california college of the arts san francisco | oakland fa l l 2 0 1 2
a publication for the cca community
Letter from the President dear friends, In September we received some great news about our alumni. According to a national survey, California College of the Arts ranks first among art and design schools in the country for graduates with the highest-paying jobs. In the Bay Area, CCA is fourth behind Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and the University of California, Berkeley. And in California, a state with about 500 colleges and universities, CCA ranks ninth. This annual survey of those holding undergraduate degrees (and no higher) was conducted by PayScale, a national compensation data company. The 2012 study found CCA alumni had a starting Glance Fall 2012 Volume 21, No. 1
median salary of $43,000 and a median mid-career salary of $96,700. These are great numbers, and we can all feel proud that CCA alumni are doing so well in their careers. But salary is just one
measurement of success. Even more meaningful is a look at the
individuals behind the achievements. You can read the stories of
our amazing grads here in Glance and at our website, cca.edu, where
susan avila chris bliss allison byers kelly dawson joyce grimm simon hodgson lindsey lyons jim norrena steve purcell jodi redmon jessica russell matthew harrison tedford clay walsh rachel walther lindsey westbrook
there is a new alumni feature story almost every week.
design cca sputnik, a student design team
faculty advisor bob aufuldish
design & production manager steve spingola
The accomplishments of our alumni are varied and farreaching. Our grads have designed graphics for MTV and VH1, created characters for animated films by Pixar, illustrated editorials for major national magazines, and created Emmy-award-winning motion graphics. They have exhibited their work at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals and at galleries and museums around the world. And, true to the CCA mission, they are agents of change, solving some of the world’s thorniest problems through their work in art, architecture, design, and writing. CCA is at the forefront of arts education. Our learning environment encourages collaboration, innovation, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. Our students graduate with the ability, experience, and confidence to thrive in a broad range of professional endeavors. We don’t really need a survey to tell us the true value of a CCA education; we see it in practice every day. Sincerely,
ganesha balunsat carolyn cuykendall
Stephen Beal 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 510.594.3779 email@example.com
Photo credits All images of student work appear courtesy the students, copyright California College of the Arts, unless otherwise noted. Images of faculty and alumni work appear courtesy the artists unless otherwise noted. Cover: Eden Pieper; pp. 8–9, 12–13: courtesy Headlands Center for the Arts; p. 10 and 11 (Franceschini): Andria Lo; p. 14 (Mende): Cesar Rubio Photography; pp. 16–17: courtesy Mix and Stir; p. 20 and p. 43 (paint store): Christine Elfman Photography; p. 21 (illustrations): Matt Silady; p. 22 (first three photos): Jim Norrena; p. 22
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Table of Contents headlands celebrates 30 years and a long love affair with cca
keeping the creative flame burning: romantic and business partnerships that first flowered at cca
unhackathons: tackling real-world problems through design thinking
cca alumni half-century club: 50 years of living history lynn marie kirby: reflections on the art of teaching
philanthropy spotlight cca meets windgate craft scholarship challenge grant an evening with david sedaris
alumni stories bean gilsdorf andrew georgopoulos & paul trillo
college news 21
new programs: mfa in film, mfa in comics, master of architecture in urban design and landscape
todd shalom 46
awards and accolades
join the conversations! (recently overheard on facebook, twitter, pinterest, linkedin, and youtube)
larry keenan 48
backward glance steve purcell
Keeping the Creative
Romantic and Business Partnerships That First Flowered at CCA by Lindsey Westbrook
what’s it like maintaining two creative careers? Is it a recipe for success, or a recipe for disaster? Here, a dozen couples (some romantic, some business, some all of the above) who met at CCA reveal their secrets to keeping their creativity, and their relationships, going strong.
eep pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.
Neither one is a Jewelry / Metal Arts major, but current students
christopher baas (Architecture 2013) and carleigh wamberg (Interior Design 2013) have had great success so far with Fathom & Form, “our little jewelry experiment that ended up becoming something quite ambitious.” Their work has been covered on the blogs Design Milk and DailyCandy. Carleigh says: “The rigor of both our majors has really served us well in this undertaking. I’m still a little shocked that I started my first company at 22 years old, while still in school! It’s also been a great opportunity to break free of all the restrictions we have to deal with at our usual, larger scales of operation—the level of a building (Christopher) or an interior (me).” Christopher says: “You can never take too many risks in school. I’ve taken quite a few that ended up paying off. Although it’s also important to choose your battles, and there’ve been a few I should have passed on, ha.” ☞ fathomandform.com
ctively seek out ways to make your practices complementary.
mbrace disruption. Be a little disruptive yourself.
will meeker (Architecture 2009) and megan gilman (Graphic Design 2008) were working on a poster together at CCA one day, when a studio instructor suddenly charged over and scolded them for being too noisy. They bonded over
tim sharman (Printmaking 1982, MFA 1987, and now Printmaking faculty) and susan padgham sharman
this minor trauma and have been an inseparable pair ever
(Printmaking 1984) met at a CCA print shop “food-in”
disruptive, although they do like to shake up the status quo in
potluck. Tim proposed marriage on the observation deck that
work and life. Today she’s a senior interactive designer with
used to be on the roof of Macky Hall.
Tolleson Design, and he’s a brand strategist and designer
Tim says: “While our artistic disciplines are different— Susan works in textiles and mixed media, and I’m more mul-
since. For the record, Will says, they were not actually being
with Astro Studios, both in San Francisco. Will says: “We are definitely inspired by (and aim to
tidisciplinary—we share our processes and bounce ideas off
always create) disruptive products and services that change
each other constantly. It helps that we both have studio space
the norm and allow for the user to experience something
in our home. There is a lot of cross-pollination of ideas. We
different. For instance Jack Dorsey’s Square has turned the
also collaborate on developing the exhibition programming at
credit card processing industry on its head. And the Nike
Studio Quercus in Oakland, where Susan is the director of the
FuelBand (designed by Astro Studios, where I work) has
nonprofit exhibition space and I serve on the curatorial team
created an entirely new metric to help motivate and track the
and on the board of directors. We try for a give-and-take pro-
progress of activity. It’s true that an innovative and disruptive
cess, allowing each of us opportunities to express our ideas
idea needs to be simple and impeccably executed for it to be
on the problem at hand. Susan is good at organizing and
adopted. Megan and I call upon our different backgrounds
managing a project so that the details come together, and I’m
and strengths to try to look for the unexpected in each other’s
adept at envisioning how to curate and install an exhibition to
projects—some interesting, key thing that would otherwise
show off the work most effectively.”
☞ meganinc.com astrostudios.com
below Bracelet by christopher baas and carleigh wamberg as Fathom & Form
hen your work is art, you should absolutely bring it home with you.
kieren dutcher (Individualized Major 1984) and daniel worm (Graphic Design 1985) met in 1982 in a Photography for Design Majors course led by harry critchfield . Today, he is the director of visual merchandising at Gump’s in San Francisco, and she is an art teacher and illustrator. Their daughter, sophie worm , is now a senior in CCA’s Animation Program. Kieren says: “Our greatest collaboration has been our two fantastic and creative kids. Growing up with a studio in the middle of our house definitely made an impression on them. Dinner table discussions about the shape of a lamp or how to make a better backpack are the norm. We spend a lot of time visiting museums and junk shops, and generally viewing the world through a creative lens.” ☞ kierendutcher.com etsy.com/shop/dutchwormhaus
ommit to creating on a regular schedule.
brittany powell parich and tae kitakata (both MFA 2004) got paired up for a project on their first day at CCA by stephen goldstein (then CCA’s grad director). “I think
it was his magic alchemy at work,” says Brittany. The project they devised was Bobland, an alternative theme park in a trailer park near Walt Disney World where visitors can take photos
of themselves acting out the parts of the residents: cannery workers, a secretary, a stripper, and so on. Brittany says: “After graduating, we both returned to our home states: me to Portland, Oregon, and Tae to Honolulu. We really missed each other’s creativity, and Hawaii and Oregon aren’t exactly connected by a teletransporter. So in 2012 we launched a website called Low-Commitment Projects. Each Monday of 2012, we post a new artwork. We alternate weeks, and we discuss our project ideas via phone, email, and text. The point is to give us opportunities to experiment without a huge outlay of time, energy, or money. Now we wish we’d re-instigated our collaboration sooner. It is a great way for us to stay involved with each other, and it forces us to keep making new work.” ☞ lowcommitmentprojects.com
above Paper Yarn, a Low-Commitment Project posted by tae kitakata on August 6, 2012
esist the year-aftergraduation doldrums. sophia rowland (Writing and Literature 2011) and caitlin clarkson (Illustration 2011) met serendipitously as roommates while in school. They bonded over cats, feminism, and Sailor Moon, and after graduation Caitlin followed Sophia down to L.A. so they could stick together. “Now we’re pretty codependent/inseparable,” Sophia says. “Although we are not romantically together, I can happily say I met a creative life partner and lifelong friend at CCA.” Caitlin says: “For a lot of people our age, the year postgrad is really daunting and also a little empty. You’ve been running around doing school work, and now it’s time to take your creative work and ‘go with it.’ For us, the months began to roll by, and we realized something had to be done; the ball was in our court. So we came up with The Fear Girls, a nonprofit feminist blog/website that gives female writers and artists an uncensored space. Sophia writes articles and corrals our other writers, and I do the illustrations and manage the Artist of the Week feature. We give each other critical feedback, which I’ve really started to miss now that I’m not in school any more. The project has been overwhelmingly rewarding. The great responses we’ve received have made it all the more worthwhile. And it isn’t done growing.” ☞ the feargirls.com
on’t kill anybody. kristin olson and kevin krueger (both
Kristin and Kevin say: “We’re pretty thankful that we
Individualized Major 2011) have walked down the aisle twice:
haven’t killed each other yet. We live together, eat together,
once at their Las Vegas wedding, and again at graduation.
sleep together, and work together. That’s not always easy, but
Kristin remembers of their initial meeting: “Kevin worked at
we recognize that it’s a rare thing to be able to share as much
a locally infamous last-stop thrift shop in Santa Cruz where
as we do. Being in a relationship is already difficult, but we’ve
everything was 99 cents a pound. You can unearth some really
managed as well to make it through school, start a business,
amazing treasures if you’re willing to sort through mountains
and support each other throughout our own personal artistic
of urine-soaked muumuus from the 1960s. Luckily a little pee
growth. Now we’re learning how to listen to one another. We
has never deterred me from a good bargain.” They moved to
don’t have a strategy per se, but we do have a process. And the
San Francisco to attend CCA, and now they run Alter Space,
process is not always smooth, but it’s very collaborative.”
a local alternative arts space that has exhibitions, a residency
program, and workshops.
koak.net / kkrueger.net
above MFA Now catalogue designed by heidi meredith and renée walker as the Gold Collective
eep inspiration close at hand.
eve steccati-tanovitz and ron tanovitz (both
right Seed Packs and Headlands Carrier Stools (the latter was a commission for Headlands Center for the Arts) by adam reineck and yvonne mouser as New Factory
Graphic Design 1969) met as high school students in the Pre-College Program and have been married now for 41 years. They’ve worked together as the advertising and design firm Steccati-Tanovitz since 1985. Their clients have included hospitals, banks, luxury resorts, and retail stores. They also do illustration work for national magazines and publishers. Eve says: “Ron finds inspiration looking through Communication Arts magazines. He can spend countless hours—days, really—poring over back issues. Years ago, my father, hugo steccati , also a CCA(C) alumnus, gave Ron his complete collection of Art Directors Club Annual books, the earliest of which is from the mid-1930s. These wonderful books fill Ron’s office closet from top to bottom, providing an additional boost to his creative efforts. (Now some of Ron’s own work graces the pages of the more recent volumes!) We also keep one another close by, since we work together on all kinds of projects. Although we do find that having a door between our two home office spaces can be a good thing.” ☞ stcreative.com
n’t fear a little healthy competition.
sarrita hunn (MFA 2004) and ryan thayer (MFA
heidi meredith and renée walker (both MFA Design
2006) are married and divide their time between Berlin and
2011) met during orientation and founded the design firm
St. Louis. Sarrita tends toward painting and sculpture (and
Gold Collective after they graduated. They first got to know
sometimes video) and Ryan tends toward photography and
each other, they report, in Design Research class, when they
sculpture (and sometimes installation). They’ve collaborated
were paired up to go out and ask strangers how they felt
on some projects, including the Many Mini Residency (which
about their possessions. “One thing we learned is that old
to date has been held in Berlin, Copenhagen, and Houston),
habits die hard,” remembers Renée. “One woman we met
essays for Temporary Art Review (an art criticism site that
was an avid Backstreet Boys fan and had accumulated a ton of
Sarrita cofounded), and their daughter, who is now three.
memorabilia. She finally sold it all to a girl in Mexico for $70, but then promptly bought a new Backstreet Boys CD.”
tructure your downtime and your creative time. Work toward a schedule you can live with.
