high-return investment of resources, tapping reserves of creativity and cash. But Art Center students know these initial sacrifices will pay off down the road when they emerge with an education custom designed to equip them for creatively and financially fulfilling careers. Money magazine reinforced the College’s reputation for boosting its grads’ professional prospects this week when it ranked Art Center third on its list of 25 of the best college values.

In response to millions of parents seeking colleges that strike a balance between affordability and professional prestige  and training, Money devised a new tool to measure a college’s ROI.  The new ranking places Art Center at number three on its “Value All-Star” list since, according to the editors’ careful calculations, Art Center alumni exceed expectations when it comes to earning. Money found that our grads take home an extra $12,000 per year early in their careers, using criteria based on three equally weighted categories: quality, affordability and career outcomes. The magazine defines outcomes almost entirely in terms of how much students earn after graduation.

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Grad Show Preview: Diving into the Summer 2014 talent pool

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Perhaps more than graduation itself, Graduation Show Preview marks the culmination of a student’s years of hard work at Art Center. Each term, on the Thursday before Saturday’s commencement ceremony, the College’s classroom studios, hallways and exhibition spaces come alive with 2D, 3D, digital and other work renowned for both its conceptual rigor and its professional finish. It’s like one giant gallery opening — the Summer 2014 edition brimming with more than 450 invited guests — showcasing some of today’s most innovative and most driven emerging artists and designers.

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Summer 2014: Countdown to commencement!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
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Getting ready for Grad Show. Photo: Lucia Loiso

The computer labs are packed. The shops are humming at all hours. Visitors from sponsoring companies and organizations are streaming through campus to attend final presentations. And the Student Gallery is full of projects in and out of the coveted space. These telltale sights and sounds can only mean one thing at Art Center: Week 14 has arrived.

The state of the campus is a visual reminder of the frenetic energy generated by Art Center students sprinting toward finals. The end of the term is here; and for 111 students, this week marks their last. Saturday evening, after countless all-nighters, critiques, finals, internships and hopefully some fun, 100 undergraduate and 11 graduate students will be awarded their degrees. As we count down to commencement, we celebrate these creative and talented individuals who are about to take on the world and honor the great teachers who have guided the way. Here’s the lowdown for the week.

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Not sure what type of design to study? Sample them all in Andrew Hall’s Design 360

Monday, August 11th, 2014
Artist and ACN instructor Andrew Hall in his studio. Courtesy of the artist.

Artist and ACN instructor Andrew Hall in his studio. Courtesy of the artist.

For the past four years, artist Andrew Hall has taught Design 360 at Art Center at Night (ACN), Art Center’s continuing studies program. Design 360 gives students a whirlwind tour of many of the major disciplines offered at the College, including: advertising, graphic design, filmmaking, illustration, product design and transportation design.

In the class, he asks his students to imagine a product that “protects something” which can be “something obvious like safety goggles” or something more abstract “like a camera, which protects memories.” Then, for the next 12 weeks, students give their product the full treatment—designing everything for it from a logo to a storyboard for a 30-second commercial—and then present it to the class, complete with drawings that show their process. “The presentation teaches the importance of really owning your concept.”

Hall finds the diversity of his students particularly inspiring—some take Design 360 when they’re at a point in their career where “they’re just treading water and need to make a big decision” while others treat the course as a philosophical journey. “Some of them come up with solutions far more cerebral and spiritual than a product you can hold in your hand.” (more…)

August 2014 Alumni Notes

Friday, August 8th, 2014
Jennifer Steinkamp's Murmurfication

Jennifer Steinkamp’s Murmuration

Summer 2014 has yielded a bounty of freshly produced works, events and ideas by Art Center alumni. And look for future editions of this dispatch to be equally flush, given July’s bumper crop of kickstarter campaigns. Read on to learn more…and get in on the fun(ding).

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Think Cadillac: Trans alum Christine Park on breaking into luxury car design

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

 

Christine Park at the Cadillac Design Studio in Michigan. (Photo courtesy of General Motors)

Christine Park at the Cadillac Design Studio in Michigan. (Photo courtesy of General Motors)

Christine Park began her career in the highly competitive field of luxury car design with an internship at the GM Advanced Concept Design Studio in Los Angeles. She has been with General Motors ever since. Now lead exterior designer at the Cadillac Design Studio in Michigan, Park’s design projects include interior themes for the 2013 and 2014 Cadillac XTS and the Cadillac CIEL convertible.

Everything, Park said, starts with the customer.

“We look for inspiration in the customer’s needs and wants. We also look for artistic inspiration: we look at internet blogs and magazines, we go to museums.” Among the many design sketches that result, a very few are chosen to be rendered by clay sculptors as 3D scale models, Park said. Some of these will be turned into full size clay models. The whole process is clay,” she explained, “because clay is easy to put on and take off and it’s very flexible.

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