Otis: Creative Capital at Work SPRING 2012 This issue of OMAG makes abundantly clear that creativity is serious business. Otis talents not only adeptly navigate but also inventively drive this economy. Now in its fifth edition, the annual Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region has put real numbers to creativity (see pg. 10). Since its inception in 2007, it has firmly established that the creative economy is powerful in Southern California as a revenue generator (with more than $200 billion in sales and receipts), and as a major employment force (supporting one in eight jobs in the region). The profiles of alumni entrepreneurs (see pgs. 2 - 9) portray how a diverse group of creative thinkers and makers meet both the challenges and opportunities of the creative economy in Los Angeles and throughout the nation, and how they enrich our society with their skill and their vision. Their paths and passions differ, but their comments echo a common point, well articulated by alumni Daniel Phillips (’08) and Kim Karlsrud (’07): “No school can completely prepare you for what everyone faces after graduation, but it was at Otis that we learned to combine our creative instincts with the ability to act upon them in strategic ways.”
The creative economy — big business as it is — is only one dimension of the creative capital that Otis and its community deploy to make a difference. The impact of creative capital extends beyond measurable economic indicators. Consider the fact that, every year, through Otis’ unique Integrated Learning program, nearly 1,000 students and faculty partner with 35 community sites to create social solutions through art and design. Most significantly, many Otis students are the first in their families to attend college to become high-skilled professionals, and through their socioeconomic transformation, their families also advance. This March, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation awarded Otis a major gift of $600,000 to support scholarship grants and the Integrated Learning program. This May, the Annual Otis Scholarship Benefit will raise $1 million in scholarship funds. Such generous support acknowledges Otis’ effectiveness in nurturing human capital through art and design education. The return on investment is that Otis alumni are great resources to social, intellectual and economic development. That is creative capital at work.
President Hoi at the 2011 Otis Report on the Creative Economy Event with Olga Garay, Executive Director, City of L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs (left); and Ruth Eliel, Executive Director, The Colburn Foundation (right)
Samuel Hoi, President
Enterprising Alumni - a sampling of alumni who made the decision to strike out and start their own enterprises
Alumni Around the World
2011 Otis Report on the Creative Economy Teaching English with iPads My PST: Rethink Art in L.A. 1945-1980 Ecuador is for the Birds: Rose Brantley Howdy, Folks: Gary Geraths A Writer’s Life: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum Downsizing Photography: Soo Kim Unleashing Creativity with Mixel Ad Man, Art Man: Peter Goulds
Matt Carter (’10 MFA) in China Bita Rad (’08) in Singapore
Getting Real: Lola Thompson (’10) and Paula Little (’11) N.Y event Greg Wilken (’04) at CUE Campus Updates
Founded in 1918, Otis is L.A.’s first independent professional school of visual arts. Otis’ 1200 students pursue BFA degrees in
on White on Doorway, Enamel and acrylic on canvas,
advertising design, architecture/landscape/interiors, digital media, fashion design, graphic design, illustration, interactive product
Publication of material does not necessarily
84 x 63 inches, 2011
design, painting, photography, sculpture/new genres, and toy design. MFA degrees are offered in fine arts, graphic design, public
indicate endorsement of the author’s viewpoint
Photography: Kristina Campbell, John Eder, Mark Iantosca, Byron LiCausi, Jeff McLane, Bill Orcutt
practice, and writing. Otis has trained generations of artists who have been in the vanguard of the cultural and entrepreneurial
by Otis College of Art and Design
Creative/Design: Mark Caneso (’04)
culture and the significant impact of identity, politics, and social policy at the intersection of art and society.
Alumni Relations Coordinator: Shefali Mistry
Contributors: Faculty members Debra Ballard, Rose Brantley, Siel Ju, Karri Paul, Katie Phillips, and Kerri Steinberg; Freelance writer George Wolfe; Alumni Matt Carter (’10 MFA), Paula Little (’11), Bita Rad (’08), and Lola Thompson (’10)
through their creativity, their skill, and their vision.
Back cover: Tofer Chin, 2700 Fluorescent Red Squares
Co-editor: Laura Daroca (’03 MFA Fine Arts), Director of Alumni Relations
Otis prepares diverse students of art and design to enrich our world Otis College of Art and Design
Editor: Margi Reeve, Communications Director
OTIS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN MAGAZINE
life of the city. Nurtured by Los Angeles’ forward-thinking spirit, these artists and designers explore the landscape of popular
© Otis College of Art and Design
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
start ups/////////////////////// /////////////////////snaplnx.com ///////////////////yellow108.com /////////////thecommonstudio.com ///////////////////oliandjoe.com //////////////////////pstype.com //////////////norosesgallery.com ////////////////monrowattire.com ////////fieldprojectsgallery.com //////////////satsukishibuya.com ////////////////kirstiekelly.com ///////////studio-homunculus.com ///////////fifthfloorgallery.com /////////////////gallery3209.com /////////////////greyrainbow.com ////////bedfordfallsheadwear.com ///////////feverpaintstudios.com ///////////////districthomme.com ////////////////design-ranch.com ////////////////////tulapink.com ////////////////nancynewberg.com /////////////////////ashkahn.com The alumni whose work is shown in the following pages are a sampling of those who made the decision to strike out and start their own enterprises, which range from body painting art and headwear design to an art gallery to seed bomb dispensers. Some of them responded to the downturn in the economy by developing their own projects, finding opportunities for new ventures.
Building on their creativity, commitment, connections and professional skills, they share the late Steve Jobs’ belief that “staying hungry and staying foolish” is the key to success. Their studies prepared them well, as they explain, “At Otis, we learned to combine our creative instincts with the ability to act upon them in strategic ways, and that's made the difference.”
In another alumna’s words, “At the end of the day, money or fame do not inspire me but the freedom to express my own thoughts and philosophies is essential.” Learn more about these alumni: their breakthrough moments, the most rewarding and challenging aspects of their work, and how Otis prepared them to stike out on their own, at otis.edu/startups
’07 TOY DESIGN
Apollo Crowe SnapLNX I’m an inventor/problem solver, and my friend had a problem: how could a bartender keep his sleeves rolled up, and out of the sink, while handling the rigors of furious martini shaking? The answer: an “all-in-one-clip” that holds your tie, sleeves, cuffs, or cash.
’05 FASHION DESIGN
Jody Rollins Yellow 108
Our lifestyle brand specializes in accessories made from salvaged and eco textiles: hats, bags, scarves and sunglasses that are simple, fun and easy to wear every day. I suprised myself when one day I found beauty in an Excel spreadsheet. Moments like this crush the shell of who you think you are; opening up all the possibilities of who you could become.
Daniel Phillips & Kim Karlsrud ’07 PRODUCT DESIGN
Seedbombs, the weapons of choice, are small nuggets of clay, compost and native seeds that can be thrown into and grown in neglected corners of the urban landscape. We’ve distributed 75 million seeds into the world.
Greenaid started as a means of realizing a design idea in the face of a recession. After experiencing the frustration and lack of opportunities within our fields, we stayed proactive and engaged through collaborating. We've found that when you start with local issues and needs, rather than clients, the projects are more relevant, meaningful, impact-oriented and fun. The down economy allows new types of creative and responsible industries to emerge, and if you're willing to take a risk for something you believe in, there's always a way to make it happen.
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
’83 COMMUNICATION ARTS
Lisa Sirlin Hall
No Roses Gallery
When we collaborated with supermodel Amber Valletta, and saw the great response to our designs, we knew we were on our way.
’04 FASHION DESIGN
Michelle Wenke & Megan George Monrow
After two decades of producing creative projects for other people and companies, I took a look at my own work and realized I’d neglected my own point of view for too long. I began a multi-year journey to create and market a cohesive body of work, and launch an artisan jewelry gallery.
Launched in 2007 as a basics label, Monrow has quickly risen to the top. The ever-growing brand produces eleven collections a year: In addition to the women’s collection collaboration with Amber Valletta, we recently introduced men’s, mini, and classics (tees, sweatshirts, sweats) in an array of sixteen colors. We design quintessential wardrobe staples with attention to fit, fabric, technique, and innovative prints.
’04 COMMUNICATION ARTS
I wanted to be able to create in the way that I envisioned, with full creative control.
ps.Type, the typographic lab of my firm, ppprwrk studio, offers bespoke type design, lettering collaboration and a growing library of retail typefaces (42 fonts, 6 families). I had the advantage of studying under Greg Lindy of Lux Typographics while at Otis. This gave me handson knowledge about what it takes to run an independent type foundry.
’01 FINE ARTS
Jacob Rhodes Field Projects
’07 COMMUNICATION ARTS
Olivier Chatard Oli + Joe I worked at Yahoo for two years, and had some freelance opportunities. I liked working with different teams and projects, and spent two years learning how to manage a business and contractors. With my own agency, I work crazy hours but I deal directly with our clients, build relationships with them, and have the flexibility to do creative projects.
