Art Center’s Bob Kato traces the evolution of The Drawing Club, LA’s bastion of communal creativity

by July 7th, 2015

Alum and faculty member Bob Kato's new book explores The Drawing Club's role as a hotbed of communal creative expression

Alum and faculty member Bob Kato’s new book explores The Drawing Club’s role as a hotbed of communal creative expression

You may not have heard of The Drawing Club, but for anyone who is serious about the art and craft of character drawing, this enduring Los Angeles institution is both a hands-on weekly workshop and a creative community hub.

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Looking to fire up your Fourth of July? Check out these blast-tacular movie explosions!

by July 2nd, 2015

Wherever you decide to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence—in a small town watching a patriotic parade or an urban center sampling designer cocktails on a hotel rooftop—we know you are really just passing time until dark, waiting for the fireworks start.

To whet your appetite in anticipation of the pyrotechnic exhibition of your choice, we offer up some dynamite detonation displays from the silver screen.

No 4th of July celebration should go by without a viewing of the spectacular demolition of Paris in Michael Bay’s (BFA 88 Film) Armageddon.

An oldie but goodie, it is always worth watching the final scene of David Lean’s classic, The Bridge on the River Kwai.

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Design polymath Michael Sans immerses Bikini Berlin in a high-intensity trans-disciplinary experience

by June 30th, 2015

Michael Sans with Art Center students in Berlin

Michael Sans with Art Center students in Berlin

“Inspiring and helping each other goes both ways,” says Product Design alumnus Michael Sans of his engagement with students at Art Center Bikini Berlin, the College’s satellite studio where he is managing director.

Sans’ own education began at the workbench of his woodworker grandfather in a small German town on the Rhine. He apprenticed as a cabinetmaker, briefly studied architecture in Florence, and turned to product design when he entered the program at Art Center Europe in Switzerland—emerging forever shaped by its “professional approach, intense schedule, small classes and perfect facilities.”

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The female gaze: Shestock photography agency focuses on women behind and in front of the camera

by June 25th, 2015

The stock photo agency Shestock is the brainchild of Photography alumna Karen Beard (pictured), who aims to change how women and girls are portrayed.

The stock photo agency Shestock is the brainchild of Photography alumna Karen Beard (pictured), who aims to change how women and girls are portrayed.

“Girls today are inundated daily with imagery that is overtly or covertly sexist,” says Photography alumna Karen Beard. “They have not developed the skills to question the visual language that surrounds them. I wanted to do something about that as a mother, and I realized that I could.”

In 2012 Beard founded Shestock, a stock photography agency that offers compelling and visceral female-centric images created exclusively by professional women photographers. Early on in her career, Beard was drawn to the freedom that stock photography made possible. “Stock allowed me this open free space to create, to make mistakes, to evolve as a photographer—it gave me an outlet for that and a place to put the images. If they sold, that was great. If people passed, that was fine too.”

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No developing world emergency is too great for UNICEF Innovation Lab lead and MDP alum Jeff Hall

by June 23rd, 2015

Media Design Practices alumnus Jeffrey Hall, in black T-shirt, conducted fieldwork in Uganda before being named UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia.

Media Design Practices alumnus Jeffrey Hall, in black T-shirt, conducted fieldwork in Uganda before being named UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia.

As UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia, alumnus Jeffrey Hall has developed a simple standard for his projects: to use design to improve the quality of people’s daily lives. “I collaborate with some amazing people, both in the U.N. and the creative community, to see how innovative approaches can be applied to improving their programs, technology, process or partnerships,” says Hall.

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Art Center students pave the road into the future of autonomous cars

by June 19th, 2015

First cars to travel The Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940. Photo (detail): Los Angeles Public Library

First cars to travel The Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940. Photo (detail): Los Angeles Public Library

In On the Road, Jack Kerouac wrote, “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

But what does it mean when that “next crazy venture” is fueled by a set of algorithms?

As we’ve previously reported, the arrival of autonomous cars could very well usher in a new era of safer roads. But might the public be hesitant to hand over the keys of their vehicle–often seen as a bedrock American symbol of freedom–to Apple, Google or Uber?

“The promise of the automobile 100 years ago was being able to go anywhere, anytime,” says alumnus Stewart Reed (69), chair of Art Center’s transportation design programs. “This idea freed people from structuring their lives around stagecoach or train schedules and opened up a world of new experiences.”

