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Smart products, books, exhibitions, projects and ventures by Art Center alumni and faculty

An immersive experience that’s part of a campaign in China created for Under Armour by David Schwarz and Hush Studios. (Photo courtesy of Hush Studios)

Chinese Immersion

David Schwarz GMDP 04

In the United States, if you want to push yourself physically there’s a competitive infrastructure in place, from t-ball to the pros, to help you achieve your goals. That’s not so much the case in China, says David Schwarz, creative partner at Hush, the New York-based design agency: “The minute percentage of the population that are seen as having athletic ability are whisked away at a young age and put on an Olympic track.” Schwarz’s award-winning studio, whose clients have included Nike, Google and Showtime, was recently hired by Under Armour to introduce its sportswear and “Make All Athletes Better” mission to the Middle Kingdom. The solution? The Under Armour Experience which—inspired by installations by artists like Bill Viola and Doug Aitken ILLU 91—brings the sights, sounds and adrenaline rush of competitive sports to Shanghai audiences via a 270-degree immersive architectural and film experience. “It’s located inside a glossy new luxury mall, but it sticks out like a sore thumb—in a good way,” laughs Schwarz about the visceral affair, which features Michael Phelps, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Chinese athletes like soccer player Long Tan and continues for the next five months. “It’s an enclosed, highly designed mystery that exudes sound and light of epic proportions.” —MW

The Under Armour Experience Hits Shanghai

Plain Jane Austen

John X. Carey FILM 11

Even the savviest of semioticians might have a hard time decoding the sources of inspiration informing John X. Carey’s approach to Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” the most watched Internet commercial of all time. Carey drew his ideas from a diverse and unexpected set of creative touchstones, from social impact documentaries to Jane Austen, to create the commercial in which a police sketch artist draws two portraits of a series of women—one based on their descriptions of themselves and another based on a stranger’s perceptions. Carey, who grew up on a Missouri farm and transferred to Art Center’s Film Department after studying art, literature and mythology at the University of Missouri, continues to rely on his background in liberal arts as a creative wellspring. “My whole treatment for ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ was full of images from Pride and Prejudice,” says Carey. “That whole book is about women sitting around their house dealing with emotional issues as filtered light streamed through the windows. That’s why I wanted to set this piece in that big light-filled loft.” Carey’s first taste of national acclaim came courtesy of Voices from the Field, a Designmatters documentary he made about HIV prevention programs in Zambia. “It was an eye-opening experience,” recalls Carey. “I’d make a funny spec commercial and it wouldn’t get any views and then I’d make an emotional doc and it would get 100,000 views. People are craving meaning in their content.” —CS
More videos by John X.Carey.

Creative Drive

Christine Park TRAN 06

A natural artist who made a beeline to Art Center when she discovered the world of car design, Christine Park began her career at General Motors as an intern while still a student. After graduation, she transferred to the Cadillac Design Studio in Michigan, where she’s now a lead exterior designer for the luxury brand. “I love designing cars because they have a profound impact on our lives and our culture,” she told E! Online, which profiled her as a trendsetter. “It is so satisfying to create luxury experiences and driving environments that offer beauty, comfort and a seamless integration of technology.” Among her designs that have found their way into production and a showroom near you: the interior theme for the 2013 and 2014 Cadillac XTS. Park says being a designer is a 24-hour job and that inspiration can come from anywhere. “It's important to have a child-like curiosity and envision the possibilities that lie beyond the current state.” Her typical day is full of action—and interaction. “Designing a car is a collaborative process. My workday often includes trend research and looking for inspirational visuals, sketching cars, studio reviews with leadership and working closely with sculptors, engineers and supplier partners. The creative energy here is contagious, and we all push each other to create new and innovative vehicle designs.” — TB

Marine Preserve, 2010, is featured in the Williamson Gallery exhibition Lynn Aldrich: Un/Common Objects. This piece is made of sponges, scrubbers, scouring pads, mop heads, brushes and plastic gloves on wood panel. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Critical Wit

Lynn Aldrich GART 86

What lily pads were to Claude Monet, scouring pads are to Los Angeles-based artist Lynn Aldrich. Finding inspiration in the aisles of The Home Depot, she transforms everyday objects—from cleaning supplies and toilet plungers to garden hoses and rain gutters—into evocative sculptures that reflect playfully, often provocatively, on domestic architecture and consumer culture. “Credit Aldrich with assigning an alternate use for cleaning tools whose sprightly colors (lime, silver, copper, hot pink, lavender, magenta, lemon and more) defy the drudgery with which they’re usually associated,” wrote Leah Ollman in the Los Angeles Times. A contemporary master of assemblage, the widely collected artist longs for epiphanies, intellectual as well as spiritual, to celebrate. “I tend to tap into a suburban anxiety rather than urban angst. L.A. has a soft fluffiness to it that cushions it against real angst,” she says. Currently on view at Art Center’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery, Lynn Aldrich: Un/Common Objects is the first compre-hensive midcareer survey of the artist’s influential body of work. Accompanied by a newly published monograph, the exhibition runs through Jan. 19, 2014. “Lynn’s work reframes the visual white noise made by the ubiquitous presence of mass-produced objects,” observes Christina Valentine, guest co-curator and Art Center instructor, “and turns it into an art experience.” — TB