As a working artist, co-founder and director of Field Projects, an artist-run gallery in Chelsea, N.Y., I balance my time between my studio and the gallery. As director, I curate shows, handle PR, head new projects, do studio visits, and make sales. I’ve learned how simple professionalism can make a huge difference.
I dreamed about starting my own company during my studies at Otis.
My escapades thus far have included studying music at USC and graphic design at Otis, pursuing a career as a singer/ songwriter, delving into hard processes such as pattern design and sewing, and launching my design studio.
'07 COMMUNICATION ARTS
Satsuki Shibuya Shibuya Designs
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
’07 FINE ARTS
Rose (Brantley) never allowed us to do second-best; she was constantly pushing us to the limits. To rise to the top in a challenging industry, this was the push I needed. I always felt that if I had made it through Rose’s program, I could certainly make it through anything.
I have a particular affinity for art as it relates to architecture and design, and I wanted to create a space that reflected those ideas. Helping my clients find something they love while supporting local artists and designers who often become my friends is very rewarding.
’93 FASHION DESIGN
Kirstie Kelly Bridal Couture
Curating shows has helped me stay inspired and connected to other artists and curators. I am constantly doing studio visits, and after each visit, I always feel the need to create my own work. At Otis I had a tight-knit group of friends and colleagues who made work that I admired. One passed away in 2009, and I wanted to produce a group show rather than a memorial show. I used a gallery space, and hand-picked some artists from Otis. From there, Gallery 3209 was born.
Denni Zelikowsky Gallery 3209
My book got picked up on the front page of Reddit, a really important social news aggregate website. From one little email to a humor website, the floodgates opened. Within the week, I had over 200,000 visitors to my website, and by the end of the month I had offers from a handful of great publishers. I went with Harper Collins.
Fifth Floor Gallery
As trends and technology change, my ability to think creatively and communicate my ideas with clarity allows me to adapt.
My studio focuses on design that reflects human nature, provoking a dialogue about behavior, psychology, and technology. The work ranges from products and spaces to interactive experiences and systems, always questioning the essence of our daily surroundings and their semantics.
’11 COMMUNICATION ARTS
Cole Moss Unicorn Industries / Grey Rainbow
’09 PRODUCT DESIGN
Joong Han Lee Studio Homunculus
’07 FINE ARTS
Abigail Cosio Bedford Falls Headwear Bedford Falls Headwear makes vintageinspired headwear and accessories in a variety of materials including leather, feathers, fabric, lace, applique, buttons and beads. We have a retail base in New Orleans but enjoy the traveling carnival aspect of music festivals where our product fits well into the scenery or celebration. Our product harkens back to a time when ladies dressed ornately and decadently.
New Orleans is a city that held dear the same principles that I had chosen for my company: celebration, revelry, self-expression and decadence.
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
’02 FINE ARTS
’07 FINE ARTS
Creating airbrush tattoos of band logos and other designs for people and fans nationally is one of the most fun jobs on the planet! We travel to festivals, shows, and all kinds of events. Painting on a living being is unlike working on any other canvas. The fact that the work we do is so labor-intensive and yet so temporary really creates a sense of appreciation for the moment and the work. Seeing our work come to life is truly magical, whether in a music video, film, photograph or performance.
07 COMMUNICATION ARTS
& Samitra Borhanpour
Jenny McLean Tula Pink
I focus on the thought process that goes into design. The ability to think creatively and communicate my ideas with clarity is crucial to being able to adapt as trends and technology change. Using social media, I jumped into direct contact with consumers who want to know where their products come from, and what the story is behind the brand.
’84 FASHION DESIGN
Inspired by a handful of diamond beads purchased at a gem show, I began making long flowing chains for myself and for a few friends. These necklaces caught the eye of the jewelry buyer at Barneys New York, and I was summoned to a meeting. Through her encouragement, my hobby became a business. Using my background in fashion, I began to create, manufacture, and market my debut jewelry collection within a year.
Nancy Newberg Nancy Newberg Jewelry
Fever Paint Studios
There was no way in hell that I wanted a 9-5 job working for someone else. I had a ton of ideas and needed the time to develop them and share them with the world.
Without Otis, we would be quite lost! Otis connected us to Warner Bros., which led us to Metallica and the Foo Fighters.
A friend in N.Y. introduced me to an actor who was starring on the popular TV show Glee, and in just two short weeks I designed him a suit that he wore to the Grammy Awards. The exposure I got from that event gave my business the attention and press it needed to get off the ground, and opened my eyes to all that I am capable of.
’05 FASHION DESIGN
Debbie Sabet District Homme
’06 FINE ARTS
Ashkahn Shahparnia ASHKAHN Studio + Company
’89 COMMUNICATION ARTS
Ingred Sidie Design Ranch
Growing the business and getting national attention for our work has been very rewarding. Most recently, Design Ranch was featured in Communication Arts magazine, the “bible” of advertising and design.
My company, ASHKAHN, specializes in art direction, design, illustration and products like greeting cards, prints, accessories and t-shirts.
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
Invest in the Region’s Creative Capital: A Collective Call to Action
Teaching an English Class with iPads: Is There Really an App for That?
L.A. is unique because of its place, resources, and openness to new ideas
At the annual launch event for the fifth of Otis’ Reports on the Creative Economy, leaders from business, philanthropy, nonprofits and government came together to share ideas about using the data to produce a collective impact. President Hoi spoke about how Otis enriches the Region’s cultural capital as well as its social, intellectual and economic capital, through community engagement programs such as Integrated Leaning, in which more than a thousand students and faculty members work with more than 40 community partners each year to propose solutions to social issues; the Artists, Community, and Teaching Program, which trains students to act as interns in K-12 schools, museums and community centers; and Continuing Education, in which creative professionals develop their skills, enriching the Region. He also spoke of the many Otis students who are the first in their family to attend college, and how their professional success helps the whole family to advance socioeconomically. Hoi cited many examples of the increased evidence that the creative sector is connecting with government, philanthropic, and corporate organizations to address the Region’s needs and potential. The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time provides strong evidence that a group of more than 80 arts partners can cooperate to attract new audiences, and drive cultural tourism. Panel moderator Jim Canales, President and CEO of the James Irvine Foundation, broadened the conversation from creative economy to creative capital, which includes the social, cultural and political impacts of the creative class. He attributed L.A.’s uniqueness to its place, resources, and, most important, openness to new ideas. This attitude results in a more robust economy that attracts more creative professionals. Canales also spoke of the transcendent social and political values that underlie creative expression, and the need to bring the economic and the intrinsic value of the arts together. The Getty Foundation’s Joan Weinstein characterized Pacific Standard Time as “The Era that Continues to Inspire the World,” exemplifying creative capital in action. According to Weinstein, L.A. has always looked toward the future and often forgotten its past, but this initiative has brought to the fore the Region’s unique art movements: Feminism, Chicano, Light and Space, and modernist design (lifestyle). PST’s goals were to rewrite the history of modern art from a “left coast perspective;” to bring the Region’s rich history to local, national, and international audiences; and to develop new audiences. This unprecedented collaboration among 82 partner institutions has produced a measurable increase in cultural tourism. As Chair of the L.A. Coalition for Economy and Jobs and Chairman and CEO of City National Bank, Russell Goldsmith often speaks about the need for advocacy for and understanding of the importance of an educated workforce. “Creativity is the heart and soul of L.A.,” he stated, describing California industries (entertainment, design, technology) as the future of the U.S. He asked,”What are the key engines of SoCA? How do we strengthen them? How can political leaders help? Why doesn’t LAX have PST info for tourists in their own languages or an MTA cultural bus loop that links the PST sites?” He advocated for shared goals among nonprofit and for-profit institutions, stating that together we can build on the power of creativity to create a thriving 21st century economy. Sponsors this year included the James Irvine Foundation, Mattel, Getty Foundation, NEA Art Works, California Community Foundation, Dept of Cultural Affairs, Nike, Sony, Boeing, City National Bank and CAbi.
Debra Ballard, Chair, Liberal Arts and Sciences
Most English classes tend to drag but the iPad class was definitely a refreshing new way to learn with a wonderful, entertaining instructor.
