Tag Archives: Faculty

An Interview with Ross LaManna: The value of film school for staying ahead of trends

Chair of undergraduate and graduate Film departments at ArtCenter.

Ross LaManna, Chair of undergraduate and graduate Film departments at ArtCenter.

Last summer, I taught a production workshop class at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena and was very impressed with their film program and the students. I knew the Film department Chair Ross LaManna, having hired him as a screenwriter several times over the years. But the teaching experience got me thinking about the role of film schools in today’s entertainment industry, and I hoped Ross could help explain it to me. Continue reading

Dispatches from the future of design thinking: MDP’s Faculty Work-in-Progress show

MDP Faculty Work-in-Progress Show. Video by Nick Meehan from MediaDesignPractices on Vimeo.

“Being part of a community that provides support and critique is important,” said Media Design Practices (MDP) Chair Anne Burdick as she kicked off the department’s first ever Faculty Work-in-Progress show on a recent Thursday evening in Art Center’s Wind Tunnel gallery space. “It’s really a super amazing gift.”

As the MFA program’s twelve faculty members’ presentations unfolded over the next two hours, it quickly became clear that Burdick was not overstating the rewards of her department’s commitment to open dialogue. The event, which Burdick hopes will become a regular piece of programming, was organized around the following theme: a piece of something bigger. Faculty responded to that imperative with a series short presentations of unfinished projects they’re cultivating in their private creative practices.

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Art Center Students First: Faculty and staff come together to support scholarships

Fine Art faculty member, Tom Knechtel

Fine Art faculty member, Tom Knechtel

When Fine Art faculty member Tom Knechtel and director of real estate and campus planning Rollin Homer were asked to sign a faculty and staff appeal for Art Center’s Annual Fund this past spring, they came up with a better idea: create a scholarship fund for Art Center students that would last forever.

Their idea become the Art Center Students First Scholarship, the College’s first-ever scholarship endowment supported entirely by College faculty and staff. The goal is to bring the fund up to the endowment level of $50,000 so that it can continue provide support for students every year—for as long as Art Center is around.

Our brief chat with Tom sheds some light on the impact that scholarships like Art Center Students First can have on young artists and designers and on the College.

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Faculty Member Sean Adams Donates Proceeds of MOO.COM Collaboration to Art Center Scholarship Fund

Art Center faculty member Sean Adams.

Sean Adams

Art Center faculty member Sean Adams, partner and co-founder of the branding and strategic design firm AdamsMorioka, recently collaborated with MOO.COM to create their newest collection of high-end business cards for The Luxe Project.

When deciding which charity would receive 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of the business cards, Sean selected the Art Center Scholarship Fund and the purchase of any cards in Adams’ three collections—totaling 42 different designs—between now and the end of August will benefit Art Center students.

You can purchase any of Adams’ designs — Pattern and Colour, Sad Places or Ships Ahoy! — from MOO.COM.

Commenting on his choice to support the Art Center Scholarship Fund, Adams said, “As a teacher I’ve seen too many remarkable people leave school because they couldn’t afford to continue. When I see a student who is brilliant, passionate and who works like a dog, lose the resources to finish school, it is a loss not just to his or her own experience. It’s a loss of an incredible resource and voice to the world.

“None of us would have become successful without the help of the generation ahead of us. I myself wouldn’t have finished school without scholarship help,” he continued. “It feels great to know that I can give back and be a small part in making Art Center students the most incredible and successful designers graduating in the world today.”

As part of MOO’s efforts to make quality products and top-level design available for anyone to create their own unique identity, Luxe Business Cards are high-quality, super-thick, customizable cards that feature limited edition designs.

Adams said, “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to design cards for anyone to use and that MOO has given me the ability to support our future designers in this way. So thrilled that I couldn’t stop with just one collection, so I designed three.”

Images and more information about the designs follow. Continue reading

Gloria Fowler’s AMMO-nition

The cover of the new Edward Weston monograph, published by AMMO Books.

On campus, Gloria Fowler ‘87 may be best known as a beloved Environmental Design instructor who has taught at the College for the last 20 years, helping students explore their creative potential. But equally impressive is her work off-campus, where she runs the thriving boutique art-house publishing company AMMO Books with her photographer-turned-publisher husband, Steve Crist, and business partner Paul Norton.

Launching a specialty book business is a risky venture, even more so in today’s age of declining book sales. But AMMO, which is based in Pasadena and Santa Barbara, Calif., has succeeded where others haven’t, publishing a number of coveted titles including the limited edition monographs Gonzo and Charley Harper, mid-priced options like Locals Only and Spike Lee: Do the Right Thing and a children’s line of board books, puzzles and more. Enviable press coverage and robust sales have followed.

The Dotted Line recently sat down with Fowler to discuss several new AMMO releases just in time for the holidays, as well as her experience running AMMO and working with emerging talent straight from the studios of Art Center.

Is there a story behind the name, AMMO?

When Steve and I decided to break out on our own and launch a new publishing house [he previously worked as a photo editor at Taschen], we realized that there weren’t that many visual-arts publishers based in the U.S. We also wanted to celebrate American artists and designers. So we came up with AMMO, which is short for American Modern Books. But we do publish international artists/designers as well.

What’s new at AMMO this holiday season?

