June 2014 alumni news and notes

by July 11th, 2014

Photograph by Damon Casarez for the New York Times

Photograph by Damon Casarez for the New York Times

From The New York Times to Esquire, from Cannes to the Venice Biennale — Art Center alums have been busy making, making headlines and making their talents known within some of the world’s most prestigious events, platforms and publications. In addition to this primer on their accomplishments, we’re also inviting the Art Center alumni community to nominate candidates for this year’s Art Center Alumni Awards. Read on to learn more.

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Graduate Industrial Design alumna snags Rolex Young Laureate Award for newborn hearing screening device

by July 10th, 2014

Neeti Kailas, 2014 Rolex Young Laureate. India, 2014. ©Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas

Neeti Kailas, 2014 Rolex Young Laureate. India, 2014. ©Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas

Neeti Kailas (MS 13 Industrial Design) heard the news just in time to book a flight to the press conference at The Royal Society, London. Rolex had named her one of five Young Laureates for her work developing a hearing screening device for newborns in India. “I was very happy and excited [to be selected],” said Kailas. “The award will help the project advance, and the visibility is great for a start-up like mine. It is an honor to be selected as part of the community of laureates. They are all visionaries and change-makers.”

She and her husband, Nitin Sisodia, who was named one of the 2013 ‘35 Innovators Under 35’ by MIT Technology Review, identified hearing screening as a critical yet ignored aspect of healthcare across developing countries. Together they launched the Sohum innovation lab and created a functioning prototype that has been tested on adults. They are preparing for clinical trials in 2015.

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From Apple Stores to apples for the teacher: Eight Inc. donates design educational nonprofit DonorsChoose.org

by July 9th, 2014

DoonorsChoose.org offices after Eight Inc. redesign

DoonorsChoose.org offices after Eight Inc. redesign

Eight Inc. is a leading-edge branding and design firm owned and run by Art Center alums Tim Kobe (BS 82 Environmental), who is also a college Trustee, and Wilhelm Oehl (BS 94 Product). In the fifteen years since its inception, Eight Inc. has flourished by generating iconic designs across a broad spectrum of projects and disciplines from conjuring innovative retail experiences for the Apple Store to the architectural award-winning residential developments in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Eight Inc. (which now employs more than a few Art Center alums) has recently tackled another design solution for the greater good. In April, the firm announced it would donate design services to DonorsChoose.org to renovate its new headquarters in New York City. DonorsChoose.org is a national nonprofit that has channeled over $237 million in books, art supplies, field trips and resources to more than a million students in low-income public schools.

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Entertainment Design alum Edmund Liang is shaping the future one video game at a time

by July 8th, 2014

Edmund Liang

Entertainment Design alum Edmund Liang

Edmund Liang is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in transmedia narratives and multi-sensory spatial experiences. Last fall, Liang was named one of Complex Art+Design’s 25 People Shaping the Future of Design and his projects—video games, interactive media, film and animation, motion graphics, photography—are as eclectic as his client list, which includes the Famous Group, Jim Henson Company, Dreamworks, Psyop, Imaginary Forces and Logan.tv.

A self-described “provocateur” in his field, Liang was once an “art kid” in high school who had no idea that there was a world of design. “I didn’t know that the keyboard in front of me was designed,” he recalled. “I didn’t know that the video games I was playing had people behind them.”

By the time it came time to consider colleges, Liang was first attracted to Art Center’s Illustration program and touring the campus prior to enrolling, he said, “I got the impression that it was a very rigorous and serious school. That’s what I wanted.”

edmund_liang_006

Artwork by Edmund Liang

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The success of Safe Agua: Students design solutions to water scarcity in Colombia

by July 7th, 2014

Alumnus Isaac Oaks offers a student’s perspective on the Safe Agua Colombia project, just published in the new Designmatters book, Safe Agua Colombia (June 2014). Continuing to build on the investigations and experiences of the award-winning Safe Agua Chile and Safe Agua Peru projects, Oaks traveled as part of a student team to Altos del Pino, in Bogotá, Colombia, to co-create innovative technical design solutions with local families, seeking to overcome some of the social issues created by water poverty and to make an impact through resulting products and systems. 

The Designmatters Safe Agua project fostered my personal exploration into the area of community design co-creation. The experience began with an immersive 12-day research trip to outskirts of Bogotá, Colombia, in fall 2013, where I was among a small team embedded with families in the asentamiento of Altos del Pino. Our focus was designing for the all too common problem of extremely limited water supply. Because they are only provisionally connected to the official water grid, each household has access to a small hose of running water for just one hour every eight days. This highly restrictive schedule became the catalyst for our designs.