Last fall I was curious about what would happen if we gave a class of creative Foundation (first-year) students, born around 1993 and surrounded by technology, the two-years-new and stillevolving iPad. What would they do with it? How could I teach with it? Specifically, I was interested in its impact on collaboration, consumption, community, and creation. Otis prepares students to be adaptable in a world characterized by dislocating change, where many of the jobs they will have don’t yet exist. I thought I’d practice this since higher education is experiencing its own paradigm shift. I was particularly excited since everything is evolving, and there are no ready
“ Creativity is the heart and soul of L.A.
answers to the questions and ideas we are exploring in class. I asked the students to consider emerging patterns, trends, and applications, and what impact technology is having on the world socially, culturally, and artistically. So far I’ve discovered that iPads are just the right size (with no vertical screen) — they seem to — encourage community and collaboration, allowing face-to-face and online interactions simultaneously. Since many of our readings are online, it reduces student costs and allows work to be easily archived and accessed in places like Dropbox and Evernote. It certainly is great going paperless, and apps like iAnnotate make responding to work a colorful snap. However, tablets are limited in what they can produce, and not particularly good for longer writing assignments. Something about this class (beyond the delightful students) has made this a distinct teaching experience for me and, I hope, an effective learning experience for them. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to disconnect from my own tantalizing digital companion and, free from its constant and alluring distractions, reflect on what the experience means for future classes.
Top: President Hoi addresses audience; Bottom left to right: Board Chair Thom Miller, and City National Bank CEO and Chairman Russell Goldsmith; members of Student Government Association
Traffic to the Otis’ Report on the Creative Economy (otis.edu/econreport) site has doubled in the last year. Visitors who speak 36 different languages have come from 598 cities. Read blog comments by arts leaders, learn more about regional and national resources, and share the facts.
I loved taking our weekly quizzes on our iPad, and simply e-mailing them to Debra right after we were done. The cool apps that we found on our iPads made interaction easy. I never enjoyed writing project proposal essays and taking quizzes until this class.
The casual atmosphere of the class helped me get to know my fellow students, and prompted us to take an active role in each other’s learning as well as our own. At first we were all exploring this new technology together, and that curiosity and interest gave us a common ground.
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
My PST: Students Reflect on Art in L.A, 1945-80
Our city — unanchored, unmoored, peripatetic, far-flung, ever-expanding — roves, wanders, unites and divides, raises up and suppresses, diversifies, segregates, binds and sets free.
In several Liberal Arts and Sciences classes this year, students engaged in a broader community discussion about L.A. art, connecting directly with the exhibitions in 68 different institutions that were part of the Getty’s “Pacific Standard Time: Art In L.A. 1945-1980.” As viewers and observers, they researched and commentated, exploring “the era that continues to inspire the world.” Three faculty members (below) who taught these courses and five students (right)
Lex Drewinski, silkscreen, 1997 Berlin
share their insights.
from “Doin It In The Library,” courtesy of Center for Study of Political Graphics
Kerri Steinberg, “Designing the Political”
Siel Ju, “Tidal Shift: Surfing Pacific Standard Time”
Karri Paul, “Art in the City of Angels”
This fall, eleven sophomores took to the hallways and
When do art history students become cultural critics,
Our city — unanchored, unmoored, peripatetic, far-flung,
library. Their mission? — to open a dialogue with the
first-hand researchers, and art historians themselves?
ever-expanding — roves, wanders, unites and divides,
“Doin’ It In Public” PST show at the Ben Maltz Gallery,
Ideally, every student engages with the community
raises up and suppresses, diversifies, segregates, binds
I love Weegee’s dark witticism. Many of the prints that
and confront the struggles still faced by women in the
beyond the classroom walls, but such broader
and sets free. How, then, does it fit into a classroom?
I viewed at the “Naked Hollywood” exhibition were
contemporary world. Using a selection of posters from
engagement was de rigeur for participants in “Tidal
Fortunately, in this case, it doesn’t have to. "Art and the
unflattering or comical photographs of poor souls
the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG)—
Shift: Surfing Pacific Standard Time.” Students in this
City of Angels" (ACA), a hybrid class, combined traditional
captured by Weegee’s mocking lens. For example, in his
an archive of over 80,000 political posters — the students
junior-level art history elective blogged about their
classroom activities such as lecture and discussion with
series of a fan being denied an autograph at a premiere,
researched and then annotated more than 30 posters.
experiences and findings, through conversations and
independent fieldwork and online interaction. Through
within four snapshots the seeker’s face goes from enthu-
They collaborated on themes and statements to address
interactions with the blogosphere and beyond. They
regular blog posts, students researched, discovered and
siasm to abject despair and disappointment. You have
issues that were not highlighted in the Ben Maltz show,
took on broad political, historical, and aesthetic
articulated the complex relationships between cultural
to applaud Weegee for doing such a fine job of capturing
including transgender identity, women and war, body
questions, from critiquing the scarcity of lesbian artists
identity and visual production. They analyzed the
true emotion, while simultaneously pitying the poor fan.
issues, and women and diversity. The posters, along with
featured in the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
imagery of Hollywood glamour and the idealized
Throughout my visit to the gallery, I chuckled and smirked
the annotations and group statements, were featured in
exhibit to discussing the unique “Californian” aspects
California body (Muscle Beach, Venice) from feminist or
at Weegee’s snapshots of Hollywood reality, and his
their curated show, “Doin’ It In The Library.”
of Helen Lundeberg’s “Blue Planet.” Their blog entries
gay/lesbian/queer points of view. They studied creative
disfigured portraits. Weegee would probably derive humor
started conversations with curators, educators, artists,
uses of non-traditional art materials, ranging from
from my discomfort.
and the wider L.A. art community.
industrial resins and automotive enamel to detritus and
“Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles”
From Asia to the Americas, and from Africa to Australia, the exhibition amplified the focus from the Woman’s
I found myself more interested in Weegee’s captures
Building to examine the concerns of feminism from an
human hair. They confronted non-traditional visual
of awkward moments than his visual distortions of
international perspective. Indeed, students learned that
media and practices, ranging from performance and video
celebrities’ faces. His images of drunk tanks full of men
the feminist struggle lives on, and that even in the digital
art to Earthworks and the Light and Space movement.
sleeping off the previous night’s excess were something to
age, the political poster continues to function as a voice
They explored the influences of Southern California’s
behold. These photos document the lesser-known side of
for those whose oppression otherwise keeps them silent.
geography on its art and design, and examined the ways in
L.A. Men are stacked on top of men in an almost intimate
which suburbanization, car culture, teenage consumer-
“Under the Big Black Sun”
“Under the Big Black Sun”
“Mapping Another L.A.:
way. No one is fighting for space. They almost look peace-
ism, leisure activities, entertainment, national politics,
The Chicano Art Move-
ful. In truth, these men are a sorry bunch, and I wonder if
ment,” Fowler Museum,
Weegee felt humor or sympathy at their plight.
and popular media have shaped the L.A. art scene. And of course, they celebrated the significant contributions of Otis faculty and alumni.
Blue Wall (1959) by John Ma-
I found Suzanne Lacy’s
If you object to illegal street
Maybe Weegee took the photos because he knew that
son was the most memorable
“Three Weeks in May” utterly
art, what about the artist
other people would want to see these things for them-
piece that I encountered. It
horrifying. I had never real-
who uses illegal drugs? Legal-
in Los Angeles, 1930-1985”
selves. Holland Cotter got it right in The New York Times
own identities, histories, socio-political responsibilities,
looked so similar to denim
ized that rape was such a
ity is such a complicated
when he said “Weegee was fascinated by our fascination.”
and creative practices while exercising their unique
jeans that it made me wonder
silent problem. Later I read
question that in the realm
interpretive processes and written voices. Through
if Mason intended that it
that it only became illegal
of art, it is often ignored or
Why do the majority of
the arrival of their favorite actors. Why else would he snap
collaboration with their classmates (via weekly blog posts
resemble an icon of American
for a spouse to rape his wife
forgiven. Would you favor
Chicano artists use elements
so many pictures of funny scenarios and embarrassments?
and peer commentary) and with L.A.’s leading artists,
culture. Additionally, this
in 1970. It gave me a real
street art if it becomes legal?
of Mexican culture rather
Most importantly, ACA students reflected on their
This is the reason that he took photos of crowds gasping at
As the MOCA gallery guide put it “Weegee variously
designers, scholars, and institutions (via PST), these
piece means a lot to me be-
perspective on how lucky we
I personally do not have a
than drawing from their new
promoted himself as an expert technician, a mentor to am-
students built a thoughtful and thought-provoking online
cause Mason attended Otis!
are as women to have laws
problem with illegal street
identity as Chicanos? I be-
ateur photographers, a documentarian of Hollywood star-
record of their progress — one that I was privileged to
Although it sounds generic,
that protect us because of
art as long as it is part of the
lieve in categorizing all work
dom, and a shameless lecher.” He attracted an audience
facilitate. I believe that these excerpts from their posts
it really does inspire me and
performance protests like
content that the artist pro-
by artists who have Mexican
for his mockery of society, and fed off their hunger for
attest to the richness of our endeavors to educate and to
gives me hope that one day
poses. Also, how would you
descendants as Mexican
more. Our desire for amusement fueled him as he found
become educated; to enlighten and to become enlightened.
my work can be displayed
define subtleness? Can art be
art. I’m not a Chicano; I’m
more of what he and we love to see. A photo of Cheeta the
in museums and viewed by
subtle? Should it always be
Mexican. My work might
chimp eating at a fancy restaurant perhaps?
thousands of people from all
universal? Should it always
be realism, impressionism,
over the world.
address the mainstream?
abstract or romantic in style.
