california college of the arts
A publication for the CCA community California College of the Arts | San Francisco / Oakland | Fall 2013
L ET T ER FR O M TH E
PRESIDENT Dear friends, In recent years it seems as though everyone—from government officials and mainstream news media to bloggers and activists of all stripes—has turned their attention to the rising cost of college. The underlying question: Is it worth it? Fortunately there is a lot of evidence to suggest that college is indeed worth the investment. My particular interest, naturally, is whether CCA alumni are seeing the value of their education. How did their CCA education prepare them for the future? Are they finding career satisfaction and success?
Fall 2013 | Volume 22, No. 1
Editor lindsey westbrook Contributors susan avila chris bliss allison byers kelly dawson bella feldman christina linden shane m c dermott susannah magers jim norrena emma sonduck matthew harrison tedford shushan tesfuzigta rachel walther lindsey westbrook Design sputnik, a student design team Faculty Advisor doug akagi
A few months ago, results were released from a major survey conducted by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). The report detailed findings from more than 65,000 arts alumni of all ages from 120 institutions in the United States and Canada. More than 1,300 CCA alumni (both graduate and undergraduate) participated in the survey, and I was pleased to see the results. Here are few CCA-specific highlights: • 93% of CCA alumni rated their overall experience at CCA as “good” or “excellent” • 84% found work within one year of graduation or went on to graduate school • 82% have worked or currently work as professional artists • 81% of those working have job satisfaction • 81% of recent grads would recommend CCA to other students The report also contained comments from individual participants. One in particular stood out: “Leadership and problem solving can be applied to every facet in life, and that is what arts training at CCA is. Progressive.” A college education is expensive. That’s why, in partnership with our scholarship donors, we devote $22 million annually to financial aid. (See pages 44–45 for info on giving to scholarships.) We are educating the next generation of leaders in design, architecture, and the arts—the people who will shape what we see, use, and experience. And that’s worth it! Sincerely,
Design and Production Manager meghan ryan Designers anna carollo christopher jordan Glance is a twice-yearly publication of california college of the arts 1111 eighth street san francisco ca 94107-2247 415.703.9542 | firstname.lastname@example.org Change of address? Please notify the CCA Advancement Office 5212 Broadway, Oakland CA 94618 510.594.3784 | email@example.com Sign up at cca.edu/subscribe to get CCA news and events delivered by email. You can also change your mailing preferences from postal mail to email here. Printed by Quad Graphics, Inc., on 10 percent postconsumer waste paper. Our printer is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Printed with inks that contain a minimum (27.3 percent) by weight renewable content.
STEPHEN BEAL President
PHOTO CREDITS All images of student work appear courtesy the students, copyright California College of the Arts, unless otherwise noted. Images of alumni and faculty work appear courtesy the artists unless otherwise noted. Illustrations on the cover and pp. 2–7 by Illustration student Michelle Lagasca; inside front cover, p. 37, p. 43 (Simpson and Honorary Doctorate): Alison Yin; pp. 9–13 and 48–49: Andria Lo; p. 14: © 2013, the NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.; p. 16 (top): Justin Bishop; p. 16 (bottom): Tim Bishop; p. 17: James Ewing Photography; p. 18 (right): courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; p. 19: David Asari; p. 20 (left): Dorothy Remington; pp. 23 (all but Van Sant), 42 (Parent Tea), and 43 (Half-Century): Jim Norrena; p. 26: Jill Schneider; pp. 27 (Van Sant) and 42 (Curator’s Forum and Casa Alta): Nikki Ritcher Photography; pp. 28 and 29 (top left): courtesy Panoramic Interests; p. 35: Andrew Kudless; p. 38 (Campos): Myleen Hollero; p. 39 (Holmes): Gerald Holmes; p. 41 (Heiman): Robert Divers Herrick; p. 42 (Trunk Show): Tara Stevens for Drew Altizer Photography; p. 43 (Wattis): Claudine Gossett for Drew Altizer Photography; p. 44: Maiya Wiester; p. 46 (L’Abbe): Russell Baldon; p. 47 (Schmidt): Elizabeth Dorbad; p. 47 (Montoya): Dick Schmidt.
table of contents
features 2 Connecting the Dots: Community Building with CCA CONNECTS
8 Curating the Experience: Behind the Scenes at the Oakland Museum of California
ALUMNI STORIES 14 Neil Grimmer (Sculpture 1995) 16 Tim Bishop (MBA in Design Strategy 2010) 18 Toyin Odutola (MFA 2012)
FACULTY STORIES 19 Doug Akagi, Graphic Design 22 10 Questions with Rob Epstein, Film
24 Nick Dong, Jewelry / Metal Arts
COLLEGE NEWS 26 Meet the New Illustration Chair: Owen Smith 28 CCA Goes Prefab: LEED Platinum-Certified Style 30 MFA IN COMICS: Inaugural Summer Session 30
34 How I Got Here: Shushan Tesfuzigta (Individualized Major 2015) 35 CCA’S SUCCESSFUL MAKER FAIRE DEBUT 36 Bookshelf 37 At the Wattis institute: Meet the New Director, Anthony Huberman 38 Awards & Accolades
PHILANTHROPY 42 Spotlight
44 Scholarships at CCA: Meet Donor Margi Sullivan and Student Recipient Zoë Ozma
46 In Memoriam 48 Notes from the Studio: Bella Feldman
Community Building with CCA CONNECTS story by Mat thew Harrison Tedford
illustr ations by michelle l agasca
( visual and Critic al S tudies 2011)
(illus tr ation 2014)
Over the course of her undergraduate career, CCA student sara lankutis (Printmaking 2013) worked at ALICE Arts, a youth arts organization in Oakland; Kala Art Institute, a printmaking and multimedia studio in Berkeley; and Creative Growth in Oakland, where she worked directly with artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities. She got these jobs through CCA CONNECTS (originally called Community Student Fellows), an initiative run by CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life. Lankutis was paid by CCA, not the work sites—indeed, CONNECTS jobs are among the college’s highest-paid workstudy positions. And in the process, she learned the fine art of balancing studio time with work time. “Art work and community work are absolutely mutually reinforcing. All of my worksites were constantly buzzing with activity. I was so inspired by my exposure to the different processes and ideas going on. I always left work wanting to make more of my own art!” Over the course of the 2013–14 school year, the CONNECTS program will hook up 30 CCA students like Lankutis to work a total of 8,000 hours at 30 different organizations around the Bay Area. The partner sites range from design and architecture firms to schools and art organizations: from the San Francisco Arts Commission to Salem Lutheran Home (an assisted-living facility for seniors in Oakland), SPUR (a research, education, and advocacy nonprofit in San Francisco), and Architecture for Humanity (a nonprofit design services firm). GETTING CREATIVE AT CREATIVITY EXPLORED The Center coined a new term for these jobs—“externships”—to express the idea of going outside of school to work in new and different environments. CCA externs at Creativity Explored (a visual art center in San Francisco for people with disabilities) work directly with the disabled artists, and most will tell you it was challenging at first, but rewarding in the end. Studio manager Francis Kohler explains: “Our artists are utilizing a specific type of creativity in the production of their work, and this requires that the externs be just as creative in assisting them.”
Numerous former CCA externs have continued on at Creativity Explored as substitute teachers. This is a clear and quantifiable positive outcome, Kohler says, but he also observes that “the
more durable and further-reaching successes can be much more subtle and slowburning. For instance, in my own initial encounters with Creativity Explored as a volunteer, I realized that I had been unconsciously carrying around quite a bit of misinformation about people with disabilities. After interacting with the artists every week, I quickly shed my preconceptions as well as being totally won over by their complete lack of pretense. The artists, the studio environment, and the art are so incredible.”
Above: sar a l ankutis at k al a art institute
CONNECTS externs, he presumes, experience a similar transformation while working there. “Of course I can’t generalize about CCA students. Many perceptions regarding people with disabilities haven’t changed much, but the world is considerably different than it was 20 years ago when I first encountered Creativity Explored.” FULFILLING IMPORTANT NEEDS
rebecca wolfe , program manager of CONNECTS, stresses that the program isn’t solely about job placement. “We very carefully match the student to the site, then provide partnership support, community building, networking, and professional development opportunities
to both parties throughout the academic year. “The goal is to provide real-world experience, to develop the students’ creative and critical skills, to foster the students’ leadership and collaborative skills, and to help fulfill important community needs.” Not just fetching coffee for the boss, in other words. For the students, revelations about one’s own self, profession, and creative practice are consistently cited as outcomes. LEARNING ON THE JOB Externing at schools or educational programs gives CCA students the chance to develop teaching and mentoring skills while they are in the midst of their own educational journey. tonia herrero (Painting/Drawing 2007) caught the teaching bug during her sophomore year at CCA, when she enrolled in a Community Arts course involving students at Far West High School in Oakland. “It was such a tangible community connection. I’d never felt anything like it.”
The following semester, Herrero returned to Far West as a CONNECTS extern. The school had only one art class back then . . . taught by a math teacher. Although he and Herrero had very different artistic interests and backgrounds, they complemented each other. With his encouragement, she started writing and teaching her own lessons. The next year, Herrero was back again as a CONNECTS extern, this time teaching her own fashion course. “I started out not knowing how to teach a fashion class,” she recalls, “but there was a demand, so I figured it out.” Her “little project that could” ultimately led to the founding of the Fashion Art and Design Academy, now a part of Oakland Technical High School. Herrero was invited back to Far West after she graduated from CCA, and, after earning her teaching credential, she joined the staff and is now one of two full-time art teachers there.
“CCA CONNECTS and the Community Arts Program at CCA are the reasons I do everything I do now,” she reflects. And Herrero’s relationship with CONNECTS didn’t end with her graduation. She became a site mentor herself and brought in a new CCA extern, her own former Far West student kevin demery, who is currently attending CCA as a Painting/Drawing major and will graduate in spring 2014. “Working with Kevin,” Herrero says, “I get to experience this really incredible full circle where I can reflect on the things I learned in college, how I transferred those skills into my job as an extern, how that job led to me becoming a teacher, and how the things I taught Kevin have transferred to him and his studio practice. “And now he’s starting his own cycle.” THE BUZZ AT PERALTA ELEMENTARY
CONNECTS has played an important role in establishing and sustaining arts programs at several Bay Area schools. trena noval (Fine Arts faculty) has been working with Peralta Elementary School in Oakland as an artist in
kevin demery at far west high school
residence on Citizen Art and Science: The Native Bee Project. For the last two years, she’s teamed up with Gretchen LeBuhn, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University and director of the Great Sunflower Project, to lead Peralta students and teachers in studying native bee species. Among other things, the project involves designing and building bee habitats in the school’s fully functioning garden. “We’re trying to cultivate knowledge and understanding in the kids,” Noval says. “We plant the seeds in their heads now, and they’ll hopefully maintain that awareness as they move forward in their lives. Our hope is that as they grow into adults, they will become community experts in citizen conservation.”
A highlight of her time there was when First Exposures director Erik Auerbach asked her if she could speak to a student interested in applying to CCA. Lara answered the student’s questions and reviewed her portfolio and personal statement. And she kept in contact, making sure the student got all of her application materials in on time. Lara was thrilled to later hear that she had been accepted— with a full diversity scholarship!
Top: vessy ivanova at per alta elementary Bottom: yesenia l ar a and photographic work from her first exposures externship
Thanks to CONNECTS, Noval was able to hire vessy ivanova (Animation 2015) to help with everything from creating stopmotion animations to assisting in the classroom. One key project for Ivanova was designing a series of bee identification cards. “We gave Vessy the project brief—basically we wanted them to look like baseball cards—and she grabbed the ball and ran with it. The cards look fantastic! Peralta is lucky to have her. People will be able to download the cards from the Great Sunflower website this coming year.” FOCUS ON FIRST EXPOSURES
yesenia lara (Photography 2015) did a CONNECTS externship at First Exposures, a program that offers free photography classes to underserved youths. She found the students incredibly respectful and creative, and her own learning curve manageable and enjoyable. “They are at a stage where they are trying to find themselves, and that can be difficult. For me the only difficulty was that I was very close to their age, and I had to figure out how to fit in between them and their instructors.”
connect life and art. It approaches visual culture from a critical and political perspective. And the CONNECTS program definitely does that well.”
Above left: Work by robert gomez hernandez documenting the lives of displaced Rio de Janeiro residents Above right: The annual first exposures Help Portrait event; the 2012 edition pictured here was held at Bayview Opera House Below right: mirsha heredia captures welding in progress at the crucible
FROM JUVENILE HALL TO THE FAVELAS OF RIO The Center for Art and Public Life was a major reason why robert gomez hernandez (MA Visual and Critical Studies 2012, MFA 2013) chose to attend CCA. Gomez, whose work as a writer and a visual artist is very politically and socially engaged, completed two externships, including one with The Beat Within, a publication of writing and art by youths in juvenile hall.