Heidi and Renée say: “It’s hard not to be competitive,
Ryan says: “Starting when we very first got together, we decided Saturday was our ‘day off ’ and, with some exceptions, we’ve managed to set aside that morning, at least,
even in a partnership. But we think a bit of healthy competi-
to enjoy brunch at our favorite café and catch up on each
tion only makes you a better designer, and a constant student.
other’s activities. Starting a family has been incredibly intense
We’re always working on finding a balance where we’re both
and demanding, but early on we decided that we wanted to
creatively satisfied. Something that we are getting better at
maintain our goals as artists. So, we keep a strict calendar/
is allowing one person to shine when it comes naturally, or
schedule and divide up evenings and weekends so each
when they have a clear vision for how best to execute an idea.
person has dedicated studio time. And that time has become
But then occasionally we get a project that requires a particu-
much more efficient! We also try to create equal time for work
lar graphic illustration that one of us can execute with ease,
(making money to pay the bills) and career (studio practice
while the other struggles. In this case, the one less skilled
and related activities). We’re very mindful of priorities and
pushes herself harder. It can be frustrating, but it ultimately
balance in forming a life together.”
ends in a sharpening of skills.”
☞ ryanthayer.net / sarritahunn.com
ertical integration! Design + building skills = better ability to manage your own destiny. adam reineck (Industrial Design 2005) and yvonne mouser (Wood/Furniture 2006) had studios next to each other at CCA. There were many opportunities for passing smiles in the hallway, one thing led to another, and they moved in together shortly after Yvonne graduated. They are currently planning their wedding. She works independently, designing and building custom furniture and collaborating on food/design/art events with Thought for Food. He has worked as a designer for IDEO since 2005. Adam says: “We started collaborating, nights and weekends, around 2006, and quickly found out it was a lot of fun to work on things together. We’ve done a number of small projects where we designed and built products for stores and pop-up shops. When we moved into our first place on 24th Street in San Francisco, we wanted a studio where we could tinker and actually prototype ideas, and we set up an industrial sewing machine and a large drafting table. We’ve since moved to a larger place in SoMa where the house itself is a project, and we converted our garage into a shop and studio, New Factory. Now we’re taking a few of our designs into production and distribution.” ☞ newfactorysf.com
hou shalt not shaketh the art table when thy partner is working on something.
kelly tunstall (Graphic Design 2004) and ferris plock both paint and exhibit nationally and internationally, and they both freelance in illustration, animation, and art direction. She works in-house as an all-purpose graphic designer at a Silicon Valley think tank. They met at the GlamMore exhibition curated by dina pugh (Curatorial Practice 2004) in the CCA graduate galleries. Ferris said hi and then made what he calls a “tactical retreat,” as she was busy gold-leafing big letters on the wall. Staying out of each other’s way and respecting each other’s quirks are skills they’ve worked hard on. Kelly says: “Ferris frequently listens to Ken Burns documentaries while painting.” Ferris says: “Kelly has lucky shoes that come to her aid when she is battling a difficult painting.” Kelly says: “We’d consider moving, if it was the right thing to do creatively.” Ferris says: “I would not consider moving unless the new job came with superpowers.” ☞ ferrisplock.com kellytunstall.com
below kelly tunstall’s painting Behind You, 2012, and ferris plock’s Street Hockey T-shirt (the shirt is available in two sizes: the size their son is now, and the size he will be soon)
HEADLANDS CELEBRATES 30 YEARS & A LONG LOVE AFFAIR WITH CCA by Matthew Harrison Tedford
But the two organizations have a lot in common. Not only
instructor, a former Headlands Artist in Residence (AIR)
do they share a strong commitment to contemporary art,
(2008), and now a member of the Headlands board of
craft, and design, but dozens of individuals who have gradu-
directors. Both institutions are very prestigious, ranking
ated from, or taught at, CCA have also participated in one
highly at the national level in their respective fields. Both
of Headlands’ many programs for artists. The institutions’
support process-based, cutting-edge work. Both seek to go
shared history is practically of Kevin Bacon–esque propor-
beyond traditional genres and disciplinary boundaries. Both
tions, with David Maisel being a perfect case in point: He is
invest deeply in the lives and careers of their artists, and look
a CCA alumnus (MFA 2006), a current CCA studio practice
to create long-term relationships with their alumni.
Few settings could be more different than Headlands Center for the Arts and the campuses of CCA. Quietly nestled in the rolling hills of western Marin County, Headlands is quiet and rural—a place to withdraw from the hubbub of contemporary urban life and contemplate the enormity of the ocean, sky, and trees. In contrast, david maisel describes CCA’s San Francisco campus as “a modern-day Bauhaus.” Just 12 miles away from Headlands, it might as well be in another universe, surrounded by light industrial buildings, live-work spaces, and railroad tracks. Even the gardens and historic buildings of CCA’s Oakland campus feel urban in comparison to Headlands.
above Headlands Studio Building 945 previous page david maisel’s studio at Headlands in 2008, showing work from Library of Dust
Since its founding in 1982, Headlands has grown from a fledgling tenant of the National Park Service to an internationally renowned arts center, hosting artists of all
harrell fletcher (MFA 1994, Headlands Graduate Fellow in 1994–95, and Headlands AIR in 2001) was the first-
ever CCA student to receive the Graduate Fellowship, and he
of four to ten weeks, awarded to approximately 45 local, national, and international artists each year; • Graduate Fellowships: yearlong residencies awarded to local graduating MFA students; • Affiliate Artists: partially subsidized studio residencies awarded to 20 Bay Area artists each year; • Workshops: Led by guest artists and creative thinkers, week-long and project-based; • and the recently established Alumni New Works program. Headlands also administers the prestigious Tournesol Award,
and a Graduate Fellow exhibition.
disciplines for periods of a few months up to a year. Its • Artists in Residence (AIR): fully sponsored residencies
and participate in the highly popular Headlands Open Houses
which is given to one local painter each year—CCA faculty member shaun o’dell and alumni leslie shows (MFA 2006) and neil ledoux (MFA 2011) have been Tournesol awardees—and regular public events such as performances, readings, lectures, artist-led hikes, open houses, and exhibitions.
taking the leap post-mfa CCA and the San Francisco Art Institute were the founding partners in the Headlands Graduate Fellowship program. Today, these highly coveted fellowships are awarded to up to seven newly minted MFA students each year—just one from each participating MFA program (CCA, SFAI, Mills College, San Francisco State University, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis). Awardees receive a full year of studio space
was the original organizer of the Headlands Library. “It was a huge honor. I had been a big fan of Headlands since its founding. I went to the very first Open House and saw mark
thompson and Joanna Haigood’s performance with Mark’s beehives.” Mark Thompson is a CCA Sculpture faculty member and worked with David Ireland on important building renovations in 1986–87 (more on this later). He is also the author of one of the few permanently installed works at Headlands, the Threshold Project, in the main building entrance. In this piece, the lead in the stoop is ever so slightly imprinted by every person who walks over it. Recipients of the Graduate Fellowship consistently describe the award as instrumental in helping with the transition from academic life to professional life. Everyone agrees: the first year after school is the toughest. “You risk losing all the momentum you’ve built up over the course of two years as an MFA student, and also the close community of fellow students who have been your constant companions, night and day, in the graduate studios,” observes bean gilsdorf (MFA 2011 and Headlands Graduate Fellow in 2011–12). “Receiving the fellowship meant that as soon as I was done with graduate school, I was immediately part of another community that was just as supportive.” (Gilsdorf is the subject of a longer profile on page 36.) “The Graduate Fellowship definitely softens the blow of that first year,” agrees anna von mertens (MFA 2000 and Headlands Graduate Fellow in 2000–01). “You go from having people visiting your studio almost every day—including
faculty who are getting paid to pay attention to your work and offer insights—to what is potentially a great void of silence.” For her, Headlands was an opportunity to explore what she’d learned in graduate school in a more independent environment, while still being part of an encouraging community. While there she established lifelong studio practices that stick with her to this day—what she calls “patterns of working” that have kept her going through good times and bad. “Part of the trick of being an artist is figuring out how to be an artist for the long haul, not just a short sprint.”
libby black (MFA 2001, Headlands Graduate Fellow in 2001–2, and current Painting/Drawing faculty) echoes this sentiment. “The fellowship helped me avoid the potential post-graduation malaise and keep the ball rolling. It was great to have the deadlines of the Open Houses, when the public would arrive and we had to have work ready to show. And it was amazing to be constantly meeting the new artists who were arriving to start their residencies.”
clockwise from above left amy franceschini and Michael Swaine’s Reverse Ark Victory Garden, 2008; taha belal’s Untitled (Dimensional Newspaper), 2009; taha belal installing his piece, 2009; a moment captured during the shooting of desirée holman’s Reborn, 2009
taha belal (MFA 2008, Headlands Graduate Fellow in 2008–9) points out that for most Fellows, the Headlands experience is one’s first-ever residency, and something specific and tangible to look forward to after graduation. “It was certainly a boost to my artistic confidence. Instead of getting stuck trying to gather myself, it gave me continuity. And it grounded me and my work.” At Headlands, Belal further developed ideas that he’d started thinking about at CCA and in the end came away reassured that those ideas were still relevant outside of an academic setting.
those who can, teach
tion of ideas in a group setting. Teaching is not a job like working at a bank or a restaurant.” Ezawa was awarded a three-month live-work residency at Headlands in spring 2011 and used it to push forward with ongoing projects in all media, from multichannel installations to a book project, ink-based animations, and paper collages.
jeanne c. finley (Film and Fine Arts faculty, Headlands AIR in 2005, and Alumni New Works recipient in 2012) has taught on and off at CCA for 20 years. “During the academic year I get a lot of work done, but that time is punctuated by responsibilities to my colleagues and my students that have to be fulfilled. Those are invaluable relationships,
Headlands provides crucial support not only to emerging
but uninterrupted time in the studio is also very precious.
artists, but to established ones as well. Residencies play an
Both the physical environment as well as the creative
important role in the professional life of any working artist,
community at Headlands create a kind of time that is unlike
and each has its own character. In the fall 2011 issue of Glance
any time during the academic year.”
we looked at the Recology residency at the San Francisco
Graphic Design faculty member jeremy mende
dump, a setting quite different from rural Marin County! Yet
(Headlands AIR in 2012) puts it succinctly: “As a teacher,
both programs have in common that they offer a crucial
your student’s journey comes first. As a resident, your journey
opportunity to get away from everyday distractions.
comes first. Teaching is a very rewarding experience, but you
Although this doesn’t mean that residencies are escapes
also have to get away and refocus your own trajectory as a
per se; kota ezawa (Film and Fine Arts faculty and Head-
maker.” Mende, a designer, devoted his two months at
lands AIR in 2011) says, rather, that “teaching and residencies
Headlands in summer 2012 to dramatically reexamining his
are opposite sides of the same coin. Both foster the explora-
usual patterns of working. “The piece I made had biorhythmic sensors, a canary, and the problem of getting people to move through an installation in a particular sequence. I’d never worked so directly with technology, nontraditional materials, spatial dynamics, and the unpredictability of the public. This is a radically new direction for my work, and the opportunity to construct and test a full-scale, working prototype was invaluable.”
space: the final frontier One of the biggest concerns for artists in a city can be finding space to create. Headlands studios range in size, but some are very large—far larger than what many could afford in San Francisco. Jeanne C. Finley describes her space there as
having been “really, really big.” It was a jump from 500 square feet in the city to a whopping 3,000 square feet. Not only that, but the location (across from the Nike Missile Site) and
the raw, open qualities of the space inspired work that was
and language in a number of new ways, and those experi-
specific to Headlands, yet could be seen successfully outside
ments eventually led to my first performance lecture.”
of that context. One piece, Catapult, literally incorporated
Harrell Fletcher remembers the open space translating
elements of the building—broken window frames and a
directly into mental space. “Walking on the beaches and hills
chandelier—thus rendering it literally a part of the physical
offered me a way to simply think, without the constraint of
space and the experience of Headlands.
needing to make things.” Headlands makes clear to its artists
desirée holman (Sculpture 1999, Fine Arts faculty,
that their time there is specifically not supposed to be about
and Headlands AIR in 2009) says her Headlands studio was
completing projects, but rather about process. “It was great
so large, she was able to use it as a production stage. Usually
to be a part of the community and participate in the Open
she will rent a stage for a short, concentrated period after
Houses, but in the end it was walking around in the natural
having devised and rehearsed a work elsewhere, “but there,
environment that was most important to me.”
since my studio literally became the set, I could take my time and get connected with it. This opened up a lot of creative
you’ve got a friend in me
possibilities for how I could deal with space sculpturally.”