Students visit LACMA’s “California Design, 1930– 1965: Living in a Modern Way” exhibition with
Understanding Chicano and
Jo Lauria (’90 MFA) and faculty member
Mexican art is like trying to
Joan Takayama-Ogawa (second and third from left)
understand a Bible.
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
Fall semester 2011 meant a sabbatical for Fashion Design Chair Rosemary Brantley, who has
Ecuador is for the Birds (and other Living Creatures)
run the department for the past three decades. As she imagined her time away from Otis, Brantley identified two main goals: integrating sustainability into her own professional fash-
Rose Brantley Learns from a Sabbatical
pagos taxi cabs), and finally arrived at our
I had imagined the Galapagos as the last
process of living and working and learning
expected to see local artisans creating
first island, Santa Cruz. I quickly adapted
pure, clean place on earth but found it
together. Uplifted and inspired, I returned
hand-woven and dyed textiles. But what I
to stepping over iguanas!
contaminated by the huge growth in tour-
to teaching with a renewed commitment
ism, and the problems brought by man
to sustainable fashion design.
one of those white Toyotas dropped me off
(including pigs, rats, dogs) that upset the
tiles, religious ornaments, painted walls
at an undisclosed location on the remote
ecosystems. Unfortunately, most flora and
time on my own professional fashion
and pavements—on the streets, and in
Isle of Isabella. The driver simply pointed,
fauna across the islands are endangered.
design practice, I came to the realiza-
courtyards and cathedrals. Urban street
saying “go that way.” I walked down into
But what inspired Darwin’s theories about
tion that the retail world is not ready for
art combined with colonial artistry took
a deep lagoon, and looked around. In the
the interconnectedness of species and the
sustainable design that requires too much
on a special meaning for me as now, far
far distance, up in the blue sky, I spotted
balance of nature remained there for me
explanation. We are teaching our students
away from my Otis life, I had time to
two large indistinguishable shapes (air-
to see. Centuries later, finches still eat the
that fashion design must change in order
really look and discover. After 32 years of
planes?) headed right toward me. Alone
fungus off turtles, and red crabs continue
to sustain our planet. But I recognize that
teaching and managing a department,
and more than a little wary, I was relieved
to “groom” iguanas.
there is still a lack of understanding in the
when my inner “Otis clock” woke me up
to finally recognize them as huge birds
in Quito (Ecuador's capital), I would think
with massive wingspans. They were pink
Back on the Job:
both need to be taught the sustainable
subconsciously about what my students
flamingos. Who knew flamingos were
I brought these Darwinian concepts back
principles. To be truly successful at fash-
and faculty were doing at that moment
black under their gorgeous pink wings? In
to Otis to encourage the collaboration
ion now and in the future, education will
back in L.A. But I forced myself to lose
unison, the two flew majestically overhead
that comes from the interconnectedness
need to be a part of the design process.
those thoughts in order to truly soak up
while I sat on the white sand beach as
among faculty and students — the
the inspiration around me.
After a 3 1/2-hour flight over nothing but water, I saw the islands approaching like
hidden inside pockets for smart phones and other handheld devices
One day, in the heat of the afternoon,
diversity of geometric patterns—mosaic
Musings and moments in the Galapagos:
button reversible jacket with
on earth. She found both, and shared her thoughts on what she learned from her sabbatical.
When I planned my trip to Ecuador, I
found most remarkable was the incredible
Brantley designed this single-
ion design work, and finding inspiration through travel to one of the most primitive places left
broken-up pieces scattered across the sea. Indeed, three million years ago, the Galapagos formed from one “hot spot” in the ocean, and mounds of black lava flowed in starts and stops, drifting from as far away as 30 miles. Landing in Baltra, we found nothing but an airstrip surrounded by tall, tree-like cacti (Puntia) with their flat and rounded cladodes (cactus pads). When these pads fall to the ground, tortoises bite through their 2-3"-long thorns to get to the juicy green pulp inside — an example of adaptive radiation. The cactus provides the habitat and food source for many of the island's species. After collecting our luggage, we boarded a bus to a water taxi to another small port where we were loaded into white, two-seater Toyota pick-ups (Gala-
During my sabbatical, while spending
industry and among consumers. They
Howdy, Folks An interview with Gary Geraths
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
Every student at Otis knows Gary Geraths. A Foundation faculty member for twenty years, he teaches Life Drawing in Foundation, and Drawing in Digital Media. Gary wrote a text for animal drawing, and created three extremely popular “how to” videos on drawing the figure on Otis’ YouTube Channel (youtube.com/OtisCollege). His popular videos have put him in touch with artists all over the world. A fourth video will be released this spring. The following are excerpts are from a dialogue between Gary and Katie Phillips, chair of Foundation
K - I’m interested in your approach to life
K - What feeds all that?
Left: demonstration drawing of muscle
K - Gary, that was a good experience,
K - I love the way you teach students to
drawing, both in the classroom and in
G - I am constantly drawing. If I stop
groupings of the back and arm
but you’ve had some hairy experiences—
move through mistakes. I know that your
your videos. Life drawing is generally con-
drawing, I lose facility. I’m addicted to
Right: American Family ( for Todd), charcoal on
hanging off cliffs is an odd way to sketch.
demonstrations are the result of thorough
sidered a very traditional and academic
drawing. I draw within the confines of the
G - I’ve always liked solitude. I’ve always
aspect of the arts, and yet you begin your
classroom, but a large part of my practice
liked to go to a place and to deal with the
G - When you’re going out to a wilderness
videos with “Howdy, Folks.” How do you
is drawing in the natural environment.
physical and spiritual elements of the
place, you’ve got to “gear up.” I prepare for
world. There’s nothing more uplifting
the classroom in the same way. I don’t get
reconcile your casual approach with your
Drawing in the natural environment
paper, 8 x 26' (detail) Below: Student Reese Charchol sketching at the zoo in “Animal Drawing” class
allows me to see the wonderment of every-
than being in nature. Ever since I was very
lost in the wild or in the classroom. I iden-
G - Well, life drawing can be intimidating,
thing. It’s a leisurely examination of the
young – 7 or 8 – I’ve been going out to the
tify the goal/destination and prepare for
starting with the disrobed human stand-
world. Whether I’m sitting on the edge of
“wild places.” I speculate on the formation
not one solution, but for many situations.
ing in front of you. The model is another
a cliff or drawing for a class, it’s an amaz-
of the geological and physical elements,
I want to teach the students a variety of
human, not a still life. I want to break
ing opportunity to be able to have that
and lose myself in it. And it’s not just my
solutions. It makes for much more satisfy-
down barriers for my students; create
expansive time to take something apart
addiction to drawing in the notebooks; the
ing and fulfilling outcomes.
access and a safety zone. There is a duality
and put it back together again (through
practice of being in the wild informs my
involved in teaching life drawing. It is
drawing). You can transcend the moment,
in the classroom. In climbing, you trust
both intuitive and analytical – an angel on
and then look back at it. A photograph
K - But back to the notebooks. Are you
your partner with your life. I’m always en-
one shoulder and the devil on the other.
won’t do that.
looking for any special type of event?
couraging students to rely on each other.
In drawing from the figure, you can screw
K - You must have tons of sketchbooks.
G - I’m just sort of a voyeur, like in the
I think that’s the power of Otis – not just
up an elbow and no one ever knows, but
G - It’s up to about 140, give or take a few.
O.J. Simpson trial (as an independent
with students, but among faculty. I think
you drop an eye a quarter of an inch and
I’ve lost count over the years. One of my
media sketch artist). It was very much
of the faculty as my rope-mates.
you’ve documented a science experiment.
favorite trips was to Tibet for two months
about watching the participants’ emotions
As I said, it’s intimidating. If you approach
in the summer of 2010 with George Fuen-
—swings from extreme joy to extreme
teries. It allows me to be who I am in the
it in a casual but focused way, you can let
tes (’06). We were both drawing constantly.
anguish. It was a different type of artistic
classroom. Being in the wild is magical.
out steam and avoid implosion.
I planned a pilgrim’s journey, not a tourist
expression than going out in the wild. I
I try to get the students to get lost in the
K - You’re well known for your teaching but
route, and we visited many monasteries.
was a neutral observer, a college professor
classroom experience in the same way.
you also have an unusual studio practice.
We sketched everywhere, and everywhere
there to draw people and observe events.
There’s a wonderment to it.
