Doing the unimaginable: Alum Dan Santat’s Caledecott-winning book to become animated feature

by May 29th, 2015

Detail of an illustration from Beekle by Dan Santat. Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Detail of an illustration from Beekle by Dan Santat. Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

It’s been quite a year for Illustration alumnus Dan Santat (BFA 01).

Back in February, he was awoken at 4:30 a.m. by a call from the American Library Association (ALA) with the news that his childrens’ book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend had won the Caldecott, the nation’s most prestigious award for childrens’ literature.

And this Wednesday it was announced that Jason Reitman, the Oscar-nominated director of Thank You for Smoking, Juno and Up in the Air, would be writing and directing an animated film based on Beekle for Dreamworks Animation.

“I was book shopping with my daughter, when a little tooth-shaped character wearing a paper crown stole our hearts,” said Reitman in a press release announcing the deal. “His name was Beekle, and I’m now honored to be adapting Santat’s charming story into a feature film.”

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Venice Family Clinic gives Art Center designers a seat at the table for new pediatric center

by May 28th, 2015

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“Design has an enormous and growing role to play in developing health and wellness products and spaces,” says Art Center Product Design faculty member Jeff Higashi.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that when the Venice Family Clinic, an affiliate of UCLA Health System, was preparing to launch its new Children’s Health and Wellness Center, organizers made sure that designers—including 12 Art Center students—had seats at the table. Read the rest of this entry »

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JUMPSUIT: The ungendered monogarment to replace all clothing

by May 27th, 2015

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A spectre is haunting fashion — the spectre of JUMPSUIT. Fine Art Adjunct Instructor Maura Brewer and Rational Dress Society co-founder Abigail Glaum-Lathbury are bringing the people a new voice for non-choice. Curious? The Dotted Line caught up with Brewer in between lectures in Sweden, guerrilla actions at fashion week in NYC and her successful Kickstarter campaign to find out more about the project.

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Future road trip: Autospaces 2025 to explore the changing automotive landscape

by May 20th, 2015

Students Angela Dong, Thokozani Mabena,Vivia Liu and Sarineh Issagholian discuss their concepts with Jaguar Land Rover representatives at the New Car Experiences midterm. Photo: Chris Hatcher

Students Angela Dong, Thokozani Mabena,Vivia Liu and Sarineh Issagholian discuss their concepts with Jaguar Land Rover representatives at the New Car Experiences midterm. Photo: Chris Hatcher

It’s the end of the schlep as we know it. And we feel fine.

Well, perhaps not quite yet, but thanks to rapidly evolving technology making autonomous vehicles possible, that daunting commute we face every day may soon be a thing of the past.

Tomorrow in the Wind Tunnel at South Campus, Art Center hosts Autospaces 2025, a one-day symposium that brings together designers, researchers, and government and industry leaders to explore issues of connectivity, trust and mediation with autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles.

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Alumni video: Strategic brand storyteller Michael Etter sources his inspiration for the ‘beerification’ of wine

by May 19th, 2015

Pizza delivery, filmmaking and teaching are not typical bullet points on a designer’s resume. But Michael Etter (BFA 03 Graphic Design) took a roundabout route to his chosen field at Art Center, which he ultimately came to see as the most effective means to exercise his passion for storytelling. The thread connecting all his diverse interests has always been a narrative one, which continues to inform his work today as a strategic brand storyteller.

What does that mean exactly? As you’ll see in the above video and the Q&A below, Etter works to define brands as if they were characters in a story he’s writing. He then shapes a campaign around the specific attributes of the company. It’s a process that has yielded supremely successful results. Case in point: His recent campaign for Union Wine Company, which was designed to take the pretension out of wine drinking and make it more casual and accessible to non-oenophiles. The resulting campaign combined design innovation—selling wine in cans. But it was Etter’s bold narrative about the “beerification of wine” that distilled the essence of the idea into a media-friendly easily digestible package, generating a smash hit for Union, which quickly sold out of its first run of cans and is now expanding its reach far beyond its roots in Oregon.

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Film alumnus Chris Campbell’s Maglite commercial wins student Emmy

by May 15th, 2015

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Alumnus Chris Campbell accepts the 1st Place Commercial award for “Maglite – Dreamweaver” at the 36th College Television Awards, presented by the Television Academy Foundation at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 23, 2015.

