Tag Archives: Alumni Work

Alumnus Creating New Work for Metro Station

Fine Art alumnus and Art Center at Night/Saturday High faculty member Ronald J. Llanos has been hard at work the past three years creating Ephemeral Views: A Visual Essay, for Metro’s Expo/Western Station constructed at Western Avenue in Los Angeles. He is creating 24 mosaic panels (each 8’ x 3’) that comprise the work under construction.

The Source brings us an update on the progress. From the article: “Ronald’s watercolor paintings have a fresh, spontaneous quality to them. The task of translating his translucent washes of color into a hard, permanent material was a challenge. Artisans at Mosaika Art & Design traced Ronald’s designs onto ceramic tile and added thin layers of glaze to preserve the feel of the artist’s hand in the work. Next the work was fired, cut into small pieces and placed within the panels.”

Read more, and also check out Llanos’ blog for details from the beautiful mosaic.

In Case You Missed It

The Persistent Online Dating Campaign Medal, from Bucher's new book

As you know, there’s always something going on when it comes to Art Center alumni, students and faculty. Some of the latest:

  • Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Advertising alum Stefan Bucher’s new book, You Deserve a Medal, takes a fun look at the battlefield of love. Book signing and reception Feb. 15 at Skylight Books in Los Feliz. http://www.344design.com/ydm/
  • Fine Art alum James Drake, whose work focuses on life on the U.S./Mexican border, chosen for a Texas Medal of Arts award. El Paso Times
  • Graphic Design Chair Nik Hafermaas, along with colleagues at Google and NASA, develop ECloud, a weather-visualizing liquid crystal installation, at Mineta San Jose International Airport’s new North Concourse. San Francisco Gate
  • Photography alum Terry Wild documents impact of drilling on Pennsylvania farmscapes. Lancaster Farming
  • Advertising alum Mike Leon named creative director of Dubuque, Iowa-based creative firm. TH Online
  • Fine Art alum and former faculty member Erik Olson documents Detroit’s vacant buildings. Northville Patch

Broadcast Cinema Alum and Faculty Member Inks Deal

Art Center Broadcast Cinema alumnus and faculty member Nir Bashan has just signed a deal to adapt a bestselling book, Three Dog Nightmare, into a feature film screenplay. He is co-writing the screenplay with Chuck Negron, lead singer of the band Three Dog Night.


The book is about the rise and fall, and eventual rise again, of Chuck Negron of the band Three Dog Night. It’s an inspirational story of overcoming addiction and adversity against all odds. Work began in December in Los Angeles, and is expected to be competed in early summer.

Bashan is an Emmy-nominated, Clio-winning director who directs and writes commercials, features and television. He currently teaches in both the Broadcast Cinema and Advertising departments.

He has won, or been nominated for, more than 30 awards worldwide for his short films and commercials, such as a nomination for the Cannes Film Festival Young Director Award and a win for the Best New Director award at the DGA in New York City. He has worked with clients including Honda, AT&T and Coca Cola.

Wendee Lee: Celebrating Life Through Sunday’s 5K

When Product Design alumna and faculty member Wendee Lee decided to get back into running last fall, and began training for the Rose Bowl 5K, she found that it wasn’t as easy as it used to be.


“It’s not like I’ve been a jock or very athletic for all my life,” Lee explains, “and it’s been hard this time around. Training has been a test not only of my legs and lungs, but of my will as well.”

Yet she found a deep and unwavering inspiration from an unexpected source: Lee is running to celebrate and honor the memory of fellow alumnus and faculty member Norm Schureman.

“I found a great deal of strength from the idea of running to honor Norm’s legacy and to help spread word about his memorial scholarship,” she said. Because of this, she wanted to run a race specifically in Pasadena, and the Rose Bowl 5K fit the bill and time frame.

Lee’s asking supporters to donate to Schureman’s Memorial Scholarship fund as a way to both celebrate his life, and help ensure that his legacy continues.

She’s seen first-hand the power of scholarships to change lives. As a faculty member, she’s seen students struggle to find the financial means to continue their education, and when Lee was a student herself at Art Center she had to take a leave for a year for financial reasons.

“The Norm Schureman Memorial scholarship is particularly important to me as a Product Design alum and faculty member,” Lee explains. “I had Norm as an instructor, and was lucky enough to have him as a colleague as well. It means so much to know this scholarship will help future Product Design students.”

Lee supported by many across the College. “The Product Design Department is extremely proud of Wendee, and grateful for her commitment to raising scholarship for the Norm Schureman Memorial Scholarship,” says Karen Hofmann.  “We wish her the very best on her run this weekend, and ask that our Art Center community helps support Wendee through contributing to the scholarship fund.”

The Rose Bowl 5K is this Sunday, Feb. 6. Here’s how you can support Lee: Visit Art Center’s donation page, scroll to “Area of Support / Degree Program Scholarships,” and select the Norman Schureman Memorial Scholarship. All donations will help. At the very bottom, under “Confirmation,” add words of encouragement in the “Additional Comments’” section for Lee (such as, “In support of runner Wendee Lee!”), so that she can acknowledge your support of both her run and of the scholarship.