G - At the moment I’m working on large-
we went, we drew huge crowds — 20 to
K - Where else have you been with your
scale works for several shows. There are
30 people — which is very strange when
opened up a life magazine when I was ten
elements in the drawings that deal with
you are sitting on the edge of a 2,000' cliff,
G - Throughout the West, from Baja to Mt.
or so, and saw a list that a famous explorer
shape, form and scale only, but within the
17,000' up in the Himalayas. We asked our
McKinley, Alaska, the seashore, deserts
made of places he wanted to visit. I’m still
same drawing there may be more natural-
guide why people were so interested. He
and mountains. I’ve traveled throughout
checking off this list …
istic passages that describe the movement
told us that portrait drawing astonished
Europe, Tibet, Nepal and Singapore and
that is always present in nature, but less
Tibetans because it is not part of their
Last summer, after being lost in the Grand
visible. Last year, I completed an 8’ x 26’
culture. We gave drawing lessons, since it
K - You’re also a rock climber. How does
Gulch Primitive Area of Utah for three days,
drawing for the Claremont Museum.
is a friendly and universal thing. The emo-
that tie into your work and teaching?
Gary was lucky enough to flag down a U.S.
When I develop one of those über-large
tions created by our interactions really
G - It’s chance-taking. The ability to be
Army Chinook helicopter that deposited
drawings, it’s usually about the collision
brought home to me the power
able to try, fail, and give it another shot.
him safe and sound, but 350 miles from
of elements; the evolution, decay and
of images. Half way across the world,
There’s always another route, trail or path-
where he had left his car. Fortunately for
re-growth in nature.
we were communicating, connecting
way to get you up and over an obstacle.
Otis, he was able to make his way home, to
After you take an 80’ plunge down a cliff,
begin another year of teaching.
I’m also a big believer in teamwork
Being in the wild recharges my bat-
If you want to know why I do this: I
failing at a drawing doesn’t really seem like such a big deal.
More at garygerathsart.com
A Writer’s Life By George Wolfe
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
Born in South Korea, moved to
(A long pause), 2011, hand-cut
Los Angeles in 1980 / B.A. University
chromogenic print with acrylic paint,
of California, Riverside / M.F.A.
62.5 x 61.5," 2011,
California Institute of the Arts,
Collection of Albright Knox Art
Valencia (Critical Studies) / Exhibited
nationally and internationally at:
“Hush, Mother says. Madeleine is sleeping. She is so beautiful when she sleeps, I do not want to wake her. The small sisters and brothers creep about the bed, their gestures of silence becoming magnified and languorous, fingers floating to pursed lips, tip toes rising and descending as if weightless. Circling about her bed, their frantic activity slows; they are like tiny insects suspended in sap, kicking dreamingly before they crystallize into amber. Together they inhale softly and the room fills with one endless exhalation of breath: Shhhhhhhhhhhh.”
The J. Paul Getty Museum; LACMA; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen; the California Museum of Photograpy; Angles Gallery; Gwangju Biennale, Korea; Whitney Museum, N.Y., among others.
— Madeleine is Sleeping
“Sarah Shun-lien Bynum’s writing writing is characterized by compelling poetic language and fairy tale-tinged content.”
ate an iPhone app as well. In a few weeks, Paul and I will be taking accepted MFA students on a walking/driving tour through literary L.A., starting at Union Station and making our way through Hollywood and up to Griffith Observatory, seeing the
Downshifting in Photography By George Wolfe
homes and stopping by the favorite watering holes of Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Joan Didion, Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Nathanael West, to name a few. We can show students the size and complexity of L.A. while exploring its incredibly rich but often unsung literary
The principle that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction embodies the art, processes and teachings of artist and Director of Otis’ Fine Arts Photography Program, Soo Kim. Except, perhaps, that Soo's reactions are more opposite than equal.
history.” Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, recently
and I was really struck by the students’
appointed Assistant Chair of Graduate
engagement and energy. So I’d been a fan
Sarah tells of working under the same roof
Writing, was born in Houston, grew up in
of Otis long before I started teaching here,
as her husband, Dana. Having shared an
Boston, and most recently hails from the
and knew and admired the work of several
office for years — with his desk in one cor-
University of San Diego, where she taught
of the faculty writers and artists.”
ner and hers in the other — they recently
writing and literature. She graduated from
Graduate Writing’s emphasis on trans-
Regarding her dual-writer abode,
moved into separate workspaces. “I needed
Brown University and the University of
lation was of interest to Sarah, as well as
more room for my books and knickknacks,”
Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 2010, The New
the diverse books that Seismicity Editions
she admits, “and he needed more room for
Yorker magazine dubbed her one of the top
publishes. “It’s great to be able to offer stu-
a good-sized screen to watch movies and
“20 Under 40” writers for her two novels
dents a truly hands-on experience working
T.V. I miss his presence! Not that we would
(Madeleine is Sleeping and Ms. Hempel
with publications that are so thoughtfully
interact a lot while we were working but
Chronicles) and notable short stories.
edited and elegantly designed. I’m also
it was comforting having another writer
She’s been a finalist for the National Book
looking forward to exploring the possibil-
nearby, engaged in the same struggle to
Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and
ity of cross-disciplinary conversation and
get images and ideas and emotions onto
is widely published in various reviews and
collaboration with Otis’s other graduate
journals. Her writing is characterized by
compelling poetic language and fairy tale-
Activities that the writing program is
And when it comes to working across artistic disciplines, and being affected
pursuing this spring include a literary tour
and inspired by the breadth of creativity
of L.A., stemming from L.A. Exile, Chair
that defines Otis, Sarah speaks to why she
her husband (a television writer) in 2005
Paul Vangelisti’s book about L.A. writ-
became a writer: “If I could be a photogra-
“for all the age-old reasons: seeking artistic
ing, which offers a wide sampling of the
pher, a dancer, a bass player in a rock’n’roll
opportunity, looking for a good place to
literature produced in and about the city,
band — I would! I’ve tried and fantasized
raise a family, craving natural light and
and includes a guide to the physical spaces
and fallen short. I spend my days hunched
better weather! Some of our first friends in
that various writers called home while they
over a keyboard because writing is the only
L.A. were Otis alums, which is how I first
art form for which I’ve shown any aptitude.
tinged content. She moved from Brooklyn to L.A. with
became interested in the school. And then
“We’re making this guide available to
Graduate Writing Chair Peter Gadol invited
everyone online through the Grad Writing
me to read in the Visiting Writers Series,
website,” adds Sarah, “and we hope to cre-
I love my medium, but I also love so many others.”
With increasingly sophisticated cameras
Soo came to photography toward the very
having taught at a lot of different colleges
photography, especially considering that
on cell phones, suddenly everyone is
end of her graduate schooling, prior to
these past 17 years, she considers Otis her
the conditions in which we see photo-
a “photographer.” The speed at which
which she had been working mainly with
home base. “I admire my colleagues in the
graphic images have changed so radically
people can now take, manipulate and print
installation and film. Since that time she’s
department and across the college,” she
in the digital era.”
pictures — often applying sophisticated
been focused on how photographs index,
notes, “the faculty who teach the photog-
stylistic filters with the push of a button,
circulate, and inform the viewer about
raphy courses with me, and the students
in roles of both critiquing and making
and even assembling whole albums in min-
the world. She explains that, since around
with whom we get to work are wonderful
art, does she run into problems that pit
utes — makes for a whole new world.
2002, “I primarily make work where I cut
one side of the brain against the other? “I
“It’s an interesting time to be a photogra-
and excise pieces from the photograph to
pher,” Soo observes. “Online, you see so
consider the materiality of the medium.
tography Program in 2006, she has been
tions,” she says. “When I was writing more,
many more images than we used to see
I include absence and voids as part of the
working on a track in Editorial Photog-
the space of writing allowed me to access
in the printed realm. As a reaction to the
vocabulary of my work, in both content
raphy. “My idea for the track is to teach
interests that didn’t find their way into my
ubiquity and velocity of digital photogra-
young artists to think about their practice
artwork – I used the connections between
in a broader scope, where the worlds of
writing and art-making to both address
phy and its dissemination, especially on-
She refers to her process as “idea-driv-
Since she started running the Pho-
As a photographer who is constantly
believe art is based in philosophy, in ques-
line, I concentrate on reading and making
en but mistake-loaded. Once I’ve decided
Fine Art and Editorial Photography could
and raise questions. At different points in
photographs slowly, and in the possibility
on a concept, I research related subject
meet. There are many artists whose ap-
my life, I’ve approached these questions in
of uniqueness. [My] work asks the viewer to
matter, and I consider ways to work with
proach to photography has complicated
different ways — through writing, making
slow down and engage—to become aware
the image after it has been printed. Some
the once adamantly-defined boundaries
work, curating, teaching. I try to be open
of both time and materiality.
photographs remain in my studio for years
between art and editorial — Roe Ether-
to different ways of thinking, so that my
before I work with them. Or I may spend
idge, Wolfgang Tillmans, Juergen Teller,
thought-process does not automatically
with one’s work is not a new condition
months cutting a print before having to
Taryn Simon, Adam Broomberg and Oliver
come through making work, but perhaps
brought on by digital photographic tech-
start over. Mistakes are frustrating but
Chanarin, Philip Lorca di Corcia — even
through teaching, or writing, or curating.”
nology. I’m interested in thinking about
an important part of my process, which
Stephen Shore, to name a few. My goal is
how photography lives in the world, and
operates outside of the perfection of digital
not to extend the site of one’s photographs
be set at, artist and instructor Soo Kim
my work examines the ubiquity of the
photography, slowing both its conception
to occupy more than one place, but rather,
will inevitably stick to her principles and
photographic form, about the depiction of
to question the vocabulary, use, and
practices until she can get enough of us to
subversive qualities of contemporary
slow down and truly see.