Since they don’t have access to computers, the youths handwrite all of their work. Gomez typed it up, edited it, and gave them feedback before publication. He also spearheaded a video project featuring the poems in an effort to bring more life to the rich stories they tell. Gomez found the emotional side of the job quite difficult. “Working with young people affected by violence is tough. A lot of them never had anyone to listen to them. They’ve gone through a lot of different kinds of trauma. Some talk about their friends getting shot, being assaulted, or taking part in crime.” But grappling with all this, he says, was actually a major learning experience. “They taught me about freedom and becoming who we want to be. I tried to get across that our voice is one of our fundamental freedoms and that no one can take it away. The more dynamic and powerful our voices are, the more people will want to listen to what we have to say. It was exciting to help them create work they were proud of.” Gomez continues to work with youths wrestling with challenging environments, from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the streets of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Both last year and this year he was part of a team that won an IMPACT Award— these $10,000 awards are another initiative of CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life—that enabled him to travel internationally and undertake a big project. “I want my work to create positive change in the world. CONNECTS helped me realize that it’s really valuable to go beyond your individual projects and personal relationships and work with institutions that are entirely geared toward changing a population.” A THOUSAND HATS
mirsha heredia (Visual Studies 2013) was drawn into the CONNECTS program because the community-building aspect aligned with her academic work. “Visual Studies aims to
Heredia made the most of her time at Intersection for the Arts, an arts-based community development organization in San Francisco; the Crucible, an industrial arts education facility in Oakland; and La Peña Cultural Center, a multicultural visual and performing arts center in Berkeley. “Everyone who works at these places wears a thousand hats,” she says, and this enabled her to learn a diverse array of skills. She did curatorial work, outreach, and art installation; she was a youth program assistant and a studio assistant. “Eventually I want to be a curator, so all of this experience was more than I could ever ask for.” CONNECTING AT INTERSECTION AND SOMARTS
Intersection for the Arts has been a CONNECTS site for four years, and has perfected the art of getting the most out of its externs. Serving as curatorial assistants to program director Kevin B. Chen, the externs research current and future projects, install artworks, prepare and lead public tours, assist with media outreach, and meet with artists. The biggest challenge they face, Chen
says, is realizing the massive amount of work required to execute a full-scale exhibition. But those who are curious, open-minded, and ready for the challenge do thrive. “The most successful ones have a passion for contemporary art and a real openness to learning.” At SOMArts in San Francisco, CONNECTS externs have a full-immersion experience from the get-go, as if they were regular staff. Jess Young, director of communications and community engagement, works closely with them on outreach programs and the preparation of exhibitions and events. SOMArts externs are entrusted with job functions that would be withheld in more traditional internships. For instance, Young loves having CCA students interview the exhibiting artists and has featured these texts on the SOMArts website, blog, and other outreach material. “With the critical thinking skills they’ve gained at CCA, they always craft interesting interview questions that give deeper insight into the exhibiting artists’ work,” Young says. She also reports that, year after year, the artists note in their exit surveys how valued they were made to feel by the externs’ investment of time and energy in promoting their work. In the field of community arts, outcomes are rarely so clearly measurable. Ripple Effects
One of the best things about CONNECTS is the depth of the networks that are developed. shalini agrawal , director of CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life, emphasizes that it is “a priority to find community engagement opportunities for students in all disciplines. We are continually diversifying our
partnerships to support all areas of art, design, architecture, and humanities and sciences.” Each year there are opening and closing CONNECTS events that bring together all the externs and site mentors, and the mingling inevitably involves conversation across different types of organizations. Jess Young of SOMArts relishes this insider scoop regarding the thinking and practices of other nonprofits. She also gets to hear how her own organization is doing. “Listening to an extern give a presentation on the value of SOMArts and the skills they’ve gained here never fails to inspire me.” Program manager Rebecca Wolfe suggests that this takeaway is the heart of CONNECTS. “We really want to encourage awareness of the ‘local ecology’ of key Bay Area organizations that utilize creativity to address real-world problems. We want everyone, especially the students, to come away with an expanded network and an appreciation for the ripple effects that their work can have.” Read more about the three primary initiatives of CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life—CCA CONNECTS, ENGAGE AT CCA, and the IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards—at center.cc a.edu.
Below: yesenia l ar a captured this shot at a first exposures field trip to the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
story by Lindsey Westbrook Photography by Andria Lo
With the May 2013 opening of its 25,000-squarefoot California Natural Sciences gallery, the Oakland Museum of California completed the third and last phase of a multiyear renovation and transformation. The new gallery explores seven real places that reflect California’s vast natural diversity and the threats it faces. Lindsey Westbrook, editor of Glance, recently sat down with three CCA affiliates on the museum’s staff to talk about the new displays . . . and wax a bit poetic about museums and what they do.
stories were about plant and animal communities, rather than single-species showcases that were charismatic but not grounded in the context of life. Storytelling is what the new gallery is based on, too—specifically, the stories of communities in the seven different featured areas. Jenny: We’ve incorporated different ways of having fun with it,
like the taxidermied birds in the to-go containers, or the roadkill in the truck grille. It’s about recognizing urban ecosystems, the human impact on natural areas. Glance: I love the tank of live fish. There’s something about that
display that kind of surprises me each time I see it. Nadja: There’s a pregnant fish in there. It’s really little, but you
Glance: The buildup related to the opening was so suspenseful!
can tell because its abdomen is swollen.
Everyone was wondering how the natural sciences displays would be transformed for the 21st century—what that would turn out to mean. You’ve achieved this incredibly complex mixture of old and new.
Glance: Jenny, I know you took landscape architecture courses
René: It’s amazing to see the high-tech mixed with the high-
touch, the digital with the handmade. Every square inch of what you see has been curated in some fashion. And there’s creative interpretation, too. A lot of imagination went into selecting the colors, and the positions of the animals. Think about it: There’s no stock position for a raccoon. Someone had to decide what would be most aesthetically pleasing. Jenny: And it has to be based in reality, too. How does a
raccoon actually move? Glance: How many of the old favorites are back? Nadja: Many of the habitat cases came back because they fit
into the concept of the new gallery. For instance, people loved the wolverine, so that had to come back. Jenny: The research showed that people really were engaged
and did learn in different ways from the traditional dioramas, so we very deliberately incorporated them into the layers of the new experience. René: You have to realize, the old natural sciences gallery was already successful, and its success was in its storytelling. The
A Broad Portfolio at UC Berkeley, and studied public art at San Francisco State. Nadja, you have a master’s degree in museum studies from John F. Kennedy University. So both of you have a broad portfolio of educational experiences, and a broad portfolio of work experiences, that you have brought to this. Jenny: I got a good grounding in general fine arts at CCA, and
then I honed those skills with other artists at the California Academy of Sciences. I first worked here years ago, building scenic treatments. Now I’m back again, doing the same thing! But seriously, it was exciting to get involved with this project early enough to get in on the conversations not just about how we were going to do things, but also what we were going to do. Nadja: Tell them where you’re going next week. Jenny: A few of us are going image collecting at Lava Beds
National Monument. It’s for the foreground rock work of a new diorama, which will have two parts. One part is immersive— you crawl through a tunnel and come out underneath—and the other is a more traditional behind-glass diorama. Nadja: And you’re going to collect lizards? Jenny: And sagebrush, and plants. And views and paintings. René: I want to go.
RenĂŠ de Guzman has been on the faculty of CCAâ€™s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice for seven years. He is a senior curator of art at the Oakland Museum of California.
Jenny Cole studied scientific illustration, sculpture, and drawing at CCA, and graduated in 1982 with a degree in general fine arts. At the Oakland Museum she is an associate preparator.
Nadja Lazansky graduated from CCA as an Individualized Major in 1984. At the Oakland Museum she is a project coordinator and exhibit developer.
Jenny: If we could take everyone who
wanted to go, it would be a caravan like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Which would be really fun, if we could just get the funding. Glance: At what rate will things change
in the galleries? How frequently can people come back and think, “Oh, that’s different”? Nadja: Five of the seven sections—
Oakland, Yosemite, Mount Shasta, Sutter Buttes, and Cordell Bank—are open now, and the final two sections, the Tehachapis and Coachella Valley, are set to open in December 2013. And within all of that are areas where new content rolls through. There are also labs and investigation stations that are meant to be flexible spaces where we can post current events and feedback from visitors. We’re still figuring out an interesting delivery system for that. We might use digital technology, or maybe we’ll go with Post-Its. René: Also there are areas that operate
like art galleries, with temporary exhibitions. For instance, inside Curry Lodge in the Yosemite section, the gallery content is changeable. Glance: Nadja, tell me a little bit about
yourself and your role here. Nadja: I came in about two years ago,
and I’ve had various positions. Now I’m part of the development process. If I want to go change a sign in the gallery, I can. If something’s not working, I have a voice in how to fix it. René: Did you study graphic design at
CCA? Nadja: I had an open major, but took
mostly printmaking and photography. My favorite class was a poster-making class with Malaquías montoya. He was my mentor, and he opened me up to art as social activism. My feeling about CCA was that it was hands-on. We learned how to use materials. René: I think that’s something about
CCA that echoes with this museum: the idea of the use value of creative activity. Creative activity is not just an aesthetic exercise. We’re doing things that have a tangible benefit to others. Jenny: I also studied under Malaquías
Roadkill in the grille of a pickup truck shows one outcome of human encroachment into the formerly wild habitat of Oakland
Montoya and was very influenced by the idea of communal work, collaborative work. It’s good to have both technical and philosophical skills to engage people.
Education by Design Glance: Let’s talk about intended audiences. It’s one of the things that makes this
museum a different animal. It really tries to talk to everybody, all at the same time, on all different levels. René: This museum is genuinely committed to educating and celebrating with the
public. The assumption is that folks are here to learn, rather than to reinforce their existing knowledge. There’s something beautiful about that for me as a museum practitioner. We believe in cultural work. And, crucially, I think that natural science is a cultural activity. A lot of science is presented here, but also lots of gray areas that our imaginations have to fill in. Nadja: We’re very committed to evaluation. It’s a feedback loop. René: Yes, we’re committed to saying, “What do you think? Does this make sense? Is
this interesting or valuable?” It’s about starting a conversation with people. Just like CCA is a learning institution, we are a learning museum. Nadja: With the reorganization here, there’s a new position called Experience
Developer. That’s new for museums to ask, “What will the visitor do here? What will they touch?” As a developer, you put yourself in the position of the visitor. If we’re claiming to be for all ages, then we have to think about how something looks from a five-year-old’s perspective. What can a nine-year-old do here? Realistically, is the language over most people’s heads? Are we catering to PhDs, or schoolchildren, or parents who are interpreting for their kids? Jenny: It’s an interesting challenge to try to speak to all ages, all classes, all groups. On
a functional level, you have to say: “These things are OK to touch, and these things you
cannot touch.” But we’re not saying, “This is exactly how we want you to learn and what we want you to do.” René: One strategy to address a broad public is to
create a lot of different tactics. But then you have to worry (although we did a lot of testing around this) about the fact that there are so many systems going on. Is it just confusing? Is it effectively creating the experience of being a deer in the headlights? When I was managing the art gallery reinstallation, we had to think about questions that seemed so simple, like how comfortable a bench is. But they’re so important in a place where people are having a hugely compressed experience of learning. Glance: Can you predict how soon people will get
tired? How much can you anticipate about what they’ll absorb, versus throwing up your hands and saying, “We’re offering you a feast, eat as much as you like!” René: There is a known metric of 20 minutes before
people get saturated and need to leave. Apparently this is true for both small exhibits and big museum experiences. What we found in the new art gallery here is that people were staying, on average, 45 minutes. Some stayed as long as two hours. We took that to mean that the experience is rich and varied. For instance, consider the live fish. There’s
René de Guzman, Nadja Lazansky, and Jenny Cole in Olivia Ting's immersive audiovisual installation depicting the underwater experience of the Cordell Bank reef
Jenny Cole works on a new diorama, guided by the model at right, for the Mount Shasta section of the galleries
a frame around them, so an art person might think, “Oh, is this a painting?” But that display is also historical, about actual local creeks. So people can enter through whatever language is recognizable to them. Nadja: A lot of camp groups came in yesterday, and the kids were in the labs, drawing, doing the animation studio. Then they moved to the next room, with the habitat cases, and they kind of naturally slowed down, taking in the stuffed animals and the little scenarios. Then they moseyed over to the Shasta area and plopped down on the beanbag chairs and watched videos. René: At the old museum, pre-renovation, each of the galleries
was very rigidly organized. The art and history wings were arranged from past to present, and natural sciences was structured as a walk across California, from the ocean to the eastern Sierras. Now the galleries are organized around a number of different themes. You don’t have to go on some kind of forced death march. You can put together your own customized experience, and it’s satisfying, and rich. Then you come again and have a different customized experience. Although it’s also true that people seek structure in a museum. A pattern they can figure out.
