One Part Strategy, One Part Revelry
Christiane Holzheid MFA MDP 09
Last spring, Sid Lee Collective—the “cultural and commercial incubator” arm of Montreal-based creative agency Sid Lee—held a contest in which applicants from around the world applied to Sid Lee Boot Camp. The purpose of the camp? To bring together eight creatives for 10 days under one roof—a former industrial workspace transformed into a camp-like environment—to rebrand the next decade of Fatboy, the Netherlands-based company famous for its bean bag furniture. Among the chosen few was Berlin-based Christiane Holzheid MFA MDP 09, who spent most of her time designing art installations and experiences for visitors to Fatboy-branded events. Don’t be fooled; it wasn’t all hard work. Camp activities included pillow fights, diving through paper walls and sliding on a floor while wearing three layers of stockings. Despite the reality show elements of the camp, Holzheid said all the participants connected easily and were too busy collaborating to get in each other’s faces. “There was no drama at all,” said Holzheid. “Sid Lee put a confession booth in our space, but no one ever used it.”
An Ancient Urn of Whoop-Ass
Tarsem Singh FILM 90
Director Tarsem Singh FILM 90 (The Cell, The Fall) has gone on record as saying his upcoming film Immortals can be best described as Caravaggio meets Fight Club. Can you say, “Hades, yes?” The film pits legendary Greek hero Theseus, played by Henry Cavill (The Tudors, Superman in director Zack Snyder’s FILM 89 forthcoming Man of Steel), against the bloodthirsty Titan god Hyperion, played by Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), who has amassed an army of imprisoned Titans and seeks to toss the Olympians off Mount Olympus for good. The film also features Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) as Phaedra, the Sybelline Oracle who assists Theseus in assembling his followers, and Luke Davis (Clash of the Titans) and John Hurt (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) as the young and elder Zeus, respectively. The man to watch for? Robert Maillet (Sherlock Holmes), who plays the Minotaur, the mythological half-man, half-bull and Theseus’ most infamous adversary.
Grant Delgatty PROD 95, Faculty, Product Design
Never heard of Urshuz? You will soon enough. That’s the name of faculty member Grant Delgatty’s PROD 95 new line of footwear that allows consumers to mix and match a shoe’s uppers and soles into a variety of material and color combinations. Delgatty’s history in the footwear industry includes stints designing for K-Swiss and leading the design teams at DVS Shoes and Vans. Urshuz (pronounced “yer shoes”) features a patent-pending U-ring fastening system to connect their uppers to their 100 percent recyclable soles.
Launched earlier this year, they were available initially at select retail locations—Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, DNA Footwear in Brooklyn and ShoeLab in Rosemère, Quebec—but Urshuz recently hit the big time and can now be purchased at Urban Outfitters retail stores nationwide.
Tara McPherson ILLU 01
Last April, Tara McPherson ILLU 01 opened The Cotton Candy Machine, an art boutique and gallery in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Formerly McPherson’s studio, the ground-floor space specializes in affordable art, including limited edition prints and serigraphs as well as posters, shirts, books, toys and more by a variety of artists. McPherson was dubbed “the crown princess of poster art” by Elle magazine for her work with rock bands like Beck, Modest Mouse and The Strokes. The space is home to monthly art shows, events and signings. Currently on view are works by Travis Louie and Chris Ryniak, in partnership with Circus Posterus to coincide with the New York Comic Con.
A Growing Garden
Patrick Hruby ILLU 10
Parents of toddlers, do we have something for you: AMMO Books recently published the second children’s board book by artist Patrick Hruby ILLU 10, called Counting in the Garden. It’s his fifth project for AMMO, a collaboration that began just days after his senior show when Hruby’s colorful and graphic illustrations caught the eye of AMMO Co-Owner and Art Center faculty member and alumna Gloria Fowler ENVL 87. Created with his sister, the writer Emily Hruby, Counting in the Garden is a delightful departure from the usual fare—onions, turnips and thistles all make appearances—and there’s a sense of excitement as the garden fantastically multiplies with each turn of the page. Best of all, it will have your little ones reciting their numbers in no time.