A Collaboration Across Time and Space

Sharon Lockhart GART 93

Artforum called Sharon Lockhart’s meditation on the visionary work of Israeli dance composer and textile artist Noa Eshkol (1924–2007) an “intimate conversation of ideas simulated across the gulf of history.” The New York Times hailed the five-channel film installation a “subtle but virtuosic move.” And the Los Angeles Times described it as “a sensitive portrait of a formidable artist.” If you didn’t get a chance to experience the Art Center alumna’s acclaimed exhibition in person at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2012 or at The Jewish Museum in New York earlier this year, the catalog presents an opportunity to delve deeply into the two artists’ unusual “collaboration.” Edited by LACMA’s Stephanie Barron and Britt Salvesen, Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol (Prestel Publishing) features an in-depth interview with Lockhart; photographs of the installation and of Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation spherical models; a selection of Eshkol’s wall carpets, scores and drawings; as well as several essays. It’s not the first time Lockhart has trained her lens on the work, and sometimes literally the labors, of others. In this case, Lockhart says she was drawn to Eshkol’s “radical” practice and the “labor of love” that Eshkol’s devoted students, many of them aging, enact in preserving and performing her rigorous compositions. —MW/SS

Gary Goldsmith, named by GDUSA as one of the “Most Influential Art Directors of the Past 50 Years,” has created award-winning campaigns for clients including MTV Staying Alive Foundation. (Image courtesy of Gary Goldsmith)

Underhead Founder Is Tops


In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) asked its readers to name the most influential graphic designers, art directors and design firms—among other categories—of the past 50 years. Several Art Center alumni and faculty received kudos for their work, including alumnus Gary Goldsmith, recognized by GDUSA among the “Most Influential Art Directors of the Past 50 Years.” The creator of award-winning campaigns for ESPN, Everlast, Heineken, Mercedes-Benz, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Sony, Volkswagen and many others, Goldsmith co-founded Underhead, a thriving New York-based firm that provides a range of creative resources to clients and agencies. Appointed chair of Advertising at Art Center in 2012, Goldsmith remains an active partner in Underhead and brings his industry perspective into the classroom—cajoling fellow experts to teach a class, bringing in big- name speakers and providing students the opportunity to pitch ideas to real-world clients through relationships with legendary agencies like Wieden+Kennedy, David&Goliath, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. His ultimate ambition: “to build the first truly modern advertising program in the world,” bringing the curriculum in step with the needs of today’s advertising industry. “We'll be adding more ‘visual writers’ and ‘verbal art directors’ to our complement of instructors,” says Goldsmith. “More than ever, our students will need to be strong in both.” —JG

Alumni Jon Jon Augustavo and Mego Lin collaborated on the MTV Video Music Award-winning “Same Love.”

Love and Love

Jon Jon Augustavo and Mego Lin GRAD FILM

When Graduate Film alumnus Jon Jon Augustavo signed on to direct the music video for “Same Love,” the summer’s breakout hit by rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, he had no idea what a powerful impact the project would have on the nation. “As a filmmaker my mind was focused on telling a good story,” he says. Augustavo had previously directed videos for his fellow Seattleites’ massive hits “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” both of which reached number one on Billboard’s singles chart. But as The New York Times reported, “Same Love” broke new ground as “the first song to explicitly embrace and promote gay marriage that has made it into the Top 40.” It went on to win MTV Video Music Awards’ 2013 Best Video With a Social Message. Today at 83 million YouTube views and climbing, the video’s rise coincided with the Supreme Court’s historic rulings striking down both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Augustavo, who called in frequent collaborator and Art Center classmate Mego Lin as his cinematographer, is proud of how the song has resonated so deeply with people. “The fight for marriage equality is the civil rights movement of our generation, and to see so many changes in the last calendar year has been earth-shattering,” he said. “A love story isn't only between man and woman—it is simply between love and love. I do think in some way I played a small part in changing some people's views. If that's so, then my job as an artist is complete.” —TB

Erik Mark Sandberg’s recent painting Untitled 3, 2012. Platinum palladium on Crane’s Kid Finish. (Image courtesy of the artist)

Razzle Dazzle’s Aftermath

Erik Mark Sandberg ILLU 02

For Los Angeles-based artist Erik Mark Sandberg, the world’s supersaturation of alluring imagery presents contradictions ripe for exploration. “I was on my way to the Sierra Nevada mountains recently and thought, Gosh, look at that pristine pastoral landscape, when suddenly my view was obstructed by a billboard advertising Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme being available at the next gasoline station,” says Sandberg with a laugh. “And I thought Wow, those look good and I do need fuel.” Sandberg’s clients have included United Airlines, Absolut Vodka and TBWA Paris and his work has appeared in publications like Rolling Stone, The New York Times and Harvard Business Review. And if his work seems familiar, it may be because one of his “Hairy Children”—the artist’s metaphorical victims of “razzle dazzle” visual bombardment—graces the cover of the current Art Center at Night catalog as well as ads currently appearing on the L.A. Metro Gold Line. These days he is busily preparing There’s a Trapdoor in the Sun, his first pop-up solo exhibition in Los Angeles—which will include installations, sculptures, film and large-scale photographs. “That’s one nice thing about exhibiting in L.A.,” says Sandberg of Trapdoor, which opens this coming winter. “I don’t have to ship them overseas, so I can do larger scale works.” —MW


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