Old and New Favorites Glance: Does each of you have a favorite part of the new wing? René: For me, it’s the rocking chairs in the Ahwahnee Lodge
display. Bear with me while I geek out for a moment. I just love
Sea-creature-shaped beanbags are part of the total-immersion experience of the Cordell Bank reef audiovisual installation
the story. Basically, the Ahwahnee Lodge is an important historical site that relates to much bigger stories, like how Yosemite didn’t become a reservoir. How it was saved, and then used and experienced by people. The initial thought was, “How do we re-create those rocking chairs?” and then we discovered that the company that makes them still exists! So we bought new ones to evoke a historical moment. And they’re comfortable! It’s a way to interact with history, in the present, through your rear end. While you’re sitting, you can visually and physically survey the natural sciences gallery and connect the past with the present. Glance: Is stuff like this known only to the staff? I don’t think
it’s articulated in the signage, and I find myself wondering about things like that constantly as I walk through. Also, for instance, I wonder: Should there be an artist’s name on each taxidermy diorama? I kind of think there should be. Or at least some indication of what has been manipulated for the display. René: Well, everything is heavily curated. It’s not like we threw
a net into the wilderness, brought it back, and heaved whatever we caught into a diorama. Nadja: We have a visible prep lab, where people will be able to watch a taxidermist at work. Jenny: There was some worry that live taxidermy would really
bother people. But they are totally fascinated. Glance: I’m remembering a curator’s desk that was set up in
the Mark Dion show a few years ago.
Resin water in a vitrine in the Mount Shasta section of the galleries
René: That was my desk! Part of the gag was that it was my
René: My other favorite part is the pigeons sitting on the
actual, functioning office. I was on exhibit. It was about the transparency of curatorial work. I think transparency is something people really love. You can see it at the Academy of Sciences, for instance, with the open-lab and open-storage situations.
telephone wires. Jenny: They look like the Temptations. René: The favorites will change over time. There’s so much
there. The roadkill is brilliant. And the penny squashing.
Thresholds to New Experiences
Nadja: I designed that.
Glance: Nadja, do you have a favorite moment in the new
Glance: You mean, like, the tourist penny-squashing machines?
wing? Nadja: I love the Sutter Buttes area. All of the textures and
colors are really subtle. You can see through the glass from one place to another. It’s very calm in there—the cases are contained—and yet there’s this wildness inside them. I walk through and just feel it. Jenny: The walking-through is what I like, too. That is my
favorite experience. The scale changes are really successful. There’s a series of thresholds. You engage with something and learn something, then go through the culvert or around a bend, and there’s a perception shift that is very palpable. It’s like the rocking chair that René was talking about. You’re in a chair, on a porch, in a museum, and you look up and see that you’re part of the museum. So there’s a kaleidoscoping of your perceptions. René: I just had another realization of why I like the rocking
chairs. It’s that the gallery becomes a huge diorama and you watch the people who are in it and using it, engaging with nature. You’re elevated and have a vast sightline. Jenny: Yet you’re on stage, too. There are elements of your vista
Nadja: Yes! I made four designs for our squashed pennies. Three of them are urban critters: a pigeon, a raccoon, and a squirrel. The fourth is an Oakland logo. Glance: One of you worked on that incredible anemone wall,
right? Nadja: I painted anemone tentacles. Jenny: We started early enough that we got away with having
every inch of that thing hand sculpted and hand painted. Four people worked on it, and it took about a year. And it was done in the old, meticulous craft tradition. It’s rare to be able to afford the time to do that now. The resin-water in some of the cases is so beautiful, so amazing. Glance: I truly believe that one of the reasons museums are so
wonderful is that they’re the last bastions of such beautifully and carefully executed projects. It’s a place in our culture where it’s still allowed to take the time to do things right. And at least some part of the audience understands and appreciates all that work.
that are looking back.
Jenny: It’s a variety of cultural beliefs that support that.
Nadja: Specifically the bears in a case. We’re working on something for one wall that involves images of bears breaking into cars.
René: The charismatic object.
by JIM NORRENA (MFA Writing 2013)
Neil Grimmer (Sculpture 1995) is an accomplished conceptual artist and designer who has had exhibitions at Catharine Clark Gallery, New Langton Arts, Southern Exposure, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Heâ€™s also the devoted father of two young girls and the cofounder and president of Plum Organics, a global provider of premium organic baby food.
ALUMNI STORIES In the last couple of years, Plum and its artist-cofounder have been attracting lots of media attention. In 2012 the New York Times sunk its teeth into this human-interest, business-savvy success story, and the San Francisco Business Times identified Grimmer as one of its most admired CEOs. In 2013 the Wall Street Journal ran a feature on Plum, and Forbes magazine ranked Plum number 19 on its 2013 list of “America’s Most Promising Companies.” Direct to the Mouths of Babes Plum Organics began in 2007 as a three-person company with an idealistic vision. Grimmer and the other two cofounders knew they wanted to address the fact that 16 million children in the United States (one in five) do not receive adequate nutrition. They developed a new form of packaging: an eco-friendly, BPA-free, spouted pouch. Compared to a glass jar, the pouch keeps ingredients fresher, is easier to travel with, and cannot smash into sharp pieces. The squeezable pouches deliver spinach, apples, carrots, oats, white beans, and other “ultra-healthy ingredients” directly into the mouths of children.
Today, Plum Organics has 90 employees and $92 million in annual sales, and it was recently acquired by Campbell Soup Corporation for an undisclosed amount. Grimmer will stay on as president, and the headquarters will remain in Emeryville. According to Fast Company, which highlighted Grimmer in its 2011 “Who’s Next” series, the baby food industry (dominated by the Nestlé-owned company Gerber) is a billion-dollar market. And, interestingly, even though baby food sales overall have been steadily declining in recent years, sales of baby food in pouches have been rapidly rising in popularity. Critical Thinking Starts Here Grimmer maintains a network of CCA alumni as his close friends, including Jason Jägel (Painting 1995), Kelli Yon (MFA 1997), Douglas Hellikson (MFA 1995), and Karen Kersten (MFA 1997). “I would not be at the same place, here, today, if it wasn’t for CCA. It was where I learned to be a critical thinker and creative problem solver. And to be a maker and builder.”
Since CCA he has attended the Institute of Design at Stanford (better known as “the d.school”) and worked for seven years at the innovation and design firm IDEO. Citing both as models for creating successful “disruptive breakthrough innovations,” Grimmer maintains that “artists can play a unique role in shaping business models by holding up a mirror to culture. I truly believe that designers, creatives, and artists are tomorrow’s business pioneers. Applying creativity to business doesn’t mean there’s an absence of business aptitude going on. It’s absolutely essential to understand business fundamentals because you have to know the rules in order to break them.”
And Plum Organics certainly walks the walk. One in seven employees works in a creative capacity. Inspirational Lessons Grimmer cites Lydia Matthews (Critical Studies faculty) as a particularly inspirational mentor. “She really was a thought leader for us. She turned us into critical thinkers who could think through the world, and the cultural landscape, to better our own art. She taught us how to internalize a conversation in our work.”
These things are also some of the core values of Plum. “Critical thinking lets you look at what you’re doing as a business and question the prevailing wisdom. It allows for stepping back and analyzing. Is there a creative solution to this business problem? “What’s more, Lydia emphasized that it wasn’t enough to just make great work. We had to talk about our work, too. The power of critique helped me figure out how to share work across multiple venues, talk about it, and visualize it.” Those are all solid business skills, too. As a CEO, Grimmer is constantly speaking to a wide variety of people— from journalists to customers to fellow business leaders—about the company he runs. A Super Good Cause: Plum’s Super Smoothie
In 2012, Plum Organics began collaborating with Participant Media on a media campaign called “The Full Effect” that addresses infant hunger. It led to the development of a new Plum product exclusively for donation: the Super Smoothie, a blend of fruit, vegetables, and grains designed to fulfill nutritional deficits in undernourished babies and toddlers. To date, Plum Organics has donated almost half a million Super Smoothies to various good causes. “It’s not a political issue,” Grimmer emphasizes. “It’s neither left nor right. It’s a human issue for parents and those who empathize.”
A L U M N I S T O RI E S
by Susannah Magers (MA Curatorial Practice 2011)
Tim Bishop (MBA in Design Strategy 2010) works for Parallel Development, a Brooklynbased design and fabrication studio. The five-person company specializes in collaborating with digital designers, artists, and architects to bring their visions to life. “We develop the electrical and mechanical platforms they require for their works,” Bishop explains. “The works take many forms and might have various levels of interactivity. Frequently they are custom 3D LED displays.”
Aviary, a Project for the Dubai Mall
Earlier in 2013, Bishop and his team spent a hectic couple of weeks at the Dubai Mall installing a new work called Aviary (2013). It is an interactive environment designed in collaboration with the architecture firm Höweler + Yoon. “The piece is two spiral arrays of glass tubes, which range from eight to 13 feet tall. They are touch sensitive and have speakers and an LED core, and as you stroke them, they light up and make sounds that evoke a bird in flight.” Each tube has a different programmed response, and, like a shared musical instrument, Aviary can be “played” by one or many users. “Kids discover it very quickly. They’re more apt to reach out and touch things,” Bishop says. “And the mall employees will play it as they’re walking by, which prompts other people to explore it.” The Many Challenges of Aviary Aviary is Parallel’s most ambitious project to date. As far as Bishop knows, they’re the first to construct anything like these touch-sensitive glass cylinders. “The original prototypes were far less elegant because we thought each cylinder would require a very strong steel core. Once we discovered that the glass could handle the structural loads, the project took a whole new direction. In many ways it became much simpler.”
Troubleshooting and problem solving are naturally part of any job, and Aviary provided no shortage of opportunities to apply those skills. “Deep into production we discovered a serious heat issue inside the glass that was causing the LEDs to fail. Curiously, we hadn’t observed this behavior in any of the prototypes. And the timeline required a fast solution.” With a month to go
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Höweler + Yoon and Parallel Development, Aviary (2013)
until delivery, they found themselves undoing weeks of work. “We had to modify parts, add temperature sensors and fans. We were ventilating all these things that had originally been designed to be watertight.” The project also marked an expansion of roles for the company, as Parallel was deeply involved in the conceptualization and design processes, rather than just the production. “This is a new step for us, and we hope it will lead to more such projects.” Engineering an Escape Bishop’s undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering. “It was a very hands-on program, and I spent much of my last couple of years in the machine shop.” After that, in his professional life, “I sought out workplaces that were tied to manufacturing, but I found that my engineering degree often confined me to desk work.”
Not only was he feeling stalled in his career, but the business he co-owned had also stalled. “I didn’t have the first clue how to grow it. And I started to suspect that the people I was working with didn’t, either.” He began researching MBA programs because it seemed the best way to advance himself—and the company—and stumbled upon CCA’s MBA in Design Strategy. “Just like most people who go back to school for a graduate degree, I was looking for change, looking to be inspired. The DMBA’s combination of business and creative problem solving felt like the perfect blend of what I was looking for.” The MBA in Design Strategy Experience
Bishop vividly recalls feeling shaken and challenged during his first semester in the program. His student team was tasked with providing a solution for a health-care client. It was an unfamiliar arena, “yet I had to find some way to contribute. The DMBA was great in that it routinely pushed us out of our comfort zones, then taught us to reflect on how we responded to that.” He soon found that a technique he’s dubbed “idea dumping” was a successful and necessary part of his process. “Prior to entering DMBA, the places I’d worked didn’t really cultivate environments where I felt comfortable sharing ideas outside my area of expertise. The DMBA showed me how a silly-sounding idea can trigger a plausible one from someone else. And also how quickly a bad idea will die once you say it out loud. “It’s valuable throughout a project, too, not just early on. Later in the health-care project, we revisited our early brainstorms. Some of the initially more promising-sounding ideas suddenly had no place, whereas others took on a validity they hadn’t had before.” This is now something Bishop and his colleagues do on a daily basis. “We sketch and say ‘What if . . .?’ a lot. Sometimes we laugh and move on, and other times we latch onto something that becomes the whole framework for the project.” Working with Leo Villareal
One of Parallel’s clients is the visual artist Leo Villareal, the artist behind The Bay Lights, the installation of 25,000 LED lights on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.