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A salute to creative independence to light up your July 4th weekend

by July 3rd, 2014

John Van Hamersveld

John Van Hamersveld

Before we gather with friends and family to celebrate the 4th of July, we want to take a moment to recognize the spirit of independence. At Art Center, we revere art and design warriors who embody this country’s pioneering spirit: the rebels, the change makers, the innovators, the futurists and the unapologetic patriots. On the eve of Independence Day, we’d like to devote some pixels to a few of our unrivaled alumni who blazed their own paths, and who embody the same spirit of sovereignty that founded this country.

The Fourth of July is an opportunity to celebrate independence, which we tend to do over a barbecue grill loaded with savory treats, or sitting at the edge of a pool. Independence Day is the pinnacle of summer. We’re often reminded of John Van Hamersveld’s (BFA 64 Advertising) poster for The Endless Summer, which evokes the dreamy colors of California. His design came to define the iconography of surf culture. According to Vanity Fair, the poster, now over 50 years old, “hasn’t aged a minute.”

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Art Center Product Design students land among top 2014 IDEA winners

by July 2nd, 2014

ELLE by Della Tosin

ELLE by Della Tosin

Earlier this week, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) announced the winners of the 2014 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition, which is regarded as one of the most preeminent design competitions in the nation.

IDSA revealed Art Center as one of the leading academic winners this year, continuing Art Center’s 20-plus-year winning streak. A panel of international design experts evaluated entries on aspects of industrial design excellence including innovation, benefits to the user and client, sustainability and the design’s visual appeal. Art Center students received four awards:

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Outgoing Grad Art chair Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe on teaching, beauty and art’s unlikely logic

by July 1st, 2014

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

After logging 11 years as Chair of Art Center’s Graduate Art department, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe handed over the reigns to incoming co-chairs Diana Thater and Jason Smith. Gilbert-Rolfe has spent a total of 28 years on Art Center’s faculty, and will migrate into a full-time teaching position in 2015 after a sabbatical during which he’ll dedicate himself to one of the many writing projects vying for his attention (see Q & A below for details).

Throughout his tenure with the college, Gilbert-Rolfe has had a hand in educating an impressive array of art world luminaries, including Lynn Aldrich, Lisa Anne Auerbach, David Bailey, Olivia Booth, Mason Cooley, Aaron Curry, Kevin Hanley, Nate Hylden, Melissa Kretschmer, Sharon Lockhart, T. Kelly Mason, Rebecca Norton, Steve Roden, Sterling Ruby, Frances Stark, Jennifer Steinkamp, Alexis Marguerite Teplin, Diana Thater, Pae White, Jennifer West and T.J. Wilcox. At the same time, he has distinguished himself as a formidable writer and critical thinker, best known for probing philosophical and aesthetic ideas around beauty and other issues informing the way we interact with art.

Gilbert-Rolfe makes clear in his candid and enlightening responses to our questions below that he will continue to build upon this legacy as an educator and critic.

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Brand and deliver: A scholarship recipient’s takeaways from Brandcamp

by June 30th, 2014

Saturday High’s four-week Summer Intensives are known for their, well, intensity. The rigorous, four-week programs immerse students in studio classes and lectures on disciplines like Industrial Design, Entertainment Design, Advertising and Graphic Design, ending with a final exhibition of student work.

Recent high school graduate Sydney Li is one of a handful of students to receive a full scholarship to attend Brandcamp, Saturday High’s Intensive focusing on Advertising and Graphic Design beginning July 7. We asked Sydney to share her experiences before, during and after Brandcamp to get her impressions of the experience.

Here is the first of three conversations with Sydney:

Art Center:  Congratulations on Brandcamp and on your scholarship, which was created by through support from the Richard and Jean Coyne Family Foundation. Will this be your first Saturday High experience?

Sydney Li: I’ve taken Saturday High classes in Graphic Design and Advertising, as well as Design 360, which looks at different design majors. Brandcamp will be my first Summer Intensive.

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Change Makers: Alumni Q&A with Ad Man Sean Ohlenkamp on thinking differently and defying definition

by June 27th, 2014

tv2

As a teenager, Sean Ohlenkamp had already set his sights on a career in advertising.

“I was watching the Super Bowl with some friends and laughing my butt off that people actually get to make these commercials for a living,” recalls Ohlenkamp (BFA 03), Digital Creative Director at Leo Burnett Toronto. “I thought it sounded amazing, a kind of mix of comedy, art and creativity. So I pretty much knew from the age of 16 or so that it was something I wanted to pursue.”

Today, Ohlenkamp works across digital, film, photography, print, illustration, design and product design platforms. His independent viral stop motion video The Joy of Books for Type Books has drawn upwards of 4 million views on YouTube, and his interactive online ads for the ALS Society of Canada and print ads for Nissan have earned high praise for their arresting originality.

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