Besides raising money for the scholarship, what are Lee’s personal goals for Saturday’s race?

“I just want to finish strong and enjoy the race and being at and in the Rose Bowl,” she says. “I’ve already regained my joy of running—so really, the rest is all gravy.”

Donate to the Norm Schureman Memorial Scholarship online today.

Or, mail your donation.

Going Pro: Lara Rossignol Tests the D-Lux 5

Photography and Imaging alumna Lara Rossignol recently had the opportunity to text out the D-Lux 5 and write up a review for the Leica Camera blog.

Xmas Easy © Lara Rossignol

She writes: “I began shooting professionally in Los Angeles after I graduated from Art Center College of Design in the late ’80s. Less than two years later I moved to NYC and over the next 14 years worked with clients ranging from Rolling Stone to Vogue to Max Factor.

“In late 2002 I moved south to Atlanta and have expanded my repertoire to include food & lifestyle. In April of 2009 I launched my photo blog, Piewacket, incorporating an editorial approach by creating original content on a range of subjects I find interesting. It has gained a loyal following with over 230,000 unique visitors in the first 18 months.

“I started working with Leica last year when I got a chance to try out the amazing M9 for a couple of weeks. I am always on the lookout for a great point & shoot since it is just not feasible to bring your pro gear with you where ever you go. It is an especially invaluable tool for blogging, so I was very excited to try out the D-Lux 5.”

What did Rossignol think of the camera? Read more and find out: Going Pro: Lara Rossignol Tests the D-Lux 5

How I Made It: Trans Alum Frank Saucedo

The L.A. Times has a nice profile on 1984 Transportation Design alumnus Frank Saucedo, who is director of General Motors Co.’s Advanced Design Studio in North Hollywood.

As director of the studio, 5350 Industrial Concepts, Saucedo oversees a staff of 30 designers, sculptors, analysts and engineers. Since opening, the studio has created several noteworthy projects, most notably the 2001 Chevrolet Borrego and the Pontiac Solstice. (We spoke with Saucedo about his work for a past issue of Outer Circle.)

From the L.A. Times article: “Saucedo didn’t realize auto design was a career option until he visited Art Center College of Design in Pasadena at the urging of his teacher at San Gabriel High School. ‘I walked into the big presentation room in Art Center and these guys were doing full-size drawings of cars, and I said, I want to do that.’

“After high school he took as many classes as he could, day and night, at Pasadena City College, East Los Angeles College and Art Center, while also working at auto parts stores.”

Read more: How I Made It: Frank Saucedo, GM car-design studio chief

In Case You Missed It

As you know, there’s always something going on when it comes to Art Center alumni, students and faculty. Some of the latest:

  • The L.A. Times delves into the mind and art of Grad Art alumna Frances Stark. L.A. Times

    Frances Stark

  • Norman Rockwell Museum debuts digitization efforts, including audio of a lecture Rockwell made at Art Center in 1949. Litchfield County Times
  • San Francisco photographer and Photography alumna Leslie Williamson’s new book documents the homes of iconic mid-century modern designers. SFGate
  • Pasadena artist Kenton Nelson will open his rarely seen studio as part of the Sidney D. Gamble lecture series on Jan. 29 at Art Center. Tickets are $20. Pasadena Star News
  • Catching up with Illustration alum Jeremy Steiner. Calabasas Patch

Catching Up With Syd Mead

As the buzz around Tron: Legacy reaches a fever pitch leading up to its opening this weekend, our thoughts naturally turn to the original Tron and our beloved alumnus Syd Mead, whose designs are synonymous with the groundbreaking film.

A 1959 Transportation Design graduate, Mead is best known for his work on Tron, Bladerunner and Aliens, as well as for the creation of the V’Ger for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.


We caught up with Mead this week to find out what he’s been up to, and his thoughts on the new Tron.

Dotted Line: You’ve been busy. Tell us about your latest projects.
Syd Mead:
My latest complete project was two food service designs and installations in New York City. FoodParc at ground level off Sixth Avenue and Bar Basque, the second level lounge and restaurant. My designs started, literally, on 8.5” x 11” sketch paper on the way back from New York after the first meeting with the architects, Philip Koether, Architects. The designs were faithfully reproduced by Koether’s expert team. Concept moves to completion through a complex symphony of cooperative expertise.

In the movie field, I’ve just completed pre-production contract designs for a young, recognized director for a movie title that is in progress. It is not my position to tell what it is.

Dotted Line: What have been the most enjoyable aspects of these projects?
They’ve all been enjoyable because you learn from each cooperative venture. The surprises come as the project moves from concept to idea to design. Adaptation to end format protocols, unwelcome shifts in focus by either capital sources for the project or intrusion into the process by those unfamiliar with the project intent yet given authority to “change.”