There is value in solitude, and then there is value in com-
The experience still reverberates throughout her processes of
munity, and every Headlands alum mentions the program’s
thinking and making.
unique balance of these. The camaraderie that arises among
37.8278° n, 122.5061° w
those living and working there has a great impact on what they create. Kota Ezawa describes the population numbers as
No one undertakes a Headlands residency without being
ideal. “It’s not so small that it turns into family therapy, and
profoundly affected by their surroundings: the breathtakingly
not so big that it becomes a strange quasi–grad school expe-
beautiful—and sometimes foggy and windy and desolate—
rience.” Ezawa’s studio, one of the largest, became the site
hills of Marin County.
of the occasional impromptu dance party. “It’s impossible,”
“My studio at Headlands faced to the west, and just over
he says, “to hide out in your studio.” Each season there are
the hill was the ocean, the physical end of America,” says
several (very popular) Show & Tell Nights, in which a handful
Bean Gilsdorf. “I spent the whole year mulling over Manifest
of current artists from all of the programs present their
Destiny and westward expansion. I built a covered wagon in
ongoing work to the others.
my studio and it became a sculpture, a video installation, and a performance space.” “Something special happens at Headlands,” Kota Ezawa
The Bay Area is heavily represented, but resident artists come from all over the world. Many remember their time at Headlands as a sort of effortless international melting pot
agrees. He found that his work changed in unexpected ways
in which the world comes to you, rather than you needing to
when he moved from an urban environment to a national
seek out the world. And the relationships forged there often
park. “I found myself engaging in more risk-taking and experimentation. Of course these are necessary for any artist and can happen in any setting, but the quietness of Headlands affords a special kind of focus.” Taha Belal also found great value in the quiet of the national park. “I felt like I was alone quite a bit of the time— in a good way—and able to focus on ideas for prolonged periods.” Being able to go for a hike in the hills or to the effects. “For instance I was limited to materials that I’d chosen to bring with me. So I was forced to experiment with what I had available. I found myself looking at newspapers
beach was great, and the solitude had unanticipated side
continue well beyond the terms of a given stay. During his
and Headlands AIR in 2003) and Michael Swaine during their
residency, Harrell Fletcher met one of his early heroes, John
Malpede, founder and director of the Los Angeles Poverty Department. The two have subsequently worked on a number
of things together. During her 2005 residency at Headlands,
One of the best things about Headlands is the food. This may
Jeanne C. Finley met fellow resident Mel Day, and together
be surprising to outsiders, for whom “institutional food”
they videotaped a sailboat that had wrecked on the coast
conjures up certain pejorative connotations, but it will ring
nearby. They recently resurrected this material as part of a
true for anyone who’s spent time there. In fact, many of the
(successful) application to the Alumni New Works program
cooks are artists themselves, and everyone helps with meal
for summer 2012.
preparation and cleanup afterward.
The poet cooley windsor (Writing faculty and
“It is impossible to think of Headlands without think-
Headlands AIR in 2000) shared a live-work house with the
ing about being incredibly well fed,” remembers Anna Von
writer Sapphire (neé Romona Lofton). The relationship they
Mertens. “It was actually a center point of the experience.”
developed formed the basis of Windsor’s book Visit Me in
The anticipation of a warm and delicious meal accompanied
California: Stories. Windsor says the residency was responsible
by conversation with her peers made her feel like the work she
for his being hired to teach at CCA. And his stories later
was doing in her studio was being respected and honored.
became the inspiration for the boat shape of the Reverse Ark
“You break bread together and share stories of your process.
Victory Garden built by amy franceschini (Fine Arts faculty
Then, inspired by other people’s stories, you head back into the studio to work alone again. It is a wonderful ebb and flow.” Says Jeremy Mende: “The conversations we had, often in the kitchen while making dinner—about what makes good art, the overlaps and divergences between art and design, how we each deal with the conceptual and metaphorical issues that define our individual practices—were extremely revealing and sustaining. After a long day, isolated in your studio wrestling with your work, this opportunity to discuss, share concerns, offer potential solutions, get support, and realize you are part of a community that is actively engaging with the larger existential issues of lived experience, is a kind of utopia. It reminds one of the vital human necessity of creative expression.” The kitchen and Mess Hall were extensively restored by the artist Ann Hamilton in 1989. At most public events, visitors are invited to join in on meals and “break bread” with the artist community.
here’s to another thirty years
The aforementioned David Maisel is not the only CCA alum
on the Headlands board of directors; another is kathryn
top jeremy mende’s Narcissus, 2012 bottom libby black’s Life-Size Paper Mercedes 1969 280SL, 2012 previous page kota ezawa at work on his multichannel installation City of Nature, 2011
van dyke (Painting 1990). The architect mark jensen, until recently chair of the Headlands board of directors, was CCA’s chair of Interior Design for many years. Given his expertise, Jensen served on the Headlands site committee, which was always a challenge because of the age of the buildings; they are remnants of what used to be Fort Barry, a U.S. Army installation constructed around 1908. One of the most picturesque and charming of the studio buildings was rehabilitated in 1986–87 by david ireland , a CCA alumnus (1953), honorary doctorate recipient (1991), and founder of Capp Street Project. Ireland executed the project in collaboration with Mark Thompson, Mark Mack, 24 young artist volunteers, and Headlands board and staff members. The
above anna von mertens in 2001 at work on Migrations, in which she drew an 1,800-square-foot world map on the floor and asked visitors to connect up all the places they had ever lived
undertaking was, by all accounts, almost like an archaeologi-
who are doing amazing things you may never have imagined.
cal excavation and involved removing decades of paint from
I remember when I was accepted to CCA and first set foot on
the stamped-tin ceilings and pillars, stairwell, and railings.
the San Francisco campus, I felt surrounded by all this elec-
Jensen describes Headlands as more than just a support structure for individual artists. “We’re also supporting new work that wouldn’t get made otherwise. That’s a pretty
tricity. Activity was never more than 10 feet away. Everything was always in process, happening in real time.”
amazing thing, and an ambitious agenda.” He notes that the
on now, and coming up
overlapping groups of Headlands and CCA artists, alumni,
At a sprightly 30 and 105 years of age, respectively, Headlands
faculty, staff, board members, and audiences are parts of an
and CCA continue to intertwine, collide with, and shape
art and design ecosystem that is larger than any of the people
each other. liam everett (MFA 2012) is the current CCA
or institutions involved. “One project leads to another; one
Graduate Fellow. The 2012 AIRs have included suné woods
artist leads to another. There’s never more than two degrees
(MFA 2010), zachary royer scholz (MFA 2006, MA
Visual and Critical Studies 2009), and jeremy mende (Graphic Design faculty). An exhibition celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tournesol Award is on now through
“There is enormous creativity on the board, enormous
December 16 and includes work by faculty member shaun
thinking about what the organization is, and what it might
o’dell and alumni leslie shows and neil ledoux. In fall 2012, anthony discenza (MFA 2000 and Fine Arts faculty) returned to Headlands for an Alumni New Works residency; his last stint there was in 2001. And the 2012 Affiliate Artists include victoria gannon (MA Visual and Critical Studies 2008), christina seely (Photography faculty), and luke damiani (Sculpture 2004). Headlands Open Houses take place three times per year. At the Open House on Sunday, April 28, 2013, the public is invited to see recent work by Everett, Gannon, Seely, Damiani, and the 2013 AIRs. A
be, moving forward.” One key challenge, he says, is how to simultaneously be a local resource and maintain a presence on the international stage. “You want to be able to reach out to people in New York or Reykjavík or Tokyo. Applications come in from across the globe.” This strong community of artists and scholars from around the country and the world is another thing the place has in common with CCA. “The two are very complementary,” continues Maisel. “In both places you delve into things in a very open way and get involved with people from everywhere
David Maisel believes the 30th anniversary of Headlands represents a very interesting moment for the organization.
Tackling Real-World Problems Through Design Thinking by Allison Byers
In April 2012, 80 designers, technologists, and business
been able to ensure that new voices are heard. “One of the
strategists convened for a hard-working 24 hours at CCA’s
strengths of the Mix and Stir events is that they partner the
San Francisco campus. The occasion: the second Mix and Stir
fresh thinking of CCA students with professionals from
UnHackathon event. The goal: to devise innovative solutions
throughout the design community. You can see this reflected
that will create economic opportunities in underserved
in the winning teams from our events.”
communities and neighborhoods. As opposed to a typical hackathon, in which program-
The first UnHackathon at CCA was dedicated to finding viable technological solutions for the city’s problems related
mers focus on quickly hammering out code, the UnHack-
to taxi distribution and communication of public transit
athon focuses on the user and the solution—solving the
breakdowns. The goals were to devise a system that would
customer’s need before the first line of “code” is ever written.
ensure a more effective dissemination of taxis throughout the
With its combination of design, business, and technology,
city (solving the seemingly unsolvable “why is there never a
the UnHackathon under ideal circumstances can produce
taxi when you need one?” question) and to put into place
practical solutions with broad market appeal.
effective, affordable, real-time communication of Muni and
The April event started with a panel discussion in which
BART information when delays and disasters strike.
representatives from the San Francisco Small Business Development Center, the Equal Justice Institute, and the TED City 2.0 Platform described the struggles of the 57 million Americans who are living at or just above poverty level. It ended with the devising of numerous practical solutions to
mix and stir and cca San Francisco’s Mix and Stir Studios has been CCA’s partner in both UnHackathon events thus far. Two of the three cofounders, mary anne masterson and christopher
ireland, are CCA faculty members. It is a design-driven startup incubator based on deep user focus and design thinking; its funding comes from a mix of partnerships and private funders. “We believe the best solutions come from close collaborations between design, business, and technology,” says
At the event, after hearing from a panel of experts, the 80
Masterson. “Our goal is to build collaborative, customer-
participants convened for a cocktail party to mingle and dis-
focused companies that can stand the test of time.” By
cuss ideas. The next morning they split into 11 teams, worked
partnering with CCA for these events, Mix and Stir has also
through the day, and at 7 p.m. had visual representations of
their concepts ready for presentation to the group.
incubator for the next step
The event produced many more viable ideas than its
One of the goals at Mix and Stir is to connect entrepreneurs
organizers had expected, and the judges awarded cash prizes
with opportunity. Another event, the 10-week 2012 CCA and
to the top two teams. On March 26, the winning teams
Mix and Stir Studio Startup Summer Incubator, was aimed
presented their concepts to city officials from SFMTA, the
at talented, collaborative startups who understand the value
Department of Public Works, the Mayor’s Innovation Team,
of design, believe in the power of deep customer knowledge,
and city supervisor Scott Wiener. Actual implementation will
and truly want to build companies. Shedroff says the purpose
of course take time, but city managers have already expressed
of such efforts is twofold: “To foster the creation of solutions
how impressed they are with the process and outcome of the
and companies (for-profits and nonprofits) that are enabled
UnHackathon’s design-oriented approach.
by technology but still focused on people, and to increase
innovation for good The second UnHackathon was inspired by an eye-opening
the connections between CCA and Bay Area communities of engineers, scientists, NGOs, et cetera.”