Leo Villareal's Cylinder II (2012) in progress at the Parallel studio
were working on a permanent installation called Hive (2012) in the Bleecker Street subway station in Manhattan. It’s a fairly corrosive environment, so we had to be careful in our material selections. There was a lot of back-and-forth with MTA engineers to get the design approved. Then, come installation day, I found myself mediating a union labor dispute. It was a learning experience.” Ben Rubin’s Semaphore and Shakespeare Machine Parallel worked with the artist Ben Rubin on Semaphore (2006/2012), a giant abstract code transmitted by the Adobe headquarters building in San Jose. The public is invited to try to solve it; it’s an update of a related work that went public in 2006 and was eventually cracked by two local scientists, who recognized it as an encoded version of the text of Thomas Pynchon’s novel The Crying of Lot 49.
Bishop is also very proud of Parallel’s work on Rubin’s Shakespeare Machine (2012), which remixes 37 different Shakespeare plays in a site-specific, LED-lit chandelier/sculpture hanging in the lobby of the Public Theater on Lafayette Street in New York. Both Hive and Shakespeare Machine recently won public art awards. And what’s next for Bishop and Parallel? “I suspect we’ll be making more installations based on the Aviary platform. And we’d like to continue expanding on our collaborations. Maybe even conceive some projects on our own.”
“We’ve done projects small and large with Villareal,” Bishop says, “and each has its unique set of challenges. Last year we A LU M NI S TORIE S
Toyin Odutola by Allison Byers
The work of the 28-year-old Nigerian-born artist Toyin Odutola (MFA 2012) may be simply ink and marker on paper, yet it speaks volumes, and has proven to resonate strongly with audiences. Since graduating just one year ago, Odutola has had two solo shows at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York and was featured as one of Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” art and design stars.
Odutola moved to the United States when she was little, settling with her family in Alabama. After she earned her BA from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, she followed in the footsteps of her artistic idol, Hank Willis Thomas (MFA and MA Visual Criticism 2004), and made her way to CCA, knowing that he had gone to school here. “I was intrigued by the interdisciplinary range of his work, and I wanted to be involved in a graduate program that could inspire and facilitate that. Hank’s work really solidified my inclination to trust what I was making and where it would lead. And, indeed, in my time at CCA, my work took on so much more weight. I became able to think more conceptually and critically analyze, to the minutest degree, what messages I was expressing.” Thomas delivered a lecture to the MFA students one day while she was studying here, and she was thrilled to finally meet him. She approached him for a studio visit, and he initially declined, but then felt sorry the next day and tracked down her studio with the help of her classmates. “He left a note asking me to email him some of my work. And the rest, as they say, is history!” Since then Thomas has become a huge supporter, even including Odutola as one of his “Top Ten” in Artforum in April 2012. “My aim has always been to keep pushing my work and stay true to my convictions,” Odutola explains, “and Hank has been an amazing mentor. CCA connected me to a much bigger, and also incredible, group of peer
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Toyin Odutola, All these garlands prove nothing VI (2012)
artists and teachers who continue to inspire me. Having them in my life has been immensely helpful and fulfilling. Everyone I’ve had the pleasure of spending time and exchanging ideas with has left an indelible mark on me.” Heritage and identity are always at least subconsciously present in any artist’s work, but for Odutola, they are guiding forces. Her exhibition My Country Has No Name at Jack Shainman Gallery in spring 2013 directly addressed what she calls “the subject of what I considered myself. Am I an African American artist? A Nigerian artist? An African woman artist? These questions followed from how I saw the subjects I was portraying. “To speak somewhat metaphorically, I see Nigeria and my heritage from the country as a written language that has been laid before me, and I am now taking that same language and writing another story. The source material is always there, but the characters, the settings, even the sounds will be changed, because the dynamics of that ‘identity’ have changed. There’s no need to validate an existence or be afraid of the ambivalence. It took me a long time to accept this progression, but now that I have, I feel that my work will travel further.” Odutola started a blog early on as a way to connect to the art world. Since then, the blog and her social media pages have become a living catalog of her process. “I love documenting my process, seeing where I’ve been,” she reflects. “It’s a bit like making tracks in the snow. It’s overcautious, maybe— attempting to meticulously document every step, every mark, every stage—but it seems that the more I can track what I’ve done, the better I am able to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
on Wabi-Sabi, Alterpop, and Paying It Forward
“Japan totally b le w my mind.”
That’s a typical comment from a student after returning from doug akagi’s summer studyabroad trip to Japan. Akagi created the course— titled “In Search of Emptiness and Wabi-Sabi”— three years ago, and he has led it each summer since. It’s often difficult for the students to put into words what the adventure means to them and their work. “Most of them,” Akagi observes, “have never experienced a metropolis like Tokyo or the sublime beauty of an ancient city like Kyoto. And I realize that the trip is expensive, with the tuition and the airfare and the incidentals. So I try to make it a trip of a lifetime. “Leading 14 students to almost 30 venues in two different cities in 12 days without incident is a challenge, and exhausting. Dozens of subway, train, and bus rides, endless miles of walking, and counting heads at every juncture.” But there is plenty of beauty and inspiration as a reward. And Akagi gets a profound kick out of showing off his old haunts from when he was a young graphic designer living and working in Tokyo and Kyoto. “Doug r e ally c ar es deeply that students under stand the conte x t and history of what the y ar e studying .”
by Lindsey Westbrook
Many of Akagi’s fellow Graphic Design faculty members say this about him as a teacher, and it certainly applies to his motivations for teaching the Japan course. “The idea,” he reflects, “is to
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distill my 40 years of pondering ancient Japanese aesthetics into one summer session. We cover everything from wabi-sabi (the beauty of impermanence and imperfection) to the Shinto concept of emptiness as a strategy to attract the gods, the tea ceremony, and Zen Buddhism. They see a lot of temples and gardens, but they get to do some touristy things, too.” And they visit lots of design exhibitions. “Tokyo alone usually has something like six design exhibitions going at any given time.” They visit the Ghibli Museum, whose executive director is the world-famous film director, animator, and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki. The most recent group caught an exhibition at the Suntory Museum of Art on the concept of mono no aware, a Japanese term for the transitory nature of life and things. “This year I was really pleased to have such an international group. There were only four Americans. Of the rest, two were Taiwanese, two Filipino, two Korean, and four from mainland China. Four were MFA Design students, four undergraduate Graphic Design majors, two Jewelry / Metal Arts majors, two Animation students, and one Film. It was a great mix.” “Doug wa s b or n in a Wor ld War II Japanese inter nment c amp.”
Akagi was, indeed, born in an internment camp in Utah. After the war ended, his parents, both born and raised in Berkeley, moved to the East Coast to raise their children in a less discriminatory environment. Assimilation was their goal, so they never spoke Japanese at home and made little reference to their cultural heritage. It provoked in Akagi an ongoing identity crisis and a burning desire to connect with his family’s past. His uncle, whose job involved living half the year in Japan and the other half in the United States, promised to help him find a job in Tokyo if he could get himself over there. “Doug went to Japan and got a job at a design fir m , without spe aking a wor d of Japanese .”
Also true. The firm was the renowned Nippon Design Center in Tokyo. “After I’d been there about a year, I asked a coworker how my Japanese was coming along. He said, ‘You speak horrible Japanese beautifully.’ Meaning that I sounded very
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feminine, probably because I was sitting between two women designers at the firm, and that my vocabulary was terrible. Being young, my solution to this was to start frequenting the Shinjuku movie houses, watching lots of gangster and samurai films to pick up some macho lingo.” “Doug is the Ke vin B acon of San Fr ancisco gr aphic design .”
Back in 1983, Akagi was one of the cofounders of the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA-SF). Today it is the secondlargest chapter in the country, with a membership exceeding 1,600. Between his renewed involvement in AIGA-SF; running his design firm, Alterpop, with his wife, Dorothy Remington; and his multi-decade teaching career, he has been a connector for vast numbers of graphic designers. “The scene can be incestuous, sure! But it’s very gratifying to bring good designers together.” Case in point: Two former Alterpop interns (and CCA alumni) have subsequently become presidents of AIGA-SF: christopher simmons (Graphic Design 1997) and current president david asari (Graphic Design 1989), who is also the assistant chair of CCA’s Graphic Design Program. Akagi has taught at almost every level of the program and has had an incalculable number of students. He’s also hired about 75 interns and 100 employees, mostly from CCA.
Above left: The famous Zen garden at Ryōan-ji temple in Kyoto, summer 2012 (Akagi is the one in the red cap) Above right: Student Ganesha Balunsat (Graphic Design 2014) at Yuigahama Beach, summer 2013
“Being around students all the time keeps you current, and vital,” he says, “not only in terms of your work, but also in terms of technology, and pure enthusiasm. If you want to talk generations, at this point I think I’ve got several ‘grandchildren’ out there in the professional design community.” “Doug wa s he avily into tr iathlons , you know. He did some thing like 150 tr iathlons and comple ted the Hawaii Ir onman t wice . The story goes that when he and Dor othy got mar r ied, the y made a pac t that the y would quit smoking and b ecome athle tes toge ther . Their wedding r egistry wa s at a loc al b ike shop.”
“I ’ ve ne ver known such a senior pr ofessional—in any field —to take the ide a of paying it forwar d so much to he art.”
You may have noticed by now how committed Akagi is to educating the next generation. But it’s more than that. It’s also about welcoming them into the professional community—paying it forward as a mentor—since he benefited so much from his own mentors. He is likewise generous about passing along actual jobs to former students when he is in a position to do so.
“I’m an obsessive personality,” Akagi admits. “At the height of it all I was running and biking and swimming every day, working long hours at Alterpop, plus teaching at CCA. Dorothy and “Yes, it’s very competitive out there. But I relocated Alterpop to be near the campus so that we could there is always room for one more good walk over there together midday and teach our classes. I loved it. designer.” But, you know, work becomes like a drug. It’s exhilarating, but you need to keep your employees busy, so you are constantly hustling for more work.” In 2011, Akagi and his wife made the difficult decision to downsize and bring some sanity to their lives. “We finally closed our San Francisco office and moved our base of operations to our house in San Rafael. It took forever just to sell or donate all the equipment and furniture. It was traumatic. But the moment it was all over, it was such a huge relief! We realized we should have done it sooner. This morning, I woke up, went for a walk with Dorothy and our dog, Bella, and later had lunch on the back deck with them.”
Students in front of the Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha), summer 2013
“Doug r e tir ed fr om te aching at CCA in 2008 and wa s named pr ofessor emer itus . He’s the only emer itus I know who ’s b ack on the facult y te aching multiple cl a sses! B e t ween you and me, I suspec t that he got b or ed.”
“They threw this great party for my retirement (longtime faculty member steve reoutt was also retiring at that time), and everyone said such nice things in their speeches. I was glad to be done—I was feeling a bit burned out after 24 years—and for a while I didn’t miss teaching. But a few years later cinthia wen (Graphic Design 2007), who was then program chair (she’s also a former student and employee), called and asked if I might be able to help her out of a bind. You know, just teach one class. And then one thing led to another and I was sucked back into the CCA orbit. I do love it here.” Currently he is filling in for bob aufuldish as the faculty advisor for Sputnik, the group of undergraduates that designs many of CCA’s publications (including the one you are holding, Glance). And he is the new student group advisor for AIGA-SF.
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10 Questions with
co-chair of the new MFA in Film program at CCA With HOWL (2010) and Lovelace (2013), you’ve gone from being strictly a documentary filmmaker to also being a feature filmmaker. What is it like to make that transition?
It’s exciting, and something we at Telling Pictures have always wanted to do. It’s possible to get to another kind of truth about the world and the human condition when you’re not tied to representing actual reality. Howl and Lovelace do talk about historical people and events, though, so the projects still involve “looking back.” They’re just told in the present tense. For many years you called yourself an independent filmmaker. After Lovelace, do you—or can you—still apply that label?
San Francisco—rather than Hollywood—has been my creative home base since I was 19. So when I started my career, I pretty much had to identify as independent! Three decades later, given the changes in the industry, I can identify as “industry” if I choose to. What do you tell cca film students about their job prospects immediately after graduation?
In this business, in terms of employment, you have to be willing to start at the bottom to get experience and for people to get a sense of your work ethic. Although there are, of course, exceptions, for instance Oakland’s Ryan Coogler, who made his first film, Fruitvale Station (2013), at age 26. Tons of awards and acclaim, right out of the gate. Also I tell them they should be working on their own projects while they’re working for other people. Keep a lot of irons in the fire. Filmmaking—any kind of narrative filmmaking, at least—is so collaborative.
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Make yourself vastly useful on whatever project you’re involved in, and it will lead to another gig. With digital technologies, it’s increasingly possible for young filmmakers just starting out to get their work made and seen, but, still, you have to possess drive, perseverance, and talent to be successful. And if you want to make your own work, you have to be entrepreneurial. Do you tell them they have to go to L.A. to make it in the film business?
