A celebration of dedication: Art Center employees recognized for years of service

by October 10th, 2014

Hillside Campus in 1978. Image courtesy of College Archives.

Hillside Campus in 1978. Image courtesy of College Archives.

Martina Navratilova defeated Chrissie Evert for the “ladies” championship at Wimbledon, Sony introduced the Walkman and Midnight Express was playing in theaters. The year was 1978, when Hillside Campus had been occupied for about two years, South Campus didn’t exist and three people started their careers at Art Center.

One of those people is Stephen Nowlin, vice president of the Williamson Gallery. “I’ve been pretty fortunate to have watched Art Center from up close through the years—first as a high school student visiting the little hallway gallery on 3rd street; then as a graduate student at the Pasadena campus; and as an Admissions counselor, teacher, web producer and, for most of that time, as the Williamson Gallery’s director. The most impressive thing for me through all those years and roles, I must say, has been the consistency of high quality in the work produced by Art Center’s students. It never ceases to amaze me.”

Every year Art Center celebrates employees who have reached significant milestones in their careers. On September 23, 2014, almost 60 individuals were recognized for having 2013 work anniversaries of 10 or more years. The occasion was commemorated with a formal luncheon and presentation of the service awards hosted by the Human Resources Department. Earlier this year a luncheon was held to commemorate those having work anniversaries in 2012.

“Art Center students are supported by dedicated staff and faculty who do everything they can, directly in the classroom or indirectly behind the scenes, to help students achieve their goals to become professional artists and designers,” said Nancy Duggan, Executive Director, Human Resources. “It is our pleasure to honor these individuals.”

Art Center President Lorne M. Buchman kicked off the presentations with a word of thanks, which was followed by the awards ceremony.

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Change/Makers video: Crossing borders and disciplines with Graphic Design and MDP alum Rebeca Méndez

by October 9th, 2014

Rebeca Méndez holds Art Center degrees in two different disciplines, Graphic Design (BFA, ’84) and Media Design (MFA, ’97). Her life and work stand as a testament to defying the conventions of those fields by expanding the definition of what it means to be a working artist and designer. She has forged her own path through punishingly uncharted terrain that’s taken her to the arctic tundras of the earth’s poles, as well as many untamed territories.

For these reasons among many others, Méndez was chosen to be the subject of the latest installment in the Change/Makers series of video profiles, which explores the ideas and passions informing the creative practices of some of Art Center’s most innovative and inspiring alumni.

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Rhapsody in goop: Graduate Art alumnus Michael Zahn’s Madita pays tribute to his muse

by October 8th, 2014

Video projection still from Graduate Art alumnus Michael Zahn's (MFA 14) thesis show Madita.

Video projection still from Graduate Art alumnus Michael Zahn’s (MFA 14) thesis show Madita.

Every artist has a muse: F. Scott Fitzgerald had Zelda; Coco Chanel had Etienne Balsan; and John Waters had…Divine.

For a more contemporary example, look no further than the cover of Art Center’s recently published Graduate Studies Viewbook. It’s there, underneath the diecut lettering, where you’ll find an image of a bright green alginate cast of a human hand.

That hand belongs to, and was one element of, Graduate Art alumnus Michael Zahn’s (MFA 14) thesis show Madita, which was inspired by someone he met as a foreign exchange student at Kunsthochschule Weissensee in Berlin.

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Uses of mapping (and failure) in design: The Toyota Lecture Series hosts theorist Peter Hall at Art Center

by October 7th, 2014

Peter Hall

Peter Hall

The second installment of Art Center’s Toyota Lecture Series delivers a distinctly a wide-angle perspective on the present and future state of design, tracking its evolving and expanding impact and application. Design writer and educator, Peter Hall will present a talk on Thursday, October 9 at the Los Angeles Times Media Center at 7:30 pm.

The uses of Failure. Mapping as a design process.” “Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Collaborative Planning with Loaded Tools and Wicked Problems.” “Disassembly & Immateriality: How We Make Stuff Disappear.” This is just a sampling of previous lectures by the relentlessly interesting, Dr. Peter Hall, a design writer and thought-leading authority on the manifold uses of design thinking. Hall is also the design department head at Griffith University Queensland College of Art, where his research focuses on mapping and visualization.

Hall has taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Yale School of Art. He co-edited with Jan Abrams the book, Else/Where: Mapping—New Cartographies of Networks and Territories and worked as a journalist for Metropolis and I.D. Magazine. He wrote and co-edited the books Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist and Sagmeister: Made You Look. In 2005 he co-founded DesignInquiry, a non-profit organization devoted to researching design issues.

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As seen in Star Wars Rebels, the Force is still strong with alumnus Ralph McQuarrie

by October 6th, 2014

Star Wars Rebels crew from  L to R: Sabine, Chopper, Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, Hera

The Star Wars Rebels crew from L to R: Sabine, Chopper, Kanan, Ezra, Zeb and Hera (Disney XD)

As the concept artist for the original Star Wars trilogy, Illustration alumnus Ralph McQuarrie (BFA 56) was instrumental in the creation of those films’ fantastical characters and settings. In fact, the late McQuarrie’s pre-production paintings he created in 1975—including depictions of the villainous Darth Vader, the Millennium Falcon starship and the Death Star space station—were instrumental in convincing 20th Century Fox to fund the first film.