TED talk by Bryan Stevenson, a public interest lawyer and
design mindset across the map
founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative. The talk
Technology is useful for more than creating smartphone apps;
had two main points: First, we live in a world riddled with
it can be leveraged to solve the deep social and economic
inequality and injustice. Second, we live in a world of bound-
problems of the world. The difficulty lies not in convincing
less innovation and creativity. Stevenson’s challenge was to
people of this, but in showing people how they can use their
innovate ideas “born from conviction of the heart,” creating
own power and knowledge to participate in creating these
opportunities for the less advantaged and helping lift people
solutions. It is much easier to design a nifty water bottle than
out of poverty. He implored his TED audience, a group hailing
to pipe water to remote villages lacking civic infrastructure.
from the realms of technology, entertainment, and design,
At CCA, social responsibility and community part-
to consider the existing systems that contribute to these
nerships are embedded everywhere, in the studio and the
massive, but solvable, problems.
curriculum. And it is clear that the rest of the world, too,
Ireland and Masterson of Mix and Stir, along with MBA
is finally starting to realize the power of design thinking. “Designer-founders” are starting businesses, getting the at-
in attendance at that TED talk and took it as a strong call to
tention of governments, and securing funding to implement
action. They contacted the TED team with a proposal to host
their ideas. Today, Singapore requires design studios as part
what became the second UnHackathon event. Attendees
of its mandatory K–12 curriculum. Mexico and Colombia have
included CCA students and faculty, professionals from the
begun developing national design policies and plans. China
Bay Area design community, and representatives from
has created a thousand new design schools in the past 15
companies such as Google, Hot Studio, and Apple.
years, exhibiting the desire not just to manufacture, but also
Participants viewed Stevenson’s inspiring talk, heard from a panel of city experts, and then set to work. Twenty-four
to innovate. And in San Francisco, promptly after taking office earlier
hours later, the three winning teams were Team Ping, which
this year, Mayor Ed Lee created the position of Chief Innova-
articulated community leader organization and management;
tion Officer and appointed Jay Nath as its first officeholder.
Pop-Up Skill Shop, whose idea revolved around revitalizing
Lee’s call to action was direct: “The need for innovation in
vacant properties while creating opportunities for low-income
government has never been greater, and we must work with
youth; and Mobile Services Mall, who designed a service to
our greatest resource—our human capital—to find new
provide low-income communities with access to city, county,
solutions to old challenges.”
and federal services they might not know about.
in Design Strategy program chair nathan shedroff , were
n September 19, 2012, CCA Film and Fine Arts faculty member lynn marie kirby, together with collaborator Alexis Petty, presented The 24th Street Listening Project at the Brava Theater in San Francisco. The eveningâ€™s event included a video exploring the five-block 24th Street site through color and language mapping, a musical performance reflecting the stories and topographies encountered on walks around the neighborhood, a book release, and launch of the project website 24thStreetListeningproject.com.
Earlier that afternoon the two artists led Laguna Yellow, a
As an educator and a practicing artist for more than 30 years, Kirby has developed a keen craftsmanship in the art of
with the San Francisco Arts Commission (read more about
connecting with students. She is great at recognizing and en-
Elastic City and its founder, CCA alumnus todd shalom ,
couraging their strengths and skills, and turning classroom
on page 42). Kirby and Petty guided participants in a medita-
and studio exchanges into long-term connections. Kirby’s
tion on the role of color in the neighborhood: as pigment, as
teaching practice and her art practice intertwine seamlessly.
light, and as history. The walkers were asked to “be present”
Her passion for uncovering ideas and building relationships
to color, to see and hear its frequencies, and to explore the
has made her a particularly adept conductor of stories in her
languages used to describe its refractions and reverberations.
own creative practice.
How does Sunbeam play off Fiesta Orange, White Blush, or Desert Tan? The walk culminated in the creation of a collec-
þorfinnur guðnason (Film/Video 1988), a wellknown Icelandic filmmaker, is one of the students who
tive pigment poem.
has stayed in touch. “Lynn opened doors and gave us the
Todd Shalom is Kirby’s former student. He is one of
opportunity to think beyond what we knew,” he says. “She
many, many students who not only cite her as a key influence
encouraged us to push boundaries and challenge the me-
on their creative efforts today, but also have kept in close
dium we were working in. Her enthusiasm was contagious,
touch with her in the years after graduation. Kirby and
and she befriended everyone. No one ever skipped class.”
Shalom also have in common a deep commitment to art that
In July 2011 Guðnason organized a retrospective of Kirby’s
uncovers echoes—some present and discernible, and others
work, Airplanes and Dust, at Bíó Paradís in Reykjavík. Kirby
no longer quite audible.
was flown out for the show and was greeted by four of her
neighborhood walk sponsored by Elastic City in partnership
such as, “What does it mean to be a man?” Viewers could see the physical manifestations of approaching manhood in the boys’ posture and facial hair, and hear it in the fluctuations of their developing voices. Handwritten pages by the two young men hung on adjacent walls. Since the gallery is located on the ground floor of the San Francisco War Memorial building, Kirby was inspired by this history to ask the boys to write their thoughts about war, thus sensitively linking her project to the site of the exhibition. The work subsequently “traveled” to China when Standardized Screen Tests was curated into a above Participants in the Laguna Yellow walk chose a color at the paint shop, and here they are singing their color’s frequency previous page lynn marie kirby at Langjökull Glacier in Iceland
show with the Chinese artist Li Xiaofei. Kirby went to China to meet Li, and while she was there they undertook a project together, a 30-day email exchange. This exchange was featured in the spring 2012 exhibition Descriptive Acts at
former (Icelandic) students from the late 1980s, all now work-
SFMOMA. The two artists are now working on The Crystalline
ing in media in Iceland. While there, she made a video with
World, a project exploring the effects of salt mining on econo-
Guðnason, How green IS my valley, which was included in the
mies and sites in the Bay Area and China.
traces of the everyday
The 24th Street Listening Project is an expansion of a work Kirby began in 2009 for Triple Base, my former gallery. It involved Kirby getting to know people at various locations
Kirby is drawn to traces of the everyday—materials, anec-
along 24th Street, focusing on a few sites in particular: the
dotes, knowledge, and stories—as they reflect connections
7th Day Adventist Church, Center Nail Salon, the Brava
between experience and place. Her projects are deeply human
Theater, Saint Francis Fountain, the Alcoholics Anonymous
in the sense that they are manifestations of life and serve as
meeting house, and the soccer field at Garfield Square. She
evidence that another human—Kirby—is out there: attuned,
collaborated with Alexis Petty to re-present the various forms
of exchange witnessed at these sites in ways that mimicked
alexandra grant (MFA 2000), a prominent Los Angeles painter and also a former student of Kirby’s, says, “Many of us admire Lynn for taking a stand for things that are inaudible, not visible, or easily overlooked. Lynn doesn’t mind being a maverick. First as her student, and now as her friend and colleague, I admire her patient seeing, her championing of the trace, the gesture.” For years people referred to Kirby as a filmmaker, and she certainly is one, having had her work showcased at film festivals around the world, from Oberhausen to Toronto, London, San Francisco, and Athens. But her investigations take other forms as well: writing, site-based interventions, sound, ephemeral objects. Recording technologies themselves—interesting to Kirby because of how they create and mark records of time and place—sometimes feature as subjects in her explorations.
the signs, programs, menus, price lists, and brochures found
memorable curator-artist interactions I have had the pleasure of working with Lynn Marie Kirby for
there, and then she situated these new materials back in the landscape from which they had emerged.
return from sabbatical Kirby returned to CCA this fall after a year-long sabbatical, an extraordinarily eventful year that included shows and screenings at the San Jose Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Berkeley Art Museum, TIFF Toronto, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and SFMOMA. She traveled not only to Iceland for the retrospective, but also to China and Brazil. In Brazil she worked with the Sisters of the Holy Cross in São Paulo on Stitching Wishes. Begun as a sewing project, it has evolved into an ongoing collaboration with the nuns and continues her interest in alternate narratives, site-based work, and the role of the artist as a facilitator. She is currently engaged with several new time-based pieces, including a large commission in Wuxi, China. Lynn Marie Kirby is humorous. She is a philosopher, an
several years now. For me personally, her work Standardized
avant-garde filmmaker, and an artist. She is a teacher and an
Screen Tests, part of an exhibition I co-curated at the San
inspiration to many. I am happy to call her my friend, and I
Francisco Arts Commission Gallery in 2008, stands out
look forward to continuing to collaborate whenever possible
as particularly memorable. In this work she recorded two
and seeing what new and fascinating projects she undertakes
adolescent boys responding to questions about manhood,
in the years to come.
New Programs CCA will launch three new graduate programs in summer and fall 2013. All of them are accepting applications now! (Illustrations by MFA in Comics chair Matt Silady)
MFA in Film
The MFA in Comics is a 48-unit, three-
Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape
year, low-residency program, with the
The Master of Architecture in Urban
first classes starting in summer 2013.
Design and Landscape is a
Students spend one month each sum-
mer in San Francisco working closely
sional program for
with faculty from CCA’s writing, illus-
students with previous
tration, fine arts, and design programs
degrees in architecture,
as well as professionals drawn from
industry. In between these intensive
or planning. Its
workshops they have one-on-one, long-
distance mentoring. The curriculum
curriculum integrates organizational,
covers not just writing and drawing
systemic, and morphological investi-
skills but all aspects of comic art and
gations in architecture and urbanism
graphic storytelling, from page layout
with urban geography, ecology, and
to digital coloring, graphic design,
landscape design. Students will be
publication, and promotion.
exposed to advanced data visualization
The film world has undergone enormous changes during the last decade. Today’s filmmaker must be equal parts artist, craftsperson, and entrepreneur. The curriculum of the new MFA in Film program combines intensive focus on each student’s artistic vision, the study of media language and form in historical and contemporary contexts, and the development of business and entrepreneurial skills. Classes begin in fall 2013. The program is led by rob
☞ Read more at cca.edu/mfafilm
matt silady, a
techniques and a range of strategies
comic writer and artist
operating at the local, neighborhood,
and leader of the new
metropolitan, and regional scales. The
program, taught his
program officially launches in fall 2013.
mona el-khafif is the chair. She
at CCA in 2008
joined the URBANbuild program at
and says he’s very
Tulane University in 2006 in the after-
happy with how the entire school, from
math of Hurricane Katrina, and in 2008
students to faculty and administration,
moved to San Francisco to join CCA’s
have embraced the legitimacy of comics
faculty. “I believe that we are living in
as a fine art and a literary medium.
an incredibly interesting time for archi-
“Seeing the curriculum grow from that
tecture,” she says. “Digital technology
first workshop into a graduate program
is improving on a daily basis. We collect
is the culmination of many years of
more data than any other generation
work for me. I am really enthusiastic
and are developing tools to better
about the future of this field! I can’t
understand relationships, patterns,
wait to open up the doors to our first
and future scenarios. Issues of global
class of artists and writers.”
warming, rapid urbanization, and
☞ Read more at cca.edu/mfacomics
sustainability are requiring new design solutions across disciplines.” ☞ Read more at cca.edu/maudl
epstein, Academy Award–winning director of The Times of Harvey Milk and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, and the filmmaker/ composer brook hinton , who in addition to making his own films has worked extensively as a post-production specialist and consultant across a wide range of genres. Hinton says: “Art, for me, is constant, relentless, uncompromised questioning. Maybe it’s my punk roots, but I always feel a delightful little shiver at the back of my neck when the established way of doing things starts to fall apart. I have a feeling that the changes we’re seeing in the film world are just the kick in the pants the still-veryyoung practice of filmmaking needs to reach its full potential.”