If you want to be in the movie industry, you have to go to L.A. You can go to New York and be an independent filmmaker or a freelancer. Or you can do what I did, and dig in your heels in San Francisco and make it work, come hell or high water. I do go down to L.A. at least once a month. There are lots of things about being there that are just easier in this business. For instance, we shot all of Lovelace in L.A. The story takes place there, so finding locations and exteriors was more straightforward. CCA just launched an MFA in Film program, of which you are co-chair. How is studying film as a graduate student different from studying it as an undergrad?
Whatever your major, as an undergraduate you are still figuring out who you are. Whereas graduate school is about taking two years
to entirely devote yourself to honing your craft. And finding your peers, and discovering mentors. Here at CCA we’re lucky to have such a wide range of expertise and specializations among the faculty, so the students are exposed to numerous different ways of working and creating—not just traditional narrative—as they find their individual paths. kota ezawa , for example, has a totally different view of the construct of “narrative.” Plus he’s a brilliant, worldrenowned artist. lynn marie kirby and jeanne finley are also highly respected artists in the fine arts world, making work for the gallery and museum context. Jeanne sometimes works in collaboration, which is good for the students to see. We try to instill a solid knowledge of historical context, too. brook hinton ’s Film Language course is about the grammar of filmmaking and the making of moving images. Students come out of there much more literate in the medium. You’re a busy guy. We’re lucky to have you teaching at CCA. What keeps you here?
The students keep me fresh. They challenge me, in the best sense. I feel fortunate to have found a match in CCA. It feels like home, and I think we all hope for that, in all aspects of our lives. I hear you study acting? To be a director, you have to understand the acting process.
You have to learn to speak the language of actors and appeal to their psychology if you’re going to help them with their characters and give them useful direction. I’ve taken classes for about 15 years now, including with Judith Weston, who is a well-known coach. You just optioned the novel You Deserve Nothing as a new project for a film. What’s the book about?
It’s about an American teacher at an (American) school in Paris and his relationships with his students. Sort of a Dead Poets Society with sex. You say you often take a particular past film as an inspirational starting point for a new project. What was that touchstone, for Lovelace and for HOWL?
Sometimes the relationship to the precursor is obvious; sometimes it’s more elusive or obscure. For HOWL, it was Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason. For Lovelace it was Klute. In Klute, Jane Fonda plays a prostitute who’s being stalked. There is something about the economy of the directing in that film that puts all of the focus on the performances. That really struck a nerve with me in terms of how to direct Lovelace.
CCA has launched a new MFA in Film program co-chaired by rob epstein and brook hinton. The filmmaking landscape today is undergoing constant changes in its modes of production, distribution, and exhibition, and these changes offer an amazing opportunity for creative and agile filmmakers to discover powerful new modes of cinematic expression and supportive infrastructures. Many important industry luminaries have come to campus in the last few years as part of the Cinema Visionaries Lecture Series. The series launched with a grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is now made possible thanks to the generous support of carla emil and rich silverstein. Each visitor gives a public lecture and leads a master class while he or she is here. Some highlights:
barbar a hammer
What are you reading for fun at the moment?
David Byrne’s recent book How Music Works. He’s really brilliant. Humble, yet brilliant.
gus van sant
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fac u l t yf esattourri e s
TO ADORN AND TO ENLIGHTEN When you first enter nick dong’s Enlightenment Room (2008), nothing happens. You walk down a short, mirrored corridor in semi-darkness to a gray cushioned seat. But the moment you sit down, light begins to fill the space, and thousands of white, oval tiles glisten into view. Ethereal music fills your ears. The light brightens, and the music intensifies. This experience can last a few minutes or a few hours, depending on how long you remain seated . . . waiting. The moment you stand, the music and lights fade out. In 2012 Dong was invited to present his Enlightenment Room as part of Craft Futures: 40 Under 40 at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington DC. The work attracted much attention and was featured in numerous magazines and newspapers, including an eight-page spread in Metalsmith magazine’s June 2013 issue. “I originally started building the work as a somewhat sarcastic sentiment—examining a person’s need for spirituality and religion,” Dong reflects. But, over years of labor and refinement, the room came to be “executed with absolute sincerity. The interior walls consist of 20,000 tiles—all of which were made by hand over a six-month period. I believe an artist’s intention can be transmitted through labor, as long as it’s not mindless. My father is a practicing Buddhist, and I never paid much attention to his teachings at home. Now, as I grow older, I’ve started syncing his attitudes into my own personal belief system.” It was remarkable, he says, how the 40 Under 40 show created a real community among the featured artists. “To be selected by the Smithsonian was an amazing honor. And to be introduced to 39 amazing artists! We still stay in contact with one another.”
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Jewelry / Metal Arts Faculty
by R achel Walther
(Another CCA affiliate in the show was lacey jane roberts , who received a dual degree in Fine Arts and Visual and Critical Studies in 2007.) Dong’s work ranges from full-immersion installations like Enlightenment Room to small jewelry pieces. “My latest work is always about my current life, my current subconscious space,” he says. “Working on 40 Under 40 made me aware of my age and this period in my life. I realized that most of my work had become very conceptual, without a lot of personal narrative, and I felt the need to return to painting.” Undergrad Years in Taipei Dong was born and raised in Taipei. It was while studying art as an undergraduate at Tung-Hai University that he started creating “all-sensory” experiences. A Sampling Research of Some Creatures’ Evolution (1996) was an attempt to create an outdoor environment within a gallery space. Copper figures buried under layers of dirt and hardwood created depressions in the floor, and speakers transmitted low-level hums and vibrations.
The deep, emanating sounds had a calming effect on visitors. “The piece transported them into another environment. Seeing their reactions fueled my drive to make work that can touch people. The whole process was an amazing surprise to me personally, and a defining moment in my career.” The Origins of Enlightenment Room
He moved to the United States in 1999 to begin his MFA in metalsmithing and jewelry at the University of Oregon in Eugene. It was there that Enlightenment Room first began to take shape, as part of his 2002 thesis project. “I kept refining it, and the production values kept going up.” After completing his MFA, Dong followed his partner down to the Bay Area, and was very happy to find what he describes as the ideal community he’d been seeking for his personal and creative projects. “It’s so exciting to be here. I love the diversity
and the culture! There is such freeness. I’m a fish in water.” A big influence on his work was his job at Gallery Flux, a San Francisco jewelry gallery, from 2002 to 2004. “As a metal artist I thought I knew my materials well, but no. That job attuned my eye to the detail and preciousness of materials. And I began to think more about the body, and how we connect adornment with desire.”
Above left: Clark Kent from the series The Hairy Body (2005) Above right: SelfPortrait from the series Frozen by Fire (2013)
His work from that time examines delicacy within unusual contexts. The series The Hairy Body (2005) is a group of sterling silver body pieces designed to be worn by large, hairy men. Introspective Ring (2004) is an 18-carat gold ring with garnets set on the inside rather than the outside of the band, so only the wearer knows they’re there. “For me, a work always resonates more if it’s a hybrid of concept and material.” On Teaching, and CCA
In 2008 Dong was invited by his friend and Jewelry / Metal Arts faculty member curtis arima to assist with teaching the program’s senior project course, and he’s been teaching here ever since. He loves to introduce students to his discoveries related to new materials and the phenomena of interpersonal relationships. “They get a fresh perspective from me as a working artist, and I am inspired by them in turn. I tell them that if they’re proud of what they’ve made, they’ll keep making good work. Their senior CCA show is just the beginning!”
Introspective Ring (2004)
f a c u l ty s t o r i e s
M E E T THE N E W I LLU STR ATI ON C HAI R //
owen SMITH // by Lindsey Westbrook
// owen smith, the new chair of CCA’s Illustration Program, got his first New Yorker cover commission shortly after graduating from Art Center College of Design. “I’d entered a work in a juried competition, and it was published in American Illustration. Françoise Mouly, the art director of the New Yorker, saw it and called me. I was lucky. But I suppose it’s also true that you make your own luck, as they say.” // Smith’s plans for Illustration—which is CCA’s largest program, with Graphic Design, Architecture, and Industrial Design very close behind—involve evolving the curriculum to respond to changes in the field. “We’ve got students coming in now wanting to work in gaming, or sculpture, or graphic novels—all fairly new applications of an education in illustration.” 26
The curriculum will be shifting from a primarily editorial and book focus toward a more elastic definition of “illustration.” Rather than expecting students to choose a career track—entertainment, fine art, editorial—as they are at some schools, Smith envisions the program embracing an increasingly wide array of media and cross-disciplinary collaborations. “It’s daunting but exciting,” he says, “to have the responsibility of preparing students to become professionals today.” Preparing for Professional Work Smith plans to steer the Illustration 1 through 6 courses into a more logical progression that includes a thesis project followed by a portfolio class. There will be additional elective courses offered in areas such as Advanced Digital Painting, Concept Art, and Surface Design. He plans to make Professional Practice a required part of the curriculum to help students more effectively transition into the working world, since graduates these days are far more likely to be running their own businesses than working in-house for a publisher or an advertising firm. He also plans to more actively pursue collaborations with the fine art programs as well as Graphic Design, Animation, and Writing. “I want to make the curriculum as true and relevant to the real world as possible,” he explains. “What is it like to work with an art director? Or an editor? Or the author of a children’s book? It’s not worthwhile professional practice if the Illustration students are just art directing one another! “And then of course there are the things we continue to cover and always will, such as dealing with clients, problem solving, narrative sequencing, and figuring out the underlying conceptual themes that tie your work together. Those are core skills.”
majority of the current faculty, who include the widely known and respected artists bob ciano, robert hunt, and barron storey. “The faculty have very diverse skills, and we’re going to be hiring a couple more, which means we can broaden our capabilities even further. So, all the pieces are there. I really want this program to become more visible on the national radar, but I want to do it in an organic, authentic way.” Some Personal Background Smith has taught at CCA for 10 years. He grew up in the Bay Area suburb of Fremont, then went to school at Art Center in Pasadena, where he met his wife, who is also an artist. They lived in New York for three years before deciding to settle in Alameda. Smith has done 18 covers for the New Yorker and illustrations for Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and Time. Other clients have included the San Francisco Opera, BART, and the United Nations. He recently completed work on his third children’s book. His paintings have been featured in exhibitions in New York, Rome, and Milan, and he’s had solo shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco. His cover art and interior booklet illustrations for Aimee Mann’s The Forgotten Arm CD helped it win a Grammy Award for best packaging. Several of his mosaic murals are permanently installed at the 36th Street subway station in Brooklyn. In 2007 Smith created a series of six large posters for the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Art on Market Street program depicting characters and scenes from Dashiell Hammett’s book The Maltese Falcon. Several of his murals, mosaics, and relief sculptures are permanently installed at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco.
CCA’s Illustration Faculty Smith’s predecessor was alexis mahrus , who served as interim chair for two years. She took over when the highly esteemed dugald stermer , who began teaching at CCA in 1989 and was a legend in the field, passed away at the end of 2011. Stermer hired the
PREFAB LEED PLATINUM-CERTIFIED STYLE
by lindsey westbrook and Christina linden
For years, CCA’s Architecture programs have advocated and evangelized sustainability and green building. The field has witnessed the emergence of all kinds of new incentives for architects to think sustainably, for instance design approaches that allow for net zero-energy usage, the establishment of the LEED ratings, and the new Passivhaus standards. And now CCA is getting to walk the walk in a new and exciting way, having secured a block of apartments for student housing in a brand-new, LEED Platinum–certified micro-studio building in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. 38 Harriet Street is just one mile from CCA’s San Francisco campus. WalkScore.com rates it a “walker’s paradise” (which means daily errands do not require a car), a “rider’s paradise” (there are 58 bus routes and 14 rail routes nearby), and a “biker’s paradise” (there are excellent bike lanes and the terrain is flat). Because the 23-unit, four-story structure is made from prefabricated components, construction on site took just four days. Each CCA-leased apartment houses two students. The 300-square-foot interiors are designed by SMARTSPACE, a subgroup of Panoramic, the developer, that is devoted to conceiving stylish and efficient interiors for small urban spaces. The units feature cleverly designed built-in furniture, for instance: » twin beds that come with rollout drawers for extra storage; each drawer has a cushion that fits into a small compartment that transforms the drawer into extra seating » a SmartBench—a long, narrow piece of furniture that is a breakfast nook table when up, and a window bench when down
Net zero-energy usually describes a building with zero overall energy consumption and zero carbon emissions, averaged over the course of a year. Highly efficient HVAC and lighting strategies usually complement on-site solar (and/or wind) energy collection. In order to be LEED Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Certified, a building project must score some minimum number of points out of a possible 100 in categories related to efficiencies in materials, water usage, energy usage, and so on. Passivhaus is a new standard in the building industry that prioritizes thermal performance through airtightness and mechanical ventilation.