“He was one of the main godfathers of concept design,” says Tim Flattery, chair of Art Center’s Entertainment Design Department of McQuarrie. “His groundbreaking work on Star Wars catapulted visual storytelling to a new level and will continue to inspire concept artists for generations to come.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Art Center alumni notes: August and September 2014

by 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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MDP + UNICEF: make AND break designs empower Ugandan youth

by October 2nd, 2014

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring: VJs Shafic, Venas, and Bashir learn basic circuitry in a workshop facilitated by a peer mentor. Photo credit: Tina L. Zeng / 2014.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring: VJs Shafic, Venas, and Bashir learn basic circuitry in a workshop facilitated by a peer mentor. Photo credit: Tina L. Zeng / 2014.

The following story, by Media Design Practices post-grad fellow, Tina L. Zeng, was originally published on UNICEF’S Stories of Innovation blog. The inspiring innovations reflected below are the result of the independent graduate work she began conducting in Kampala, Uganda in September 2013, supported by the UNICEF Innovation Lab.

What if technology was made to break?

What?

I recently wrote a post about a project that disrupts the current product-oriented mentality for designing technology for development. This project, weDub, is a set of platforms for youths in a slum area named Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda to make, instead of consume, technology. weDub is a locally developed audio mixer and preamplifier that youths make to perform live improvisations of media content they reinterpret to an audience; this is locally known as VJing. I talk about the three key outcomes of the project here.

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The Toyota Lecture Series presents Anne Elizabeth Moore on labor, gender and culture with The Ladydrawers Comics Collective

by September 29th, 2014

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Art Center’s 2014 Toyota Lecture Series kicks off on Tuesday, September 30, with a talk by Anne Elizabeth Moore entitled: Our Fashion Year: Labor, Gender and culture with The Ladydrawers Comics Collective. The event will begin at 6pm in The Wind Tunnel Graduate Center for Critical Practice at 950 South Raymond Avenue. For anyone even contemplating missing this enlightening and entertaining evening, the following self-penned primer on Moore’s life and work should provide more than enough incentive to make room for, um, Moore in tomorrow night’s calendar.

Anne Elizabeth Moore is an internationally renowned cultural critic, Fulbright scholar, UN Press Fellow, USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow and part of the team behind The Ladydrawers. She has written and edited several award-winning books: Cambodian Grrrl (Cantankerous Titles, 2011) received a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for best book from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation in 2012. Hey Kidz, Buy This Book (Soft Skull, 2004) made Yes! Magazine‘s list of “Media That Set Us Free” and Reclaim the Media’s 2004 Media and Democracy Summer Reading List. The first Best American Comics made both Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List” and Publishers Weekly’s Bestsellers List. Unmarketable (The New Press, 2007) made Reclaim the Media’s 2007 Media and Democracy Summer Reading list and was named a Best Book of the Year by Mother Jones. Her recent book, New Girl Law (Cantankerous Titles, 2013), the follow-up to Cambodian Grrrl, was called “a post-empirical proto-fourth-wave feminist memoir” by Bust. Moore herself was recently called a “general phenom” by the Chicago Reader and “one of the sharpest thinkers and cultural critics bouncing around the globe today” by Razorcake.

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Graduate studies at Art Center: Art and design for a changing world

by September 26th, 2014

Media Design Practices students Kristina Ortega and Jenny Rodenhouse's Wearable Services, created in the Intel-funded Connected Bodies course.

Media Design Practices students Kristina Ortega and Jenny Rodenhouse’s Wearable Services, created by the Intel-funded Connected Bodies course. Photo by Stella Kalinina

From business ventures to social justice, cultural research to experimental mediums, transportation systems to spatial experiences, Art Center’s renowned graduate programs offer designers and artists exceptional opportunities to create unique and personal career and life paths.

For the recently released 2015–16 Viewbook, Art Center Provost Fred Fehlau invited leaders from the College’s six graduate programs—Art, Environmental Design, Film, Industrial Design, Media Design Practices, and Transportation Systems and Design—to offer their perspectives on the current state of their fields, and what it means for prospective graduate students.

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Science and Art collide in the REALSPACE exhibition at Art Center’s Williamson Gallery

by September 25th, 2014

Dan Goods andDavid Delgado Refraction, 2014 Theater light, water, custom electronics 19 x 25 ft., dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists.

Dan Goods and David Delgado; Refraction, 2014; Theater light, water, custom electronics; Courtesy of the artists.

The painter Willem de Kooning once said that the idea of space “is given to the artist to change if he can.” And of the real, Robert Rauschenberg opined that a painting “is more like the real world if it’s made out of the real world.” Space in painting is measured on a scale that begins with deep illusion depicting what appears beyond the window of the canvas, and moves successively forward to tangible real tactility in front of the canvas.

Where an artist chooses to work on that illusion-to-reality scale can have meaning in and of itself. And the modern history of those choices can be viewed as a kind of archeology of existential change. The exhibition REALSPACE, opening October 4 at Art Center College of Design’s Williamson Gallery, is meant to reflect on how science intersects with that history. Poeticized by artists and studied by scientists throughout human history, the intractable reality of the natural world is examined by contemporary art and artifacts included in REALSPACE.

REALSPACE will be installed in the Williamson Gallery October 4, 2014 through January 18, 2015. The public is invited to an opening reception on Friday, October 3, from 7 to 10pm. Artists in the exhibition include Adam W. Brown and Robert Root-Bernstein, James Griffith, Dan Goods, David Delgado, Santiago Lombeyda, Rebeca Méndez and Jennifer Steinkamp. Artifacts and writings by James Ferguson (1710-1776), William Herschel (1738-1822), and Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), on loan from The Huntington Library, are also featured in the exhibition that combines works from contemporary art and science.  At its opening, the exhibition will be accompanied by a 20-page free booklet and, eventually, a 40-page catalog.

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