MFA in Comics
clockwise from top left bruce bignami, arlene streich, doyle foreman, and selma foreman at the entrance to CCA’s Oakland campus; joan machado holds a college archival photo of herself and fellow student john machado (the two later married); CCA’s first inductees into the Alumni Half-Century Club; on the bus between the Oakland and San Francisco campuses; david meckel, CCA’s director of research and planning, gives a tour of the San Francisco campus
CCA Alumni Half-Century Club: 50 Years of Living History by Jim Norrena and Jessica Russell
CCA’s Alumni Association hosted a two-day event over graduation weekend in May 2012 to pay tribute to all alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago, and especially graduates from the class of 1962. Henceforth, every year, alumni who reach the 50-year milestone will be officially inducted into the college’s Half-Century Club and honored with commemorative activities that celebrate their particular chapter in the college’s history. bill moggridge. (Mr. Moggridge passed away in
earlier showed up to participate in the inaugural event. “We
September; see the “In Memoriam” section on page 46 to
have such a deep appreciation for all of our alumni,” says
read more about his career.) CCA alumnus and photographer douglas sandberg (Photography 1997, former Alumni Council president, and chair of the centennial alumni celebration in 2007), was heard to observe: “I don’t think artists should retire. They get good at age 80! It is impossible to do too much to encourage and honor our distinguished alumni.” Following the luncheon, the club enjoyed an exclusive tour of the San Francisco campus, led by CCA’s Director of Research and Planning david meckel . The weekend culminated with the 105th commencement ceremony, at which the honored alumni enjoyed VIP seating. Half a century may seem like a lifetime to a new graduate, but several of the Half-Century Club members commented that graduation didn’t seem like all that long ago. Alumna and retired book illustrator joan machado (Advertising 1952) summed it up: “My education itself was definitely a great success, since I have been able to pursue art all my life. And one thing that hasn’t changed is the camaraderie among me and my fellow artists.” Machado has remained friends with many of her classmates, and has twice been married (both times to CCA alumni!). A
Director of Alumni Relations jessica russell , “but the Half-Century Club is especially significant. Its members are the living history of this institution, some of our most treasured alums, and it’s such an honor to have them here for this celebration.” One of the eldest club members in attendance was earl f. holt (MFA Advertising 1949), age 91. He had studied under wolfgang lederer , a master of book design who was influential in developing the college’s design curriculum, and went on to found Holt Graphics in Oakland 57 years ago. His son manages the company today. The weekend kicked off with a breakfast reception on the Oakland campus with President stephen beal and honorary event chair richard m clean (Painting 1958), followed by a tour of the campus’s studio facilities. One overheard comment: “Where’s the volleyball court?” [Fact: It is now the site of the A2 Café.] A shuttle then took the group to the Honorary Doctorate Luncheon near the San Francisco campus, where club members had lunch with donors to the college and CCA’s 2012 honorary doctorate recipient, IDEO cofounder
Twenty-one amazing alumni from the classes of 1962 and
Awards & Accolades
These are just a few of the many CCA faculty, student, and alumni accomplishments of the past several months. Read further about all of these stories and more at cca.edu/news/awards-and-accolades.
Two teams from CCA were recently awarded top prizes at 2x8 taut, an annual architecture and design student competition sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles (AIA | LA). Fractals of Knowledge by osma dossani took second place, and FRESNOW by alexander decicco , francis silagon , and hugh vanho took third. The winning students receive scholarship awards and are featured in an exhibition (which this year was at the Architecture + Design Museum in Los Angeles).
eric rogers (Interior Design 2013) has won the prestigious Angelo Donghia Foundation Student Scholarship, which will provide him with up to $30,000 to complete his senior year. Rogers says of his winning entry: “This Deleuze-inspired reconceptualization of the Montgomery transit station in downtown San Francisco is vehement anti-capitalism wrapped in the rhetoric of urban renewal and architecture. It just seemed appropriate to design a source of contagious abundance in the middle of the Financial District, where everything is artificially made scarce: time, space, sunlight, warmth, clean air, genuine friendship, pleasant public spaces, free activities. Anyway, in design, you can’t just say ‘down with capitalism,’ so instead you say ‘up with human beings.’ It’s basically the same thing. Everything we desire is here already; we just need systems that connect desires to their fulfillment. Good architecture orients itself to this mandate. It facilitates connection.”
above Anthropologie clothing design by mia christopher
In July 2012, Anthropologie released
a new clothing collection based on artwork by mia christopher (Painting/Drawing 2012) as part of their Made in Kind project, which is intended to give mainstream exposure to artists and designers who are as yet under the radar. This is Christopher’s first foray into clothing design, although she says she had previously experimented with embroidery as a “slow drawing process.” ☞ See more at miachristopher.com
right two views of eric rogers’s reconceptualization of the Montgomery transit station in San Francisco
erik adigard (Graphic Design 1987), who is an alum, a lecturer at CCA, and cofounder of the interdisciplinary design firm M-A-D, has won a 2012–13 Rome Prize in the design category. While in Italy he will investigate what he calls the “iconographic explosion” on social media of images of the Colosseum, Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, and the Pantheon, and how this has affected broader concepts of image, culture, and economy.
kaii tu (Individualized Major 2012) has received a $15,000 Windgate Fellowship, one of the largest awards in art and design in the nation. Before coming to CCA, Tu graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude with a degree in visual and environmental studies, and he has also studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven. He was one of the youngest people ever to reach the level of brand manager at Procter & Gamble, his employer from 2005 to 2009. He’s also worked for Peerless Lighting (2011) and Logitech (2012); at the latter he helped design iPad and iPhone apps. Earlier this year, Tu was named the winner of the Wilsonart Design Challenge, a student
below victoria deblassie’s Accumulated Matter, a house made of orange peels for the 2011 MFA show
competition held at the annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York. Tu’s winning Torrey chair was inspired by the shapes of the windswept pines on the California coast. It is built from Wilsonart Laminate, which is flexible but can bend in only one direction. Tu applied his engineering skills to artfully demonstrate that an undulating, three-dimensional form can be achieved in high-pressure laminate.
victoria deblassie (MFA 2011) is currently in Italy on a Fulbright grant, researching ecological approaches to the craft of vegetable tanning and felting. For the past nine years she has been using a variety of craft processes to transform orange peels into a leather-like material, which she then uses to make large sculptures. You may remember DeBlassie’s house made of orange peels from
the 2011 MFA Show. Read a first-person account of the Fulbright application (part of mariella poli ’s Italian Art and Contemporary Culture course) at cca.edu/glance.
right kaii tu and his Torrey chair
2010 study-abroad trip to Italy that inspired her successful
Bookshelf These are 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. If you are a CCA affiliate and have worked on a book in the last year, we’d love to hear about it! Send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
pantone: the 20th century in color Chronicle Books, 2011 Hardcover, 204 pages, $40
Pantone is the worldwide color authority. Designed by brooke johnson (Graphic Design 2003)— an alumna, faculty member, and senior designer at Chronicle Books—this book takes you on a visual tour of 100 amazing years, from the Pale Gold (15-0927 TPX) and Almost Mauve (12-2103 TPX) of
daring adventures in paint Quarry Books, 2012 Paperback, 128 pages, $22.99
the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris to the Rust (18-1248 TPX) and Midnight Navy (19-4110 TPX) of the countdown to the millennium.
Through creative exercises in paint and mixed media, the artist and illustrator mati rose m cdonough (Painting/Drawing 2007) shows artists how to “find their magic”—the place of confidence from which they can access the vision of what they want to share with the world.
sidewalk story CreateSpace, 2012 Paperback, 50 pages, $14.95
equal of the sun Scribner, 2012 Hardcover, 448 pages, $26
anita amirrezvani (Writing faculty) offers up a tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran—of powerful Muslim women who formed alliances, lobbied for power on behalf of their sons, and ruled in their own right.
alisa golden (Printmaking faculty) specializes in the medium of the book. Unlikely objects such as broken fences, plum pits, discarded papers, and pigeons seen on walks in Berkeley, New York, and Santa Monica became the basis for these 26 tiny stories and accompanying photographs.
Contra Mundum Press, 2012 Paperback, 344 pages, $18
Gilgamesh was composed over 2,500 years, then lost in the deserts of Iraq for 2,000 more. Here, Critical
woodcut Princeton Architectural Press, 2012 Hardcover, 128 pages, $29.95
Studies chair stuart kendall offers a new translation of the epic, to which he brings a contemporary poetic sensibility, a deep knowledge of the pagan
If there is, indeed, nothing lovelier than a tree,
worldview, and the latest scholarship, including
the Connecticut-based artist bryan nash gill
transcriptions of all available tablets and stories.
(MFA 1988) shows us why. His large-scale relief prints from the cross-sections of trees reveal the sublime power locked inside their arboreal rings.
no straight lines: four decades of queer comics Fantagraphics, 2012 Hardcover, 304, $35
the way beyond art: wide white space CCA Wattis Institute, 2012 Paperback, 104 pages, $17
Edited and designed by jon sueda (Graphic Design
justin hall (Comics faculty) edited and compiled this collection of some of the best queer comics of the last 40 years, whose creators have tackled complex issues of identity and a changing society with intelligence, humor, and imagination.
faculty), this book investigates graphic design’s
darth vader and son
americana: 50 states, 50 months, 50 exhibitions
Chronicle Books, 2012 Hardcover, 64 pages, $14.95
What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his
evolving relationship with curating and exhibitions. It features notable designs (in full color) and essays by CCA faculty members tim belonax, rachel
berger, eric heiman, brett macfadden, emily mcvarish, and scott thorpe.
CCA Wattis Institute, 2012 Hardcover, 240 pages, $25
son? In this comic reimagining, life lessons include
This catalogue, designed by jon sueda (Graphic
light-saber batting practice, using the Force to raid
Design faculty), documents a five-year series of
the cookie jar, and Take Your Child to Work Day on the
Wattis Institute exhibitions curated by students in
Death Star. The book is designed by michael morris
the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice. Each
(Graphic Design 2004). A New York Times best seller!
show examined one of the 50 American states, focusing on artworks, historical artifacts, curiosities, the often overlooked, and the little known.
the jewelry and metalwork of marie zimmermann Yale University Press, 2012 Hardcover, 400 pages, $65
refract house CCA, 2012 Hardcover, 144 pages, $25
Designed by CCA Graphic Design students suzanne
baxter and jason kerr, Refract House explores the evolution of CCA’s solar-powered house that competed in the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, reframing the team’s efforts within a larger context of contemporary architectural practice. It features full-color photographs, architectural renderings, and texts by faculty members peter
anderson, ila berman, nataly gattegno, matt hutchinson, andrew kudless, and oblio jenkins.
david cole (Jewelry / Metal Arts faculty) spent 13 years and traveled widely to photograph the work of Marie Zimmermann for this book, which includes approximately 400 of his images. Zimmermann was a very colorful character in addition to being one of the most creative and important makers of metalwork in early-20th-century America.
Join the Conversations! recently overheard on facebook, twitter, pinterest, linkedin, and youtube Every summer, 250 high school students converge on CCA’s Oakland campus for the four-week Pre-College Program. We asked our Facebook community: “What advice would you give these young artists, designers, architects, and writers?” facebook.com/CaliforniaCollegeoftheArts
“I loved Pre-College! It introduced me to a level of art appreciation that I’d only able to find independently in my small high school art department. An experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.” “Graduated 18 years ago. Still love the school. And the school is tough.” “I had the best time at Pre-College and as a camp counselor in the apartments! Good times!” “Art students at CCA have an advantage in that they are being taught to think, to value their talent, and to hone their skills. An artist is able to ‘think outside the box,’ and that is the greatest job-hunting skill there is.”
New Yorker cover by
“What are you doing now?” This query on the CCA Alumni LinkedIn group page sparked more than 100 responses, including a brief reunion for former faculty member vincent perez and his students: Art be
u fac m
2 18, smith, June
vincent perez (MFA 1965): “Thought you might like to hear from an old-timer. Check out perezstudio.com for the usual stuff up to ’07. Right now I’m doing a mural with Vida Blue, Tommy John, Gaylord Perry, and one other HOF pitcher to raise $1 million for the USO. I’m finally getting a line of medical posters out next year. There’s also a fantasy project that’s been ongoing for a couple of years heading toward a children’s book.” carin christensen: “Hello Vincent! I art-directed five catalogues for Krames Communications back in 1988 and you were the illustrator. I loved it when you told me ‘I like to work from the shoulder and the arm, not the wrist.’ Hence, the originals were really large!”
randy winslow: “Carin, Vincent’s famous for drawing on butcher paper that went from the floor to the ceiling when teaching his class. His arm would be over his head and down to the floor. He drew very fast, flying around like a dancer. Our job was to keep up with him on our sketch boards—too fun.” glenn sagon: “Hello Vincent, also a past student of yours (class of 1977). Lots of my friends took your classes and, thankfully, we are all still gainfully employed designers, artists, and illustrators!” peggy post: “Hi Vincent, I had you for Anatomy and I still have all those sketchbooks from your class. When I saw ralph borge a few years back, he went on about how you were his student but you surpassed him.”
CC A 28
She’s Hooked, by CCA alumna crista reid | Board: For the Love of Craft
Incoming students tweet their dreams of CCA education.
