Smart products, books, exhibitions, projects and
ventures by Art Center alumni and faculty.
Mad for the Challenge
Ellen Freund FILM 79
Ellen Freund is prop master on Mad Men, the hit AMC show that has garnered multiple honors for outstanding art direction. The steamy 1950s drama about life in the Madison Avenue advertising industry is also one of the most watched shows on the tube. In a recent Huffington Post profile, Freund, whose credits also include Twilight, Night at the Museum and Vanilla Sky, called Mad Men the biggest challenge of her career. “It is my first time on a television series, and the combination of a compressed time frame, limited budget and relentless schedules is very demanding,” said Freund. “Mad Men requires massive amounts of research to attain the level of accuracy that creator Matthew Weiner seeks and the entire crew strives for every day. The period is fascinating and visually stimulating, making it a real pleasure to work on.” Fans will be delighted to know that the show’s recently released Season 5 is available on Blu-ray and DVD.
A Cabinet of Curiosities
Mike Yamada PROD 03
Victoria Ying ILLU 07
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe meets Alice in Wonderland meets A Series of Unfortunate Events in Curiosities, a fully illustrated 88-page hardcover storybook by husband and wife illustrating duo Mike Yamada and Victoria Ying. Curiosities tells the tale of a young brother and sister who inherit an eccentric old house with room upon room of accumulated wonders wherein they discover the stories and artifacts of their ancestors. Mike and Victoria, along with her brother, Jonathan, who wrote the story, launched a Kickstarter page to fund their storytelling efforts. With help from an enthusiastic group of friends, family and supporters, their initial fundraising goal of $4,000 was reached in less than 24 hours. They decided to stretch their campaign even further—ultimately raising just shy of $50,000. Along with the original book, the funding allows them to delve deeper into the story by publishing a prequel and creating additional items like posters, playing cards and more. If you’re interested in funding similar projects (or creating your own), visit kickstarter.
Catch a Wave, Now
Len Stobar PROD 64
Let’s face it, sometimes surfing is a real bummer. After working your tail off all week, do you really want to spend half your Saturday paddling to catch those gnarly waves? Relax, dude, and don’t blow out your squeaker—WaveJet is here to save the day! Designed by alumnus Len Stobar, WaveJet is an Edison Award-winning personal water propulsion system designed to “change the way you interact with water.” Available for pre-order now, the quiet battery-powered miniature jet drive plugs into a variety of personal watercraft, is operated by a wireless controller you wear on your wrist, and promises to help you paddle out four times faster to your waves. Now if only they could do something about the traffic on Pacific Coast Highway.
Bring Home the Gold!
Illustrating British Culture
Before the powerful images from this year’s Olympic Games fade from your memory, take advantage of the chance to purchase a London 2012 commemorative work of art created by an Art Center student. For the past five years, Illustration Department Chair Ann Field has invited a group of students to explore London Ancient / Modern, a field trip and immersion in British culture that helps them understand how design, culture and history interconnect.
As part of this year’s trip, students and faculty operated an open studio at the highly regarded Kemistry Gallery, culminating in a series of prints that were part of the gallery’s Gold, Silver & Bronze exhibition. The series is a playful take on the Olympics and London’s cultural heritage, featuring knitting marathons, sporting pub signs and acrobatic diving into teacups, among many other whimsical interpretations of the Games. Upon returning home, the posters were exhibited at the British Consulate in Los Angeles during an exclusive party for the Olympics’ opening ceremonies. Limited-edition silkscreen prints of all the designs are available for purchase from Kemistry.
No Restraining Order Required
Ron Galella PHOT 57
He’s been dubbed everything from “Paparazzo Extraordinaire” to “the Godfather of U.S. paparazzi culture,” but one thing photographer Ron Galella has never been called is timid. His tales are the stuff of legend. When former First Lady Jackie Onassis placed a restraining order on Galella, he responded by carrying around an oversized tape measure as he photographed her. And when Marlon Brando punched Galella, breaking his jaw, he one-upped the star by photographing him while donning a football helmet. As of late, the attention has turned to Galella himself—his work was the subject of recent exhibitions in St. Tropez and Amsterdam, as well as the new retrospective book, Ron Galella: Paparazzo Extraordinaire! This year, Galella and his wife, Betty, established an annual scholarship benefiting advanced photography students at Art Center.
