Posts Tagged ‘Illustration’

Illustration alumnus creates scholarship to give students foundational skills

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Watercolor by Illustration alumnus, Frank Lanza

Watercolor by Illustration alumnus, Frank Lanza

Frank L. Lanza (BFA ’57 Illustration) has had his finger on the pulse of advertising illustration for nearly 60 years. Working almost exclusively as a freelancer, he survived the new dominance of photography in print in the 1960s, experienced the pungent impact of the Magic Marker on storyboarding, and witnessed the revolutionary impact of computers on layout and design. His wide-ranging career has included packaging design for Crown Zellerbach and book illustration for Sunset Magazine and the first Del Monte Kitchens Cook Book. He also storyboarded for commercials and TV shows.

Frank Lanza

Frank Lanza

Lanza credits the solid fundamental toolkit he acquired at Art Center with laying the groundwork for his creative versatility and professional durability. “I was able to last as a freelancer thanks to the strong foundation of drawing skills I received at Art Center,” he says. He now hopes to return the favor to future artists with a gift of $1 million to the College to establish the Frank L. Lanza Scholarship Endowment, providing them the same lifelong artistic foundation. The endowment supports students of exceptional talent in the Illustration and Fine Art departments.

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Alum Ariel Lee’s penetrating illustrations offer creative takes on social issues

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Ariel Lee

Award-winning Illustration alum Ariel Lee.

Ariel Lee earned her BFA in Illustration at Art Center in 2012. That same year, she beat out a field of established professionals as a winner in Design Observer’s 50 Books/50 Covers for her children’s book, Mark & the Jellybean Monster, created as a student in Designmatters’ Uncool: The Anti-Gun Violence Project. The following year, one of Lee’s illustrations was awarded the Society of Illustrators 55 Gold Medal.

Lee, whose graphite and painted works are an evocative mix of delicacy and edge, specializes in publishing and surface design. One of the first freelance jobs she landed after Art Center–her client list includes the Wall Street Journal and the New Republic–was The New York Times. “I had gone to New York right after graduation and I met with the art director just to show her my portfolio,” Lee said.

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Oh, modernist pioneers! Recent grad Ellen Surrey illustrates California’s trailblazing women

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Ellen Surrey is a fervent flea market flâneur. “My greatest inspiration comes from American nostalgia, and a single thrift store find can hold so much history,” says the Spring 2014 Illustration graduate whose work is featured above and on the cover of the current issue of Dot magazine.

Her love of Americana is evident throughout her work, including her illustrations of folklore hero Paul Bunyan, a series that marked an artistic turning point for Surrey. “I really pushed myself stylistically and medium-wise and from that point on I started to gain a lot more confidence as an illustrator.”

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Close encounters of the Mac Pro kind

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Mac Pros at 870

Like a fleet of alien spacecraft, over 50 new Mac Pros have landed at 870, melded with the network and firmly attached to new Wacom Cintiq touchscreen monitors. To the delight of Illustration and Fine Art students, these strange new digital organisms have taken root and are ready to start turning out some serious teraflops (1 Trillion floating-point operations per second)!

The new Mac Pro has been eagerly anticipated since its announcement last year at The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC); and it represents the next wave in desktop computing, boasting dual GPUs, PCIe flash storage, high-performance Thunderbolt 2 peripheral connectivity, new-generation Xeon processors, ultrafast memory, and support for up to three (count ‘em, 3) 4K monitors (That’s… ehem… over 24 million pixels at up to 60 frames per second = over 1 Billion pixels per second).

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Captured on tape: Craigslist in all its humanity

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Tape Classified. Though it may sound like a chapter in a book on the Watergate scandal, in this case, those two loaded words are meant to be taken literally as the title and source materials for the first mural installed in the warehouse-sized West Gallery of 870 Raymond, the latest addition to Art Center’s South Campus complex.

Measuring just shy of 70 feet, the installation consists of student-created images made from black drafting tape inspired by ads on Craigslist. The mural’s concept was rooted in the students’ desire to tell many loosely connected stories—each sharing the same narrative DNA from a community. The idea is based on one person’s trash (or Mid-Century Womb Chair) is inevitably another person’s treasure.

Instructor Brian Rea is thrilled with the results. “This one mural tells 80 stories with individual illustrations,” says Rea. “With eight different students, all with different styles, different attitudes; it’s been really interesting to try and systemize that on a wall.”

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View from the Bridge: A renovation designed for creation, innovation and collaboration

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
The 870 building at sunrise. Photo: Darin Johnstone Architects

The 870 building at sunrise. Photo: ©Lawrence Anderson/Esto

As a teacher, I understand well the difference a space can make in the quality of the educational experience. Space affects learning. It makes a difference in how people teach. It makes a difference in how people create.

Which is why when you embark on creating a new space, you want to get it right. You need to talk to the right people and to ask the right questions if you wish to build that place where students can thrive and where faculty will love teaching. You want the space to elevate the whole.