Taeko-Karyn Takagi’s Path to Architecture and CCA
» bathroom mirrors that are flush to the wall and open up to reveal medicine cabinet storage The apartments are fully furnished and even come with flat-screen TVs, high-speed WiFi, and in-unit washer/dryers. The building as a whole features solar water heating, rainwater harvesting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, high recycled content in the structural materials and furnishings, lots of natural light and ventilation, and a beautiful, sustainably landscaped courtyard. CCA alumna taeko-karyn takagi (Architecture 2002) is vice president of product development at ZETA Design+Build, the builder and developer of 38 Harriet Street. Takagi says the future is very promising for architects and designers who are working to push the frontiers of sustainability. New measures and standards—like Passivhaus and the LEED
Back in the late 1990s, Taeko-Karyn Takagi had a bachelor’s degree in psychology and several years under her belt working in that field. “I was leading a kind of double life, working in psychology but also designing furniture and graphics and learning web design on the side. The design scene was really burgeoning in San Francisco. “My mom was an artist, and I sort of always was too. I’d been thinking about pursuing a doctorate in psychology, but realized that it would mean my camera would never see the light of day again!
certifications—are constantly emerging, which in turn incentivizes innovations in technology, materials, and design. “At the moment, the trend is especially notable in larger facilities with longterm owners, since they are highly motivated to offset energy usage. Big companies like Google—and of course teaching institutions like CCA!—are in a unique position to push the politics and technologies of sustainability.” Takagi reports that working at ZETA is very gratifying. “In my early years in the business, I saw a lot of inefficiencies between developers, designers, architects, and getting the project actually done. It’s great now to be a part of a system where all that is condensed and streamlined.”
It would just sit on the shelf.” Certain she wanted to stay in San Francisco and aware of the importance of networking, she enrolled at CCA in 1997. She was initially an Industrial Design major but soon found her way into Architecture. “Architecture integrated my interests in psychology and urban planning. And I had a pretty seamless emergence from school because the internship I did as a student at David Baker + Partners became a full-time job immediately after graduation. “I also met my husband, the designer Elias Crouch (MFA 2002), at CCA.”
c o lle g e n e w s
MFA in Comics inaugural summer session
FA C U LT Y S T O R I E S
jacob magr aw-mickelson
HOW I GOT HERE We’ve inaugurated a new series of first-person stories written by CCA students and recent alumni talking about their paths to CCA. Find more of these “How I Got Here” stories at cca.edu/news and in future issues of Glance! understanding of what he did in the war was that he carried a medical bag and saw a lot of wildlife in the field. This is still what I “think” he did during those eight years before he came to America. What my father did paint a vivid picture of is what he got out of his high school education. According to his stories, he sat at the front of the class, because smart students always sit in front. We Americans will never have this profound love for math that my father and his classmates did.
Individualized Major 2015
I might say I got to CCA in my father’s Honda Pilot, or by heading north on Highway 101. But that trip barely left an imprint on my mind. When I think of how I got to CCA, I think of my parents, and how much immigrant parents stress the importance of higher education. These phrases of broken English I heard over and over, sticking with me like ancient proverbs, holding that much more meaning after having been repeated so many times: “I didn’t come to this country for me, naa’he ye metse.” “Oh Rima gwale, we used to walk so many miles to school.” “I was always an A student in maths.” “If you wanna write you gotta read, Neyat gwale.” There is something very endearing about all the advice I receive from the people of my parents’ generation, whether it’s my uncle nagging my cousin, or the Eritrean man I met on BART one morning who left me with a familiar parting phrase: “Ciao mo, keyte hanqui,” which translates as, “Well, bye, don’t choke.” I heard this growing up as a kid, and thought it was silly. Not the adopted Italian word, but “keyte hanqui,” which in English sounds like something a wannabe thug from my community back home would say: “Don’t choke, maaan.” My father left high school in the 11th grade to join the Eritrean War of Independence. He was 17 years old. The same age I was when I started my freshman year of college. My childhood
My dad’s last class back home was a one-month trigonometry course in which he and a selected few got a hands-on experience with surveying. Ultimately, the top students were to travel to Sweden and continue their education. These plans sadly fell through (although my father was an A student in maths). To me, out of all of my father’s recollections, this foreshadows the aftermath of the Eritrean war. Everything that has transpired before me, I believe, indirectly affects my thinking and personal journey. I didn’t travel across the rugged terrain of East Africa by foot, but these surreal stories I carry give me an interesting perspective on the world. CCA has been the perfect environment to foster this type of reflection on identity. It fosters an appreciation of cross-cultural relations. It has also fostered the type of growth needed and desired by a first-generation American. CCA provides me with a sense of validation. As I am introduced to new technologies and philosophies on how to live in a greener world, as I take classes about how we can all do our part to solve urban issues, and as I meet more and more people who have acquired the social-activist bug, I feel my parents’ incomplete formal education being fulfilled. And, look, I haven’t choked just yet.
MAKER FAIRE: CCA’s Inaugural Booth a Big Success
Egg by anthony quivers (MArch 2014)
by JIM NORRENA (MFA Writing 2013)
Dozens of CCA students, faculty, and staff showcased their work this past spring at the 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire— to a whopping 120,000 attendees—and were rewarded with much enthusiasm and two blue ribbon awards for demonstrating great creativity, ingenuity, and innovation. Maker Faire is an annual event produced by Maker Media, which also publishes Make magazine. Founded in 2006, it is one of the largest exhibition events in the United States that specifically showcases innovative projects melding science, engineering, craft, art, and performance. CCA’s booth occupied a choice position, immediately next to Autodesk.
that the CCA work was really inspirational. And since Maker Faire is such a family-oriented event, thousands of kids were introduced to CCA as a place where art and technology come together in creative ways.” Attendees were fascinated to see things actually being made before their eyes at CCA’s booth: AutoDesk president and CEO Carl Bass, who is also a woodworker, was drawn to the wood steam-bending demonstrations led by Furniture studio manager aimee graham. Bass has since toured CCA’s San Francisco campus and was particularly impressed with the new Hybrid Lab. The organizers gave CCA’s exhibition a blue ribbon for overall excellence. And there was a second blue ribbon for a specific project: Serpentine by Architecture students Shawn Komlos (MArch 2014) and Alex Woodhouse (MAAD 2013), who hacked a 3D printer to make it extrude clay rather than the usual plastic. They used it to create 3D model fixtures, which they applied to a map of San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood.
Architecture faculty member andrew kudless reported afterward: “Promo materials about CCA were flying off the table. I was completely overwhelmed by the flood of people— parents asking on behalf of their middle-school or high-school students, venture capitalists, the program director of the National “The project is about the future Science Foundation’s Innovation of cities,” say Komlos and Division—wanting to know more Woodhouse. “How can we make about what we do at CCA and a 3D printer that is open-source, how they can be involved. These inexpensive, and accessible to are really crucial connections for architects, designers, and everyCCA to be making. day citizens? What if an entire “I heard so many people saying building could be 3D printed,
in situ, out of local materials? Could we revitalize an entire neighborhood and make it a test bed for a new kind of architecture?” Another Architecture project that proved popular was a group of 16 unique, beautiful, highly detailed eggs. They were made by students in Andrew Kudless’s SEAcraft advanced studio course using a variety of techniques: plaster casting, CNC milling, laser cutting, 3D printing. “People were drawn to the eggs,” Kudless reflects, “because they speak to the core topics of maker culture: craft, technology, and experimentation.” Approximately 25 of the 40 or so students whose work was showcased were from the Architecture programs. Fashion Design, Furniture, Jewelry / Metal Arts, and Textiles were also represented. Additional works were culled from Barney Haynes’s Emphasis Fabrication workshop and Interface course, and the popular Urban Mobility Program taught by Rafi Ajl. CCA has committed to supporting Maker Faire next year as a Blacksmith-level sponsor. And the college will be expanding its booth and outreach, showing an even broader cross-section of projects and soliciting student input on the booth design itself.
BOOKSHELF Power to the People: The Graphic Design of the Radical Press and the Rise of the Counter-Culture, 1964–1974 University of Chicago Press, 2013 Hardcover, 264 pages, $45
Design faculty member Geoff Kaplan of General Working Group presents more than 700 full-color images and excerpts: from the psychedelic pages of the Oracle to the fiery editorials of the Black Panther Party Paper. Experimental typography and wildly inventive layouts reflect an alternative media culture as much informed by the space age, television, and socialism as by sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Never Built Los Angeles Metropolis Books, 2013 Hardcover, 376 pages, $55
Eric Heiman (Graphic Design faculty) and his firm Volume Inc. designed this book of Los Angeles buildings, master plans, parks, follies, and mass-transit proposals that never made it past the drawing board. The typographic palette plays on the vernacular of architectural plans and blueprints. Modern Art Desserts Ten Speed Press, 2013 Hardcover, 224 pages, $25
Alumna Leah Rosenberg (MFA 2008) developed these dessert recipes—all modeled after well-known artworks— for SFMOMA’s fifth-floor Blue Bottle Café. Each recipe is accompanied by beautiful photography and a museum curator’s perspective on the original artwork.
A select few of the many books written, designed, illustrated, and published by CCA faculty and alumni in the past year. Get the full scoop on these and more at cca.edu/news/bookshelf.
Excerpts from Silver Meadows Nazraeli Press, 2013 Hardcover, 108 pages, $75
Alumnus and Photography faculty member Todd Hido (MFA 1996) presents his most ambitious project to date. The first edition is printed on matte Japanese art paper and features an “installation” of tipped-in images. The book is designed by Graphic Design faculty member Bob Aufuldish. Archetypes in Branding: A Toolkit for Creatives and Strategists HOW Books, 2012 Hardcover, 158 pages, $45
This book by Margaret Hartwell (MBA in Design Strategy faculty) offers a highly participatory approach to brand development. It comes with a companion deck of 60 “archetype cards” and is a practical tool to reveal your brand’s motivations, enliven its strategy, and identify why it attracts certain customers. Twerk Belladonna, 2013 Paperback, 112 pages, $15
The poet Terrance Hayes calls this book of poems, songs, and myths by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs (MFA Writing 2008) “a dope jam of dictions; a remixed, multicultural, polyphonic dance of vocabularies; a language of high stakes, hi-jinx, and hybridity.”
If you are a CCA affiliate and have published (or designed, illustrated, etc.) a book in the last 12 months, we’d love to hear about it! Send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
AT THE WATTIS INSTITUTE Anthony
Huberman is the new director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. He arrives at an exciting time for the Wattis, which recently moved into a brand-new space at 360 Kansas Street in Potrero Hill.
Before coming to CCA, Huberman was the founding director of The Artist’s Institute in New York. Before that he was chief curator of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and a curator at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and SculptureCenter in Long Island City, New York. His writings have been published in Artforum, Afterall, Mousse, and DotDotDot.
What about the Wattis Institute appeals to you, given your specific practice as a curator? As an institution, the Wattis has built and sustained a reputation for risk taking, and its audiences have learned to expect nothing less. That kind of profile is one I am very interested in contributing to. Also I love that the Wattis is so closely associated with an institution devoted to higher learning, CCA, because this inherently places the exhibitions into a context for critical discussion and reflection.
More and more (formerly) downtown commercial galleries are moving to Potrero Hill: Catharine Clark Gallery, Brian Gross Fine Art, Hosfelt Gallery. How do you see the Wattis fitting into this growing gallery scene? I am very happy that galleries are moving to the neighborhood, because it builds a sense of momentum around the idea that Potrero Hill is a hub or a destination for contemporary art. My goal is to identify and develop a unique role for the Wattis in the larger ecosystem of the Bay Area arts community. How can we challenge familiar categories, fill new gaps, serve different purposes?
What can you tell us of your plans? The word “institute” is inscribed with two meanings, to my mind: It is a place for showing art and a place for thinking about art. So the Wattis will be a place to see exhibitions, and to attend public events, but also to participate in more intimate research forums. I hope to create a central gathering place for anyone in the Bay Area who is interested in contemporary art and experimental culture in general.
There will be three “tracks” to the programming. The first will be a series of solo shows in our main gallery. These will rotate every three months. The second will be a new incarnation of the Capp Street Project residency. An artist will live in the Wattis apartment and do something curatorial in nature in our rear gallery over the course of six months. The third track will be a yearlong research forum inspired by the work of a single artist. This will be a group undertaking where artists, faculty members, and students from CCA devote a year to thinking about a particular artist. An “artist on our mind.” It will involve discussions, research groups, public lectures, and more. It will really make use of the interdisciplinary “brain” that is CCA, and it will culminate in a book.
How are you spending your days between now and when you inaugurate the first cycle of your grand plan in September? My primary mission is to immerse myself in CCA’s community—getting to know the MFA and Curatorial Practice students in particular—and in the Bay Area’s art scene. We are very fortunate to have a highly engaged group of supporters and patrons. There is a lot to see, a lot of people to get to know, and a lot of talking about art to be done!
