Posts Tagged ‘Alumni’

Heat index warning: July and August ArtCenter alumni notes are here

Friday, September 11th, 2015
Aaron Bjork, “Tectonics.” Single channel video installation. Debut screening 9/11/15 at Fisk Gallery.

Aaron Bjork, “Tectonics.” Single channel video installation. Debut screening 9/11/15 at Fisk Gallery.

You’ve stocked up on coconuts, let the lawn die and sworn off all social engagements before 8pm. But the unflagging pace of alum achievements won’t wait for cooler weather. (more…)

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

Wednesday, 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.


Alumni from across the country gather to celebrate the life of graphic designer Doug “Big Dog” Oliver

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Graphic Design Doug "Big Dog" Oliver passed away in December 2014.

Graphic Design Doug “Big Dog” Oliver passed away in December 2014. Photo courtesy of Kyle Oliver.

Ask anybody who knew Graphic Design alumnus Doug Oliver (BFA 78) to describe the late designer’s personality and you’re likely to hear “larger than life.”

That reputation rang true last month when approximately 60 individuals—friends, family, colleagues and Art Center alumni—gathered on March 19 at Lithographix in Hawthorne, California for an informal celebration of the man’s life.

The Kansas-born Oliver, who passed away last December at the age of 63, left an indelible mark in the graphic design world. The annual reports he designed for institutions like the W.M. Keck Foundation and Northrop Grumman transformed potentially laborious information into exquisite works that captured the reader’s imagination.


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.


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.


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:


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 platform is inspiring other companies to do the same.


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.”


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

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.”


Artwork by Edmund Liang