Yes We Can Embrace Great Design
Stephanie Sigg ENVL 98
Regardless of political persuasion, everybody from Blue Dog Democrats to Log Cabin Republicans can agree that the logo Stephanie Sigg designed for the 2012 Democratic National Convention is a winner. Sigg—who’s worked with clients as varied as Doctors Without Borders, Nike, Mastercard, the United Nations and Late Show with David Letterman—said she considered working on the national campaign “a great honor.” The campaign concept of “America Coming Together” was designed to complement President Barack Obama’s existing campaign materials, represent the confluence of many voices and people, and to work across a diversity of mediums, including buttons, signage, television and digital apps.
10 WORKS Spurs National Recognition
Rebeca Méndez NEWM 97
Alumna Rebeca Méndez was recently honored as the recipient of the 2012 National Design Award in Communication Design from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Méndez was selected alongside winners in 10 other categories based on the level of excellence, innovation and public impact of her body of work, which focuses on issues of organization, culture and identity. Upon receiving the award, Méndez shared, “My interest in matter, in cycles and systems—specifically the forces and cross-rhythmic tensions that make natural phenomena emerge—perhaps stem from my growing up in two seemingly entropic environments, Mexico City and the Mexican jungle, where common to both is hypercomplexity, multiplicity and constant change. My move to study at Art Center and live in Los Angeles, where syncretism and diversity are its core, only furthered this impetus.”
In support of the award, Méndez designed 10 WORKS, a book containing selected projects with detailed descriptions, published articles by design and art curators, writers and critics, and cut-ups of the printed works. Coinciding with the national honor, At Any Given Moment, a video/mixed media installation of Méndez’s work, is on exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art through January 20, 2013.
Opposites On Display
Ryan Perez FINE 08
When you buy a pair of scissors and begin to consider the form and aesthetic over the functionality of the tool itself, that’s the moment of seduction—so says Los Angeles-based artist Ryan Perez. Perez, whose sculptures and photographs of exacting studio constructions playfully confound distinctions between artistic and industrial production (no doubt influenced by his time at Art Center), recently had his work on display in his first international solo exhibition at YAUTEPEC Gallery in Mexico City. Don’t Say Goodnight offered two series of photographic works, B.O.G.O. Vision and Three Sisters, both of which represent that moment of seduction and the friction between formal and conceptual concerns as part of an iterative process. Closer to home, Perez and alumna Diana Thater GART 90 are two of the artists exploring the theory of opposites in Dualities, an exhibition at the Bank of America Plaza in downtown L.A. curated by Janet Levy.
There’s a New Game in Town
Yves Béhar PROD 91
Last summer, startup OUYA broke Kickstarter records by raising more than $8.5 million (roughly $7.6 million more than its goal) to produce an open source, beautiful and affordable $99 Android-powered video game console. Inspired by the early days of video gaming, when individuals could write an Apple IIE program and take it to market, OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman wanted to create a system that would provide small developers easy access to living room gaming. And when it came time to design the console, Uhrman turned to Yves Béhar, the Product Design alumnus famous for designing the One Laptop Per Child XO computer, the Jawbone Jambox and the Herman Miller Leaf Lamp. What really sets OUYA apart? Its infinite hackability. “You’re able to build things right from the start,” said Béhar of OUYA, which is available now for preorder. “You don’t have to have lots of credentials, just good ideas.”
Everybody Needs Love
Jeff Berry ADVT 79
Appalled with the current state of marketing, which is often more concerned with search engine optimization than the actual reason websites need visibility, alumnus Jeff Berry and co-conspirator Cathey Armillas recently published The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing: 9½ Ways to Get People to Love You. Who are these rules for? Everybody. “All marketing is about getting people to love you,” the book proclaims. “That’s what it comes down to, isn't it? Love. This book is about the 9½ rules that govern how to get that love—for you, your company, your products, your ideas, your cause, your religion or your dog.” Topics covered include the importance of consistency, creativity and simplicity, and how emotions rule the world. And the love doesn’t stop there. Next up, the branding dynamic duo tackles The Unbreakable Rules of Creativity.