Posts Tagged ‘Alumni’

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

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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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NASA and DC enlist alum Justin Chambers to design the world’s coolest robot shoes

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

In the DARPA Robotics Challenge, teams of software designers and robotics engineers compete to develop robots capable of assisting human recovery efforts in man-made and natural disasters. NASA’S Team Valkyrie approached Justin Chambers (BFA, Product, ’14), and 3D designer Chad Knight and asked if they would “design a cool shoe for our robot.” Chambers’ and Knight’s answer: Affirmative!

The above slide show illustrates the team’s iterative process that yielded a pair of shoes that quite possibly redefined the meaning of a cool pair of kicks. Chambers and Knight’s design comes complete with rover-style treads designed to facilitate the literal version of moon walking—no Michael Jackson moves necessary. 

For anyone interested in how a designer comes to land a dream gig designing branded footwear for iconic organizations like DC and NASA, Chambers traces the unlikely journey that lead him to the launchpad for his rocket-ride career in the essay below:

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The give and take of MDP alum Matthew Manos’ thriving social impact design practice

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Art Center students visit alum Matthew Manos' verynice design studio in Venice. (Photo by Stella Kalinina)

Art Center students visit alum Matthew Manos’ verynice design studio in Venice. (Photo by Stella Kalinina)

Professionally speaking, alumnus Matthew Manos (MFA 12) was precocious. At age 19 in 2008 he founded his own design studio, verynice, a service free to nonprofits using design as a tool for problem solving. By 2012, with a full-time staff of two, verynice was providing $300,000 in pro bono services.

Today, with offices in Los Angeles and New York and a staff of 10 and growing, Manos’ innovative studio has donated the equivalent of more than a million dollars in services to some 250 nonprofit organizations with the help of skills-based volunteers around the globe. Manos’ book, How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free, open-sources his 50% pro-bono business model. His givehalf.co platform is inspiring other companies to do the same.

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Inside Job: Industrial Design alum Kevin Bethune helps companies innovate and disrupt from within

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Kevin Bethune designed Ethereal, a fitness app and device, as a Grad ID student.

Kevin Bethune designed Ethereal, a fitness app and device, as a Grad ID student.

As soon as Kevin Bethune earned his master’s degree in Art Center’s Industrial Design program in 2012, he joined colleagues in establishing a digital innovation boutique to help Fortune 500 clients in health care, retail, consumer products and other industries “figure out how to incubate new ventures within their large corporations,” Bethune said. In early 2014, Bethune and his team relaunched as BCG Digital Ventures inside The Boston Consulting Group.

The new company’s stated mission: to establish “strategic partnerships with the world’s leading companies to create disruptive digital platforms” through “digital innovation, product development and commercialization.”

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Graphics alum Rafael Esquer sees New York City as both canvas and muse

Monday, July 14th, 2014

When the New York City Department of Design and Construction approached Rafael Esquer’s Alfalfa Studio about creating a mural to improve the cafeteria of the LIFE Family Shelter in Lower Manhattan, Esquer embraced the opportunity to direct a project with social impact. Alfalfa invited the shelter’s clients to workshop their ideas and shape the conceptual and graphic direction of the piece. “The rewards of doing something that actually touches people’s lives is what makes the hundreds of hours of volunteer work worth it,” says Esquer, who has taught at Art Center, New York University and the School of Visual Arts.

Incorporating vibrant drawings of seasonal foods and children’s statements about their favorite activities and fantasy characters, the project has triggered new commissions for murals in the U.S. and abroad. But what is Esquer most excited about as his firm celebrates its 10th anniversary this year? “Having my own studio has allowed me to launch my own brand, Alfalfa New York,” he says. “It’s a project where I’m both client and designer.” Deeply in love with Manhattan, the Mexico native has created ICONYC, a graphic representation of the city researched and rendered over the course of more than two years, featuring 173 landmarks as diverse as the Chrysler Building and the Chelsea Hotel.

This story originally appeared in Art Center’s Spring 2014 Dot magazine, where you can read more about alumni and faculty achievements.

Entertainment Design alum Edmund Liang is shaping the future one video game at a time

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Edmund Liang

Entertainment Design alum Edmund Liang

Edmund Liang is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in transmedia narratives and multi-sensory spatial experiences. Last fall, Liang was named one of Complex Art+Design’s 25 People Shaping the Future of Design and his projects—video games, interactive media, film and animation, motion graphics, photography—are as eclectic as his client list, which includes the Famous Group, Jim Henson Company, Dreamworks, Psyop, Imaginary Forces and Logan.tv.

A self-described “provocateur” in his field, Liang was once an “art kid” in high school who had no idea that there was a world of design. “I didn’t know that the keyboard in front of me was designed,” he recalled. “I didn’t know that the video games I was playing had people behind them.”

By the time it came time to consider colleges, Liang was first attracted to Art Center’s Illustration program and touring the campus prior to enrolling, he said, “I got the impression that it was a very rigorous and serious school. That’s what I wanted.”

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Artwork by Edmund Liang

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

Tuesday, 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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Food photography power couple: Alumni Q&A with Peden + Munk

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Unknown-1UnknownTaylor Peden and Jen Munkvold met as Photography and Imaging students at Art Center, fell in love and in 2006 teamed up creatively as Peden + Munk. This inspired partnership now counts among its credits photo essay-style editorial and commercial work — including covers — for Bon Appétit, Sunset Magazine, Glamour, GQ, Food and Wine, The New York Times Magazine, Langham Hotels, William Sonoma and Crate & Barrel and other major companies and magazines, chefs, restaurants and hotels.

Just in time for summer, the pair’s trademark color-saturated, sumptuous food photography can also be seen in The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appétit; Sweet, by Los Angeles-based baker Valerie Gordon; and A New Napa Cuisine, Peden + Munk’s most recent collaboration with three-star Michelin chef Christopher Kostow, is forthcoming in October from Ten Speed Press. They also recently launched their motion work with this piece for Bon Appétit, profiling Martha’s Vineyard restaurateur, Chris Fisher.

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Photo alum Star Foreman goes for baroque with Golden Age glam Hollywood portraits

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Los Angeles photographer Star Foreman’s vibrant, campy tableaux have defined publications such as LA Weekly and Pasadena Magazine.

Her family history proved pivotal in getting her very first gig with LA Weekly. Creative director Darrick Rainer liked Foreman’s work and interviewed her around the time he was planning the Weekly’s first annual theater issue. When he found out that she grew up going to plays and musicals almost every weekend because her grandfather was T. E. Foreman, a newspaper theater critic for 50 years, he assigned her the cover on the spot. Rainer later chose Foreman’s work for the paper’s Top Covers of 2013.

Foreman’s trademark tableaux are inspired by Golden Age Hollywood, burlesque, and a love of fashion and design. “I love shooting fashion,” she says, “because at any given moment fashion is changeable. Great fashion photography transmutes itself, becomes art that is enjoyed for its aesthetics, absent the need to sell something or someone.” (more…)