“The desire to have the viewer engage
cities and landscapes, of dimensionality and materiality.”
Otis was one of Soo’s first teaching jobs right out of graduate school, and
No matter what speed the world may
Unleashing Creativity with Mixel By George Wolfe
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
Although his decision raised a few eyebrows, he followed his heart. After parting on good terms with The New York Times and donning his entrepreneurial hat, he and his partner raised $700,000 in start-up funding, allowing them to quickly move forward with their flagship iPad app, Mixel, that launched in November 2011. Mixel’s stated mission is “to empower creative self-expression for new audiences and users everywhere, [combining] the transformative power of social networks and multi-touch tablets to let people from all walks of life make art — and
Taking his cue from the setting of the famous cave paintings in France, alumnus Khoi Vinh (’93, Communication Arts) co-founded the company Lascaux in 2011 to address “the innate impulse that we humans have to express ourselves visually.”
have fun doing it — in a wholly new way.” What that means is that it’s the world’s first social art els,” using images from the Web, Mixel’s library, or their own photos. Any Mixel image can be quickly cropped, rotated, scaled or combined with other images using simple, intuitive touch gestures familiar to iPad owners. “Most art apps,” he says, “translate the analog art experience into digital form and stop there. They overlook the transformative power of a user’s social graph, which can turn an “expert” activity like art-making into something
painted cave walls, but in some ways the basic urge of
casual, accessible and even addictive. Mixel is a true
this fundamental activity remains very much the same.
social experience, which is why it’s so much more fun
According to Khoi, as a suburban Maryland high schooler,
he spent most of his time in the art room, working along-
Once users post their collages, or mixels, others can Thinking about his Otis background, he recalls:
side his fellow students in an atmosphere that was both
reuse or re-crop the component pieces, creating a unique
individual and social. Today he finds himself re-creating
creative dynamic. They can also remix any other user’s
“I thought I’d be an illustrator, but halfway through my
that same environment, among the skyscrapers of
mixels, creating derivative works organized into engross-
junior year, I got turned on to graphic design. In part, I
Manhattan — and instead of students and teachers,
ing visual conversations (‘threads’), with the power to
was influenced by the emergence of Macs. I realized that
he now deals with investors, business associates and
quickly go viral. “Mixel’s goal is to unleash the creativity
everything I’d been interested in was fundamentally a
his fellow designers.
that lies dormant in non-artists everywhere,” notes Khoi.
graphic design problem. My illustration work was collage-
“We want the doodlers, the photo-book-makers —anyone
like, so the idea much later on for an app like ours seemed
company after working as design director for nytimes.com
who loved making art as a kid but, along the way, lost the
perfect. I was glad to be able to reach back and tap into
from 2006 to 2010. “I just got the itch to develop and own
social context that encouraged them to keep creating.
that earlier work, which I always loved.
a product, to bring it to life,” he says. “I never set out to
Mixel is incredibly easy to use and unintimidating, yet
“I guess the main thing that Otis taught me was to
work in journalism. I’m a designer at heart, and what I’m
at the same time it sparks the creative urge that many
think critically, to really look at events, opportunities and
best suited for is the challenge of designing user experi-
people haven’t tapped since childhood.”
problems, and come up with creative solutions.”
Khoi took a soul-searching big leap to start his own
ences — superb user experiences.”
Mixel’s goal is to unleash the creativity that lies dormant in non-artists everywhere
Ad Man, Art Man
On a Southern Californian winter day in the late ’70s, two men— one an ad man, the other an art man—met at LA Louver, a new gallery in Venice. that would grow into L.A.’s biggest ad firm, TBWA\
nect — intentionally and otherwise — over the
By George Wolfe
Chiat\Day (representing clients such as Apple,
years. The gallery represents Otis alums Ken Price
Pepsi and Nissan), stopped in a gallery to inquire
('57), Alison Saar (’81 MFA) and Gaijin Fujita (’97).
about a print by Jasper Johns. Peter Goulds,
Otis gallery director Meg Linton also collaborated
the gallery’s founding director, responded that
on a phenomenal catalogue that accompanied a
the piece, on consignment, was listed at $3,500.
show of Louver-repped artist Don Suggs, at the
The man thanked him and went away. Later, he
Ben Maltz Gallery in 2007.
Jay Chiat, a few years into a business partnership
returned, once again asked the price, and was
app. Users create and share digital collages, called “mix-
A lot has changed since our cave-dwelling ancestors
LA Louver and Otis have continued to con-
Goulds remembers his own years at art
told it was now $4,500. The man went away again,
schools in London, Coventry and Manchester,
eventually returned, and was informed that the
England, and explains how dramatically the art
price had risen to $7,500, to which, exasperated,
world has changed over the last four decades. “It’s
the man finally declared, “Well, I guess I’d better
a fabulously exciting world up ahead — certainly
buy this thing!”
with more change than when I was in school.
Thus went one of the first art transactions
There are digital forms, social media, websites,
for the man who would go on to become one of
etc., and how all those new disciplines become
the most prominent art collectors in the U.S., and
integrated tools to affect how we think and with
later donated work to the Whitney, the Museum
which to develop our ideas. Tim Berners-Lee,
of Modern Art and many other institutions. The
credited with the invention of the World Wide
friendship developed between Jay Chiat and Peter
Web, says that right now we’re only using 5% of
Goulds lasted the next 30 years, and ended with
the web’s potential (roughly the same percent-
Chiat’s passing in 2003.
age as our own brain usage). That’ll have a huge
Cut to the year 2000, with Goulds in the midst
effect on the art school education. I don’t believe
of his ten-year Otis trustee tenure, as the chair of
that digital media is ever going to replace analog
the Education Committee. Goulds proposed that
completely; things come and go; there are ways to
Jay’s very generous contributions to American
use both. We take the best from every form, and
art merited receipt of an honorary degree from
find ways to do more with it. And art education
the school. As Goulds recalls, “He was grateful
will be one of the central places where the evolv-
for the recognition. Sadly, for personal reasons,
ing drama of the new world, in large measure,
I wasn’t able to attend the commencement, but
is reconciled within the art school system. After
a fellow trustee reported that Jay’s speech went
all, to design is to make, shape, organize and put
well. I was quite surprised, however, to hear
information together. I’m confident that it isn’t
that he used my working life as an example for
going to be in the political realm that these huge
students as he spoke of how they might navigate
shifts are going to be decided.
their way through life. Not only that, but at the
“And personally, where I’m headed… You
end he announced his creation of a ‘Peter Goulds
know, I’ve never harbored a specific, set ambi-
Scholarship Fund,’ and his initial contribution of
tion — that is, I’ve always simply followed my
$100,000. The name has since been changed to
curiosity. While I am representing artists, I have
include my wife, Elizabeth, and we continue to
remained an information designer. That’s my
contribute to that fund. I know from being a trust-
main skill, and what I’ve always used to run my
ee and participating on that particular committee
gallery. Now, perhaps for the first time, I have
how critical scholarships are to Otis’ health. It’s
an ambition: To live to be 100. That’s another 40
make or break for many students, with 86% of the
years, more or less. The next 40 will be fabulous!
enrollment receiving some form of financial aid.”
The body can go to hell as long as the mind is still there. Yes, I remain insatiably curious to see what the world will look like then.”
LA Louver Director Peter Goulds, 2012 Frederick Hammersley exhibition (insert) Goulds, 1978 Hammersley exhibition
Alumni Around the World
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
CHINA In May 2011, I participated in BASEbeijing, a program es-
and comfort. This pillow, made out of a recycled pair of
tablished by L.A.-based architects Robert Mangurian and
pants, became an icon and generator of place. Building on their traditions, we imagined that intro-
China, and provide alternatives and possibilities for new
ducing more pillows could help to create a gathering and
and sustainable environments.
communal space. We produced 40 pillows from images
The association with BASE provided an opportunity to become part of an authentic, little-seen part of China for eight weeks, where we could build on already-estab-
we had taken, printed them on canvas, and stuffed them with peppercorn seeds and recycled plastic bags. We presented the pillows to the residents on our last
lished foundations. A tourist who happened on these
trip, along with a slideshow of images and videos of the
rural villages two hours north of the city would likely be
village, for them to gain insight of their home through
met with an air of hostility and intrigue.
our alien eyes. The pillows represented our collaborative
With two students from Tulane University, I exam-
Matt Warren | (’06 MFA Fine Arts)
Alumni Around the World
SINGAPORE Mary-Ann Ray, to document the changing face of rural
Space Cowboy Howling at Chinese Moon
time spent in the village as a souvenir, but not in the form
Life has a twisted sense of urgency when it presents you
Striking Out for Singapore
with opportunities. In May of 2009, I made my way to N.Y. for a two-month stint as Associate Designer for DKNY Jeans International. As my time with the company was coming to an end, the Creative Director asked me to move with the company to Singapore as a full-time Associate Designer. At first I declined the offer, as the thought of permanently moving to N.Y. was already frightening enough. There were three weeks between the day that I got the offer to the day that they needed me to start. Without
Bita Rad | (’03 Fashion Design)
thinking anything through, I changed my mind and decided to try it out. I moved to Singapore with the inten-
ined the public spaces in the village in terms of their
of an intrusive construct that would ultimately become
social routines and interactions. The village resembled a
unwanted and unused. Some images were specific to
ghost town for much of the day, as it consisted of elderly
particular locations, others were portraits of individuals
pier than ever. Living on this side of the world has opened
residents whose children live and work in the city, and
or transcripts of a conversation. Ultimately, they were of-
my eyes to completely different cultures, customs, and
grandchildren who board at school during the week.
ferings of thanks for allowing us to share their village life.
value systems than those to which I was exposed while
Although this lack of energy added to the tranquil setting,
tion of staying only six months. Two and a half years later, I live in Asia and am hap-
The BASE experience also offered an insight into
growing up in Beverly Hills. Known as Asia’s most “tran-
it also reflected its social environment. Residents worked
rapid urban development and an opportunity to be part
sient” city, Singapore is home to many different cultures.
in the fields from dawn until dusk and, with no commu-
of the Beijing art scene, through meetings with such
It is not even visible on most world maps, but it serves as
nal spaces in which to mingle after dark, returned to their
well-known artists as Ai Weiwei, Wang Quingsong, and
the connective tissue between the Eastern and Western
respective homes. The prospect of entertaining friends
He Yungchang. Our studio was based in Caochangdi,
Worlds. Sub-cities within Singapore, such as Little India,
and neighbours did not seem to be culturally significant.
a prominent arts district, and despite the demanding
Chinatown, and Arab Street are cultural experiences unto
The idea of isolation was prominent, both in geographical
schedule there was time to explore Forbidden Cities
themselves. Moving overseas has allowed me to travel
location and social interaction.
and climb Great Walls. My favorite souvenir is my
and immerse myself in cultures throughout Asia. My route
Chinese name that translates, depending on whom
to work takes me through a colorful variety of fashion,
followed the shade, traversing the alleyways and streets to
you ask, as ‘Space cowboy, riding on the open plain
culture, and food as I traverse a crowded Chinese street
accommodate the seldom-seen residents during intervals
howling at moon.’
market with fresh seafood, a Hindu Temple with decorative
During our visits, we observed a solitary pillow that
of relaxation. Public space grew out of simple necessity
golden shrines, a famous Mosque, and a 57-story national monument, all within a ten-minute cab drive. Weekends tend to be extremely surreal. With Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia all an hour flight away, I explore exotic beaches and authentic flea markets. The inspiration is infinite! The opportunities in Singapore with my career and in my personal life are immeasurable. I can work directly with factories and vendors that I would otherwise be communicating with via email. My co-workers are all international designers, and we are continuously learning from each other’s backgrounds in fashion and culture. It has been fascinating to learn about everyone else’s design experiences in different parts of the world. Looking back at my time at Otis, I realize that even more than honing my craft, I learned the valuable lesson of an efficient work ethic. Otis pushed my limits and boundaries much farther than I thought possible. It prepared me for the long hours and stamina that are crucial to working in a foreign country with professionals who have different skill-sets. Somehow the dots connected in a way I did not expect, and the long hours I spent working
The pillows represented our collaborative time spent in the village as a souvenir, but not in the form of an intrusive construct that would ultimately become unwanted and unused.
I explore exotic beaches and authentic flea markets. The inspiration is infinite!
through the wee hours of the night prepared me to work far more effectively in the “real world.” On trips around the world, I see major department stores carrying my collections, and people in the street wearing my designs. I am extremely grateful to the fundamental tools that Otis provided me so that I can contend in the global market. From here, the possibilities and opportunities are endless, and I look forward to my future.
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
ALUMNAE ALUMNUS ALUMNI ALUMNA Laura Daroca (’03 MFA Fine Arts) Director of Alumni Relations
The listings below are a sampling of recent alumni achievements. Share your latest news on The Otis Times blog, and keep in touch with each other and Otis on our alumni Facebook page. Go to otis.edu/alumni for links to both of these sites or contact us at email@example.com.
’81 MFA Fine Arts
’97 Fine Arts
Martin Luther, from The Vallance Bible; “The Word
Roof Top, 2010, spray paint, paint marker, Mean Streak paint stick, gold, white gold and platinum
of God,” The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
leaf on wood panel; “Made in L.A.,” LA Louver Gallery, Venice Image courtesy of LA Louver
’89 Fine Arts
’02 Fine Arts
Koplin del Rio Gallery, Culver City
Lu Magnus, N.Y.
“The Chosen Ones” San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
Jade Lai (’02), Ashkahn Shahparnia (‘10), and Andrew Lewicki (‘07)
“Come In! 2: Surf. Skate. Bike.”
’90 MFA Fine Arts
A & D Museum, L.A.
“Repositioning Basics” CB1 Gallery, L.A.
Sabine Dehnel ’03 MFA Fine Arts
“The Things of Life”
’91 Fine Arts
Morgen Contemporary, Berlin
“Disparate Collectives” Western Project, L.A. Camille Rose Garcia
Michelle (Mia) Araujo ’07 Communication Arts
Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City
’03 Fashion Design
’92 Fine Arts
Costume designs, Tennessee Williams’
“Snow White: The Complete Works on
“Baby Doll,” Lillian Theatre, Hollywood
’07 MFA Fine Arts
Michael Kohn Gallery, L.A.
CB1 Gallery, L.A.
’08 Fashion Design Senior Designer, Fashion and Apparel
Julianne Eckert ’09 Digital Media Goodnight Molly, awarded Silver Monkey Award (Jury Selection) at 2011 Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival
SOLOISTS Ernest Lacy ’60 Fine Arts “Dance, the kinetic figure” Shannon Center Gallery, Whittier College Malcom Lubliner ’62 MFA Fine Arts “The Anxious Landscape” Richmond Art Center, Richmond, VA Peter Liashkov ’67 Fine Arts “Paper Cowboy” Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
John M. White
’69 MFA Fine Arts
’79 MFA Fine Arts
“The Four Worlds”
Offramp Gallery, Pasadena
Ohr Hatorah Synagogue, Mar Vista
’77 MFA Fine Arts
’79 MFA Fine Arts
“Unpredictable: New Ceramic Sculpture”
Hillwood Art Museum, Brookville, NY
L.A. Harbor College Fine Arts Gallery, Wilmington
Karla Klarin ’78 MFA Fine Arts
’85 Fine Arts
Schomburg Gallery, Santa Monica
“80s Portraits” Thomas Paul Fine Art, L.A. “See the Women Who Shook Up the Art World in 2011,” Artinfo.com
’94 Fine Arts
at Nickelodeon, for Dora the Explorer,
’08 Fine Arts
Victorious, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,
Hübner + Hübner, Frankfurt
MFA thesis exhibition: Breath
How to Rock, and iCarly
UC Irvine University Art Gallery Nate Mitchell
Yong Sin ’95 Fine Arts
’04 Toy Design
’08 MFA Fine Arts
Started company Squid Kids Ink,
Terminal 2, LAX
CB1 Gallery, LA. Jessica Hoffhines
Juan Capistran ’99 Fine Arts
’05 Fashion Design
12th Istanbul Biennial
Gershom (Rob Spruijt)
Designs for bebe featured in ad cam-
’01 Fine Art
’01 Fashion Design
paigns including Nylon, InStyle, and
Designed Wings Flying Hoodie for air-
Marie Claire magazines and bus stop
Lora Schlesinger Gallery, Santa Monica
plane travel, wingswear.net
Karen Yi ’07 Fashion Design
Rebecca Chamlee ’85 Communication Arts Further Apocrypha, poems by Ray DiPalma, a letterpress printed, hand-bound book won the 2011 Tampa Book Arts Studio Letterpress Excellence Award
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
while also expanding orthodox defini-
’03 MFA Fine Arts
tions of American and European sculp-
“Seven Young L.A. Painters I Like,”
ture since the 1960s, died at his home
Culture Monster, LATimes.com, Leah
and studio in Taos, N.M. He was 77. In the
Ollman, March 2011
decades following World War II, Price was
New York, New York
Alumni Get Real
among the first generation of iconoclastic Becky Koblick
L.A. artists to attain international stature.
’04 Fine Arts “Curator Corral: Five Curators,”
At the time of his death Price (below) had
ArtSlant.com, September 2011
completed preparations for a 50-year retrospective, scheduled to open at LACMA
Danny Phillips (’08 Architecture/
in the fall in an exhibition designed by ar-
chitect Frank Gehry. “Price’s practice has
Kim Karlsrud (’07 Product Design)
remained resolutely original, challenging
Greenaid seedbombs included as one of
categorization and redefining contempo-
“10 Hot Startup Sectors for New Business
rary sculpture,” said Stephanie Barron,
Ideas in 2012,” Entrepreneur magazine,
senior curator of modern art at LACMA.
AWARD WINNERS Joe Sola (‘99 MFA Fine Arts) Police Pyramid 2011, oil on canvas, 23 7/8” x 19 3/4” courtesy of the artist and Blackston, New York
IN THE NEWS Khoi Vinh ’93 Communication Arts Cited by Fast Company in its October issue as one of the 50 most influential designers in America, and profiled in The Atlantic magazine Ruben Ochoa ’97, Fine Arts Elton John purchased a major work from an exhibition at the Pinchuk Foundation, Venice, Italy Joe Sola ’99 MFA Fine Arts Solo show “The Senior Discount” at Blackston Gallery, N.Y., reviewed by Brian Boucher, Art in America, January 2012, and Anne Doran, Time Out New York, November 2011. Included in ARTnews, “Biting the Hand that Feeds Them,” December 2011
Raymond Zibach (‘90) at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony
Barbara Maloutas ’02 MFA Writing New chapbook, Of Which Anything Consists, published by New Michigan Press, 2011
Raymond Zibach ’90 Communication Arts Academy Award Nomination, Animated Feature, DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 2 Production Design. Also included work by Soo King (’92 Communication Arts) in the Surfacing Department
Lola Thompson (’10 Fine Arts) was a finalist in Bravo’s
2011 Annie Award for Production Design
Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, and Paula Little
in an Animated Feature
(’11 Communication Arts) acted as Design Producer for CW’s Remodeled.
’04 Communication Arts
’77 MFA Fine Arts
Awarded Certificate of Typographic
Exhibiting fine artist and beloved Otis
Excellence by the Type Directors Club
Continuing Education instructor passed
for the book design The Great Picture:
away in February. His work was exhibited
Making the World’s Largest Photograph
nationally and internationally, and he
1: Alumna Jade Lai (’02) welcomed 60 alumni and friends into her Manhattan boutique, Creatures of Comfort, on March 22
“Making Art was my Only Job”
was awarded artist fellowships in Taos,
2: Justin Gooding (’90 Fashion Design), Fashion
New Mexico, and Costa Rica.
Design Chair Rosemary Brantley, and Randy Hild
After graduating as valedictorian with honors, I embarked
It was so much fun I would almost do it again. Sure, it
(Hild Consulting, Quiksilver marketing consultant)
on an exciting journey, transitioning my skills for reality
was odd to be followed around by strange men holding
‘10 Communication Arts One of 150 illustrators from 30 countries
television. I earned the role of Design Producer for
very large cameras mere inches from one’s face. And
selected for Taschen’s Illustration Now:
’96 Fashion Design
Remodeled, currently airing on The CW Network. Nate
yes, being scorned by strangers and having every aspect
NIKE Senior designer (2001-2007) and
Galui, formerly of Extreme Home Makeover, led our art
of my personality and choices critiqued by anonymous
department of two. Otis prepared me for the sleepless
strangers was frustrating and sometimes hurtful. But the
nights we endured, working 48 hours around the clock
fact is: How many times in one’s life does the opportunity
to makeover office spaces within a twelve-hour window,
come along to make art 24 hours a day, seven days a
2002 Otis fashion design mentor, Jason
Greg Wilken at CUE Foundation, N.Y.
Jonathan Stofenmacher (Bottom Left)
passed away on March 25, 2012. His fam-
’10 Fine Arts
ily asks that donations in his honor be
City of Pasadena Department of Cultural
made to the Gentiva Hospice Foundation
Faculty member Tucker Neel (’07 MFA) was selected
transforming them from blank canvases into high-
week? For the month I spent in N.Y. filming season two of
Affairs grant for create mural on Side
in support of Odyssey Hospice
by New York’s CUE Foundation’s Young Critic Mentoring
styled New York modeling agencies. The experience was
Work Of Art, The Next Great Artist, I did just that.
program to write the catalogue essay for Greg Wilken
phenomenal, as I developed my skills and learned every
Ever imagine what it would be like to live thinking solely
(’04)’s The Road of a Thousand Wonders exhibition,
day. I now have a love for interior design, set design,
about art, free of the usual worries of daily life, with no
’57 MFA Fine Arts
curated by photographer and filmmaker Sharon Lockhart.
construction and production. The intensity of production
bills to pay, no errands to run, no cell phone to answer,
Street Projects’ new mobile trailer classroom Sang Youb Shin
Internationally recognized printmaker
meant that high-quality craftsmanship and design was
no family to nag you, no e-mailing, no Internet, no news
’11 Digital Media
and teacher, Ranscon passed away
created in minimal timeframes. I rebranded six modeling
of the chaos unfolding over the world? The only catch is
First place, Promax Broadcast Designers
January 2, 2012 at his home in Oaxaca,
agencies around the U.S., in addition to recreating two
that about 30 seconds after you are gently prodded from
Association Competition, Student
Mexico. The Coastal Arts League
brands for functionality of use and design concepts. As
slumber, camera and sound guys will begin filming your
Animation and Design - Motion Category
Museum in Half Moon Bay held a 40-year
Design Producer, I experienced various forms of design
every move for the rest of the day until you fall into bed.
retrospective of his work in fall 2011. In
and execution, including trade outs, wallpaper design,
The weirdest part about being on reality TV was that it
Mexico, Rascon’s work is displayed at the
large- and small-scale vinyl graphics, window graphics,
rarely felt like we were making a TV show. Instead it felt
Office of the Governor of Oaxaca, and in
modeling portfolios, logos, 3D signage, CNC metal signs,
like we were collaborators in a surreal experiment, and
Spain at the Sala Provincia de Leon and
business cards and much more. I gained such respect
everyone had a part to play. The critique process was
the National Library.
that at the last minute I was flown to St. Louis to do a
terrifying at first, but as we went along the conversations
’57 Fine Arts
makeover on my own. Recently, I was Art Director for a
got more interesting and the judges got more involved
Excerpted from L.A. Times obit by
new MTV show. I have also been designing illustrations
and invested, resulting in some really great discussions.
Christopher Knight, Visiting Critic in
and artwork for various shows and pilots.
IN MEMORIAM Ken Price
Fine Arts, 2010-11 Kenneth Price, a prolific Los Angeles artist whose work with glazed and painted clay transformed traditional ceramics
Otis College of Art and Design Alumni Magazine
Visited the Campus Recently?
Kathleen Ahmanson Hall
The A/L/I Class of 2011
and the Bronya and Andy
designed and built “Otis
Linda Pollari redesigned
Galef Center for Fine
Social Space: Landscape
the Ahmanson lobby,
Arts have been joined by
Extrusion,” a full-scale
adding a reception desk
Otis’ North Building. The
and display cabinets for
former Bank of America,
under a canopy of trees
now part of the Otis cam-
adjacent to the Galef
pus, houses Architecture/
Center, which won a
SPARK PRO Gold Award.
For the remodeled
Graduate Public Practice
The continuous and
studio spaces. The next
varied profiles of decks,
lounge, Troy James
time you head north on
seats, lounges, chaises,
(‘08 Product Design) (aka
Lincoln Boulevard toward benches and tables are
Tiki Jay), designed and
LAX, take a look at the
fabricated from steel
painted a custom mural.
new Otis signage.
tubes, wood decking and
NEW NORTH BUILDING SIGNAGE SOCIAL SPACE
pillows that can accommodate up to 110 people.
HELP THE O FUND GROW! Our students need your help to launch their careers. Please make a 100% tax-deductible gift that is meaningful to you by visiting our secure site at otis.edu/givenow. Contact Andre Khachtourians, Director of Annual Giving, with questions on the options for annual giving. (310) 665-6869 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Darren Waterston ’88 Communication Arts
310. 665. 6869
Throat, 2011, Oil on wood panel, 16 x 16”: “Forest Eater,” Haines Gallery, San Francisco