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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Grad Art alumnus and library staffer George Porcari receives prestigious Tiffany Foundation Award

by June 25th, 2014

Art Center alumnus and acquisitions librarian George Porcari (MFA 87 Art) was one among 30 recipients of the 17th biennial Tiffany Foundation Awards, which may or may not have arrived wrapped in a little robin’s-egg blue box with a white bow.

Officially announced last week, a series of monetary grants are issued every two years to unsung American artists and craftspeople by The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. What separates the award from other prestigious grants is that artists aren’t able to apply, and funds are unrestricted. The 2013 winners were selected from a pool of 137 nominees proposed by the Foundation’s trustees, artists, critics, and museum professionals throughout the United States. A seven-member jury then reviewed the submissions. The 2013 jury included art world luminaries Phong Bui, Chrissie Iles, Kathryn Kanjo, Charles LeDray, John Perreault, Cindy Sherman and Robert Storr.

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Change Makers: Alumni Q&A with video artist Filip Kwiatkowski on capturing the undefinable

by June 24th, 2014

 

Working Title (I Am Not Your Father), 2013, by Filip Kwiatkowski. HD video projection with sound

Working Title (I Am Not Your Father), 2013, by Filip Kwiatkowski. HD video projection with sound

Warsaw-born video artist Filip Kwiatkowski (Grad Art, MFA 2013), who earned his BFA in film and television at the Tisch School of the Arts, came to Art Center after a successful career as a freelance photographer in New York. Shortly after completing his MFA in Art Center’s Graduate Art program, Kwiatkowski was awarded a fellowship at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany, where he had studied as a participant in an Art Center exchange program. In his work today, Kwiatkowski continues to explore issues that fueled his graduate film project: how media interfaces transform personal narratives, shape behavior and create “a circumstance in which the relation between private, public, work and personal time are increasingly hard to separate.”

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Change Maker: Remembering Chavez Ravine photographer Don Normark

by June 23rd, 2014

Don Normark (BFA 49) was a 19-year-old Photography student at Art Center College of Design, taking pictures near the freeway in Los Angeles one day, when a neighborhood high on a distant hillside caught his eye. Normark’s curiosity drew him to Chavez Ravine, an intact rural enclave of hundreds of Mexican-American families, and his love and compassion for the community kept him coming back. His 1948–49 photographs of Chavez Ravine became an in-depth document of a soon-to-be-lost world—a painful chapter in LA’s history culminating in the construction of Dodger Stadium in the 1950s. The work was largely unknown until 2003 when Chronicle Books published Chavez Ravine: 1949, along with former residents’ memories collected by the photographer.

Normark, who lived in Seattle, passed away on June 5 at age 86 following a battle with lung cancer, leaving a legacy of elegiac and iconic images that capture the transitory character of Los Angeles with uncommon sensitivity and resonance. His contributions have elicited an outpouring of recognition for his singular contribution to LA’s photographic history, including this moving obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

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The future of the digital novel is here thanks to Art Center faculty members Norman Klein and Margo Bistis

by June 20th, 2014

I20C2.3map

Built with a team of artists and designers, Art Center Humanities & Sciences faculty Norman Klein and Margo Bistis released The Imaginary 20th Century, a ‘wunder-roman’ online narrative engine where fact and fiction split off and return to each other to tell the story in a unique form.

The Imaginary 20th Century is a tale of seduction, as well as espionage; of archiving and the transitive poetics of excavation. According to legend, in 1901 a woman named Carrie selects four men to seduce her, each with a version of the coming century. Inevitably, the future always spills off course. We navigate through the suitors’ worlds, follow Carrie on her travels and discover what she and her lovers forgot to notice. In 1917, Carrie’s uncle sets up a massive archive of her life.  For decades, Uncle Harry had worked for the oligarchs of Los Angeles erasing crimes that might prove embarrassing.  Thus, as he often explains, seduction itself is a form of espionage. In 2004, this archive was unearthed in Los Angeles.

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