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awards & accolades hilary sanders (Jewelry / Metal Arts 2012) and michael esteban (Jewelry / Metal Arts 2013) were awarded highly coveted $15,000 Windgate Fellowships in April 2013. The fellowship is one of the largest awards offered nationally to graduating seniors working in craft media. Since its inception in 2006, five CCA students have received it. Sanders’s winning body of work is a series of experimental, wearable graphite sculptures; the user/wearer draws by dragging them along a piece of paper or a wall. She will use the prize money to travel to Japan, and to take courses in experimental mark making and garment construction. Esteban makes kinetic sculptural works that require manipulation on the part of the viewer/user. He reports that he will use the prize money to go to Spain and study blacksmithing, then to London, Huddersfield, and Leeds in England to study kinetics.
In June 2013, Interior Design faculty member
amy campos was named Educator of the Year by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). The award was created to honor a full-time educator’s exceptional accomplishments and commitment to Interior Design. Campos received a $10,000 cash prize, sponsored by Milliken. Says Cheryl Durst, IIDA’s executive vice president and CEO: “Amy Campos, through her dedication to interior design and her commitment to its most current and relevant instruction, defines what it means to be a design professor. The scope of her activities on behalf of design and on behalf of her community illustrates that she not only teaches, but at every level lives her role as a design professional with the best interests of her community very much at heart.”
Chris Sollars, The Swimmer (2013)
Simin Eivazi, Burden (2013)
simin eivazi (Sculpture 2013) was awarded the 2013 Graduate Arts Award from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Each awardee receives up to $50,000 per year for up to three years to study at an accredited graduate institution in the United States or abroad. Eivazi plans to attend Goldsmiths, University of London, to obtain a master’s degree in art and politics.
chris sollars (First Year faculty) received a prestigious Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2013. This year the foundation awarded 180 fellowships to artists, scientists, and scholars selected from a group of some 3,000 applicants. Its purpose is to help provide awardees with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible, and fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to their practice. Sollars is using the grant to deepen his current investigation of the Pacific Ocean. He is creating performances and sculptures that tackle the concept of water both physically and conceptually, often with a public audience. Much of his work is about the reclamation and subversion of public space through various kinds of urban interventions. Sollars is the director and curator of 667Shotwell, a noncommercial residential space in San Francisco for artists to do experimental work.
awards & accolades It was a great evening for CCA at the AIA San Francisco Design Awards on April 25, 2013. Every year AIA SF and the local architectural community gather to celebrate exceptional projects. CCA faculty, students, and alumni did extremely well, receiving 10 awards, including six out of seven of the interior architecture awards: Three Honor Awards to IwamotoScott (Faculty: craig scott ) Honor Award to Min/Day (Faculty: e. b. min ) Still from Our Sunhi (2013)
Our Sunhi (2013), the latest film by hong sang-soo (Film/Video 1985), won him the Silver Leopard (best director) award at the 2013 Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. He is the first Korean director ever to win that award. Our Sunhi tells the story of a young film student who is about to depart for the United States and visits three men who are important in her life.
Merit Award to christopher haas (Faculty) Citation Award to Jones/Haydu (Faculty: hulett jones) Our students and alumni also won three out of four unbuilt architecture awards, which is a professional (rather than a student) category: Honor Award to matt adams (MArch 2011) for his thesis project Merit Award to aubrey davidson (MArch 2013) and anesta iwan (BArch 2013) for their fall 2012 Comprehensive Building Design project Citation Award to liz lessig (MArch 2012) for her spring 2012 thesis project
david meckel , CCA’s director of campus planning, received a special commendation for “connecting architects and designers, young and old, building bridges across the generations and the design disciplines” and for his mentorship of young architects and designers.
barbara holmes (Furniture faculty) had two extremely different residency experiences in 2013. She spent the month of May making prints of decaying tree stumps around Spooner Lake in the Sierra forest, awarded and funded by the Capital City Arts Initiative in Carson City, Nevada. The trees had been clear-cut for mining operations during the era of the Comstock Lode. Then in July and August she was a resident artist at Facebook’s Menlo Park campus, working on installations of her signature lath works.
Leif Estrada’s Peel 27, a proposal for a cruise ship terminal at San Francisco’s Pier 27
leif estrada (Architecture 2012) has received the AIA Washington DC / Maui Design Scholarship, and is using it this fall as a newly admitted student at Harvard Graduate School of Design. This award is given annually by the national chapter of the American Institute of Architects and a sponsoring local chapter (Estrada is from Hawaii) to students pursuing professional architecture degrees. Estrada received the corresponding undergraduate award in 2008 when he was in his first year at CCA. He initially entered CCA as a double major in Illustration and Animation, and he cites the college’s multidisciplinary and open curriculum as having greatly inspired his architectural practice. In 2013, Visual and Critical Studies chair tirza true latimer received a prestigious award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete the research for her new book, provisionally titled Eccentric Modernisms. The NEH receives approximately 1,000 applications every year and only awards grants to approximately 70 scholars, who usually hail from large research universities (as opposed to art schools!). Latimer’s book takes a case-study approach to the investigation of modernist misfits who challenged sex and gender codes, racial prohibitions, and aesthetic regimes in the 1930s and 1940s. COLLEGE NEWS
awards & accolades
Llewelynn Fletcher, Spacestations (2011)
Cara Levine, The Trouble with Building a Hole in the Floor (2011)
Alumni llewelynn (welly) fletcher (MFA 2010) and cara levine (MFA 2012) were both recently awarded residencies at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado. Fletcher spent 10 weeks there in early spring 2013, creating immersive sculptures to physically inhabit. Equal parts armor, shelter, and resting place, the works utilize the natural acoustics of material and space to accentuate silence and activate listening. Knowing she would have access to a CNC router, she set herself the goals of becoming proficient working with Rhino (a type of 3D modeling software) and the router. Levine—and her dog, Pigeon—will be at Anderson Ranch in early spring 2014. “Using my companion animal in my work,” she says, “allows me to explore issues of communication, language, and, of course, futility, with a spontaneous and unassuming collaborator.” Earlier Pigeon collaborations have included Horse of Many Colors (2012), in which she disguised the two of them as white horses running through the Presidio.
Two CCA Fashion Design students were awarded valuable Royal Society of Artists USA awards in 2013. jeffrey pacis (2014) was a first-place winner for his project Dye-Versity; he received a paid three-month Target internship and a Techmer PM cash prize for innovation. For her project Twist and Shirt, shirley chong (2014) received a paid three-month Target internship. CCA’s Fashion Design program was recently called out by the blog Fashionista as the top fashion program in the world for studying and training for fashion sustainability. And for the next two years, our students will benefit from the five Levi Strauss & Co. “Levi’s 501 Awards” given to programs that demonstrate craftsmanship, innovation, and sustainability.
Three Industrial Design students received prestigious awards for their sporting goods designs created in a 2012 course taught by faculty members corey jones and ian coats m ac coll .
jom sirimongkolkasem (2014) received a jom sirimongkolk a sem
Silver IDEA award from the IDSA for the highly ergonomic Omega Sprintmaster Starting Block. A sliding rail and rear dual LCD displays allow for adjusting the footpads, and an unobtrusive speaker design provides a better hearing position.
patrick mulcahy (2014) received a gold A’Design medal for his Hoyt Techniq Archery Muscle Trainer, which has a 20–60 lb draw weight adjustment, allowing use by people of all ages and physique types as well as those recovering from injuries. ian hughes (2014) received a silver A’Design
patrick mulc ahy
medal for his adjustable shuttlecock, which allows the user to change the speed and flight pattern to focus on particular aspects of their game (back court, short court, et cetera).
GRAPHIC DESIGN CORNER Design is Play, of which Graphic Design faculty members angie wang and mark fox are principals, was featured in three publications in 2013: New Modernist Type by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson (Thames & Hudson), Design Firms Open for Business by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico (Allsworth), and Design:Portfolio by Craig Walsh (Rockport).
Volume Inc. exhibition at Western Gallery
The firm’s identity and packaging system for the San Francisco housewares company March Pantry received a number of international awards and was featured in the Graphis Design Annual 2013, the Communication Arts 2013 Typography Annual, and TDC Typography 23 from the Type Directors Club of New York.
Volume Inc. and its principal, Graphic Design faculty member eric heiman , have been getting some exciting accolades and curatorial gigs. Volume won the Core77 2013 Design Awards in the Visual Communication category for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts “YBCA+You” campaign; the elements included outdoor banners, bus shelter posters, bus sides, BART posters, and a 90-foot-long wall facing SFMOMA. The Western Gallery at Western Washington University hosted a 4,000-square-foot exhibition of Volume’s work in spring 2013 as part of its ongoing Masters of Design series. Heiman guest-curated the AIGA’s Design Envy website for a week this spring (see what he deemed feature-worthy at designenvy.aiga.org). In fall 2012 he curated (Re)Brand USA, a series of writings and projects for SFMOMA (check it out at blog.sfmoma.org/tag/rebrand-usa). And he curated the Architecture + The City festival’s film series in September 2013.
Graphic Design faculty member jon sueda is currently a Commons Curatorial Resident at SOMArts in San Francisco, planning an exhibition called All Possible Futures that will open in January 2014. The show features speculative graphic design work like Sean Donahue’s project below. Some projects were made for clients and exist in a “real world” context, while others—failed proposals, experiments, sketches, or incomplete thoughts—would otherwise be totally hidden and unnoticed.
CCA’s in-house undergraduate design studio, Sputnik, won several American InHouse Design Awards in 2013. The honored projects were the 2013 Pre-College Poster by cosmin haims (Graphic Design 2014), the fall 2012 issue of Glance by ganesha balunsat (Graphic Design 2014) and carolyn cuykendall (Graphic Design 2012), the spring 2013 Design & Craft Lecture Series poster by micah rivera (Graphic Design 2013), and the John Waters lecture poster by jeff hunt (Graphic Design 2013).
Sean Donahue, The Roller Ball (2004)
Board of Trustees Chair F. Noel Perry, the Honorable Malia Cohen of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and President Stephen Beal
Curatorâ€™s Forum Member Preview: Claire Fontaine: Redemptions and The Way Beyond Art 4: Infinite Screens January 22, 2013 CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
President Stephen Beal with parent Douglas Muhleman
First Annual Parent Tea and Talk March 9, 2013 CCA San Francisco campus
Cohosts Anita Wornick and Jeffry Weisman
Susan and Bill Beech
Patina Gallery Trunk Show March 4, 2013 Cohosts Anita Wornick, Andrew Fisher (Jewelry / Metal Arts 1978), and Jeffry Weisman organized an exclusive trunk show at Andrew and Jeffryâ€™s Nob Hill apartment in partnership with Allison and Ivan Barnett, co-owners of Patina Gallery in Santa Fe. Guests browsed a curated selection of jewelry from around the world, and a percentage of the proceeds benefited student scholarships at CCA.
Parent Carol Peyser
Richard Barnes, John Loomis, President Stephen Beal, Elizabeth McMillan, David Meckel, and Lucille Tenazas
Casa Alta Book Release March 23, 2013 CCA San Francisco campus, Student Center Lounge CCA celebrated the release of Casa Alta: An Andalusian Paradise, which documents the house transformed over three decades by former CCA professor of architecture Victor Carrasco and his wife, Elizabeth McMillan. The book is designed by former CCA professor and alumna Lucille Tenazas (Graphic Design 1979) with photographs by Richard Barnes. The text is by Elizabeth McMillan with contributions by Victor Carrasco, John Loomis, and others.
CCA trustee Barclay Simpson, Dit-Cilinn Sundqvist (MFA 2013), President Stephen Beal, Margo Wolowiec (MFA 2013), David Olsson (MFA 2013), Rachel Granofsky (MFA 2013), and Sharon Simpson
Dr. Amory Lovins, CCAâ€™s 2013 honorary doctorate recipient, with CCA trustee and luncheon chair Jack Wadsworth
Simpson Awards Exhibition April 17, 2013 CCA Oakland campus, Oliver Art Center
Honorary Doctorate Luncheon May 17, 2013
Half-Century Club Weekend May 17â€“18, 2013 Oakland campus, Macky Hall
Event co-chair Sabrina Buell, President Stephen Beal, Anthony Huberman, and CCA trustee and event co-chair Mary Zlot
Matt and Katie Paige, Kevin Johnson
Jan and Tom Boyce, Susan Swig, and Emily Carroll
Welcome Reception for Anthony Huberman, New Director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts May 21, 2013 philanthropy
SCHOLARSHIPS AT CCA
Ozma, a third-year student in Community Arts, came to CCA from Seattle. Having grown up surrounded by a community of doers and makers, art school was always in the plans. But, like so many talented students, Zoë needed scholarships to help those plans come to fruition. In addition to other aid, Zoë receives the Reuben and Muriel Savin Foundation Scholarship, which was established by CCA board member gene savin and his wife, susan enzle, to honor Mr. Savin’s parents and support exceptional students who are working in community arts.