What wasn’t the promise 100 years ago? Moving 11,700 vehicles an hour at peak times through the Sepulveda Pass. Read the rest of this entry »

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Art Center-UCLA partnership explores the next frontier of healthcare design innovation

by June 18th, 2015

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This is the second in a two-part series on a joint pilot program between Art Center and the UCLA Business of Science Center focusing on the role of design in the field of health and wellness. Art Center offers special thanks to the Knapp Foundation (Betsy and Bud Knapp) for providing generous support to launch the program.

A stethoscope cover that prevents the spread of disease. A non-invasive “tuning fork” that helps improve hip implant fit by aiding surgeons with feedback during hip replacement surgery. A sensor that can detect lung cancer biomarkers in the breath of high-risk patients.

These are a few of the innovations developed by students in Jeff Higashi’s recent Advancing Bioengineering Innovations course—and prime examples of what can be accomplished when designers are included in the early stages of developing health and wellness products.

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Move over, Siri, and let Nan Wang’s Cartner do the driving

by June 11th, 2015

Still from graduate Media Design Practices student Nan Wang's Cartner project.

Still from graduate Media Design Practices student Nan Wang’s Cartner project.

Earlier this week at its WWDC 2015 developer’s conference, Apple announced that iOS 9–the next iteration of its operating system for its iPhone and iPad devices–will include a beefed-up “proactive” version of its voice-driven Siri software that will anticipate user’s needs and deliver relevant information in a timely manner.

Cool stuff, right? Now imagine how such a human-computer interface might evolve. And imagine it in your car.

That’s precisely what graduate Media Design Practices (MDP) student Nan Wang envisioned last fall in a course entitled New Car Experiences.

In that studio course led by Associate Professor Ben Hooker, MDP students spent the entire 14-week term creating “video sketches”–polished visualizations intended to spark discussion–based on student research conducted during the previous term in a class also led by Hooker and his MDP colleague Professor Tim Durfee.

“We immersed ourselves in the current visions of the automotive future to find out how different industries think things are going to play out,” says Hooker, whose expertise lies in collaborations within the field of human-computer interaction, of the research that led to the video sketches. “It soon became apparent there wasn’t one clear view, and that there was space for fresh thinking in this arena.”

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Illuminating Lumi: charting a startup’s path from Shark Tank to Y Combinator to VC funding

by June 9th, 2015

Jesse Genet with Inkodye display

Jesse Genet with Inkodye display

When 16-year old Jesse Genet began printing tee shirts in her parents’ basement, the enterprising teen could have scarcely fathomed a future in which her bright idea would morph into Lumi, a company with $2.5 million in sales, which appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, earned a coveted spot in Silicon Valley’s hottest startup incubator Y Combinator (think Airbnb, reddit, Dropbox) and has just closed on a seed venture round of financing.

Jesse and Lumi business partner Stephan Ango met as Product Design students at Art Center. Before starting college, however, Jesse was a natural-born entrepreneur who sought out a better way to print photography on textiles. A ton of research led her to a reference about a dye process that intrigued her and eventually led her to the man who owned the rights to the dye and the last inventory of the substance. She first contacted him while still in high school. “He didn’t take me seriously at first,” Jesse recalls. “After all I was just a high school kid. It wasn’t until Stephan and I joined forces and we made several trips to Northern California to meet with him that he finally began to negotiate with us seriously.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Autonomous for the people: cars of the future will need to balance new features with safety

by June 3rd, 2015

 

Still from Media Design Practices students Elaine Cheung’s Connected Mobility “video sketch.”

Still from Media Design Practices students Elaine Cheung’s and Shan Shen’s Connected Mobility.

Last week, Chevrolet announced that more than a dozen of its 2016 cars and trucks would be compatible with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, the tech giants’ competing in-dash interfaces for vehicles that connect to the driver’s smartphone.

Considering both CarPlay and Android Auto were only publicly announced last year, the speed of Chevrolet’s adoption of these interfaces could signal a sea change in how quickly automakers respond to consumers’ demands.

Geoff Wardle, executive director of Art Center’s graduate Transportation Systems and Design program, says Silicon Valley’s forays into the transportation arena have lit the proverbial fire under Detroit.

“Traditionally the car industry has designed vehicles over a three- to four-year time period,” says Wardle. “But people want the same features in their cars that they have on their smartphones, which change every few months.”

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