A lot of careful thought went into making sure the new Fine Art and Illustration building at South Campus, 870 S. Raymond Ave. would engender the highest quality teaching and learning possible. I have no doubt that the building will do exactly that. Move through the new space, and you can feel it. It’s buoyant. It’s alive. You feel open to experience, to learning, to discovery—all thanks to the environment itself.

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Reflecting on African American History Month’s many shades of meaning to students of art and design

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Illustration of Dominican fruit by Medar de la Cruz

Illustration of Dominican fruit by Medar de la Cruz

“One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” W.E.B.  Du Bois (1868-1963)

Before coming to Pasadena I rarely thought about how significant the color of my skin was to my everyday life. I was raised in a neighborhood in Miami, Florida where I was part of a majority consisting of residents who were either immigrants, multi-lingual or people of color.

Medar de la Cruz

Medar de la Cruz

But when I came to Art Center I realized I no longer fit in as easily. It was here that I was first asked: “Are you black?” This made me realize that race was going to make an impact on my experiences. It’s normal for people to be affected by stereotypes and visual representations. And it’s normal to make assumptions about someone by the color of their skin. So when I was asked this, I responded, “Yes…I mean I’m not white. My parents are Dominican, my ancestors are African, and I was born in America. So technically that makes me African American as well.” I learned that question alone helps me define who I am.

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Monsters Inc: Art Center Alum Stefan Bucher’s yeti inspires Saks holiday window display

Thursday, January 30th, 2014


Each December, Saks Fifth Avenue signals the beginning of the season of warmth, joy and supersized spending with the unveiling of its holiday window display. The now iconic dioramas depicting a new take on a winter wonderland each year have become a prime destination for New York’s annual influx of year-end tourists, seeking a high dose of holiday spirit.

This past year, Saks’ holiday display was entirely based on Art Center alum, Stefan Bucher‘s children’s book, The Yeti Story. The luxury department story commissioned him to create a holiday book, centered around a Yeti reputed to live on the roof of the flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Here Bucher (Advertising ’96) takes us behind the scenes to reveal the origin story of his encounter with the furry mythic beasts with an infinitely high cold tolerance.

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‘New Eye’ brings a collection of visionary Illustration alumni to L.A. Art Show

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

As the longest running venue for contemporary, modern, historic and traditional art in the U.S., the L.A. Art Show has connected collectors with established and emerging artists for nearly 20 years. Looking to build on that reputation, the organizers asked Red Truck Gallery owner Noah Antieau to curate a collection of work within the show to break down barriers, buck convention and create a new vocabulary. In turn, Antieau asked Aaron Smith, Art Center alumnus and Associate Chair of Illustration, to assemble a collection of work by Art Center’s Illustration alumni. The result is an Art Center installation entitled New Eye, which will join a selection of innovative galleries to form “Littletopia,” on display January 15-19 at LA Convention Center.

“Littletopia and the L.A. Art Show are a perfect fit for the Illustration Department,” Smith says. “We’re always looking to connect students and recent alumni with galleries and savvy collectors who understand the importance of investing in emerging artists. And the show offers us as a unique platform to offer those collectors a curated view of some of Art Center’s most brilliant Illustration/Fine Art alumni.”

So how is “Littletopia” creating a new vocabulary?  Smith notes that,  “the innovative, skillful and imaginative work of our alums is rooted in traditional and modern art forms; but our illustration perspective isn’t afraid to break down barriers or buck convention every now and then.”

Illustration alums whose work will be on display, include Erin Burrell, Ryan Cho, David Cook, Ben Sanders, Fleurette West and Julie Yeo, joined by current upper-term Illustration student Jane Lee (see their work in the above slideshow).

The term ‘New Eye,’ is borrowed from the diverse tracks of study available within Art Center’s Illustration program, which encompasses Illustration Design, Entertainment Arts, Motion Illustration and Fine Art Painting — with later forming the basis for the work at L.A. Art Show. “It’s a term that our students and alumni respond well to,” explains Smith, “and it really summarizes the fresh perspective coming out of the Illustration Department.”

In addition to the New Eye exhibit, many other Art Center alums will also have their work on view, including Mark Todd, Esther Pearl Watson, Aron Wisenfeld, Ray Turner and Aaron Smith himself.

Let us know some of your favorite works from the show and who else you bump into from Art Center.

Art Center’s first Myspace occupation concludes. Prepare for phase 2!

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

We came. We saw. We influenced change as we learned to create.

Beginning last October, we enlisted four Art Center students to lead the charge in a week-long homepage takeover of the recently relaunched Myspace. The first-wave social network had reinvented itself as a community and breeding ground for artists and creative types of all stripes to exchange work, feedback and inspiration in the digital sphere. In other words, Myspace had become a sandbox custom-built for Art Center students and alums. And, as is our way, we came ready to play.

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