Dotted Line: Tell us about your current work in your new book, Sentury II. Has your focus changed over the years?
As a follow-up to Sentury, Sentury II covers the last 10 years of professional enterprise. My focus? It’s not changed for more than 50 years. The tools that accomplish the various desired results change; the methodology does not. The mistake I see in current rush to the computer is that the tool becomes more important than either the idea or the technique. This is disastrous.

Dotted Line: What interests you these days?
Mead: I have been interested in the development of a tool. We now have semi-intuitive “helper” software that anticipates habitual use of various software features. The hazard is that you come to depend on those “conveniences” to the detriment of genuine creative use of the exotic software being used. And, with many software applications, you aren’t given specific “turn off” directions. Another fascinating drift is the increasing insistence that since work is being done on a computer, the professional fee structure should be downgraded to a time/result formula rather than a realization that the computer implementation is a tool function, not a creative front-end function. Financial vectors in most professional account sources simply don’t recognize the difference between the two.

1982 poster for Tron

Dotted Line: With the buzz surrounding Tron: Legacy, our thoughts naturally return to the 1982 Tron that you worked on. Can you share with us what that job was like?
For the original Tron I designed the tank, the aircraft carrier (Sark’s command ship), the interior control set for the recognizer, the light cycles, of course, the release graphics of the movie title, the rotating CPU, the CPU approach field, the game arenas, the holding cells for the players, Sark’s command camp pit, Sark’s command pedestal and backup and several set drawings used to create the story environment including Yori’s apartment and the scenery design for the tank chase.

I was invited for lunch on the Disney lot by producers Steven Lisberger and Don Kushner and received a book of stuff that Steven already had with him. I started after about two or three weeks after contract matters had been agreed to by Disney.

I worked on Tron from my home studio, as I have with all the movies I’ve worked on. I always have several projects going through the corporation and being sequestered in an “on lot” cubicle doesn’t work. My function is meta-staff working one-to-one with the director and his immediate authority, the production designer.

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Art Center Honors Doyald Young

This is turning out to be quite a week for Doyald Young.

Tomorrow night he’ll be honored at a special Art Center reception (RSVPs required) with a screening of Doyald Young, Logotype Designer, a new documentary about Young by lynda.com.

Photo by Louise Sandhaus

At Saturday’s commencement ceremony, he will receive Art Center’s Alumnus of the Year Award for his dedicated work as an educator and lifetime of legendary work in typography, logotypes and alphabets. At Saturday’s commencement, he’ll receive an honorary degree from Art Center, where he studied Advertising in the ’50s, and where he has taught lettering and logotype design in the Graphic Design Department for decades.

We caught up with Young this week to talk to him about Art Center, his thoughts on teaching and those things computers can’t do.

Dotted Line: Congratulations on the alumni award and honorary degree.
Doyald Young:
Thank you! I’m honored and thankful for such honors. I am an amalgam of the people I’ve known whose ideas have permeated my being. I’m blessed—so many people have kindly befriended me. I often wonder, “How do I repay them?”

I believe that teaching and writing books about what I do is a form of payback. Both of which I continue to do, and will, as long as I am able. A priori, how could I not be deeply touched with the awards I’ve received? I’m humbled that Art Center has allowed me to teach these many years, and blessed that I receive support from my fellow teachers and staff.

Dotted Line: What has Art Center meant to you?
Art Center has been one of the great forces of my life. I learned, most importantly, that our first efforts are just that. They need refinement. A good job is done over and over, and oftentimes is changed again and again when marketing forces or creative directors change their minds. Final art does not emerge full-blown. I make my living making changes.

At Art Center, I learned professionalism, punctuality, and above all, how to continue my skills and burnish my talent. And a mentor of mine, Henry Dreyfuss, taught me the value of a thank-you note.

Dotted Line: You’ve said that you are an educator first, and a designer second.
It’s true. When I was a student in Mort Leach’s class, he noticed fellow students coming to me for help on their projects. They came to me voluntarily, and I found that I enjoyed helping them. Mort later asked me to become his teaching assistant.

Teaching requires patience. I firmly believe that if you have the gift of teaching, you must pass it on. As Woodrow Wilson said, “You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

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Awards Honor Exceptional Alumni

Each December, the College and Office of Alumni Relations present the Art Center Alumni Awards to three outstanding alumni.

The winners, chosen by the Art Center community, are recognized during the Fall Term graduation ceremony.

Photo by Lara Warren

We are honored to announce the following Art Center Alumni Award winners at Saturday’s commencement:

  • Doyald Young ADVT 55, awarded the Lifetime Achievement Alumnus Award in recognition of his dedicated work as an educator and lifetime of legendary work in typography, logotypes and alphabets.
  • Stephanie Sigg GRAD ID ’98, awarded the Outstanding Service Alumni Award in honor of her humanitarian design impact through her work with various NGOs, nonprofits and cause-related campaigns.
  • Geetika Agrawal GRAD ID ’05, awarded the Young Alumni Innovator Award in recognition of her passion and accomplishments in social media, digital culture, physical interactive art and new technologies.

Congratulations to our alumni for these well-deserved marks of distinction!