What drew you to the arts and CCA? I never considered not going to art school. An arts education exposes the bones of things. It gives you the tools to engage with both tactile processes of making and layers of theory, which together help you form an intimate relationship with your surroundings. This is something very special that artists do, and then give to the world. For me, the extraordinary thing about CCA is the focus on interdisciplinary work and on the contextual implications of art making. As a Community Arts major, I am able to see these connections play out across various programs. For example, I can take what I learn about plant dyes from sasha duerr and apply it to book arts classes with nance o’banion. There is also room for experimentation with various media, for
instance collaborations with writers. CCA has given me the tools and resources to create a learning experience tailored to my interests and plans.
How have scholarships impacted your time at CCA? At the most basic of levels, receiving a scholarship means I am able to attend CCA. But it is also precious because it’s tangible proof of a thoughtful donor’s interest in and support of emerging artists like me. My scholarships have not only granted me access to higher education, they have made me feel recognized and supported. They are a crucial part of an economy of generosity. To give gifts to strangers is a wonderful art indeed. I hope others with the means to do so follow the Savins’ example of helping young people.
What will you take with you from CCA? CCA has given me an opening into Oakland’s secret and fertile artistic communities, which have exposed me to theories and histories that are now central to my thinking in art and life. It’s introduced me to some of my closest friends and collaborators. My time here has forever altered the way I think about and make art.
complicated and interesting. Kind of a puzzle. It’s about problem solving with space. As a designer you have incredible power to make a difference in people’s lives. You can help them work more effectively, function better, collaborate more.
Did CCA help you along your path after graduation? wally jonason was on the faculty then, and after I graduated he got me an internship at Whisler-Patri Architects, because he was a partner there. The internship led to further jobs, and eventually my whole career. It was as simple as that. Bill Shaw, my first boss, was a delight. He was so collaborative. He told me what to do, of course, but always in a way that was encouraging and welcoming.
Why should your fellow alumni give to CCA?
Sullivan (Interior Design 1973) is a mover and a shaker in the Bay Area design community and a valued donor to CCA. She gave a lead gift (and a challenge grant) to an endowed scholarship fund in honor of andrew addkison, founding chair of the Interior Design Program. She is a principal at the San Francisco location of SideMark, a furniture dealership with many offices in California. She participates in industry fundraisers for LEAP Sandcastle Classic and Petchitecture, and pro bono projects for Taproot, PAWS, and the Global Fund for Women. She is active with the local chapters of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In September 2013 she was honored by the IIDA’s Northern California chapter with a Distinguished Achievement Award.
What are some of your earliest memories of CCA? Going to art school at CCA—then CCAC—was really an eyeopener. I grew up in the Bay Area, so I was already open to things, and to people, but I also knew I’d been sheltered a little. It was the height of women’s lib. I remember one day being on campus and hearing one of the faculty, jack mendenhall, loudly singing the Helen Reddy song “I Am Woman” and realizing, wow, this place is really liberated! andy addkison was the founding chair of the program and my first faculty mentor. He was just so loving and supportive. He cared deeply about design, architecture, and his students. He was full of stories. He was constantly encouraging everyone, spending time with each student to find out what was special about them. I never wanted to leave college! There were so many things to study: printmaking, ceramics, glass. Any of them could easily have consumed me for four years.
How did you end up settling on interior and environmental design? The field was taking off in a big way, and San Francisco was a hotbed for much of the cutting-edge activity. Interiors are
It’s up to those of us who have had success and opportunities to take stewardship of the next generation. Education is powerful, positive, transformative. Once you have it, it can’t be taken away from you. The people you go to school with become your professional community. Some of my former CCA peers are mentors for students today, and some of us are in a position to give money for scholarships. This is a wonderful institution, and I’m happy to claim it as my alma mater.
CCA people must pop up all the time in your professional life. I started giving to CCA about 10 or 15 years ago, when I realized how many CCA connections were circulating in my life, especially via the IIDA and the AIA. For instance michael vanderbyl (Graphic Design 1968), hank dunlop (Interior Design faculty and professor emeritus), jan monaghan (Environmental Studies 1973), cynthia gee (Environmental Studies 1973), and kai-yee woo (Environmental Studies 1978). They are constantly giving back to the design community. And I realized that I was in a position to give back, too. CCA is a place where it’s very easy to connect back in, even after many years have gone by.
What strikes you most about the student work you see coming out of the Interior Design Program today? Their work is very sophisticated, and the students are lovely to be around. What I said about myself is true for students today, too: They will become one another’s professional community. Making the program strong makes their future paths brighter. A good design education is about encouraging curiosity, problem-solving abilities, looking at things from other directions, getting people evolved. There are a lot of jobs out there if you are a go-getter. And having one more well-educated designer out there in the world, working, is a great thing.
Give to student scholarships at CCA! Visit cca.edu/give or call 510.594.3784.
Peter Joseph L’Abbe Furniture 2012
Recent alumnus Peter Joseph L’Abbe died on July 8, 2013, following a motorcycle accident on his way home from his job as facilities technician at Headlands Center for the Arts. Peter was both a designer and a craftsman who honored tradition while embracing technology; he particularly enjoyed working collaboratively with artists of all disciplines. In 2011 he won the Ronald and Anita Wornick Award, which is given to just two students each year who are working in the wood arts and show exceptional talent. Peter will be remembered for his generosity, humor, and creativity.
Ruth Asawa Honorary Doctorate 1974
Ruth Asawa, the famed sculptor and recipient of an honorary doctorate from CCA in 1974, died on August 5, 2013, at age 87. Among her many well-known works in San Francisco are the wire sculptures hanging permanently in the elevator tower lobby at the de Young Museum, the Hyatt on Union Square Fountain, and the Andrea Mermaid Fountain at Ghirardelli Square. She studied art at the famed Black Mountain College, where she was mentored by Bauhaus exile Josef Albers. In 1982 Asawa founded what is now the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, a San Francisco arts high school. She served on the San Francisco Arts Commission and on the board of trustees of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Florence Resnikoff Sculpture 1967 Jewelry / Metal Arts professor emerita
Florence Resnikoff passed away on April 8, 2013, in Oakland. She was born in 1920 in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated from CCA with a Sculpture degree in 1967, then taught here from 1974 until 1989, during which time she became the third chair of the Jewelry / Metal Arts Program. The existence of CCA’s current Jewelry / Metal Arts summer workshops is due, in part, to her grant writing skills. She was named a professor emerita upon her retirement, and the Florence Resnikoff Emerita Scholarship Fund was created soon thereafter. Resnikoff was an early member of San Francisco’s Metal Arts Guild, along with Margaret de Patta. To make her vibrantly colored jewelry and metalwork, she used a combination of ancient techniques and modern, electrical-based processes. Her work appears in many books that recognize her experiments in anodizing, electroforming, and coloration processes for niobium and titanium. One of her early sterling silver neck pieces was featured in the 2011 Los Angeles County Museum of Art show California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way. Resnikoff’s work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Oakland Museum of California, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Over the course of her career she received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, which funded her electroforming research, and was honored as an American Craft Council Fellow and a California Living Treasure.
José Ernest Montoya Art Education 1962
Denali Schmidt Painting/Drawing 2013
Alumnus Denali Schmidt and his father, Marty, were killed in an avalanche on July 26, 2013, while climbing K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. They were sleeping in their tent when the avalanche occurred. Denali is remembered by CCA faculty and fellow students as an unusually talented artist and a caring, supportive person. Linda Geary, Painting/Drawing chair, says: “Denali was always a boost of energy in the painting studios. He was poetic and almost romantic about his work, but also very down-to-earth and desirous of honest feedback and critique. He was handsome and charismatic, and very warm and personable. He was excited about the contradictions between extremely intuitive, process-oriented approaches and highly conceptual, analytical work. Visiting potential students would meet him and want to come to CCA. He made such a strong impression on everyone.”
The poet, artist, and activist José Montoya died on September 25, 2013, at age 81, in his midtown Sacramento home. He earned his teaching credential at CCA in 1962. Montoya was an influential and inspirational figure in California Chicano history, not only among the artists and activists of the 1960s and 1970s, but also among innumerable artists of subsequent generations. He campaigned tirelessly all his life for farmworkers’ rights, both on the picket lines and through his poetry and art. He taught art, photography, and ethnic studies for 27 years at Sacramento State University. Montoya was born on May 28, 1932, in New Mexico. When he was still young, his family moved to California’s Central Valley and became farmworkers. In 1969, the same year he began working on a master’s degree at Sacramento State, he and other Latino educators (all children of farmworkers) formed the Royal Chicano Air Force, an artists’ collective committed to supporting the United Farm Workers while bringing art to the people: fostering the arts in the Chicano/Latino community, educating young people in the arts, and promoting political awareness. “We wanted to be outrageous,” Montoya once said of the RCAF. “We didn’t want to be boring. . . . We would show up at Safeway [for a protest] dressed in Air Force uniforms and driving a World War II jeep.” It got the media’s attention. Around 1970, Montoya and the RCAF opened a community center in Sacramento, where they put on plays and music, offered courses in silkscreening and mural making, and generated thousands of posters.
Hugh Wiley Environmental Art and Painting/Drawing faculty, 1965–85
Former faculty member Hugh Wiley passed away at his home in Willits, California, on July 13, 2013. He taught in the Environmental Art and Painting/Drawing programs at CCA from 1965 to 1985. He was very popular with students—a devoted teacher who did a lot of mentoring. His work in sculpture and painting can be found in collections throughout the United States and in Mexico.
alumni anselmo (andy) a. asercion September 8, 2012 Advertising Art Certificate 1954 Sparks, Nevada
leonard s. breger August 30, 2013 MFA 1963 San Francisco, California
william dohrman April 9, 2013 Interdisciplinary Design 1963 Rushville, Nebraska
earl w. saunders January 17, 2013 MFA Sculpture 1953 San Diego, California
charles a. bradshaw March 19, 2013 Individualized Major 1988 Paradise Valley, Arizona
elise c. chezem July 15, 2013 Advertising Certificate 1953 Salinas, California
thomas n. morley April 22, 2013 Illustration 1963 Talent, Oregon
marion nancylee williams May 19, 2013 1963 Port Orchard, Washington
Notes from the Studio:
Bella Feldman Sculpture Faculty 1965â€“2001 PHOTOGR APHY BY ANDRIA LO
“My West Oakland studio is a haven. In it I’ve shaped a world that is mine—as long as the rent is paid—and where I’m in control. The outer world is precarious and full of violence, while my studio is a refuge and a blessing. “Although the themes running through my work often deal with the dark issues of the wide world, I get to exorcise my anxieties by treating these themes creatively and leavening the work with beauty and humor, even surprise, which keeps me balanced and challenged. “I moved into the studio in 1976 when the sculptor peter voulkos (MFA 1952) started developing artists’ workspaces out of an old mayonnaise factory. I designed and built my own wonderful 2,100-square-foot piece of this building in a primitive and unpremeditated way. The shape of it has changed over the years as my interest in particular materials changed. Some 15 or 20 years ago, an outdoor area was added when Voulkos acquired the land outside my door, which had previously been
owned by a railroad company. This gives me a place to do the more messy, dusty, noisy projects as well as making room for a sheltered, bamboo-surrounded dining area where I have lunch outdoors most of the year. “I have always had an assistant—many of them CCA alumni—to help with the more strenuous tasks of building sculpture. One of the perks for them is the use of the studio for creating their own work. Most assistants work for me for five- or six-year stretches. jp long (Jewelry / Metal Arts 2000) has been working for me for 13 years. The best of the many excellent assistants I’ve had, JP has been able to build his own career as a sculptor using my studio.”
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This issue of Glance magazine was designed by CCA students anna carollo and christopher jordan (both Graphic Design 2014). Anna is at CCA for her second degree; she has a background in history and publishing. When she’s not at school, she enjoys riding her bike around San Francisco and being outdoors. Christopher is a designer and typographic fiend, working on his first degree. He enjoys well-crafted microbrews, baseball, and road trips—at the same time whenever possible. michelle lagasca (Illustration 2014) created the cover art and the illustrations for the CCA CONNECTS story. In addition to gardening and raising chickens, she enjoys mixed media, hand lettering, and rich ornamentation. This issue of Glance uses the typefaces harfang pro and carouge pro, designed by André Simard. Many thanks to rod cavazos, Graphic Design faculty member and principal of PSY/OPS Type Foundry, for donating the font licenses.