We recently published a limited edition, coffee-table size monograph on the photographer Edward Weston in celebration of his 125th birthday. Weston is a hero of Steve’s and one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. Steve worked with the Center for Creative Photography in Arizona, which manages Weston’s archive, to choose 125 of Weston’s most iconic photographs. The book was beautifully printed in Italy and comes in an exquisite European gold cloth slipcase. Then we have Alexander Girard, edited by Todd Oldham. Girard was a seminal and prolific midcentury designer who produced work in so many disciplines—textiles, typography, graphics, illustration, furniture and architecture. He was a contemporary of Eames who, for whatever reason, hasn’t received the same recognition. We hope this book will change that. It’s massive—672 pages and 15 lbs(!)—and it’s at the level of Charley Harper in that the book is a very comprehensive overview of Girard.  And in conjunction, we’ve released some children’s products featuring Girard’s designs—a memory game, giant floor puzzles, a board book and more on the way.

Catch a glimpse of the new Girard book here:

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In Case You Missed It

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

  • Cardwell Jimmerson show of work by Art Center alum and former faculty member Vincent Robbins—on display through Sept. 3— is another of the gallery’s great exercises in expansionist art history. L.A. Times Culture Monster

    Work by Vincent Robbins

  • Late Art Center alum and faculty member John Altoon will have works on display at Garboushian Gallery exhibit celebrating Armenian contemporary artists. Asbarez Post
  • Transportation Design alumnus Gabriel Wartofsky begins Kickstarter campaign for folding e-bike. Sustainable Business Oregon
  • Art Center partner, Bernhardt Design president Jerry Helling, talks about working with Art Center students to design furniture. New York Times
  • Alumna and faculty member Diana Thater’s Peonies, a nine-monitor videowall, now on view at the Wexner Center. Artdaily.org
  • Art Center’s “Visionary in Residence” Bruce Sterling creates his own augmented reality. Wired

Art … or Terrorism?

Work from Schaefer's Website

A fascinating story in the L.A. Times focuses on Art Center alumnus and faculty member Alex Schaefer, questioned by L.A. police after painting a bank branch on fire.

From the article:

“They said they had to find out my intention. They asked if I was a terrorist and was I going to follow through and do what I was painting.”

No, Schaefer said. He explained that the artwork was intended to be a visual metaphor for the havoc that banking practices have caused to the economy.

A terrorist certainly would not spend hours on a public sidewalk creating an oil painting of his intended target, he told the officers.

The police took down his name, address and telephone number on a form — Schaefer declined to provide his Social Security number — and departed.

“They were friendly. They weren’t intimidating,” he said. “I figured that when they left, they probably decided the episode was stupid and they’d just wad up the form and throw it away.”

Wrong. On Tuesday, two more officers showed up at Schaefer’s home. This time they were plainclothes detectives.

Read more: An artist’s incendiary painting is his bank statement

MDP Showcased in Little Tokyo Design Week

Art Center’s Graduate Media Design (MDP) program will be among the international designers, architects, filmmakers, corporations and other educational institutions exploring the “New Urban Lifestyle” as part of Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City (LTDW) this week. LTDW celebrates the power and energy of cutting-edge design and technology emerging from Japan and its relation to current trends materializing in Los Angeles.

“We look forward to participating alongside world class designers, artists and creative thinkers and engaging the public in an exciting dialogue about the future of our cities and the future of design,” says MDP Chair Ann Burdick.

Taking place July 14 through 17, the free, four-day public festival will span the geographic breadth of downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district with a series of museum exhibitions, student installations, public happenings and temporary galleries in the form of shipping containers placed throughout the public plazas of Little Tokyo. Under the auspices of the MDP program, the College will produce three separate projects for LTDW exploring how design and technology will shape lives in the cities of the future.

“Grad Media Design emphasizes an approach that responds to issues without the assumption of a particular type or mode of outcome and, similarly, to resist the adaptation of common assumptions for topics of technological or social concern,” says Tim Durfee, core faculty and director of amp: Projects in Media and Architecture within the MDP program. “This ethic is in evidence for both our PLAN C installation and Metropolis of Me symposium, in which we approach familiar topics from somewhat novel directions in order to reveal overlooked opportunities or implications.”

There are three projects being produced by Grad Media Design for LTDW.

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Find Out How Your Garden Grows

Have you ever wondered how to grow a tomato? Are you looking for new ingredients to add spice to your cooking? Would you be willing to share your gardening secrets? Interested in learning more about sustainable growing practices?

Whether you have a green thumb, or are a gardening novice, EcoCouncil and Art Center invites the Art Center community to grab a trowel, put on your gardening gloves and plant with us. Our new campus garden is intended to be a learning, teaching and recreation space for the College community that allows us to experience what it means to live in harmony with our environment. It is a space for experimentation, investigation and exploration of concepts of lifecycle and sustainability.

The garden is the result of careful planning, partnership with Art Center Student Government and facilities, and the support of the College president and senior staff. This collaboration has resulted in a unique and beautiful garden design incorporating low-impact materials.

Become a “founding grower” and begin your garden! We’ll provide the soil, sunshine and water. Individual students, faculty and staff, or student groups can sign up for a planting bed, which can be used to grow organic food plants or ornamentals. Eat what you grow, or share your harvest. Go to the Garden’s Facebook page for more information and to reserve a plot. Spaces will be assigned for the term in the order received.

In Case You Missed It

Photo by Eric Curry

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

Some of the latest: