Otis College of Art and Design Magazine
Otis is 90! As the Otis community celebrates the College’s 90th anniversary in Fall 2008, we can be proud that we have lived up to our mission—Otis prepares diverse students of art and design to enrich our world thorough their creativity, their skill, and their vision. Otis holds the distinction of being the first independent professional school of art in Los Angeles, and has grown from a small training school for artists in 1918 to a nationally recognized and innovative college of art and design in 2008 (see Otis’ historical highlights in the centerfold timeline). Celebrations marking the 90th milestone are multi-faceted, including publications, exhibitions, art commissions, alumni reunions, and, of course, parties. Otis’ great alumni successes are captured in Otis: Nine Decades of Los Angeles Art and Otis Designs. The former volume, documenting achievements in fine arts, was published in 2006 in conjunction with the very successful and widely seen exhibition at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Otis Designs, released for the 90th Anniversary homecoming (see pgs pg. 3), celebrates achievements in design. These publications are a testament to the depth and reach of Otis’ distinguished alumni, who have propelled art and design movements, reflected social history through art, and created icons such as the Oscar statuette, the animatronic IZ MP3 player, classic animated characters,
award-winning visual effects, high fashion, and popular sports apparel. The insights and wisdom of many outstanding alumni are being captured for posterity through the Otis Legacy Project (see pg. 14-15). In aggregate, they tell an inspiring message that passion for creativity is life-long. Galleries are collaborating with Otis to present our faculty and alumni work this year in “Otis Across L.A.” (see pg. 30-31). The anniversary festivities culminate with a Homecoming Weekend celebration in October which includes an alumni exhibition opening and world premiere (see pgs. 6 and 12 ). We can look back at almost a century of influential art and design education that has nurtured compelling artistic voices, shaped the cultural landscape, and driven the creative economy in Southern California and beyond. Otis’ future is even more promising. The Otis of 2008 continues to evolve its academic programs to meet the needs brought about by social, aesthetic, economic, and technological shifts. The creative impact of Otis alumni and faculty will continue to radiate concentrically from the Los Angeles epicenter of 1918 to the global community.
President Hoi with (from left) teaching assistant Amanda McGough (‘08), Summer of Art Program Director Kathleen Masselink-Valenzuela, and instructor Marcie Kaufman.
—Samuel Hoi, President Cover: Mark Dean Veca (‘85) Imbroglio, installation at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, 2007 Inside back cover: Tim Biskup (‘88) Asylum #5 Cel Vinyl Acrylic on Wooden Panel, 36 x 24 inches
Otis College of Art and Design
IN THIS ISSUE: At the Heart of Kung Fu Panda • The Art of Design • 25 Years in the City of Light • What is Chicano Art? • A Place Where All Dreams Come True
Otis College of Art and Design 9045 Lincoln Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90405
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04 Otis prepares diverse students of art and design to enrich our world through their creativity, their skill, and their vision. Founded in 1918, Otis is L.A.’s first independent professional school of visual arts. Otis’ 1200 students pursue BFA degrees in advertising design, architecture/landscape/interiors, digital media, fashion design, graphic design, illustration, interactive product design, painting, photography, sculpture/new genres, and toy design. MFA degrees are offered in fine arts, graphic design, public practice, and writing. Otis has trained generations of artists who have been in the vanguard of the cultural and entrepreneurial life of the city. Nurtured by Los Angeles’ forward-thinking spirit, these artists and designers explore the landscape of popular culture and the significant impact of identity, politics, and social policy at the intersection of art and society.
2008 Vol.5 In This Issue: Editor: Margi Reeve, Communications Director Co-editor: Sarah Russin, Alumni Director
02 Celebrating 90 Years The Art of Design Five Titans of Design Marc Dean Veca’s Hallucinatory Spaces At the Heart of Kung Fu Panda A Place where all Dreams Come True 2008 Meeting of the Minds 1918-2008 (timeline)
Photography: Al Bello/Getty Images; Sheldan C. Collins, Whitney Museum of American Art; Morgan Cuppet-Michelson (‘08); Wayne McCall; Lee Salem Staff Writer: George Wolfe Creative: Intersection Studio Design Direction: Greg Lindy Design: (Yee) Jeanie Chong (‘07) Font design: Jiberis, by (Yee) Jeanie Chong (‘07) Contributors: Howard N. Fox is Curator of Contemporary Art, LACMA Carole Ann Klonarides is a freelance curator Meg Linton is Director, Ben Maltz Gallery and Public Programs Carlo McCormick is Senior Editor, Paper magazine
College News First Step onto the Fashion Runway Keith Puccinelli’s Wondercommon H2O + Forward-Thinking Terrestrials 25 years in the City of Light Otis’ New Website
24 Alumni Around the World 18
Otis Monitor Practicing in Public: The San Joaquin Valley Project What is Chicano Art? Vernon Becomes the Factory Omage ’08: Otis Artists, Designers, and Writers at Track 16 Gallery
River Montijo in Qatar Sojung Kwon in Amsterdam
26 Class Notes Otis Across L.A.
Lisa Melandri is Deputy Director for Public Programs, Santa Monica Museum of Art Christopher Michlig is guest instructor, Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Mohammed Sharif is Assistant Chair, Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Joan Takayama-Ogawa and Perri Chasin are faculty members, Liberal Arts & Sciences
© Otis College of Art and Design Publication of material does not necessarily indicate endorsement of the author’s viewpoint by Otis College of Art and Design
Otis College of Art and Design
FEATURE “ Since I was six, I wanted to go into the fashion design. I wanted d to go toward the creative end. Otis definitely prepared me for the real world. My first job in Lo London was a great examp ple. Th here e were r a lot of incr c edibly talented and creative designers but when it came to o actually knowing the calendar, and how to put garme m nts together—the functionality and wear we earab ab bililit ityy—th it th hatt sho sho h we wed d me how m muc uch h I ha h d le l ar arne ned. d”
Twelfth Street byy Cy ynthia Vincent
The Art of Desi excerpts from the essay by Barbara Isenberg for " Otis Designs, " a history of design at Otis published to celebrate the College's 90th anniversary
e do a lo ot of mo otio on graaphiccs, we eb sitte desig gn, movie “ We posters, and graphic design ranging from t-sshirts to car air fresheners. Otis opened doors for me. I went to a school that had a great reputtation. When I meet a yo oung arttistt from Otiis, I feell like he’’s in my triibe. All the freelancers who work for me arre from Otis.” —Chevon Hicks (’95),, President and Creative Director,, Heavenspot
“ Otis planted the seed that art is everything—it’s the integration of visuals. Innovation is always driven by the idea. If films didn’t push the envelope in terms of effects and looks, technology would probably be 10 years behind. With almost every film I have embarked upon, we went in having no idea of how we were ever going to accomplish some of the things we intended. But put a bunch of brilliant and creative artists and scientists together, and it’s magic!” —Jim Rygi —Jim Rygiel el (‘8 ( 80), 0) three three-ti -time me Osc Oscar ar win winner ner for for the Lord of the Ringss trilogy
OMAG 0 22
ght me how w to think as a dessigner, an nd ho ow design “Otis taug was not a craft but rather a framework th hroug gh which I could see po ossibility. That’s guided me throughout my wh hole career, even as I switched from being an illustrator to a designer, and from print to digital.” —Khoi Vinh (‘93), Creative Director, NYTim NY Ti es.com
gn For 90 years, Otis has provided students with the basic skills and knowledge for art making as well as the confidence and contacts to take that training in unlimited directions. Expanding its offerings as the design world itself grew and changed, Otis has trained generations of artists not only to draw and paint but also to design everything from billboards and apparel to toys, games and websites. Khoi Vinh (‘93) is now the creative director for NYTimes.com. Cassidy Park (‘88) was hired by Mattel’s Barbie design group as a senior designer, later becoming vice president of Barbie product design. The animatronic MP3 player, IZ, created by Kris Paulson (’03) and colleagues at Big Monster Toys, was listed as one of Time magazine’s inventions of the year in 2005. Vinh, Park and Paulson join a tradition of artists taught to honor their creative instincts. Alumni George Maitland Stanley sculpted the “Oscar” won later by costume designer Dorothy Jeakins (’36), and, more recently, special effects wizard Jim Rygiel (’81), three-time winner for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Production designer Dean Tavoularis, a student in the ‘50s, took home his Oscar for set design on Godfather II. Otis alumni rosters have long boasted art directors, sketch artists, animators, and costume and production designers at MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros., Universal and elsewhere. Recently featured in an exhibition at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were Tyrus Wong and fellow alum William Major, who produced illustrations for such films as The Ten Commandments and Dick Tracy. Students often hired one another at the studios and elsewhere. As far back as the 1940s, pottery designer Margaret Mears Gabriel hired classmate Wong to paint dinnerware for her company, Winfield Pottery. “Otis is part of the
continuity of design education in Southern California,” says Bill Stern, Director of the Museum of California Design. “Teachers are one generation, students are another, and each influences the next. Otis is pivotal in our design lineage.” Executives at prominent global corporations refer to the diversity of the student body at Otis, the most diverse independent art and design school in the country, as well as its ability to blend technology and creative thinking. These attributes are particularly important in cutting-edge areas of study such as Otis’ Digital Media Department, which President Samuel Hoi describes as “the first of its kind in the region to address motion graphics, special effects and other emerging digital art forms.” “Otis students have a strong foundation in the arts, and don’t just focus on the technology,” observes Jack Lew, manager of global art talent resources at Electronic Arts, the world’s largest developer and publisher of video games. “We are looking for technical skills, but beyond that we’re also looking at creative problem solving. The work we see from the students at Otis has a good balance of both.” Otis College of Art and Design approaches its centennial with such thoughts in mind, says President Samuel Hoi. “When Otis was primarily a school that focused on the fine arts, many of our graduates entered the design field to earn a living,” he says. “For them, it was the application of art in the marketplace. Many of our graduates now approach design as a creative act in itself with rewards that are personal, social and cultural as well as financial.” ●
Otis Designs With over 125 illustrations, this 180 pg. publication chronicles alumni contributions to the design world from the 1920s to the present. Lush images of posters, theme park design, book illustration, animation, architecture, photography, production design, toys, fashion design, and exhibition design are included. An essay by noted writer Barbara Isenberg accompanies the visuals. Otis Designs is a companion piece to Otis: Nine Decades of Los Angeles Art, which documented the fine arts exhibition at the Los Angeles Municipal Gallery at Barnsdall Park in 2006.
Order by Mail Include a check payable to Otis College of Art and Design: $25 for one; $40 for the pair (Includes tax and shipping) Sarah Russin, Alumni Director Otis College of Art and Design 9045 Lincoln Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045 310-665-6937
Five Titans of Design In the , 20s and , 30s, Otis produced several titans of design. Some went on to work for Disney; others won Oscars, one became costume curator at LACMA, and one sculpted the Oscar statuette.
DOROTHY JEAKINS ('36)
Excerpted from Barbara Isenberg's " The Art of Design" from Otis Designs
TYRUS WONG ('35)
When teen-age Tyrus Wong enrolled at Otis, he was a talented young man with more dreams than dimes. Arriving in the U.S. from China with his father in 1919, he was so poor he used water and newspaper for his calligraphy instead of ink and paper. He supplemented his Otis scholarship with work as a busboy in a Chinese restaurant, and he and fellow student Dorothy Jeakins pooled their money to pay for meals. They didn’t have to scrimp for long. Soon after graduating Otis, Wong was exhibiting watercolors and by 1938, he had a job at the Walt Disney Studios where, among other achievements, he later drew the iconic forest scenery for Bambi. In 2004, a retrospective exhibition of Wong’s work was held at Los Angeles’ Chinese American Museum, filling galleries with his achievements in painting, drawing, motion picture scenic design and kites.
Jeakins also fared well. Not long after graduation, she applied her Otis specialty of line drawing at Disney as a cel painter on animated shorts. She was soon designing costumes for both stage and screen and, according to her obituary in Daily Variety, not only received 12 Oscar nominations for costume design but won Oscars for Joan of Arc, Samson and Delilah and Night of the Iguana. Later in her career she was also curator of textiles and costumes at LACMA for a decade.
JOHN HENCH ('28)
GEORGE MAITLAND STANLEY ('20)
HARWELL HAMILTON HARRIS ('23)
In the late ‘20s, George Maitland Stanley was commissioned to sculpt the 13.5-inch-tall, 8.5-pound, gold-plated Oscar designed by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons. It has maintained its form for the last 80 years. Stanley and other sculptors created the Astronomers Monument at Griffith Observatory in the mid-’30s, and in 1937, he received his landmark commission: the Hollywood Bowl’s celebrated entrance fountain. Above Stanley at left, Harris at right
Stanley took a sculpture class at Otis with Harwell Hamilton Harris, who was also studying sculpture. By the time Harris completed his studies, his interests had shifted to architecture, and he later worked with pioneer Los Angeles architect Richard Neutra. Architectural historian Thomas Hines observes that Harris “revived and continued aspects of the arts and crafts tradition in mid-20th century architecture.” And through Harris’ teaching at the University of Southern California—where he was an important influence on such students as Frank Gehry—and later at the University of Texas and elsewhere, the one-time sculptor left his mark on generations of future architects.
Around the same time, Otis attracted another young scholarship student, John Hench. He later began his 64-year career at Disney by serving as a sketch artist on Fantasia. Later, he painted backgrounds on Dumbo, provided color and styling for Peter Pan, and was the “official portrait artist” for Mickey Mouse. Before moving onto Disney Imagineering, Hench won an Academy Award for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. At Disneyland, he designed attractions for Tomorrowland, including Space Mountain. “Other than Walt Disney himself, no one symbolizes the Walt Disney Company more than John Hench,” said Martin Sklar, Vice Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering. ●
Mark Dean Veca's Hallucinatory Spac By Carlo McCormick Excerpted from Juxtapoz Magazine, March 2006
Veca (‘85) uses space as a deceit upon which to fool our senses and subsume our experience of art. Sifting the visual tropes of trompe l’oeil through the shifting perspectives of biomorphic psychedelia, Veca’s art inhabits and envelops the mind’s eye to at once contort rationality and create an internal logic by which we can navigate the impossible chaos of being. When he’s working in the predetermined architecture of a specific commission, confines create ideas, obstacles dictate illusions, and the proliferation of optic information ignites a kind of brain-searing explosion. Mark’s paintings are so damn smart, the only wonder is that no one else was stupid enough to think of them before. It’s simple, really; you just have to look at complexity as elemental and basic. The premise is posited on the surface itself. It is as old as decoration and as new as the spectacle we live in, the sum of indistinguishable signs rendered as mesmeric repetition. Simultaneously a minimalist and maximalist, Mark Dean Veca works with the arcane language of pattern. Specifically, in his case it comes from toile de jouy, an 18th century French textile pattern that he saw on his mother-in-law’s bathroom wall. More generally, however, the virtue and vice of pattern are that it implies infinity with the barest redundancy of a recognizable code. That is, once you learn to read Veca’s art as not having a beginning or an end, you can see how his draftsmanship is the cause to an effect, the imagery a hallucinatory clause to a defect. This is how space remains ever-shifting, running hither and fro between postive and negative, pushing back and pulling forward on the two-dimensional plane to create depth as a hypothetical construct. Micro and macro, Veca makes even the most casual gaze do impossible gymnastics and baffles the imagination with the most logical of equations. It’s a kind of autonomy that borders on the biological, but it’s also pure math. It’s hard not to love the context— a pop-culture melee of cartoons, art historical references, cinema, advertising, and photography skewered along stream of consciousness genre themes like westerns, sex and violence, science fiction, and nostalgia—but the concept itself is ultimately as dangerous as it is disturbing. ● Editor’s note: Join McCormick, Jamie O’Shea and Veca in conversation on Oct 29 at 7:30 in the Ben Maltz Gallery. Veca’s installation in the Ben Maltz Gallery, Oct 29 “Phantasmagoria,” continues through Dec 6. Boogey Faruor installation at PS1, N.Y., 2000
Veca creates patterns with black ink that make found compositions within which he can improvise. He comes from a family of New Orleans jazz musicians, and likens his work to a jazz musician’s: improvisation with a predetermined chord progression (pattern) and key (color palette) using free-form (abstraction) as well as sampling (found images). These found images (e.g., photo-based, cartoon, art historical, logos) are both personal and universal, and create ambiguous reverberations. Veca creates both installations and studio-based paintings. In February 2008, he had a solo show in Switzerland, and has been working recently on a project at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. His friendship with graffiti legend/ entrepreneur/sneaker designer Stash began when their children were nursery school classmates. Stash showed Veca’s work to Nike CEO Mark Parker, who invited Veca in 2005 to do an installation and product series called ”Pulsation.” Veca’s inspirations are animated cartoons like Popeye, Warner Brothers, Disney, and comic books like MAD Magazine, Zippy the Pinhead, The Freak Brothers, and Heavy Metal, M.C. Escher, Skateboard Graphics, artists like Ed Ruscha*, Franz Kline, Warhol, and Philip Guston,* Rick Griffin, Carroll Dunham, R. Crumb, Giger, Picasso, George Herriman, and Dr. Seuss. ● *all-time favorites Background: “Imbroglio,” installation at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, 2007 above right: “Pulsations” for Nike, above left: Veca in his studio
At the Heart of Kung Fu Panda By George Wolfe
Raymond Zibach (’90), Art Director for such films as The Road to El Dorado and Production Designer for Kung Fu Panda, started on his professional path by receiving a BFA in Illustration. “Really losing yourself in a painting and jamming till it was done is something that started at Otis, and when it happens now I feel like a kid again. [But] design, composition, color, traditional painting ability, the drive to complete assignments in creative ways (and be your own worst critic) were all key to landing a job in animation. From that point on I found my own way. “Now, it’s a different world than the one I started in. Features are almost strictly CG, 2-D or traditional animation is scarce. Everybody wants to be a Vis Dev artist and the competition is fierce. I’d say that the same rules still apply for the artists we look for in animation: super-strong layout or design skills, some decent rendering ability, and a great color sense and versatility of style are key to landing a job.” After getting his foot in the animation door of DisneyTV, Zibach would eventually leave it, despite hearing from all of his colleagues that he was crazy to do so. But at the time—in the early ‘90s—he had an impulse to work on a cuttingedge new show called Ren and Stimpy. Once there, he found his groove working with two fantastic animators (Bill Wray and Scott Wills), and it led to a period of tremendous learning. In hindsight, he understands that, ironically, it was one of the best decisions he ever made. Logging numerous jobs as a background artist, stylist, and key background painter, Zibach steadily worked his way up, over three decades, and became the head of the feature background paint department at DreamWorks Animation. From there, he transitioned the department to a hybrid of digital and traditional (in this case: acrylic) painting. While working on El Dorado, he was promoted to Art Director when the previous AD left to art direct another film. One constant in Zibach’s career has been the continuation of studies in the more traditional mediums of drawing and painting, mixing that with industry-leading CG techniques to create new stylistic hybrids that mesh with the particular aesthetic of film or TV projects. These include Space Jam, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
The culmination of that pursuit found maturation in the critical and box office success of Kung Fu Panda, praised by The New York Times as “striking,” “visually arresting,” and “visually different from most mainstream American animations.” Time magazine raved that the picture “provides a master course in cunning visual art.” And Chinese director Lu Chuan questioned: “When can the Chinese animation industry make such a good movie? From a production standpoint, the movie is nearly perfect. Its American creators showed a very sincere attitude about Chinese culture.” Most of the film uses modern computer animation, with bright, offbeat colors to evoke the natural landscape of China, yet the beginning and end sequences also feature hand-drawn characters and still paintings in the background. How was it possible for an American crew to produce a film about another culture that had such a distinct quality to it, even as it became DreamWorks Animation’s biggest opening for a non-sequel film? Isn’t it the role of art directors and production designers to focus on the technical aspects of their jobs, and not to be deeply engaged in discussions or work on the “heart” of a film? “The film was created over 4 ½ years,” says Zibach, “And I was on the film the entire time. Along with being responsible for the way it looks, I was never kept from voicing my opinion, and the “heart” is something I cared about quite a bit. I always wanted a more sincere film for Panda, from the way it looked to the way the story played. I think that’s why the visuals can be called elegant or authentic, because I really wanted it to feel like Chinese art does: It’s not realistic but you “feel” what the artist is depicting, and that’s what makes the world believable.” ●
Kung Fu Panda ™ & © Dream Works Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.
A Place where all Dreams Come True By Carole Ann Klonarides
Disneyland is there to conceal the fact that it is the real country, all of the real America, which is Disneyland . . . Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology), but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the reality principle.
Simulations by Jean Baudrillard
Bruce Yonemoto (’79, MFA Fine Arts) has long been on a quest to re-present the reality borne out of a multitude of fictions experienced through the filters and layers of mass media. His single-channel videos, installations and photographic works consistently explore issues of representation and identity, and the fabrication of memory. To celebrate its 90th anniversary, Otis commissioned Yonemoto to produce and premiere a new installation titled “Simulations.” The title is a nod to French philosopher/theorist Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007), and his influential 1983 essay, published by Semiotext(e)’s new Foreign Agents Series. Yonemoto agrees with Baudrillard that we live in a world where Disneyland exists to make us believe that reality is outside the fantasy park, when in fact, America is a Disneyland. In writing about “Simulations,” Yonemoto describes his desire to recreate a childhood icon as “a hyper-real representation of Disneyland’s Matterhorn thus finally making Disney’s mountain the allegorical referent, the “real” Matterhorn of our collective memory.” Yonemoto’s Japanese ancestry, upbringing in California as part of the baby boom generation, and graduate school years at Otis in the late ‘70s all had a profound effect on his art. The second of four sons of Japanese American Nisei (second-generation) parents whose families were incarcerated during the war, Yonemoto was raised, paradoxically, with an embrace of the American ideal as evidenced on TV during the ‘50s. He grew up far from Hollywood and Anaheim in Santa Clara, California, which over the last fifty years has transformed from an agricultural economy (his father grew carnations) into Silicon Valley, the center of high-tech software production. The family enjoyed taking car trips to see the tourist sites of the West, and Yonemoto most vividly remembers going to Disneyland as a young boy and his awe of the Matterhorn Mountain, situated between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, 147 feet tall, exactly 1/100th size replica of the real mountain in Switzerland (it opened to the public on June 14, 1959). He writes, “thinking back to my family’s 2-day car trip from Santa Clara to Anaheim before the major freeways, you can imagine the excitement of seeing the top of the Matterhorn Mountain jutting through the orange groves. It meant that we had finally reached our destination—Disneyland, a place where all our dreams came true. Now, fifty years later, as an art professor driving down to UC Irvine, I can barely glimpse the once solitary mountaintop. Hotels, shopping malls and freeway overpasses make it almost impossible to see my symbol of arrival.” Educated at Berkeley during the radicalized ‘60s, with summer travels throughout Europe, followed by studies in photography and printmaking at Sokei Bijitsu Gakko in Tokyo in the early ‘70s, Yonemoto returned to the States to finish his graduate studies in fine arts at Otis. At this time, the arts benefited from state and federal funding, resulting in programs of international exchange and the exploration of new genres such as video and performance art and the birth of the artist-run alternative space. The faculty included Wanda Westcoast, one of the original Woman House artists, who was head of the Humanities Division and a professor in the graduate studio arts program. The internationally acclaimed critic and curator Germano Celant was invited to teach about conceptual art being made in Europe. He helped coin the phrase
Arte Povera, bringing world-wide attention to the work of a select group of artists living and working in Italy, which had a major impact on art being made in the States. This, coupled with the many forward-thinking exhibitions organized by Hal Glicksman, the director of the Otis Art Gallery (1975-1982), and the extensive resources of books, videos and programs of the Otis Library (due largely to the efforts of librarian Joan Hugo), had a profound effect on Yonemoto. Peer collaboration was thriving at Otis, and Yonemoto liked the role of producer. Along with Wenden Baldwin (’79, MFA Fine Arts), he helped organize the infamous Exit Show (1978), a week of performance art at the student gallery and other alternative spaces in downtown LA. It included performances by Baldwin, sound composer Tom Recchion (’79, Fine Arts), the Kipper Kids, Black Randy and the Metro Squad punk band. A highlight was media artist Gary Lloyd (’70, MFA Fine Arts)’s performance with a fax machine. Another attraction was John Waters’ actress/actor Divine, who performed live with a steak between her legs. Many who performed that week would become collaborators and/or actors playing themselves in Yonemoto’s master thesis video, An Impotent Metaphor, and in the many video productions that followed. Accustomed to the dislocation of reality, the inevitability of change, and a love of artifice in the processes of production, Yonemoto was attracted to the ephemeral and manipulative qualities of video. With his brother Norman (who studied film making at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles), he began to create independent films and videotapes under the name of their production company KYO-DAI. Their cast and crew and overall production talent came from the downtown art community, many having studied at Otis. Their videos combined the aesthetics of Hollywood film and the contemporary art world, resulting in a pastiche of deconstructivist video making and a restructuring of collective memory. One such video, Blinky the Friendly Hen, was made in collaboration with three acclaimed Otis alumni: Jeffrey Vallance (’81, MFA Fine Arts), Jim Rygiel (‘80, MFA Fine Arts) and Tom Recchion. In 1977, Vallance produced a book called Blinky the Friendly Hen about making a pet out of a frozen fryer purchased at the local grocery store, and giving it a proper burial. Yonemoto recalls that at the time he thought it would make a great telenovella. On the ten-year anniversary of this publication, Blinky the Friendly Hen, the videotape, was made to finally answer the question, how did Blinky die? Before the popularity of the television show Six Feet Under, Blinky was disinterred and an avian necropsy conducted on video, all to Recchion’s musical score. In an animated sequence created by Rygiel, Blinky’s soul ascends to the Heavens. Blinky is immortalized and at peace in Heaven. At Otis, Yonemoto found a place where dreams are visualized and made.●
2008 Meeting of the Minds By Joan Takayama-Ogawa and Perri Chasin
“Meeting of the Minds,” a television talk show that featured important historical figures in a conversational format, was broadcast on PBS from 1977-1981. The Otis Legacy Project, a Liberal Arts and Sciences Integrated Learning course, provided a similar opportunity. Working in multidisciplinary teams, Otis students researched, interviewed, videotaped, edited, and produced a series of oral histories of distinguished alumni. Featured alumni include painter Milford Zornes, animator Tyrus Wong (‘35), artist Diane Gamboa, video artist Bruce Yonemoto (‘27), artist and scientist Tom Van Sant (‘84), curator Jo Lauria (‘90), muralist Kent Twitchell (‘57), and sculptor Alison Saar (‘81). These intergenerational interactions between alumni and students cannot be quantified, for the memories and connections have less to do with formal education than art and design exchange. Students, moved by meeting these masters, made connections to their studies, while the alumni enjoyed sharing their experiences and offering advice to future generations. In fall 2007, an unexpected theme “on aging well” emerged. As the years passed, Milford Zornes painted every day using a magnifying glass to compensate for diminishing sight. Zornes, sadly, passed away at 100 years-old, months after the student research team interviewed him. “Meeting Milford Zornes was not a class assignment,” said Interactive Product Design senior Elise Preiss. “It was a gift, a life-changing experience, the essence of education, and my team did a good thing by preserving the history of a dedicated and humble painter who refused to be called an artist. I saw a life lesson bigger than any textbook could have taught me, for I did not see a 100-year old man sitting in front of the camera. Instead I saw a young, adventurous man.” Legendary Bambi animator Tyrus Wong, 97, was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his efforts. While the students examined his career, they gained an understanding of Los Angeles’ Asian-American immigrant history. On the day of filming, faculty member and expert draftsman Gary Geraths was thrilled to meet Wong, whose work he long admired. Known for his elaborately designed kites, Wong and his family invited the entire class to fly kites near the Santa Monica Pier. Wong reminded the students about life’s priorities when he insisted that his greatest achievements were his three daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Over dinner, Chicana artist Diane Gamboa shared stories about the “wild and crazy days” on the original Otis campus as well as her life experiences. Fine Arts senior Kaitlynn Redell found researching Diane Gamboa was inspiring. “Today, the world is so heavily focused on technology and manipulation of the real that original sources are harder to distinguish from altered versions,” Redell later wrote. “To learn the tradition of oral history is not only to maintain cultural history, but to stabilize a younger generation that has begun to lose itself to a technologically altered world.” Legacy students clamored to meet and interview acclaimed video artist and University of California, Irvine Art Department Chair Bruce Yonemoto, who compared his experiences at Otis when video art was emerging in the 1970s with video’s ubiquitous presence today. Students, now well-versed in Asian American history after researching Tyrus Wong, extended their knowledge when Yonemoto described the Japanese-American Relocation Camps during World War II and post-War television stereotypes of Asians as “the inscrutable enemy.”
In spring 2008, a theme of “innovation” emerged. Students described artist and scientist Tom Van Sant, whose career has ranged from public artist, sculptor, architect and engineer to photographer and conceptual artist, as a “Renaissance Man.” They were intrigued by his career path from a Stanford University football player to an art major, a military officer and a distinguished artist. His work connecting art and science appears in the Academy Award-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. Serendipitous connections between alumni occurred when curator Jo Lauria attended Tom Van Sant’s taping. Wowed by his unique perspective, Lauria arranged to interview him for the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. Sayla Ike, Interactive Product Design senior, learned that Lauria’s position with LACMA allowed her to organize one of the largest American ceramic exhibitions, and led to the publication of the first of her six books. “Working on the project taught me a lot about not only the history of Otis artists, but also interviewing and writing,” Ike said. “Jo Lauria was inspiring because she conveyed a positive and determined attitude about what had driven her work as a ceramic artist, and resulted in curating and filmmaking.” Innovative approaches to public art were provided when muralist Kent Twitchell described his multistoried works, which grace the Los Angeles skyline. Graphic Design senior Erika Dang and Interactive Product Design senior Nathan Woods called Twitchell “an American hero, who devoted years of his life to restore the beauty in communities all over the U.S.” According to them, Twitchell is living his dream and expressing himself by turning the sides of buildings into pieces of art. And in doing so, he has become the very person he seeks to become in one of his murals. For them, Twitchell is someone who sacrifices, has respect, does a lot for the community and is a great citizen. Alison Saar invited the class to join her at the opening of her tour de force exhibition at LA Louver Gallery, a fitting conclusion to the project. Graphic Design Yass Nassiri and Fashion alumna Jessica Mead wrote, “One would think that as an artist your greatest achievement in life would be fame. However, Alison Saar has proven otherwise. We believe that Alison Saar’s legacy will uphold her values and morals which she eloquently states as love and caring, passion and devotion.” Following the death of acclaimed ceramic artist and Otis faculty member Ralph Bacerra in the summer of 2008, the Otis Legacy Project and The Boardman Family Foundation recorded 31 interviewers in a posthumous tribute, which will premiere during Otis’ 90th birthday celebration. The old cliché that most of what you learn in college takes place outside of the classroom is not the case when describing the Otis Legacy Project. Otis students, poised to enter the art and design worlds, have had the opportunity to meet alumni who live their own dreams, accomplish excellence in their fields, love what they do, and give advice freely to future generations. The alumni enjoyed seeing the students’ innovative work, reflecting on their lives, interacting with them, and answering questions and comments with informed curiosity, in a modern-day Meeting of the Minds. For more on this project, visit http://wikis.otis.edu/otishistory/index.php/Legacy_Project. ●
(Left) Students interview Milford Zornes
A Glimpse of the Past December 23, 1916
General Harrison Gray Otis, L.A.Times publisher, donates his spacious Wilshire Boulevard home, known as the Bivouac, to Los Angeles County to be used “continuously and perpetually for the Arts and advancement of the Arts.” The Otis Art Institute of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art
Otis, as the largest art school west of Chicago, with 350 students, begins to chart the course of art in Southern California.
September 1918 Otis opens its doors as the first independent professional school of art in Southern California, with a three-year course in drawing and painting, a two-year course in illustration, and another two-year course in design and applied arts. Tuition is $80 a year. Life drawing classes are separate for men and women, but by 1919, the restriction is abandoned. From the beginning, Otis had outstanding faculty. E. Roscoe Shrader was with the school from 1918 until he retired in 1949 as Director.
1928 Students publish El Dorado, a book of California’s history, with illustrations by Benji Okubo, John Hench, Charles Morimoto, and Hideo Date.
1930s During the Great Depression, many students are forced to drop out. Otis Art Institute
1940s Throughout the ‘40s, Norman Rockwell spends his winters as an artist-in-residence, painting many of his famed Saturday Evening Post covers, and occasionally using Otisians as models.
December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor. 30 students drafted within a month.
February 1942 An auction of student art work benefits servicemen. Early in the war, all West Coast Japanese-Americans are ordered to internment camps. Among them are Benji Okubo and Hideo Date, who teach art classes at the Heart Mountain Camp.
1943 In 1943, tuition for 12 weeks is $60. The Alumni Association establishes a scholarship fund for students who served in the war.
1954 A new name, Los Angeles County Art Institute, is adopted. Students and alumni still consider it Otis. Millard Sheets becomes Director, and during the ‘50s, he restructures the academic programs to offer BFA and MFA degrees. The curriculum is designed primarily to train college-and university-level art teachers. (Otis’ Library was named for Sheets in 1997.) Otis becomes home to the California ceramics revolution
when Peter Voulkos joins the faculty in 1957. “Peter Voulkos was already legendary, but he was also coming out of recent encounters at Black Mountain College with John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham, and meetings with a lot of Abstract Expressionist painters,” observes art dealer Frank Lloyd. “He brought that exposure to avant-garde ideas of the time to Otis, where a vigorous group of students was attracted to work with him.”
1957 New campus facilities, including studios, a gallery, and ceramics studio replace the Bivouac. The Ferus Gallery in Venice becomes a magnet for aspiring L.A. artists who attract national attention. Director Walter Hopps selects Otis students Ken Price, Billy Al Bengston, John Altoon, John Mason, and Robert Irwin—all students of Peter Voulkos—to exhibit.
In 1978, the County of Los Angeles discontinues public support of the College as a result of Proposition 13. The County Board of Supervisors votes to merge Otis with Parsons School of Design in New York, creating a private institution, Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design.
Brookl7n, later known as Otis Design Group (ODG), an in-house design studio, is started by seven faculty members and students, spearheaded by Sheila deBretteville and Ave Pildas. More than 200 students join this studio during its 22 years. Their non-profit clients include the Lulu Washington Dance Company, L.A. Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Plaza de la Raza, and the Chinese Cultural and Community Center.
Fashion Design, Communication Arts, and Environmental Design majors are added, and Continuing Education evening classes are offered.
1983 The first scholarship benefit fashion show of student designs is held at the Hard Rock Café.
1984 Adolfo Nodal, writer and curator, becomes director of the Otis Art Gallery. He strengthens Otis’ relationship with the city by renovating MacArthur Park’s band shell, commissioning art, and establishing a variety of community programs. Alumnus Kent Twitchell, working with Otis students, creates freeway murals for The Olympic Games.
Otis Leaders 1918
Channing P. Townsley, Director
E. Roscoe Shrader, Director
Gaylord Richmond, Director
Millard Sheets, Director
Andreas S. Andersen, Director
Otis awarded a Presidential “private sector initiative commendation” for its MacArthur Park work.
Gurdon Woods, Director
Peter Clothier, Acting Director
Neil Hoffman, Director
Roger Workman (President, 1991)
Otis becomes independent of Parsons as Otis School of Art and Design In 1993, it changes its name to Otis College of Art and Design. Neil Hoffman becomes President.
Neil Hoffman, President
Samuel Hoi, President
More historical images can be found at otis.edu/archives
The Present 1997
Otis relocates to Westchester to an IBM research facility designed by Eliot Noyes. The renovated building, named Kathleen Ahmanson Hall, is the central facility of the Elaine and Bram Goldsmith Campus. Toy Design and Digital Media majors launched. Fashion Design occupies one floor of the California Market Center in downtown’s fashion district and Graduate Fine Arts studios are in nearby El Segundo. Degree student enrollment is 726.
John S. Gordon is appointed the College’s first Provost. Student Learning Resource Center opens to provide tutoring, ESL assistance, counseling and workshops. “Mexican Otis” exhibition at the Mexican Consulate, near the original campus, includes work that spans seven decades by alumni artists of Mexican heritage.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching designates Otis among the inaugural group of 76 colleges and universities cited for their commitment to “Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships.”
Otis commissions and releases a report on the L.A. region’s creative economy from the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.
Interactive Product Design major established. Otis Speaks public lecture and programs series launches.
2000 Samuel Hoi becomes President. Graduate Writing Program launched.
Integrated Learning multidisciplinary site-based curriculum initiated. Partners include Watts Labor Community Action Committee, Westchester Senior Center, Friends of Ballona Wetlands, and Homeboy Industries.
The Bronya and Andy Galef Center for Fine Arts opens with studios for fine arts students and a professional exhibition space, the Ben Maltz Gallery.
2003 The U.S. Dept. of Education awards a five-year, $1.8 million grant to develop two new degree programs: Interactive Product Design and Advertising Design, and a new area of emphasis in teacher training: The Artists, Community and Teaching Program.
MFA in Public Practice begins.
More than 6,000 visitors, including representatives of design firms and arts institutions, to attend the Class of 2007 Exhibition.
New identity introduced.
Otis: Nine Decades of Los Angeles Art exhibition and catalogue showcase the work of more than 80 fine arts alumni. The Scholarship Benefit Fashion Show breaks the $1 million mark in scholarship funds.
The New Media Consortium awards the Otis Library a Center of Excellence Award for its achievement in applying technology to learning, as in its podcast channels on YouTube and iTunesU.
2008 MFA in Graphic Design enrolls its first class. Nike/Hurley team up to create a $1 million scholarship endowment for fashion design students. Student enrollment reaches 1200. Otis celebrates its 90th anniversary.
Practicing in Public: The San Joaquin Valley Project By George Wolfe
In 2007, when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected Otis as the only art and design college for the Community Engagement classification, the College was poised to expand its community reach. The challenge of finding creative solutions to some of the vast and growing problems facing the San Joaquin (Central) Valley region was the impetus for a $150,000 planning grant from the Ford Foundation. Such issues are numerous and broad: the environment (some of the worst air quality nationally), poverty (some of the highest poverty and school drop-out rates nationally), economics of food production (especially with ever-increasing energy prices), and loss of farmland (which also impacts housing). In August 2008, Otis students traveled to Laton, a rural community in the San Joaquin Valley. The group was led by Suzanne Lacy; noted artist, author, and Chair of Otis’ Graduate Public Practice Program. Lacy, born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley area (the daughter of a working-class electrician), was familiar with both its problems and its opportunities. Consuelo Velasco, Manager of the Graduate Public Practice, grew up in Laton and has focused her master’s research for USC’s Public Art Studies program on art in rural contexts. Otis students, accustomed to life in a large metropolitan area, found themselves examining global issues in an unfamiliar rural setting. What is the role of an art and design college in public service? Says Lacy, “Through experiential programs like this, we’ve been able to teach students to do a more careful analysis of social situations. They’ve learned how to address complex social relationships in a more intelligent way— after all, creativity is an important part of community development.” Is Otis overstepping beyond its core areas, or is it responding to increasing demands of social responsibility that involve institutions focused on creativity? “Art isn’t discipline-specific,” says Lacy, “but is composed of thinkers who try to link various fields, making observations; they’re essentially explorers, and they provide a framework for students to be able to get a sense of that, too. It’s the position of artists in society. In fact, there’s a long history of creative problem-solving, and artists’ work with communities goes way back—decades anyway. At different points in time, art institutions are more or less responsive to current societal themes. At this time, they are responsive in the broader art world in terms of contextual analysis and sociopolitical analysis. And with the design world, it involves integrated skills and collaboration. These projects are actually very appropriate for Otis students.”
Participating students headed back to school early. In ethnographicfocused workshop intensives over a three-day period in mid-August, they began to understand the dynamics of urban/rural relationships that would become the focus of their practical experiences. They then made a field trip to the San Joaquin Valley. Otis students had previously done fieldwork in Appalachia but this project was of a different scale and complexity. The Integrated Learning class for undergraduate seniors, led by Marlena Donahue and Sammy Flores-Pena, provided a classical ethnographic look at several families from the Central Valley region, very complex in terms of class and ethnicity (e.g., Portuguese and Japanese mixed with predominant Latinos and other Europeans). Junior undergrads in the Integrated Learning class with Rogan Ferguson and Sandra de la Loza worked with sixth-graders, using mapping and photography to develop new perspectives on their communities. The students saw birds-eye views of their towns when they worked with a man who used kites to take photos. Lacy’s grad students supported these two undergrad student groups and expect to develop long-distance, long-term possibilities with the community. They will return for three days every month, through the close of the project in January 2009. Lacy is committed to the powerful effects of the project: “I love that the first experience of incoming grad students to MFA Public Practice is not theoretical, not classroom-based, but a direct plunge into a reallife situation. In San Joaquin, we’ve got a community of 1,200 or so —a manageable size, and a scale that worked well with the incoming students. On other hand, the social problems affecting this area are profoundly complex and global in nature. “Learning how to analyze, how to understand,” says Lacy, “and how to make observations, find out what the community needs, and discover how that relates to each student’s personal life is fantastic. Plus, working collaboratively to build an effective team, and making a commitment over time—these are fundamental skills that are difficult to teach in a classroom and impossible to learn from a book. I firmly believe that this will profoundly shape the next three terms of their work, during which time they will select their own sites, their own projects, and work toward a final thesis project.” ● A Portrait of Laton, collage image created by Lynn M. Quan
What is Chicano Art? The program offered good insights into how the artists and the curators viewed the art and the exhibitions. By and large, the artists in Los Angelenos: Chicano Painters of L.A.: Selections from the Cheech Marin Collection are first-generation Chicano artists who came of age during the Mexican-American political, cultural, and labor movements of the late 1960s and ‘70s. Their art reflects an impassioned sense of cultural assertion, political self-empowerment, and ethnic pride. By contrast, most of the artists in Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement are from the generation that emerged during and beyond the late 1990s. They tend to avoid ideas of identity that are rooted in ethnicity, race, or national heritage, instead seeing themselves as having nuanced, even shifting identities—reflected in their art’s eclectic sources in popular culture, music, movies, and global art practice. —Howard N. Fox Editor’s note: In late July, approximately 100 alumni attended a program at LACMA in conjunction with two exhibitions, which included work by Carlos Almaraz (’74), Diane Gamboa (’84), Pattsi Valdez (‘85) with ASCO, Ruben Ochoa (‘97), Marco Rios (‘97), Mario Ybarra,Jr. (‘99) Eduardo Sarabia (‘99), Eloy Torrez (‘77), and Juan Capistran (‘99). The three exhibition curators spoke with three of the artists about their work and whether they consider themselves Chicano artists.
1 Rita Gonzalez and Eduardo Sarabia Sarabia, born in L.A., divides his time between Guadalajara (where he moved six years ago) and Berlin. One of his best-known projects is the Tequila Bar, which he created for curator Anton Vidokle’s Unitednationsplaza, Berlin. It exemplifies a fascination with secret rooms, closets, and cataloguing. The warehouse style of display grew out of his observation that work by ceramic artists often ends up in storage, out of sight. After reading Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, Sarabia decided to open up the warehouse and invite visitors inside. One of the projects he discussed is his own Gift, a “Skymall” catalogue created for the Whitney Museum Biennial. This spoof, a survey catalogue of his work, displays mermaid tails, horse heads, banana boxes and decorated Chinese vases with written descriptions.
2 Howard Fox and Juan Capistran In his conversation with Fox, Juan Capistran spoke about “hijacking” or “pirating” art history to make it his own. He described a a performance piece of break dancing on a Carl Andre floor piece; “White Minority,” a painting he called a “reverse Frank Stella” that alludes to whites overcome by Hispanics and blacks; and his own Richard Serra—a house of cards made of Led Zeppelin records. Born in Guadalajara, Capistran came to L.A. where he developed an affinity for black culture and hip hop. He had never heard of minimalism until he got to Otis, thinking he was going to be an “AbEx tortured artist.” Building close relationships with instructors opened up a world of other sources for him. Capistran emphasized that he has never been interested in or invested in Chicano art.
3 Chon Noriega and Eloy Torrez Torrez spoke of the late ‘70s at Otis, when he enjoyed collaborating with fellow student musicians. He explained that there were only 500 students but five bands. “I experienced the Beatles and pop culture, not Chicano culture,” Torrez insisted. During his time at Otis, he had no awareness of Chicano studies. As a child in Albuquerque, Torrez was inspired by the art in churches. He sensed the magic in these paintings and began to understand that making art is like a revelation, and artists are magicians. His autobiographical murals and paintings combine landscape and portraiture. Torrez closed the program by expressing his interest in the kinds of art young artists, such as the members of OTEAM (Otis’ program for at-risk high school students) in the audience, would produce. ● 1 Eduardo Sarabia Treasure Room, 2007–8 Ceramic tiles mounted on plywood and painted ceiling. Courtesy of the artist and I-20 Gallery, New York Photo © 2008 Museum Associates/LACMA 2 Juan Capistran The Breaks, 2000 Giclée print 40 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist 3 Eloy Torrez It’s a Brown World After All, 2006 Oil on canvas 60 x 60 in. Collection of Cheech Marin
OMage'08: Otis Artists, Designers and Writers at Track 16 Gallery By Lisa Melandri
Vernon Becomes the Factory
In light of the inaugural Omage exhibition at Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica in 2006, the extraordinary Otis: Nine Decades of L.A. Art shown in 2006 at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, and the contribution of the hundreds of artists and designers who have passed through its doors, no one could possibly doubt the profound and lasting impact that Otis has had on the landscape of Los Angeles. And through the deep and varied talents of its faculty, this impact has certainly infiltrated far beyond our local geography.
By Christopher Michlig Under the leadership of Architecture/Landscape/Interiors faculty member David Fletcher and guest public artist Chris Michlig, Integrated Learning students participated in a site-based project in the industrial city of Vernon, southeast of Los Angeles. They researched the infrastructure, land use, zoning, history, historic geology and hydrology, culture, industry, land values, architecture, brown fields and contamination to develop interpretive networks, chose individual sites, and proposed interpretive interventions. Driving through Vernon today is an inimitable experience. On the surface, the history of the city is subtly defined by curved buildings that hug the turning radii of railroad spurs, the stench of meat rendering, the utter lack of landscape and vegetation, and the relentless congestion of trucks and service vehicles. The types of business have changed, but the buildings for the most part have remained the same since the 1980s. The result is akin to a child wearing his fathers’ suit to school—it is a little too big and not entirely appropriate for the occasion. Vernon’s most popular restaurant is Joe K’s, a ‘50s Googie-style diner whose clientele and staff appear straight out of that decade. According to pre-eminent L.A.-ologist Norman Klein, the diner “could pass as a movie set for a Tarantino film.” On their outside sign, in small letters under the restaurant’s name is their motto, which could serve as a Vernon’s motto too: “Just a little bit better.” From the 1930s to the 1950s, Vernon’s industrial landscape grew to consist predominantly of steel factories and meat processing plants. For example, Farmer John Meats, based in Vernon and begun in 1931, is now the largest pork processing company in America. Vernon’s incessant meat production earned the city the reputation of exuding an extremely pungent aroma that could be smelled from miles away. Predictably, the mass exportation of the U.S. manufacturing sector in the 1980s brought the hammer down on Vernon’s prosperous industrial economy. In December of 1982, Bethlehem Steel, Vernon’s largest steel manufacturing business, laid off 2,000 workers. Dial Corporation packed its bags and left. Oscar Meyer also laid off hundreds of workers. Vernon quickly adapted and took advantage of L.A.’s changing manufacturing needs. By the mid-1980s, the garment industry was flourishing and the low-wage sector involved 8,000-10,000 new jobs along with the opening of more than 100 garment plants. Most recently Vernon’s available real estate is being gobbled up by the “general merchandise” industry. These businesses, while they acutely reflect the Post-Fordist global economic landscape, are not ideal residents for a city that profits from offering discounted power rates to its tenants. The warehouses are staging grounds filled with a plethora of goods standing by for shipping and distribution. The convalescent state of Vernon’s dynamic web of railroad spurs, in combination with rising fossil fuel costs is a potentially ideal condition for a profitable rehabilitation of the rail system to transport goods to local ports. That Vernon remains exclusively industrial is absolutely essential to its identity; although, what qualifies as “industrial” will require increased scrutiny and analysis by the city. Nevertheless, Vernon is now becoming a factory more than ever before. ● Erin Leverkus, proposal for Vernon River Fish Incubators
Trap by Barbara Maloutas, Kristallnacht by Jim Starrett
From fine art to fashion design to graphic design to digital media and from undergraduate to graduate programs, the exhibition demonstrates the full range of instruction that Otis has to offer—and the incredible array of people providing that education. More than 60 faculty members are represented in this exhibition, and the result is a multifaceted fabric interwoven with markedly different aesthetic, theoretical, and functional threads. ●
President Hoi with Marlena Donahue, exhibition organizer and faculty member, Liberal Arts & Sciences
Keith Puccinelli's " Wondercommon" commo By Meg Linton
Artist Keith Puccinelli’s recent exhibition The Wondercommon at the Ben Maltz Gallery provoked a sense of wonder about the inexplicableness of what it means to be human, to be alive, and to be mortal. Through the use of drawings, sculptures, video, and an interactive installation, Puccinelli brought forth thoughtful musings on the personal and the political—topics such as aggression, passivity, accumulation, expulsion, fear, security, aging, fragility, incapacitation, and decay. This carnival of sorrows lured us with tantalizing puns, farce and whimsy like an old P.T. Barnum circus while, at the same time, commenting on the conflict between the preciousness of life and man’s disregard for such life in times of war. It was a wunderkammeren, or “cabinet of curiosities,” that entwined lofty poetic themes with Puccinelli’s penchant for collecting, tinkering and attraction to nature’s detritus (twigs, leaves, wood, mud, bone, chicken guano, and feathers) that he found on his avocado ranch in Ventura. This eclectic body of work juxtaposed humble materials that created a sense of humor while also emphasizing the serious or the tragic. Muddied Hand (2005), part of the exhibition, is a perfect example of Puccinelli’s ability to mix absurdity and thoughtfulness. The work contains an oversized, outstretched stylized-hand made of mud rising out of or sinking into the earth. Is this about where we come from or where we are going? Or is it about being confused or mired in something inappropriate? Or is this gesture meant to symbolize a laborer grasping in vain at
his rights or a TV movie monster clawing its way up from the grave? It can mean all of these things or none of these things. His interactive installation also accomplished the same thing. Morgue was filled with hundreds of interesting objects that allowed viewers to touch, arrange and examine themselves. The title of the piece is also indicative of Puccinelli’s passion for wordplay. In this case, “morgue” was used in the same way a journalist or illustrator’s archive of ideas and stories versus the usage by a coroner. The Wondercommon was one man’s collection of disparate observations, ideas, and questions that try to convey the difficulty in balancing the human and the animal, the mind and body, instinct and intellect. It displayed, with humor and regret, the visual manifestations of Puccinelli’s exploration of life’s meaning and allowing the audience to embark on a similar journey at the Ben Maltz Gallery. To purchase the 76 pg fully-illustrated catalogue, call (310) 665 6905. ●
First Step onto the Fashion Runway way
Amé Austin Max was one of three e alu alumi who returned to Otis this year to serve ass fashion design mentors. Others were Rod Beattie (’88) for LaBlanca, and Devon Burt (’87) for Nike. They worked with the students to create unique fashion looks for the annual Scholarship Benefit Fashion Show, which honored Brad Globe, President of Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products, and Anne Globe, Head of Worldwide Marketing and
Consumer Products for DreamWorks Animation. These industry leaders, two of the foremost entertainment marketing, merchandising, and licensing executives in the film industry, received the 2008 Creative Vision Awards. Featured on the runway was fashion designed by juniors and seniors under the direction of mentors: Gilly Hicks for Abercrombie & Fitch; Amé Austin Max (’95) for Max Studio with Cotton Inc.; Marcus Brown for Nordstrom; Devon Burt (’87), Todd van Horne and Roger Wyett for Nike; Lynne Koplin and Joey Rodolfo for Tommy Bahama; Melanie Owen for ROXY; Rod Beattie (’86) for La Blanca; Ivy Ross for Disney Store; Johnson Hartig for Libertine; Monique Lhuillier ; Trina Turk; and John Varvatos for Converse. In his popular syndicated column, international fashion critic Mr. Blackwell wrote, “The 2008 Otis College of Art and Design scholarship benefit and fashion show was a smash. I appreciated the fact that I was watching the future of the fashion industry unfold its wings and prepare to fly.” I thought that my memories of the challenges of student life had been erased by years of professional work, but my first step into the Otis fashion design studio brought them all back—both the process of learning new things and the elation of accomplishing them. I saw in the students’ faces a desire to journey with me into new and unfamiliar territory. —Amé Austin Max (’95) , design mentor for Max Studio project with Cotton, Inc. ●
1 Installation view, Keith Puccinelli’s The Wondercommon at Ben Maltz Gallery 2 Mentor Amé Austin Max of Max Studio (second from left) with fashion design student Annika Schader and models.
H2O + Forward-Thinking Terrestrials By Mohamed Sharif
Architecture/Landscape/Interiors “New Fluidities” Topic Studio focused on the relationship between cities and water in the future. Team member Danny Phillips’ observation that water’s “unpredictable flux, its increasing toxification, in some cases its scarcity, in others its overabundance” set the tone for a collaborative design of a utopian floating city infrastructure between Taiwan and mainland China. Seizing the opportunity to pluck political reconciliation from the jaws of imminent natural catastrophe, the team imagined a mega-city/water relationship. Their proposals were inspired by Dutch filmmaker, cultural critic and studio instigator Rene Daalder, founder of Space Collective, a website where “forward-thinking terrestrials exchange ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe.” Daalder is particularly fascinated with “the appeal of the impermanence of nature’s suspended animation.” The buoyant metropolis virtualized by the students was a network of armatures that resemble oil rigs, built along opposite shorelines in response to rising sea levels. In their scenario, terra firma was overcome by water and humanity has to migrate above water to reconcile with and initiate a new form of post-nationalist symbiosis with the sea itself. The network would eventually evolve over time into what Phillips described as “hubs for emergent forms of commerce and transportation, providing filtration for contaminated
sea water and temporary habitat for marine life and a frame for hydrological and geothermal power generation.” Students have used Daalder’s informationresearch exchange portal to regularly post their work and participate in an invigorating multi-school community to cross-pollinate ideas and methods. See some of their solutions at http://spacecollective.org. ●
—Katie Phillips, Chair, Foundation
25 years in the City of Light ht
When the forty students board for oard the plane fo Paris in March, it will be 25 yearss since the th first Foundation students spent their ten-day spring break studying art, architecture, and design in the City of Light. Faculty members Bill Eckert, Joan Hugo and Michael Schrier, Chair of Foundation, led the first group in 1984. With his extensive knowledge of European art, architecture and design as well as his love for Parisian culture and history, Michael guaranteed the success of the trip over the years. Schrier’s Parisian friends act as guides and interpreters, and are hotel and restaurant owners. Their efforts help make the trip financially accessible to all students, since many of them are traveling outside of their home state for the first time. Every day, students attend lectures in the museums and buildings of Paris that cover not only a chronology of the art and culture of the Western world, but context and provenance whenever possible. Much of the rest of the time they spend drawing from the museum collections or the city in their sketchbooks, recording their emotional responses and reflections.
Digital renderings by students Mahetzi Hernandez, Danny Phillips (’08), Monica Ruiz, and Billy Tam
For 25 years, students have returned to Otis, completely exhausted, overwhelmed, and excited by all they have learned and seen. The trip immerses them in a culture that has historically valued and preserved the best art and design of each age as well as voraciously collected art from every part of the world. This culture, so different from their own, changes them forever, and they are universal in their appreciation.
The trip would never have happened without Michael Schrier. It required his vast educational, historical and organizational skills. It required his passionate leadership. Otis’ association with Parsons in Paris was instrumental in introducing us to their campus, neighborhood, hotels and the city itself. The late Otis librarian Joan Hugo lived in Paris for a number of years and married a Frenchman after World War II. Her invaluable command of the French language, art history and literature enriched the program. I brought my background in art history, literature and European history combined with my fine art apprenticeship with the New York realist Jack Beal, an authority on the Renaissance guild system. Michael produces a wonderful, illuminating adventure that exposes students to amazing and overwhelming insights into art and culture. They return to L.A. with a sense of art that informs and enriches their work, and affects them on a deep level. Ultimately, the program has enriched Otis students, faculty and the greater Los Angeles community. —Bill Eckert, faculty member Editor’s note: Other faculty members who have participated in the Paris trip are Parme Giuntini, Marlena Donahue, Tracy Colby, and Frauke Von der Horst.
4 from sketchbook by Saskia Darnell, 2007
Otis' New Website The new site, launched one week before fall term began, was designed by hello design in Culver City, where many students have interned.
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ALUMNI AROUND THE WORLD
Education City in the Gulf River Montijo (‘78 MFA)
What country is flatter than the Netherlands, hotter than Las Vegas, and perched above 6% of the world’s natural gas reserves? More importantly, what country has a leader who names education as his number one priority? Welcome to Qatar. Neither as cartoonish as Dubai, nor as austere as Saudi Arabia, Qatar is poised to be the first knowledge-based economy in the Gulf. There you will see racing camels ridden by robot jockeys, Bedouin herders chatting on cell phones, and high- rise towers casting shadows over old-style souks. In January 2007, I became Registrar for Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, an emirate located on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. The Emir of Qatar, H. H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, has created a unique opportunity for his people; Education City is an amalgam of branch campuses from U.S. institutions, each offering their most prestigious programs. VCUQatar provides degrees in Graphic Design, Interior Design, and Fashion Design to 188 women and five men from 26 countries. Students range from very conservative, traditional women who wear face coverings called naqab to high-fashion urbanites from the Levant. Life in Qatar is a fascinating blend of Arabian tradition and western consumerism. Religion is of paramount importance, and influences all aspects of daily life; there are more mosques per capita in Qatar than anywhere else in the world. At the same time these values mingle with western influences to produce a unique culture: women wear the black abbaya, but trimmed with Swarovski crystals; men wear the white thobe (longsleeved, floor-length dress) accented with diamond cuff links and Rolex watches.
Qatar has been an interesting experience for my son, Joaquin. He works at the Qatar Falcon Center assisting the veterinarians with procedures such as repairing flight feathers. After work, we can attend horse races or watch dancers and musicians at the Souk Waqif. On the weekends we can go “dune bashing” or spend some relaxing hours at the Inland Sea. What are some of the surprises that I’ve encountered? Well, despite reports to the contrary, life in this part of the Middle East is extremely safe. Many people leave their houses and cars unlocked. In fact, before some of our students headed for an exchange semester in the U.S., I had to lecture them that they couldn’t leave their cell phones, laptop or purses unattended in the classrooms, nor walk alone after dark in downtown Richmond, Virginia. Another surprise was that the VCU Qatar students are better informed about life outside Qatar than most Americans seem to be about life outside the U.S. Contrary to what the media would have us believe, the women in naqab do not see themselves as repressed and are often the most outspoken of the students. In fact, both the salutatorian and valedictorian this spring were covered women. Living in Qatar has been an invaluable experience and an amazing adventure. http://www.qatar.vcu.edu. ●
ALUMNI AROUND THE WORLD
A Flying White Cube in Amsterdam Sojung Kwon (‘07, MFA)
In mid-March, the rainstorm and pouring hail made the umbrella useless. As I struggled to read my dampish map, my hat blew away. A middle-aged gentleman in a suit, riding a tall bike in the other direction, turned around, dismounted, caught my hat and returned it to me. He mounted his bike composedly, and set off into the rain. His reddish frozen cheeks and very kind eyes stayed with me. This first personal contact on my first day in Amsterdam led me to assume that people in Dutch paintings from the 15th century to the present—like those I saw in gorgeous museums like KröllerMüller, Rijksmuseum and Museum De Pont—have reddish cheeks and ride their bikes in rainstorms. I want to say “Dank u” to the bicyclist who seemed to me the quintessential Dutchman! I participated in a three-month residency as part of an exchange fellowship between the Sandberg Institute and Otis. Rather than group studies, classes or full-time instructors, each Sandberg student has individual voluntary meetings with guest instructors, who are usually invited to teach for three to six months. Along with its MFA program, Sandberg has hosted the international art fair “De Kunstvlaai Amsterdam” since 1997, which attracts approximately 12,000 visitors. As part of my fellowship I curated a group show for the fair, and invited six Los Angeles artists: Kathrin Burmester, Anthony Carfello, Eric Medine, Chris Oatey, Matt Warren and Bree Yenalavitch. They made the trip to Amsterdam at their own expense, and showed an astonishing energy and enthusiasm for the show. During my stay, I wanted to work with Amsterdam artists. I produced an 8”x12”x8” white cube, a miniature art gallery that hovered five meters up in the air, suspended with helium balloons, and invited seven artists I
met in Amsterdam to design work for my flying gallery, “Flying White Cube.” The only way to see the inside of the gallery was to use either binoculars or a closed-circuit surveillance camera. Organizing a show abroad had more than its share of obstacles. The venue, previously used as a gas factory, was constructed in 1883, so there were numerous restrictions on installation methods. We only had two days to install the work, so that whenever possible work had to be prepared offsite. Luckily Sandberg provided most of the electronic equipment, as well as a wood and metal shop to build the pedestals and hanging hardware. A few of the artists arrived well before the opening, which helped with the preparation. Amazingly enough, the easiest thing was hanging the show—a twenty-minute conversation among the artists mapped out the space and relationships of one project to another. In spite of the vicissitudes of this trip, I miss Amsterdam already. The crowds all wearing orange, like burning incenses on Queen’s Day; listening to the unfamiliar undulating hum of a crowd as I am alone in a cafe drinking genever shots with very thin clear glasses in a 400-year-old café with the other artists in the Kunstvlaai exhibition; many windows with crouched cats dozing inside; the clouds conspicuously close; and a gorgeous tiny hat shop on a corner of the gallery district—all these memories stand out much more clearly than the hectic haze of what I am told was a successful and engaging art exhibition. ●
(Left) Installation view, Flying White, (Right) “Rolling Ball” project
This is a small sampling of recent alumni accomplishments. To keep up with Otis’ ever-active alumni, and to see the fully illustrated digital newsletter, click on ONEWS at www.otis.edu/alumni To submit news and images, contact Sarah Russin, Director of Alumni Relations, at email@example.com or call her at (310) 665-6937.
Tim Biskup (’88 Fine Arts)
Entrepreneurs, Cool Designers, Soloists, Entertainers, Alumni In Print, Award-Winners, In Memoriam Entrepreneurs Thomas R. Field (’77 MFA Fine Arts) Owner: Thomas R. Field Antiques, South Pasadena. Director/Curator: SoPas Gallery, South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. Ken Hurbert (’85 Fine Arts) Fine Art Services (fine art installation, packing, shipping, crating and delivery services), L.A. Joey Santarromana (’90 Fine Arts) Owner: “System Yellow Inc” video art publishing/distribution business. Kristin duCharme (’89 Fine Arts, ’05 MFA Fine Arts) Owner: Fireworks Studio, fine arts glass workshops, supplies and fundraising projects, L.A. Mark Leroy (’93 Communication Arts) Owner: silverECHO, L.A., strategic services, print and online services. Alex Maloutas (’00 Communication Arts) Owner: New Puppy Gallery, L.A. opening exhibition featuring Henry “Niller” Garcia (’00).
Tony Bailey (’01 Communication Arts) Owner: Thumbtack Press. Featured spotlight, Wired Magazine, March 2008. Robert Apodaca (’03 Architecture/ Landscape/Interiors) Owner: Fifth Floor Gallery, Chinatown, L.A. Press: “Find,” Home Section, Los Angeles Times, April 10.
Soloists Martha Underwood (’58 Fine Arts) “Honoring the Artist,” Chaffey Community Art Association Museum of Art, Rancho Cucamonga. Robert Glover (’60 Fine Arts) “Space,” W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery, Cal Poly Pomona University, Pomona; Edenhurst Gallery, Palm Desert. Bas Jan Ader (Bastaian Johan Ader) (Deceased) (’65 Fine Arts) Documentary: Here is Always Somewhere Else: The Life of Bas Jan Ader, Telic Arts Exchange, Chinatown, L.A.
John Lees (’67 MFA Fine Arts) Betty Cuningham Gallery, N.Y. Larry Fodor (’73 Fine Arts) “Stochastic 2,” Duane Reed Gallery, St. Louis, MO. Bruce Yonemoto (’79 MFA Fine Arts) “Bruce Yonemoto,” photographs exploring the representation and fetishism of the American Civil War, Alexander Gray Associates, N.Y. John White (’69 MFA Fine Arts) Performance: “John White’s Back,” featuring The Shrimps, Sylvia White Gallery, Ventura. Masami Teraoka (’68 MFA Fine Arts) “The Cloisters Confession,” Samuel Freeman (formerly Patricia Faure Gallery), Santa Monica. John Taye (’72 MFA Fine Arts) “The Quiet Art: A Drawing Retrospective,” Visual Arts Center, Boise State University, ID.
Kim Jones (’74 MFA Fine Arts) “Year of the Rat,” Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Kim Gordon (’77 Fine Arts) Artist, musician, founder of Sonic Youth. “Sway: A Way In,” Glaspaleis in Heerlen, The Netherlands. Alison Saar (’81 Fine Arts) “Hither,” LA Louver, Venice. Jeffrey Vallance (’81 MFA Fine Arts) “Blinky the Friendly Hen 30th Anniversary Exhibition,” Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica. Sheila Newmark (’84 MFA Fine Arts) “Sheila Newmark,” James Gray Gallery, Santa Monica. Sonia Kasparian (’85 Fashion Design) “Alter,” Butters Gallery, Portland. Lucas Reiner (’85 Fine Arts) “Los Angeles Trees,” Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany.
Emil Brandle (’02 Fashion Design)
Jessica Minckley (’05 Fine Arts)
Hao Cui (’06 Digital Media)
Elisabeth Condon (’86 Fine Arts) “Seuss Dynasty,” Dorsch Gallery, Miami.
Ron Reihel (’90 Fine Arts) “The Presence and Absence of Light,” East West Gallery, Santa Barbara.
Tami Demaree (’03 MFA Fine Arts) “Half an Inch of Water and I Think I’m Gonna Drown,” Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco.
Devon Burt (’87 Fashion Design) Design Director Sportswear, NIKE. Mentor, 2008 Otis Scholarship Benefit Fashion Show.
James Goodwin (’92 Fine Arts) “Nostalgic Subterfuge,” Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica.
Kate Harding (’03 Fine Arts) “Whiskey Creek,” Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica.
Alan Nakagawa (’86 Fine Arts) Performance: Grand Opening of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) at LACMA, with Steve Roden (’86) and Kio Griffith (’86).
Elizabeth Craft (’94 Fine Arts) “Three Sculptures,” Patrick Painter Gallery, Santa Monica. “Breaking all the Rules in Bronze,” Los Angeles Times, June 6
Rachel Portenstein (’04 Fine Arts) “Sailing for Vengeance,” LMAN Gallery, Chinatown, L.A.
Marco Menendez (’99 Fine Arts) Textile Designer: Mossimo Men’s, Target, Minneapolis, MN. Exhibition: “Bike Art III,” Altered Esthetics Gallery, Minneapolis.
Anne Bray (’87 Fashion Design) “Irwindale,” TAG Gallery, Santa Monica.
Dana Montlack (’94 MFA Fine Arts) Solo Exhibition: Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla.
Tim Biskup (’88 Fine Arts) “The Artist in You,” Jonathan LeVine Gallery, N.Y.
Sandeep Mukherjee (’96 Fine Arts) “Spell,” Nichols Gallery, Broad Center, Pitzer Art Galleries, Claremont. Review: Holly Meyers, LA Weekly, April 2.
Lawrence Gipe (’86 Fine Arts) “New Paintings,” Lora Schlesinger Gallery, Santa Monica.
Darren Waterston (’88 Communication Arts) “Last Days,” Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle. Warren Keating (’89 Communication Arts) “Overview,” M.J. Higgins Fine Art Gallery, L.A. Joe Shlichta (’89 Fine Arts) “New Paintings,” Fetherston Gallery, Seattle. Andre Brandou (’90 Communication Arts) Exhibition: “Mind Manors,” Milieu Gallerie/ArtSpace, Bern, Switzerland.
Kim Fisher (’98 MFA Fine Arts) “Kim Fisher,” Jim Connelly Presents, N.Y. Eduardo Sarabia (’99 Fine Arts) “History of the World,” LA Louver, Venice, CA Steven Bankhead (’01 MFA Fine Arts) “Battery,” Circus Gallery, L.A. Molly Corey (’01 MFA Fine Arts) “Live Like Him!,” University Art Gallery, UC Irvine.
Jessica Minckley (’05 Fine Arts) “Jessica Minckley,” Carl Berg Gallery, L.A. Tucker Neel (’07 MFA Fine Arts) “Confabulations,” Commissary Arts Gallery, Venice, CA.
Cool Designers Rick Owens (’81 Fine Arts) Press: “Elegant Monsters,” The New Yorker, March 10. Fashion Designer, Paris. Rod Beattie (’86 Fashion Design) Swimwear Designer: LaBlanca; Mentor, 2008 Otis Scholarship Benefit Fashion Show. Rowan Moore-Seifred (’86 Communication Arts) Creative Director: DoubleMRanch Design, Everson, WA.
David Bornoff (’02 Fine Arts) Director of post production, Speedshape, Venice, CA. Editor: “Why Push,” GMC commercial aired during Superbowl 2008. Trang Chau (’02 Fine Arts) Fashion Designer. Press: “Le Sang des Betes: Bloody Beautiful,” California Apparel News, Jan. ’07 Michael Brittain (’03 Communication Arts) Senior Print Designer, FX Network, Beverly Hills, CA Melissa Bumstead (’04 Communication Arts) Owner/designer new business, “Smitten Invitations;” formerly environmental graphic designer, RTKL. Chika Ito (’04 Communication Arts) Designer: Lehrer Architects, L.A. Maria Troconis (’04 Communication Arts) Art Director, Off-Air, Mun2, NBC Universal/Telemundo.
Devon Burt (‘87 Fashion Design) Michael Phelps in NIKE “Medal Stand” warm-up suit
Jessica Hoffhines (’05 Fashion Design) Assistant Menswear Designer: Rock & Republic, Culver City. Jessica Raddatz (’05 Communication Arts) Designer: Interactive Department, Saatchi & Saatchi, N.Y. Apollo Crowe (’07 Toy Design) Toy Designer: Uncle Milton, Westlake Village. Shaun Redsar (’07 Interactive Product Design) Designer: Nectar Product Development, Long Beach.
Entertainers Richard Daskas (’90 Communication Arts) Visual Developer: DreamWorks Animation SKG. Upcoming Project: Monsters vs. Aliens, 2009. Raymond Zibach (’90 Communication Arts) Production Designer: Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks Animation SKG. Scott Holmes (‘93 Communication Arts) Featured digital work: Hellboy 2, “Tooth-fairy” sequences and “Wink” shots. Derek Thompson (’94 Communication Arts) Concept Artist: WALL·E, Pixar. Publication: The Art of WALL·E, Chronicle Books, June 2008.
Charlene Shih (’95 Fine Arts) Documentary Film: Super Pigs, National Geographic Channel in 166 countries. Artist residency: Grass Mountain Artist Village, Taipei, Taiwan. Emil Brandle (’02 Fashion Design) Featured Contestant: Project Runway, Bravo. Co-owner: “Smoke & Mirrors.” Jinnie Choi (’04 Architecture/ Landscape/Interiors) Designer: Carter Can, HGTV, Season 3. Naomi Valdivia (’04 Communication Arts) Artwork featured on TV show The Real World Hollywood. C.J. Pizarro and Aaron Philip Clark (’08 MFA Writing) In production: Soul Phuziomati, a spoken-word jazz album with guest appearances by Otis alumni, including Ryan Thomas Riddle (‘08 MFA Writing), students, and Grad Writing Chair Paul Vangelisti.
Award-Winners Bruce Yonemoto (’79 MFA Fine Arts) 2008 Creative Capital Grant for Visual Artists. Camille Rose Garcia (’92 Fine Arts) “Stars of Design 2008,” Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood.
Lindsay Thompson (‘07 Digital Media)
Luisa Greenfield (’93 Fine Arts) Fulbright Grant, Berlin, Germany, Ruben Ochoa (’97 Fine Arts) Guggenheim Fellowship 2008. Press: “Lessness,” by Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, March 17, 2008. Hao Cui (’06 Digital Media) “Best Downloadable Game,” Game Developers Conference. Art Director, PS3 game flOw. Laurie Nickerson (’06 Communication Arts) Local Gold Addy for Black Marker logo. Art Director, RR Partners. Chuck Belak-Berger (’06 Communication Arts) Will Eisner Comic Industry Award, 2008. Lindsay Thompson (‘07 Digital Media) Emmy, student category, for “The Look of Love” animation.
In Print Sally Warner (’71 MFA Fine Arts) Author and Artist. Novel: It’s Only Temporary, Viking Children’s Books. Judy Freya Sibayan (’84 MFA Fine Arts) Publisher/Editor: Journal of Contemporary Art.
Eduardo Lucero (’89 Fashion Design) Palm Springs Life Magazine editorial, March 2008. Patrick Atagan (’97 Environmental Design) Illustrator: “Tree of Love,” third volume in the Asian Folktale series Songs of Our Ancestors. Andrae Gonzalo (’99 Fashion Design) Illustrator: “Forgotten Fashion: An Illustrated Faux History of Outrageous Trends and Their Untimely Demise,” by Kate Hahn, TOW Books. Annie Buckley (’03 MFA Fine Arts) Fine Artist and Art Writer: Op-Ed on art and activism in light of MOCA exhibition “Black Panther: The Art of Emory Douglas,” Artweek; reviews in Los Angeles “Critic’s Picks,” Artforum.com. Amber Howard (’03 Communication Arts) “Emerging Talents,” Step Magazine (number 18), spring 2008. Natalija Grgorinic (‘05 MFA Writing) Author with Ognjen Raden: 69, 70; currently being serialized in Predicate literary journal.
Mentor Rod Beattie (‘86) with fashion design students at DreamWorks Animation
In Memoriam Robert McChesney (’37 Fine Arts) passed away at the age of 95 after an active life as an artist. He began his career as a WPA muralist in the late ’30s. Rob Sexton (’72 Fine Arts) passed away at the age of 62 after a battle with cancer. He was a painter and respected graphic designer active in AIGA. One of Rob’s last wishes was to start an Otis scholarship fund. Alumni and friends interested in contributing can send donations in Rob Sexton’s name to: Institutional Advancement, Otis College of Art and Design, 9045 Lincoln Blvd, LA CA 90045. Ron Griffin (’72) a Los Angeles artist, passed away this spring. He exhibited with Alonzo Davis’ (’73) Brockman Gallery. Gloria Bohanon (’73) passed away at the age of 69. She was an artist and served as former Chair of Art and as the Director of ADAPT (Accommodated Disabled Arts Program and Training) at Los Angeles City College. Early in her career she exhibited at the Brockman Gallery with Alonzo Davis (’73)’s Brockman Gallery.
Greg Dominguez (’00 Toy Design) passed away at the age of 31 after suffering from brain tumors. He worked as a toy designer at MGA in the boys division. Jaime Bermudez (’06 Fine Arts) a young fine artist, passed away at the age of 29 from cancer. Family and friends are invited to contribute to the Jaime Antonio Bermudez Scholarship Fund by sending donations in Jaime’s name to: Institutional Advancement, Otis College of Art and Design, 9045 Lincoln Blvd, LA CA 90045. Otis thanks LisaAnne Spies (’04) and Mary and Ben Spies for the generosity of their family foundations: “Barrett Family Charities” and “Speezracing: Spies Family Foundation”. Ralph Bacerra Otis mourns the passing of the former Chair of Ceramics (19831996). A documentary, featuring interviews with former students at both Chouinard and Otis, is in production. Sally Nichols The College is saddened by the news of Sally Nichols’ passing after a long battle with cancer. She taught with Rosemary Brantley in Fashion Design since 1988 until recently. Sally’s family suggests a donation to the City of Hope Hospital.
Installations by Sarabia at (bottom) and Ochoa at (top)
Whitney Biennial This exhibition of work by 81 artists (Whitney Museum, March 6 - June 1), the most important survey of contemporary art in the U.S., included work by Eduardo Sarabia (’99), Ruben Ochoa (’97), Mario Ybarra (’99,) and Patrick Hill (’00 MFA).
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CLASS NOT CL NOTES
Otis Across LA These special exhibitions and events honor the 90th anniversary of the first independent professional school of art in the city of Los Angeles.
Mark Dean Veca Debacle, 2003. 99 x 32 x 6 ft, Bloomberg space, London
“ Mark Dean Veca: Phantasmagoria” October 11– December 6 Site-specific installation by ’85 alumnus Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, 9045 Lincoln Blvd. Ken Price’s Seven High, 2008. Courtesy L.A. Louver, Venice, CA.
Curator: Meg Linton, Director of the Ben Maltz Gallery and Public Programs.
Ken Price (’57)
Sponsored by The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation (see pg.6)
October 10 – November 1 L.A. Louver, 45 North Venice Blvd.
Tofer Chin (‘02): Vivid September 13 – October 25 Commissary Arts, 68 N. Venice Blvd.
Apodaca explains, “Architecture/Landscape/Interiors shared the Ahmanson Hall 5th floor with Toy Design and Product Design, so the name recalls a time when I was immersed in both my own studies but also the work of all the other departments at Otis. I intend to infuse this interdisciplinary thought into all that I show at Fifth Floor. The space features hand-made and limited edition works of art and design, many by Otis alums, including Andrew Lewicki’s (‘07) 200-pound concrete paintings, sewn machines by Jen Grella (‘07), Andrew Armstrong (‘00)’s eco-friendly doggie dwellings, laser-cut plexi bracelets by Aida Klein (‘05) and Andrew Lewicki.
“Outside the Big-Box” October 4 – November 2 Handcrafted and limited edition art and design not available at your neighborhood big-box store. Fifth Floor Gallery, 502 Chung King Court, Chinatown. Owner/Curator: Robert Apodaca (’03) OMAG 30
CLASS LASS NOTES
Logo design by Andrew Brandou (’90). Curator Ausgang states, “Comics are an important channel of information that is more appealing than separate text and images. Comics are the thinking man’s television.”
“A Prodigal Reality” September 28 – October 25 Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd.
Kate Harding Whiskey Creek (spring), 2008 Found leather garments, thread, grommets, steel hooks
Kate Harding (’03): “Whiskey Creek” September 6 – October 4 Track 16 Gallery, Bergamot Station
Group exhibition: Andrew Brandou (’90), Bob Dob (’01), Anthony Ausgang (’83), Mia Araujo (’07), Gideon Boomer (’06), Hazel Mandujano (’03), David Magdaleno (’03), and Mark Dean Veca (’85) Curator: Anthony Ausgang (’83)
Carlos Almaraz (’74) Solo Exhibition, September 6 – November 1 Patricia Correia Gallery, Bergamot Station
Kerry James Marshall (’79): “Portraits, Pin-Ups and Wistful Romantic Idylls”
September 6 – October 25 Koplin Del Rio Gallery, 6031 Washington Blvd. Owner: Eleana Del Rio (’89),
Nate Frizzell (’06) Solo Exhibition November 8 – 29 Project Gallery, 8545 Washington Ave.
Kerry James Marshall (‘79), John Punch, 2008, acrylic on PVC panel, 29 x 24 in. An important forgotten figure, John Punch was the first in history to be condemned by a United States court to a life sentence of slavery in 1646.
CLASS NOTES “ Reclaiming: Inter-generation” October 3 – 5 627 S. Carondelet St. (former Otis administration building), MacArthur Park Multi-generational group exhibition including Bas Jan Ader (’65), B&T (’02), Steven Bankhead (’01), Renée A. Fox (’02), Gajin Fujita (’97), Bob Glover (’60), Phillip Guston (attended ‘30), Kate Harding (’03), Samantha Harrison (’88), Sara Hunsucker (’02), Flora Kao (’08), Jessica Minckley (’05), Joseph Mugnaini (’42), Sandeep Mukherjee (’96), Kenneth Ober (’01), Tracy Powell (’02), Steve Roden (’86), Timothy Tompkins (’03), Jeffrey Vallance (’81), and Holly Williams (’03).
Curators: Renée A. Fox (’01), Kate Harding (’03) and Jenée Misraje (’90)
“ Multiple Feeds” Three alumni curators brought together ten pairs of artists representing different generations, creating a redux version of their successful inaugural show in 2004. (Jenée Misraje, Renée Fox and Kate Harding)
October 2 7:30 pm Screening of time-based and new media work by alumni, with panel discussion in partnership with L.A. Art Association/ Gallery 825 Democracy Forum, National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave. Kathrin Burmester (’07), Bianca D’Amico (‘02), Wendy Given (’02), Flora Kao (08), Annetta Kapon (’85), Sojung Kwon (’07), Krysta Olson (’08), Suzanne Oshinsky (’05), Joyce Park (‘08), Joseph Santarromana (’90), Mika Soma (’07), and Bree Yenalavitch (’06) Curator: Erika Suderburg
“ Kavin Buck (‘87): Paintings and Sculptures” October 4 – November 4 LA Contemporary, 2634 S. La Cienega Blvd.
“ Otis at 825” October 4 – 10 Gallery 825/L.A. Art Association, 825 N. La Cienega Blvd. Guest Curator: Eleana Del Rio (’89)
Annie Buckley Stephanie Sycamore, 2008 Digital photographic collage, 82x42”
“ In the Round” October 3 – 25 Group Exhibition: Andrew Shire Gallery, 3850 Wilshire Blvd, #107 Andrew Armstrong (’02), Steven Bankhead (’01), Jesse Benson (’03), Annie Buckley (’03), Juan Capistran (’99), Ginny Cook (’01), Carla Danes (’01), Shelly George (’05), Ed Gomez (’03), Luis G. Hernandez (’03), Matt MacFarland (’03), Ruben Ochoa (’97), and Mike Rogers (’96) Curator: Ed Gomez (’03)
O MOAM G A8G 3 2
Annie Buckley (‘03): “Hybrids” October 11 – November 8 Carl Berg Gallery, 6018 Wilshire Blvd.