And the College Television Award for best commercial goes to….Art Center alumnus, Chris Campbell, for his Maglite—Dreamweaver spot, a heartwarming ad concept which features a father and son bonding while using the flashlight to make shadow puppets.

The Television Academy, which hosts the Emmy Awards, created The College Television Awards to offer film students a national platform to showcase their work and talent. Modeling itself on the Primetime Emmy judging process, entries are reviewed by active Television Academy members. With more than 1,100 students from 500 schools across the United States vying for a few slots it is also extremely competitive.

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How Design touts TestLab Berlin’s life-changing impact on its participants and design itself

by May 14th, 2015

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A new environment can stimulate inventive thinking that leads to brilliant design work—but according to the TestLab Berlin participants, it might just stir you to change your way of life, too.

TestLab Berlin is a study abroad program offered by Art Center College of Design that is structured as a series of immersive 14-week trans-disciplinary projects under the direction of Nik Hafermaas, graphic design department chair and executive director of Berlin Programs. Students from a range of studio majors offered by the college—including illustration, photography, environmental, interaction, product and graphic design—can apply to participate. Twelve students are selected to travel from Pasadena, CA to Berlin to work for a semester at Art Center’s pop-up design studio in the recently renovated Bikini Berlin, an historic 1950s urban marketplace and recreation center located across from the city’s famed Zoological Garden.

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Leap Before You Look: Inside the revealing new exhibition on Black Mountain College, with MOCA curator Helen Molesworth

by May 13th, 2015

 

Photo: Hazel Larsen Archer, Merce Cunningham Dancing, c. 1952-53, gelatin silver print, 8 ¾ x 5 7/8 inches. Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

Photo: Hazel Larsen Archer, Merce Cunningham Dancing, c. 1952-53, gelatin silver print, 8 ¾ x 5 7/8 inches. Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

“Most people in the room probably know a little something about Black Mountain College, and it’s probably part wrong and part true,” said Helen Molesworth. Relaxed in black sneakers and a loose sweater, the new chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, less than five months into her new job, offered a candid and engaging behind-the-scenes look at her work on a revealing new exhibition about Black Mountain College—the first comprehensive exhibition on the subject to take place in the United States.

The curator’s talk in February, a full year ahead of the exhibition’s opening in L.A., was part of both the Wind Tunnel Lecture Series and Art Center Dialogues. And as she disclosed to her unsuspecting audience at the outset, “You’re the first! I haven’t actually given a Black Mountain talk yet.”

For Molesworth, Black Mountain College’s mythic status—as the birthplace of the neo-avant-garde and the site of legendary collaborations by Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Merce Cunningham—has in fact been a problem to overcome, an impediment to a more complete understanding of its history. “It was a place charged in ways that engendered mythmaking from its inception,” she said, “and a lot of that mythmaking was self-generated.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Art Center alumni notes: Spring 2015

by May 12th, 2015

Alum Catherine Taft assistant curated America is Hard to See at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a show which features the work of alum Bill Wheelock

Alum Catherine Taft assistant curated America is Hard to See at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a show which features the work of alum Bill Wheelock

Spring has sprung for Art Center’s alumni community, which collectively bloomed with media attention and creative activity. Here we’ve gathered a bouquet sampling this group’s impressive undertakings.

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Environmental alum Viirj Kan deploys disruptive design thinking toward humanity at MIT Media Lab

by May 6th, 2015

“I think there’s a lot of space for designers to expand beyond the producer/client model and become knowledge makers, cultural disruptors and gatekeepers between pure economic gain and the well-being of humanity,” said alumna Viirj Kan (BS ’14 Environmental), currently a graduate student and researcher at MIT Media Lab.

Virij Kan at work

Virij Kan at work

Born in Macau, China and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Kan’s work is inspired by the laws of nature, science, social climates and shifts in the social norm.

Kan and her fellow MIT researchers developed TRANSFORM as Adaptive and Dynamic Furniture, an exploration of how shape display technology can be integrated into our daily lives as interactive, shape changing furniture. The project was recently honored with the Golden Mouse award at a gathering of experts in Seoul examining innovation around how humans interact with digital technologies.

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