“@CACollegeofArts I CAN’T wait for school to start in September! Really (really) excited!! :)” “#mydreamcollege California College of the Arts in San Francisco <3”
California College of the Arts is where I wanna be.
CCA alumna maja ruznic outside her studio, via @refinery29 | Board: Alumni
“First school I’m applying to after I graduate: @CACollegeofArts. Spending my last 2 high school years doing everything to get accepted! :)” “Sometimes I just go to California College of the Arts website to dream a little bit.” “Words cannot describe how much I want to go to @CACollegeofArts” Work by CCA artist in residence pablo medina | Board: Inspiration
“When I was in the Marine Corps, I was an artist in the Marine Corps. Now that I’m in art school, I’m a Marine at art school.” —kevin lawrence, Film student
“There’s a lot of freedom of expression in fashion design. It doesn’t necessarily need to surrender itself to utility, and I really dig that.” —james zormeir, Fashion Design student
below eric heiman (left) and Public Bikes founder Rob Forbes at the Public Works exhibition at #CCArts | via @sfgate
“There’s really no limits when you’re at CCA. When I moved here I knew I wanted to work in design at a global level. And it’s totally happening.” —haley toelle, Industrial Design student
“Scene” on CCA’s YouTube channel:
All of these images are from recent posts on CCA social media
Spotlight the 25th annual barclay simpson awards exhibition reception April 18, 2012
1 Award winners Katelyn Eichwald, Ali Padgett, Melissa Dickenson, and Cassie Thornton 2 Award winner Melissa Dickenson, trustee Ann Hatch, and Paul Discoe 3 Barclay Simpson, President Stephen Beal, and Sharon Simpson
honorary doctorate luncheon with Bill Moggridge, May 11, 2012
1 Paul and Arlene Lieber 2 Honorary Doctorate Recipient Bill Moggridge 3 Trustee Art Gensler 4 Hank Tarbell, Karin Hibma,
Kay Kimpton Walker, and Daniel Daniloff (Industrial Design 2011)
curatorâ€™s forum event with Massimiliano Gioni, curator of the 2013 Venice Biennale, June 26, 2012, at the home of CCA trustee Emma Goltz
1 Fred Guiffrida and Pamela Joyner 2 Jens Hoffmann; trustees
and Curatorâ€™s Forum co-chairs Emma Goltz and Carlie Wilmans; President Stephen Beal; and featured curator Massimiliano Gioni 3 Monica Fried and Juliet de Baubigny 4 Carley and Paul Rydberg, Afsaneh Akhtari 5 Kelly Burke, Joelle Connolly, and Jessica Silverman (MA Curatorial Practice 2007)
The Windgate Charitable Foundation Challenge Grant Nets $300,000 for Craft Scholarships at CCA
In the past two years, the Windgate Charitable Foundation has played a significant leadership role in supporting craft education at CCA. Since the college’s founding 105 years ago, craft disciplines have been central to the CCA curriculum. Generations of remarkable faculty and students have worked in our Ceramics, Jewelry / Metal Arts, Furniture, Textiles, Wood, and Glass programs, and alumni from these programs are among some of our most distinguished graduates: robert arneson (1956), viola frey (1956), and peter voulkos (1952), to name just a few. Understanding CCA’s significant history and current influence in craft, the Windgate Foundation made a generous grant of $100,000 in October 2010 to create the Craft Forward Scholarship, an endowed fund supporting talented students in craft who need financial help to enroll in and earn their degrees at CCA. But that was just the beginning. Foundation representatives wanted to catalyze additional support, and so they offered the CCA community a special challenge. If we could raise a total of $100,000 in new gifts for craft student scholarships, the Windgate Foundation would give a second grant of $100,000 for the Craft Forward Scholarship. That meant a potential total of $300,000 in new funds for scholarships. “We were thrilled by this challenge,” says CCA President stephen beal . “Securing new gifts for scholarships is our number-one fundraising goal, and we knew that to have the Windgate Foundation focus energies on our craft disciplines would be tremendously helpful for students in these vital CCA programs.” Throughout 2011 and early 2012, CCA contacted alumni, parents, friends, faculty, and staff to ask for help in reaching the challenge grant goal. Fifty generous donors came forward to make new gifts to endowed or spend-down funds for craft scholarships. Gifts ranged in size from $5 to $25,000. Thanks to this incredible support, CCA surpassed the $100,000 matching-gift goal in spring 2012, and the Windgate Foundation fulfilled its match with a check for $100,000 in June 2012. President Beal says, “We are deeply grateful to the Windgate Foundation for making this commitment to educating future leaders in craft. I was elated by the response of the CCA community, and I extend warm thanks to all the donors who made an investment in our students.”
CCA appreciates the generosity of the 50 alumni, parents, and friends who made donations totaling $100,912 to meet the Windgate Charitable Foundation challenge. Following is a list of lead donors to this important effort:
$10,000+ ms. ann morhauser (glass 1979) timothy howes and nancy howes (jewelry / metal arts 2005) barclay and sharon simpson
$1,000â€“$9,999 anonymous johanna and tom baruch stephen beal and elizabeth hoover tecoah bruce (painting/drawing 1974, maed 1979) and thomas bruce nancy and pat forster emma and fred goltz ms. kay kimpton walker and mr. sandy walker rotasa foundation judith and bill timken susan avila and stephen gong mr. mitchell forster douglas r. gordon (jewelry / metal arts 1964) mrs. dorothy saxe
Keeping a high-quality education accessible to all talented students is a top priority at CCA. Scholarships are a wonderful way to provide vital assistance for students who otherwise could not attend. If you are interested in contributing to or establishing a scholarship fund, please contact Emma Sonduck at email@example.com or 510.594.3787, or give online at cca.edu/give. Your gift may be measured in dollars, but the reward can be seen in lives forever changed and dreams fulfilled.
An Evening with David Sedaris Raises $231,000 for CCA Scholarships
he best-selling author and NPR humorist david
sedaris shared his sardonic wit and incisive social critiques with members of the CCA community at our annual gala on May 3, 2012, to raise funds for student scholarships. The special evening was made possible through the generosity of our two presenting sponsors, annieglass and c. diane christensen and jean m. pierret . The event was chaired by CCA trustee kay kimpton walker . The evening began with a cocktail party with the author at the Berkeley Art Museum. taste catering offered a bounty of delectable hors d’oeuvres along with clever cocktails such as the Bitter Squirrel and the Chipmunk-tini, inspired by Sedaris’s latest book. The guests then made their way to Zellerbach Auditorium to join the sold-out crowd of 2,000 other adoring fans for a laugh-out-loud program in which Sedaris read from new and unpublished material. Following his performance, as is his custom, the author stayed late into the night graciously signing books and chatting with guests. Thanks to tremendous support from the CCA community, the gala exceeded its goal and in the end raised $231,000 for CCA’s Scholarship Fund. Event chair Kay Kimpton Walker was delighted: “We are so grateful to David Sedaris for giving his time and talent for this event. Through his generosity and the generosity of our sponsors, we will be able to help many talented, deserving students obtain a CCA education.”
☞ For more information about David Sedaris and the event, visit cca.edu/glance.
1 Agatha Sue Lee, Sharon Simpson, and Donna White
2 Bill Podger, Matt Christensen, Kathleen Brownwell, and David Glotzer
3 Diane Christensen and Karla Savage
California College of the Arts is pleased to thank the following generous sponsors of An Evening with David Sedaris: presenting ($25,000) annieglass (ms. ann morhauser, glass 1979) c. diane christensen and jean m. pierret
leadership ($10,000) nancy howes (jewelry / metal arts 2005) and timothy howes f. noel perry barclay and sharon simpson ruth and alan stein
patron ($5,000) johanna and tom baruch stephen beal and elizabeth hoover tecoah bruce (painting/drawing 1974, maed 1979) and thomas bruce city national bank patricia w. fitzpatrick nancy and pat forster gensler / gensler family foundation emma and fred goltz greene van arsdale foundation tina and john keker kay kimpton walker and sandy walker anthony and celeste meier lorna meyer calas and dennis calas steve and nancy oliver rotasa foundation bill and judy timken jack and susy wadsworth carlie wilmans mary and harold zlot anonymous
4 Vinitha Watson (MBA in Design Strategy 2010) and David Watson
5 Noel Perry, Annie Morhauser (Glass 1979), Stephen Beal, Michael Krasny, and Kay Kimpton Walker
6 Tim Mott, Pegan Brooke, Henry Urlich, and Brenda Way
supporting ($1,001â€“$4,999) roselyn c. swig tim mott sara williams mimi and peter haas fund susan avila and stephen gong mary foust david and deborah l. kirshman
arc dr. thomas and jan boyce maryon davies lewis andrew fisher (jewelry / metal arts 1978) and jeffry weisman mr. and mrs. william hamilton kate harbin and adam clammer craig hartman and jan oâ€™brien hood & strong llp johnstone mcauliffe construction inc. miranda leonard fred levin and nancy livingston / the shenson foundation joyce linker jennifer stein stephen taylor and lori taylor (painting 2001)
Bean Gilsdorf: Help Desk by Lindsey Westbrook
Bean Gilsdorf (MFA 2012) never imagined herself as a professional advice columnist. But in a moment of levity at an editorial meeting of the art blog Daily Serving, she tossed out the idea of an art advice column, and the others wouldn’t let it drop. And once she launched the thing, it really took off. She posted her first “Help Desk” column in January 2012, and it was almost immediately picked up by KQED.org and the Huffington Post. What have been the most memorable questions? “One was, ‘I just discovered that my MFA faculty advisor is an adulterer. I find that morally reprehensible. Should I continue to trust him in our student-advisor relationship?’” This dilemma can’t be reduced to a case of people not living up to expectations, Gilsdorf explains, since your advisor is your designated critic-advocate, and the nuances of the trust and the power dynamic are quite specific. In other words, Dear Abby can’t deal with this one. You really need the advice of another artist. What’s been the strangest question so far? “‘What is the best and most humane way to skin a cat as part of an art piece, in front of an audience?’ I wrote the guy back privately and told him I wasn’t qualified to give an answer.” In each column Gilsdorf usually answers two questions that are thematically related—dealing with studio visits, for
to result in promises. It’s supposed to be an exchange of
instance, or politics. ‘How does an artist decide how much a
ideas. Getting someone’s focused attention is a gift.
certain piece is worth, monetarily?’ was paired with ‘I am a
So, what’s the advice? “Be honest that the fit is wrong, but don’t burn any bridges. A studio visit doesn’t always have
“I love to talk about art with articulate people, whoever
performance artist. I’ve had many invitations lately to show
they are,” she continues. “One of my favorite advisors at CCA
my work, but I’m worried I won’t have enough money to pay
was frances richard , a poet and writer. She is so smart,
for all the travel and materials. Is there a way to get an
and she articulates her ideas so precisely.” Gilsdorf has a
master’s degree in linguistics and a BA in literature, so she
“I also get a lot of rants. ‘Why does the art world work this way?’ ‘Why can’t I get my foot in the door?’ I tell them
appreciates a clear thinker who can say what they mean.
that the art world is far bigger than just Artforum and
from portland to san francisco
Documenta. Also I get a lot of naive questions, like, ‘Is
Gilsdorf came to CCA from Portland, Oregon. “I can
showing up at a gallery with my work the best way to get a
definitely tell you all the Portland stereotypes are true!
Portlandia is more documentary than satire. But it’s cheaper
What are the most interesting questions? “The ones that relate to the psychology of the art world: how to ask for help, how to get what you want, how to voice your opinion. One
to live there, and as an artist I was able to spend more time in the studio than out making money.” In the Bay Area, she continues, people are doing things
curator wrote to ask the best way to tell an artist during a
that create new conversations, and trying new models that
studio visit that he didn’t like their current work.”
subvert or circumvent traditional gallery systems. Examples?
