An excited crowd gathered around Ting Wu’s Kaleidoscope exhibit, spilling out into the Hillside Campus hallways during ArtCenter’s Fall 2015 recruitment open house. Inspired by the toy she loved as a child, Wu wondered what it would be like to experience the inside of a kaleidoscope. Weeks of user testing and research for the Play Studio assignment paid off: The popular interactive installation transformed the joy of the single user toy into a shareable immersive and, yes, kaleidoscopically cool experience. Visitors hastily snapped selfies of their own digitized images while others used the installation to create stunning art. Perhaps most significantly, this unqualified Grad Show hit represented an important ArtCenter milestone: Its creator would soon become a member of the first class of ArtCenter students to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Interaction Design, the College’s youngest undergraduate program.
Core77’s second annual conference came to town last week and set up shop in downtown Los Angeles at Vibiana, the former cathedral now event space, which Core77 called “an architectural gem” and touted as a venue that once hosted a concert by Snoop Dogg (“If it’s good enough for Snoop, it’s good enough for us.”).
It was also good enough for seven members of the ArtCenter community who appeared on stage at the conference, whose theme was Designing Here/Now, and who delighted and inspired the packed audience with “thought-provoking ideas and projects that are years ahead of schedule.”
Appearing on stage were: alumni Nadine Schelbert, Matthew Manos, Jessie Kawata, and Javier Verdura, the latter appearing in conversation with Transportation Design faculty Eric Noble; Advertising and Graphic Design faculty Nicole Jacek; and former faculty Ravi Sawhney.
For your own inspiration and delight, we’ve assembled seven of our favorite ArtCentric quotes from the stage:
“Water has its own will. When you design with it you have to develop an understanding for that will. You can never truly control it, but you can entice it to behave a certain way.”
Nadine Schelbert (BS 02 Environmental Design)
Director of Design, WET
Jessie Kawata (BFA, Product ’11) is a Visual Strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she gets to stare into space for a living. This term she is teaching a Saturday High class at Art Center as well as mentoring students in Product Design’s Design for Sustainability 2 Studio class, which includes a NASA JPL theme using JPL’s Earth Mission and Climate Sciences data. Below she describes how she helps pave the way for design to exist in space exploration.
What are you doing with your special moment in time today? This pointed challenge culminates an inspiring TEDx Talk by Graphic Design alumnus Dan Goods, who works as a visual strategist (aka resident artist) at NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. Here’s how Goods answers his own question: “I’m creating experiences for people that give them a moment of awe and wonder about the universe we live in.”
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:
An Art Center education doesn’t come cheaply. It requires a high-deposit, high-return investment of resources, tapping reserves of creativity and cash. But Art Center students know these initial sacrifices will pay off down the road when they emerge with an education custom designed to equip them for creatively and financially fulfilling careers. Money magazine reinforced the College’s reputation for boosting its grads’ professional prospects this week when it ranked Art Center third on its list of 25 of the best college values.
In response to millions of parents seeking colleges that strike a balance between affordability and professional prestige and training, Money devised a new tool to measure a college’s ROI. The new ranking places Art Center at number three on its “Value All-Star” list since, according to the editors’ careful calculations, Art Center alumni exceed expectations when it comes to earning. Money found that our grads take home an extra $12,000 per year early in their careers, using criteria based on three equally weighted categories: quality, affordability and career outcomes. The magazine defines outcomes almost entirely in terms of how much students earn after graduation.
“Right across the Arroyo, we’re making plans for a real close encounter,” says Dave Doody, whose Art Center At Night seminar, “Basics of Interplanetary Flight,” is currently recruiting participants for a class that’s literally out of this world. “My team has been piloting the gangly robot Cassini in wide orbits around Saturn since 2010. But in coming years we’re going to drop in for some up-close-and-personal visits. We’ll plunge the spacecraft between the rings and the planet 22 times before letting go of the spent machine so it can burn up in the gas giant’s atmosphere like a meteor.”
This 2016-2017 segment of Cassini’s 20 year mission has been temporarily dubbed the “Proximal Orbits” by mission planners at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where Doody works as a senior engineer, currently leading the Saturn-bound spacecraft’s flight operations controllers. But after acknowledging that some creative person somewhere could almost certainly conjure a more mission-worthy name, NASA launched the Cassini Name Game, hoping for some better ideas.
“One thing about these orbits will be their huge roller coaster speed,” says Doody. “The camera-laden craft will reach more than 120,000 kilometers an hour as it screams past the innermost ring particles just above the hazy atmosphere. Next, it’ll slow down for three and a quarter days, coasting ‘up’ to the top of its 1.2 million kilometer-high peak, before starting to drop back in again for its next pass. Wild.”
From art installations inspired by NASA’S space oddities to a self-styled museum in Japan: Art Center alums have been busy in February. Read on for more details about last month’s alumni accomplishments, including Designmatters’ new alumni engagement efforts.
Dan Goods GRPK 02 was featured in a story on Yahoo News about his work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Yahoo
Satyendra Pakhalé PROD 94 discussed his design process and curiosity in a One Minute Wonder video. One Minute Wonder
Hiroshi Sugimoto PHOT 74 has announced plans to design and build a new museum for his work, the Odawara Art Foundation, which will be located in Odawara Japan. Wall Street Journal Blog
Jennie Warren PHOT 05 collaborated with Welsh singer Cate Le Bon and illustrator Erin Althea and on a series of promotional images for Cate’s upcoming tour. Erin Althea’s Blog
Rebecca Gross is a writer-editor for the National Endowment for the Arts.This article was provided to Live Science in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts for Live Science’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
When Dan Goods was studying graphic design, he figured he’d probably end up at an ad agency or some sort of commercial corporation. But these days, he tackles bigger artistic concerns than choosing an appropriate typeface, layout and color. Much bigger. Like Jupiter-sized big.
For the past 10 years, Goods has worked as a visual strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. He works to translate the technical, data-driven language of JPL’s missions into engaging, public-friendly works of art. When negotiating his position, the original idea was that Goods would create visualizations communicating JPL’s work. But the artist pushed back: He didn’t want people simply to see the universe; he wanted them to feel it.
The data is out there. The challenge? Making sense of it all.
This Thursday, Art Center, Caltech and NASA JPL are joining forces to host leaders in the fields of data science and visualization from across the nation for From Data to Discovery, a one-day symposium on the emerging science of big data visualization.
The event will be held at Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. and is open to members of the Art Center, Caltech and NASA JPL communities. The event is free but seating is limited, so reservations are required.
Participating guests include:
- Fernanda Viégas & Martin Wattenberg, co-leaders of Google’s “Big Picture” visualization research group in Cambridge, Mass., who describe their work as exploring “the joy of revelation;”
- Jer Thorp, co-founder of The Office for Creative Research, a New York-based multidisciplinary research group, and an artist whose practice uncovers the “many-folded boundaries between science and art;” Continue reading