Faculty Deni Wohlgenuth teaches on the first day of class. Photo: Chuck Spangler
Take the 110 Freeway all the way to Pasadena and just try not to notice ArtCenter College of Design.
The College’s recently purchased six-story building at 1111 South Arroyo Parkway has undergone a makeover—its stucco exterior has been painted black and large “ArtCenter” logos adorn each side of its wraparound mirrored curtain wall—arguably giving the College its greatest public visibility in history.
But it’s what’s going on inside that structure that’s really impressive.
The beginning of the Fall term last week brought with it the arrival of hundreds of students to the building, all of whom are taking courses in the recently reimagined sixth floor of the building.
This Friday, April 10th, from 7pm – 9pm, an opening reception will be held for Andrea Santizo’s senior show, Pulling the Strand.
The work ranges in scale and media, from large wooden and wool wall pieces that encompass the viewer, to small copper and salt sculptures that could fit in a child’s hand. Her hybrid objects blend artistic and craft traditions with personal and art historical references. The result is a generous and inviting array of objects that want to shift when you grasp at them but linger in your mind long after the encounter.
In her own words:
As far back as I can remember, there has been a clash between my cultural background and the transplanted American culture in which I was raised. I find myself pushing together what is considered valuable art histories of: frames, prescribed minimalist shapes, drawing and painting, up to traditional textile, fiber, and domestic objects that lack validity within the same art worlds structure in which the formerly mentioned genres reside. In order to form a dynamic exhibition that allows for a critical viewing of such histories, traditions, and acceptable forms of high art, and in doing so directly confronting the polarized art histories and blatant appropriation of traditionally “female” shapes and practices, and questioning the exclusion of craft into the realm of “fine art.”
Spring 2015 Orientation begins today. And while an Art Center initiation holds the potential to overwhelm and intimidate with its alphabet soup of acronyms (extra credit to any new student who can define ACCD, CSE, JFK and LAT). Then there are those daunting tales of Art Center’s punishing workloads and cringe-inducing crits.
Of course, it’s worth noting that any challenges encountered here will not be experienced in vain. There is a method behind the madness. An Art Center education, above all else, instills a process-driven approach to the audacious act of bringing innovative and imaginative ideas to life.
With New York Design Week in full swing, the city is teeming with design lovers and luminaries seeking a competitive edge on leading talent and trends. Art Center is featured at two major events: the high-profile International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and WantedDesign. Attracting nearly 30,000 tastemakers in the worlds of interior design, architecture, retail, manufacturing, distribution and developers, ICFF is considered North America’s premiere showcase for contemporary design.
Bus riders soon will notice a new look, a new name, and find a fresh mobile phone app for travel around the City of Pasadena. Art Center students are creating a new identity for the Pasadena ARTS transit system that will guide riders throughout the region.
City officials are now choosing which proposed design to implement. Contrary to what you might guess, the ARTS bus is not merely a way to hit the city’s multiple arts and cultural venues. ARTS stands for the Area Rapid Transit System, which transports locals and visitors alike to various spots around town. To address the confusion around the moniker, the design brief also encouraged students to come up with a new name for the transit agency.
In the spirit of local engagement, Art Center’s Dean of Special Programs and Chair of the Graphic Design Department, Nik Hafermaas, suggested that the college’s Educational Partnerships team coordinate the project through an Identity Systems course taught by Gloria Kondrup.
“Our goal is to demonstrate that well conceived design can significantly improve our communities, said Hafermaas. “This is a wonderful chance for our students to make a positive contribution to our own neighborhood.”
In the class, each student developed a new brand name and a design standards manual to guide the implementation of the new identity through its various applications. The manual addressed the use of color, typography and image across many touch points. This includes new bus graphics, signage, bus shelters, the agency’s website and its forthcoming smartphone app.
In April, Mayor Bill Bogaard joined a team of city executives to review final presentations. Once a choice is made, the new brand will be implemented across all city marketing materials.
This super-cool product was designed by Bryce along with Graphic Design alums Karabachian and Annie Gonzalez, so this product is a real Art Center success story. Bryce tells us that the product is just beginning to hit store shelves.
“The Pancake Creator scores a perfect trifecta for me: it’s a kitchen gadget, it made me laugh, and it was designed by a former student of mine,” says Product Design faculty member and alumna Wendee Lee, who tipped us off about last week’s giveaway.
We’re pleased to announce that Art Center students were named finalists and semifinalists in the 2011 Adobe Achievement Awards. This is one of the most prestigious award programs for graphic design students worldwide. Congrats to all on these well-deserved honors!
FINALIST: Paul Hoppe for Exploratorium – Generative Identity
(Application Development category)
Instructor: Brad Bartlett
Class: Type 4: Transmedia
Joseph Won and Lamson To for Abominable
Class: Digital Motion Compositing
Instructors: Ming Tai, Charles Rose, Paul Saskas
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of beloved Art Center Illustration alumnus and Broadcast Cinema student Kevyn Wallace. Wallace passed away last week due to injuries suffered from a car accident several weeks ago.
Wallace graduated from Art Center’s Illustration Department in 1990. Professionally, he worked as a layout artist on such films as The Simpsons Movie, Home on the Range, Tarzan and The Land Before Time franchise. In recent years, Wallace returned to Art Center to study entertainment design concepts in the College’s Transportation Design Department. Soon afterward, he decided to focus on the narrative aspects of storytelling, and joined the graduate Broadcast Cinema program. As a graduate Broadcast Cinema student, and with the approval of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Wallace had been working on a documentary about the history of Disney’s African American animators.
Please join the Wallace family, and members of the Art Center community, at a memorial service for him this Friday evening in the Ahmanson Auditorium at Hillside Campus. A light reception will take place in the Faculty Dining Room immediately following. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the L.A. County Burn Center. Send a check (payable to “CARES” with “L.A. County Burn Center” noted in the memo field) to: CARES, 1200 N. State Street, Room 1900, Los Angeles, CA 90033.
Transportation Design alum Gabriel Wartofsky has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to build his lightweight, compact, folding electric bike for commuters. (Plans are to launch his Conscious Commuter at Art Center later this year.) So far, backers have pledged $17,045 of his $25,000 goal needed to bring his bike to market. (The deadline to pledge is Sept. 29.) KCET just ran a story on Wartofsky—be sure to check it out.
Another project is currently on Kickstarter, this one created by a group of Art Center students for a class project. They are looking for funding to help them film and produce a short film inspired by an epic DC Comics vignette. The six-day shoot will take place throughout Pasadena with sets built from scratch at Art Center. Students leading the project are Domenic Moen (writer/director), Stephen Reedy (editor), Chris Saul (cinematographer) and Jake Viramontez (producer).