“Will Brown, Alter Space, Queen’s Nails, MacArthur B. Arthur. Even YBCA and SFMOMA are really inclusive.” And since the Bay Area is a hotbed of activity in all spheres, “people who are not in the art world per se still generate energy that permeates the art world. There’s a lot of overlap.”
leaving the nest What was the toughest thing about the CCA MFA program? “The prospect of leaving and the challenge of how to continue the sense of simpatico community, mutual support, and idea exchange that we had built together in the grad Fine Arts studios. It’s so crucial after school not to immediately plunge into isolation.” Gilsdorf was the one student selected out of her
She recently returned from a prestigious seven-week residency at the Banff Centre in Canada, and in summer 2012 she did a short residency at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley.
entire MFA class (about 35 in total, in 2011) for the presti-
“The point of the Kala residency was not to produce a lot of
gious Headlands Center for the Arts Graduate Fellowship.
finished work, but to experiment in ways that will lead to
The residency was a terrific honor, and it came with the
future bodies of work. I worked on a series of prints related to
added benefit of thrusting her into another nest of creative
old-fashioned textile sampler books. The sample, as
people—artists, architects, and writers.
an idea, is really interesting. A part that claims to represent a
the artist’s journey
whole.” Also among her recent projects was a curatorial gig
For the last couple of years, Gilsdorf ’s own creative work
for ArtPadSF: a series of “pool performances” that involved
has been a series of experimental flags bearing images
synchronized swimmers, an a cappella singing group called
drawn from U.S. media, pop culture, and history. Lately the
the Loose Interpretations, a troupe of CCA performance
subject matter has been inspired by national attention on
artists who operate under a name that is only a symbol, and
politics, economics, and the Occupy movement, and bodies
a recorded tour of the fair by Gilsdorf herself in which she
of imagery related to expansion, capitalism, and progress.
combined two well-known audio styles: the museum audio
“I like to look backward to get a handle on where we’re at
tour and the guided meditation. A
today as a culture.”
☞ Read more at beangilsdorf.com and DailyServing.com
above Flag for Westward Expansion, 2011, and Flag for New Frontiers, 2012
Careers and Collaborations in Film by Rachel Walther
There’s nowhere that andrew georgopoulos (Individualized Major 2007) won’t go to get his image. He’s photographed a nude woman in the middle of Lombard Street and documented the day-to-day exploits of Snoop Dogg and other hip-hop legends. Recently he grabbed his first big-budget Hollywood studio experience working on a film you may have heard of: The Artist, which
won the 2011 Oscar for Best Picture.
below Stills from paul trillo’s Bela: L’homme chat
“It’s all about access,” Georgopoulos explains, of how to get the story you want. “It’s the defining factor that separates you from the next person.” His introduction to hip-hop musicians and lifestyles started by answering an ad soliciting photojournalists for a neighborhood magazine in the East Bay. “My body of work grew, from the next artist to the next. I was always looking to get the next big name.” Eventually he spent a full year capturing the life of Snoop Dogg. This was during his sophomore year at CCA, when he was 20 years old. Georgopoulos’s work can be in-your-face, but his technique never overshadows his subject. His most engaging photos of musicians are often
paul trillo (Film 2007) is a filmmaker, an illustrator, and, above all, a storyteller. Since graduating in 2007 he’s been blazing a unique path—first in the Bay Area, and lately in New York—with a prodigious output of dynamic, experimental short films and music videos. His collaboration with andrew georgopoulos , Happy Birthday Mr. Bracewell, screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner in May. It is a matter-of-fact fictional piece about a man named Gray Bracewell whose birthday is also the anniversary of the day his wife left him three years earlier. It involves a long-lost brother, a bit of time travel, and the possibility of recapturing a love lost.
“Mr. Bracewell was inspired by a few lonely and disorganized storefront offices in San Francisco,” he explains. “The ones with just a single person working inside—an insurance agent or a realtor. It’s so striking to see! I built the character around that image of a man overwhelmed by paperwork, a sort of archaic symbol today. From there I started playing with this anxiety of time, which became a theme throughout the film. Bracewell is haunted by the past, terribly burdened by it.” Trillo arrived at CCA already knowing he wanted to study film. He credits Film faculty members rob epstein and jeanne c. finley as the biggest influences on his development in college. “Rob taught me how to approach a subject in my own way, how to develop my own voice as a director. “I liked the fact that CCA enabled me to focus more on the conceptual than on the technical—learning who I was as an artist, and having that as a core foundation to build on. The school’s interdisciplinary
right andrew georgopoulos, Black Versus White, 2012 below right andrew georgopoulos, photo of Jean Dujardin on the set of The Artist, 2011
candid shots of their more mundane, day-to-day moments, and his travel photography is as contemplative as it is exotic. His personal work, on the other hand, captures for posterity those larger-than-life moments of your most vivid dreams. “I always wanted to go to CCA,” he says. He enrolled in the summer Pre-College Program after his junior year of high school, spending the four weeks studying a little of everything: painting, sculpture, metalworking, photography. “My father attended CCA(C) in the 1960s. When my high school art teachers asked me to make a list of my possible college choices, CCA was always at the top.” He initially enrolled as an Architecture major, then switched to Photography and in the end graduated as an Individualized Major. He found himself constantly encouraged by his professors to push his ideas and comfort level. (continued on the next page)
approach allowed me to dabble in other interests. Most of my friends were not even involved in the Film Program.” Trillo was intensely productive in school, motivated by his own curiosity . . . and easy access to equipment, thanks to his campus job in the Media Center. “I worked on a lot of stuff that wasn’t necessarily for classes. Another student,
noah cunningham (Film/Video 2006), and I would make about a video a week, whether it was for an assignment or not. We were creating stuff nonstop! It was great to explore various weird ideas and spend a day making something strange. One of our videos, Disaster Series, ended
up winning the first season of the VH1 Web Junk 2.0 Award
for Best Viral Video. It was pretty exciting to get that kind of national acknowledgment while we were still in school.” After graduation, Trillo reports, the first year was tough. He and Cunningham were roommates but their collaborations were not as frequent, since their work took them in different directions. He worked in advertising doing editing, motion graphics, and writing. “It was fun, yet frustrating. There wasn’t enough of my own personal work happening, and at the office, ideas would get compromised, projects would get canceled. But I honed my pitch, how to present my ideas to someone and make them interesting. It was a reality check of sorts, to understand what you have to go through to get your ideas made.” He moved to New York in 2011 and began working mostly on freelance projects. “I’m glad to be back doing my own work, (continued on the next page)
above Stills from paul trillo’s How to Fly a Kite
chris johnson helped him improve his technical skills and authorized his extracurricular excursions into the music world, even though they often kept him out of class. “Chris gave me total freedom, but also kept me in line. He will support your vision, but he is also not afraid to tell you when something’s terrible!” Also memorable was his work with the award-winning filmmaker and professor rob epstein . At CCA Georgopoulos began collaborating with another student, paul trillo . “We did a lot of funny projects together. He’s the storyteller, and I’m the radical. We are still working together.” Their short film Happy Birthday Mr. Bracewell was
written and directed by Trillo with Georgopoulos serving as coproducer and
above andrew georgopoulos (second from the left) on the set of The Artist
cinematographer. After college, Georgopoulos became disillusioned with working in the music industry. He found that music video projects usually meant long hours, maximum effort, and little pay. As a correspondent for the magazines Spin and The Source, he photographed and interviewed artists. “I would struggle to get access and work with them. It had been so exciting just a few years before, since often they were artists I listened to in high school. But I was trying to find bigger, more exciting things to work on, projects where I could collaborate all the time, not just document someone else’s vision.”
but it’s a hard lifestyle to maintain!” When we spoke for this interview, he had spent the day shooting some pick-up shots for a new corporate-sponsored short film. The company had approached him and a few other directors to do a series of shorts revolving around the idea of an “everyday adventure.” “It’s an awesome opportunity. I have complete creative control. It’s about looking at a single day, and the infinite variations within that day, through a kaleidoscopic lens.” Trillo also spends much of his time lately working on music videos. He’s always got a new idea, or a song that has been haunting him, and the video commissions provide a constant stream of opportunities to execute on these ideas. “For the Peach Kings video, I was experimenting with shutter bursts of
still images. In post-production I slowed the image sequences down, forcing the computer to morph each frame into the next. You get what feels like seamless transitions. In the Teebs ‘Moments’ video I was experimenting with the Chroma
He moved to Los Angeles and sought out union work at the major film studios. He landed a gig working as a production assistant on a black-andwhite Warner Bros. film and shot some footage while on the set, which he later showed to an executive producer from France. On the strength of this, he was offered a job as a cameraman on The Artist. “I never knew how crazy a $14 million budget movie was, how serious it was. But it was also a really fun film. There were so many great, personable people involved in that movie. We all knew there was something special about it, we just didn’t know what at first.” They found out soon enough. But even before The Artist debuted in theaters to wild acclaim and went on to win the Academy Award for best picture of 2011, Georgopoulos’s life was already altered by the experience. “My work life changed completely. If I hadn’t had that opportunity, I wouldn’t be constantly busy like I am now.” Being a union member gives him the security of steady work, along with health and pension benefits. “Every week is different. I can get a call at 6 a.m. and have to go somewhere.” The gig that day can be anything from a new prime-time pilot to the Oscars show (which he indeed worked on!) to The Price Is Right. A ☞
Read (and watch) more at ajg1985.com
Key effect used for green screen, but instead of using colored smoke I used something like 200 smoke bombs to blend one visual element into another.” His Teebs video has been recently featured at the Vimeo Awards + Festival and in IdN magazine. Meanwhile, Trillo and Georgopoulos have been busy submitting Happy Birthday Mr. Bracewell to festivals, and they are hoping to start work soon on a feature-length production. “We’re focusing our
above andrew georgopoulos (center, with camera) and paul trillo (right) at work on Happy Birthday Mr. Bracewell
energies right now on raising funds. A feature always seems a bit like a fantasy, although I’m realizing it’s not so grandiose. But we’ve got a long road ahead.” A ☞
Read (and watch) more at paultrillo.com
below Stills from paul trillo and andrew georgopoulos’s Happy Birthday Mr. Bracewell
In Search of Todd Shalom by Simon Hodgson
In a New York borough, a group of people meander through
The expectation when he was growing up, Shalom re-
the city. They stop and look around. They close their eyes.
ports, was that he’d enter the family business—steel. But after
They listen. They are participants on an artist-led Elastic City
a marketing degree at Boston University and a brief stint at the
legendary indie record label Rykodisc, he moved to San Fran-
Elastic City is a conceptual walk organization founded by
cisco and enrolled in CCA’s MFA Program in Writing. He dove
CCA alumnus todd shalom (MFA Writing 2004). Lauded
into poetry classes with kathleen fraser , performance
by the New York Times and the Economist and even illustrated in
studies with lynn marie kirby , courses in technology and
the New Yorker, Elastic City has organized walks from Brooklyn
new media with barney haynes , and video making. (Read
to Brazil. Shalom’s title at Elastic City is producer and direc-
more about Kirby and her latest Elastic City walk on page 18.)
tor. He designs and leads some walks, and also commissions
“It was my first experience with art school. The program
other artists to create walks. The walks focus less on providing
was new and there were a couple of moments when I felt my
factual information and more on heightening the senses, un-
New Yorkerness—specifically I worried that, in an effort to
covering the poetry of everyday places, and creating new group
create good community, some people weren’t telling me what
rituals in dialogue with public space. Each walk is an artwork.
they really thought in critiques—but overall I credit the
Lucky Walk, by Shalom in collaboration with Juan Betancurth, encouraged participants to engage in rituals to
program with giving me the flexibility to find my way. “There was real freedom to work within and outside of
eliminate bad luck and bring forth good luck. Homesickness by
the school to connect with people who’d be most helpful to
the urbanist Einat Manoff offered theoretical perspectives in
my practice. For my thesis, I wanted an interdisciplinary com-
urbanism and environmental psychology. Other walks have
mittee, so I chose Lynn Marie Kirby, who works in perfor-
included City Island Hop by Andrea Polli, Love Spells by Emily
mance and film; roy tomlinson , a painter; and joseph
Tepper, and Total Detroit by Niegel Smith. In this last, partici-
lease, a poet, who was also a helpful reader of my work.”
pants started out walking in LaGuardia Airport in New York
Outside CCA, Shalom enrolled in classes in poetry and sound;
and then took a plane to the Motor City, where they continued
his mentors included the composers John Bischoff, Laetitia
the 56-hour performance.
Sonami, and Pamela Z.
It was in San Francisco’s Mission District that Shalom led his first walk. “It grew out of my interests in poetry, performance, and sound. How can I make a sound poem? Using sound, I thought, could bring out the poetry of a walk.” Shalom repeated the experiment in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, and then in Tel Aviv during a nine-month stay in Israel. Finally, on a trip to Peru in 2007, he realized that the walks could become a vocation. “I wanted to get the same sense of exploration and wonder at home as I did in traveling.” Elastic City walks are designed to highlight conscious or unconscious coincidences. They are structured to be political and poetic, educational and experiential, to make participants feel vulnerable and then empowered. The walks mirror Shalom’s discovery of his own path over the last 15 years. Along the way he has turned missteps into rehearsals and mistakes into refinements, welding together his various interests to pioneer a new genre dedicated to changing people’s perceptive capabilities. Shalom has just received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for Elastic City. In addition to running the organization and leading walks in various locations around the world, he also holds a teaching position at Pratt Institute, where he leads an undergraduate poetry class called The Walk as Poem. “Now is the time to throw everything out there,” he tells his students. “In five years, you’re not going to like the work you’re doing now. Might as well explore and see all the different possibilities that are available.”
clockwise from left Todd Shalom on Niegel Smith’s Monumental Walk, New York, 2010; Chiara Bernasconi’s walk We and our Shaaadows, Brooklyn, July 2011; participants in lynn marie kirby’s Laguna Yellow walk in September 2012, saying in their native languages color names they saw at the paint store; sign at Brooklyn Flea, July 2010; Juan Betancurth and todd shalom’s Lucky Walk, New York, October 2010
More Alumni Stories ☞ Visit cca.edu/news and search for the full versions of these stories about CCA alumni and their latest projects:
derek weisberg (ceramics 2005) Derek Weisberg talks about being a full-time artist, cofounding Oakland Art Murmur, his job in New York at Greenwich House Pottery, and his current projects, which include ceramic-based collaborations with tattoo artists.
natasha wheat (mfa 2011) Natasha Wheat was a key contributor to CCA’s 2010 Bean-In, an all-day event involving free bean-based meals and discussions about agriculture as a form of resistance. She’s also one of the featured artists in the Wattis Institute’s fall show When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes.
erinn clancy (media arts 2010) Erinn Clancy and his longtime friend and creative collaborator Justin Nunnink, cofounders of Shot & Cut Productions in New York, are working on projects that range from day-in-the-life documentaries to cutting-edge experiments.
joseph becker (architecture 2007) Joseph Becker, assistant curator of architecture and design at SFMOMA, got his foot in the door at the museum via a part-time position coordinating the design and production of the 800-squarefoot walk-in freezer that housed a car artwork by Olafur Eliasson.
susan miller (ma visual and critical studies 2012) Susan Miller co-curated Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes, a major 2012 exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California.
maja ruznic (mfa 2009) When one of Maja Ruznic’s works was featured on the cover of New American Paintings earlier this year, a sudden flurry of activity ensued, including a hefty feature on ABC news and commissions from the likes of Patch Adams.
alison bailey (photography 2003) Alison Bailey is an associate producer for the Travel Channel TV show Bizarre Foods, which introduces audiences to exotic and regional foods of the world.
david kasprzak (ma curatorial practice 2011) and lindsey white (mfa 2007) David Kasprzak and Lindsey White are two of the three directors of Will Brown in San Francisco, a much-talked-about new art space that is as much a conceptual performance piece as a gallery.
kevin krueger and kristin olson (both individualized major 2011) Kevin Krueger and Kristin Olson are the cofounders of Alter Space in San Francisco, a local alternative arts space
michael sun (graphic design 2010)
that has exhibitions, a residency program, and workshops.
“I’m actually living my dream,” says Michael Sun of his new job as a graphic designer for the Houston Rockets. It is not easy to achieve success in the highly competitive world of graphic design for professional sports.
jonah ward (glass 2006) With an approach that has inspired comparisons to Jackson Pollock, Jonah Ward pours molten glass onto wood panels laid out horizontally on the floor. The finished artworks are the tracery of burns that the glass leaves behind.
After art school at CCA, Pablo Cardoza went on to a career in forensics. “Looking at a crime scene is all about creative visual thinking,” he says. “You just imagine a narrative for the scene in front of you.”
pablo cardoza (art education 1982)
In Memoriam Joe Girard Alumnus, staff member, and longtime faculty member Joe Girard died of cancer on May 12, 2012. In 1966 Girard was both a student and the shopmaster’s assistant in the Sculpture Program. He obtained a BFA with distinction in Sculpture in 1970 and an MFA in 1971. dennis
leon, elah hale hays, and hugh wiley were among his teachers and mentors over the years. He then served on the faculty from 1972 to 1987. He taught classes in metal technology, foundry, and alternative survival technology. He oversaw the design and construction of the Sculpture facilities and served as shopmaster of the Sculpture Program. In 1984 he was appointed director of the Facilities Management Division, a position he held until his retirement. In 1993, together with visiting lecturer eric
clausen , he built the arch over the Broadway entrance to the Oakland campus. Girard retired in 1993 at the age of 53, having spent nearly 27 years—more than half his life at that point—dedicated to CCA. He then enjoyed a productive and happy 20 years on his ranch in Manton, California, continuing to make art in his metals studio, mentoring alums who kept in touch, and partaking in the local social life, which included Civil War reenactments and cannon shoots. He was an active board member of the Lassen Chapter of E Clampus Vitus. Girard will be remembered for his many contributions to CCA as a faculty and staff member, a mentor, and a friend. top joe girard (right) with his good friend and mentor dennis leon. They created outdoor works all over the Bay Area. Leon died in 1998. bottom joe girard and eric clausen install the arch over the Broadway entrance to the Oakland campus, 1993
His lively wit, personal warmth, and enthusiasm for metal arts and casting motivated scores of students during his tenure at the college.
below bill moggridge delivers his speech at CCA’s commencement ceremony, May 12, 2012
Bill Moggridge, who received an honorary doctorate from CCA this past May, died on September 8, 2012, after a battle with cancer. He was 69. Moggridge was an international leader in design and is credited with designing the first laptop computer. He was a cofounder of IDEO, an innovation and design firm with offices worldwide. Since 2010 he had been director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York. He was the first-ever design practitioner to hold that position. In recent years, he helped create and promote the field of interaction design. His views informed our new Interaction Design Program at CCA.
Alumni kenneth alexander May 9, 2012 Advertising 1949 San Francisco, California roger h. bolomey July 26, 2011 BFA 1950 Boulder, Colorado sharon forsman November 24, 2011 Acampo, California
left larry keenan as a CCA student (note Bob Dylan T-shirt), ca. 1965
Larry Keenan Famed photographer and CCA alumnus Larry Keenan (Interior Design 1965, Applied Art 1967) died on August 12, 2012, in Emeryville at age 68. He gained fame at age 22, while he was still a CCA student, when he photographed the famous “last gathering of the Beats” at City Lights Books on December 5, 1965. His classic photograph included Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Robert La Vigne, Peter Orlovsky, Philip Whalen, Lew Welch, Richard Brautigan, and others. They’d all come over that day to watch the photo shoot for the cover of Bob Dylan’s upcoming album Blonde on Blonde. (Dylan didn’t end up using Keenan’s photos for Blonde on Blonde, but the pictures did become album art 20 years later as part of his boxed set titled Biograph.) Keenan’s picture of the Beats, which became known as The Last Gathering, was blown up to wall size for the exhibition Beat Culture and the New America: 1950–1965 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1995. It has been a mural outside the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Keenan’s Dylan photographs, the Beat picture, and several more pictures by him are hanging in a gallery dedicated to his work at City Lights. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. Keenan made a 40-year career of photographing the counterculture while simultaneously maintaining a career as a commercial photographer; his clients included a particular stop-action style, and he was a very early pioneer in the realm of digital imagery. Keenan was born in San Francisco and attended Alameda High School. He grew up in a 32-room mansion; his father was a mortician and the family business was the Chapel of the Chimes. When Keenan announced his intent to be an artist, rather than an undertaker, he was momentarily disowned, but he still drove a Rolls-Royce from his father’s fleet to CCA’s Oakland campus. At CCA he became friendly with the poet michael m cclure , who was on the faculty and noticed pictures he’d taken for the college yearbook. “I asked him if he’d like to shoot some friends of mine,” McClure recalls, “and that is how he ended up in front of City Lights that December day.”
myles (mike) james May 28, 2012 Art Education 1950 Paradise, California drake l. jordan June 14, 2012 Advertising 1958 Duncans Mills, California mary l. katz September 13, 2011 Graphic Design 1981 Strong, Maine gholamossain (gholam) molavi 2012 Interior Design Certificate Laguna Niguel, California lily ordway July 27, 2012 Jewelry / Metal Arts 1997 Canyon Country, California robert (bob) post February 7, 2012 Great Bend, Kansas mary l. spencer March 22, 2012 Art Education 1945 Springfield, Oregon debra j. wood April 3, 2012 Interdisciplinary Fine Arts 1979 Missouri Valley, Iowa jim zimmerman May 30, 2011 Advertising Arts 1972 Santa Rosa, California
Levi Strauss, Blue Cross, Del Monte, and Bank of America. He became known for
peter m. goddard March 22, 2012 Photography 1974 Graton, California
Backward Glance steve purcell (Interdisciplinary Fine Arts 1982) is a cartoonist, animator, director, game designer, and Eisner Award recipient. He works at Pixar, and was a writer and codirector of the 2012 feature film Brave. While at CCA he contributed comic strips to the college newspaper, Spectrum, and these were the first public appearances of his characters known as Sam & Max Freelance Police, a duo of anthropomorphic animal vigilantes and private investigators who have subsequently enjoyed great success in comic, TV show, and game formats. One of Purcell’s friends and fellow students at CCA was mike mignola (Illustration 1982), who went on to become the creator of Hellboy. They both studied under vince perez and gary ruddell. After graduation Purcell freelanced for Marvel Comics and spent some years at LucasArts and Industrial Light & Magic before landing his current job at Pixar.
“I was in need of humanities credits, and the college news-
I wanted to do it. I ended up with fans in high places who
paper sounded like an interesting choice. I wrote art reviews
would ask to license Sam & Max for games, a TV series, and
and did some spot illustrations, but I most enjoyed making
more games. I always made sure to never give up the owner-
strips for the comics page. I tried a few different subjects.
ship of them so I could start over after each adaptation.
One was about a job I had as a donut delivery driver, and
I really enjoy writing conversations between Sam & Max.
another one showed how to make a kite out of the news-
My comics letterer used to tell me the scripts sound like me
paper. But Sam & Max resonated with readers the most.
talking to myself. I can drop them into any situation, and I
A few years later, a friend of mine was self-publishing
know how they’ll react. But they are adaptable because the
his comic and wanted to add a title to his imprint. He asked
audience understands the basic equation of their friendship.
about Sam & Max. I took my time and figured out exactly how
The folks I’ve worked with on the adaptations to games and
above The first Sam & Max comic strip in the Spectrum
TV seem to understand Sam & Max and appreciate the wide range of situations one can create for them. Their personalities anchor them in whatever lunacy they find themselves in the middle of. I’ve created some characters that I’ve subsequently barely touched, and others that I still like but haven’t quite cracked. I never throw them away because there might be something there, and it’s just eluding me. Sometimes they sort themselves out over time, like they are being developed in the back recesses of my brain while I’m not paying attention. The good ones make themselves heard. Shortly after I graduated, I was making my living as a freelance illustrator. It wasn’t always easy, and I spent my share of time scraping by. The jobs ranged from technical illustrations for computer manuals to covers for video game packages. I would take on anything, but looked for chances to do the work I enjoyed—something that was funny or that I could put my personality into. Eventually that brought me more opportunities to do what I liked. I was always interested in filmmaking, but ended up sneaking up on it through being an artist.”
above Suda from the comic Toybox, and a character concept for Fergus from the Pixar film Brave
california college of the arts 1111 eighth street san francisco ca 94107-2247
facebook.com/CaliforniaCollegeoftheArts twitter.com/CACollegeofArts pinterest.com/CACollegeofArts 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. The photograph on the cover of this issue, Eden Fire Hooping, is by student eden pieper (Photography 2014). It was this year’s R.A.W. Photo (cca.edu/rawphoto) audience award winner. Pieper says, “This is a longexposure shot that I took of myself ‘fire hooping.’ It’s a hula hoop with attachments that you light on fire.”
non-profit org u.s. postage paid pewaukee, wi permit no. 1209