Throw Your Hands in the Air
Claire Gerhardt MS INDU 07
It’s hard to believe, but we’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Microsoft’s release of the Kinect—that motion-, face-, voice-, distance-recognizing Xbox 360 accessory that lets players move their bodies in lieu of holding a gamepad. Launching with the tagline “You are the controller,” the Kinect not only received accolades (The New York Times called launch game Dance Central “pure genius”) but it also became the fastest-selling consumer electronics product of all time. And according to Microsoft User Experience Designer Claire Gerhardt MS INDU 07, who was part of the team responsible for the Kinect, this is only the beginning. In addition to an ever-growing list of compatible games—Kinect Star Wars, Mass Effect 3, Forza IV—the device has also fostered an enthusiastic hacking community that’s tweaking the device for everything from medical rehabilitation to art installations. “There’s a whole world waiting out there,” said Gerhardt.
Courtesy of the artist; Mary Mary, Glasgow.
Afterwards, Then, Before
Alexis Teplin MFA ART 01, Visiting faculty, Graduate Art
Desire and the aesthetics/politics of the feminine drive the work of California-born, London-based contemporary artist Alexis Teplin MFA ART 01, whose latest paintings and sculptures go on view next month in the one-woman show, Seashells and So On, at Car Projects in Bologna, Italy. Her paintings are infused with vibrant colors, animated brushwork, art historical references and a preoccupation with the figure (or lack thereof), while her sculptures often transform found objects into temples of feminine seduction. The show includes new unstretched paintings on canvas, including Three Women (after Picasso’s 1908 masterpiece), which hangs like a costume pinned to the gallery wall and reveals Teplin’s ongoing explorations into the theatrical qualities of fabric and fashion.
The Adventures Continue
Scot Drake TRAN 98, Faculty, Entertainment Design
Disneyphiles and Jedi-knights-in-training alike have reason to celebrate the recent reopening of Star Tours at California’s Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Florida’s Walt Disney World. The 1987 Star Tours attraction—a joint creation of Disney Imagineering and George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic—took visitors on a simulated thrill ride through the Star Wars universe. The ride closed in 2010 in order to upgrade both its technology and story line. Art Center Visual Communications instructor and current Disney Imagineer Scot Drake TRAN 98 worked extensively on the ride, from the first storyboards presented to Lucas, all the way through concept development as the attraction’s art director. Now in 3D and redubbed Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, the new ride transports visitors to randomly selected worlds and scenarios—from the battle of Hoth to an underwater encounter in Naboo—for a total of 54 possible ride combinations.
Goodbye Range Anxiety
Franz von Holzhausen TRAN 92 / Bernard Lee TRAN 97 / Nadya Arnaout PROD 00
Development of Tesla Motors’ long-awaited Model S, a premium all-electric midsize sedan, is wrapping up and customers can expect to begin driving their zero-emission vehicles by mid-2012. The $56K Model S will run on the same technology as its more expensive cousin, the $109K Roadster, and features three battery pack options to appease range anxiety: 160, 230 or 300 miles per 45-minute charge. The adventurous design, which boasts a leading electric powertrain, a showstopping 17-inch infotainment touch screen and top-notch aerodynamics, was conceived by three Art Center alumni: Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen TRAN 92, Lead Exterior Designer and former Art Center faculty member Bernard Lee TRAN 97, and Lead Interior Designer Nadya Arnaout PROD 00.
Eco-friendly Choice for the Audiophile
Dan Ashcraft PROD 73
Wouldn’t it be cool if your headphones were constructed from recycled guitars and even the clothing articles of musicians from around the world? Dan Ashcraft PROD 73 thinks so. As President and Chief Designer of Ashcraft Design, he recently launched the Aria Headphone, a beautifully crafted and eco-friendly choice for music mavens that packs a serious punch. Developed by Lead Designer Britt Ashcraft (Ashcraft’s son and a former Art Center at Night student), the headband is wrapped in reclaimed wood from musicians’ acoustic guitars, the spun ear cups are made from recycled aluminum and the leather linings are reclaimed from the bags, jackets and clothing of musicians, bringing listeners one step closer to the source. Titanium-plated drivers deliver extreme clarity, ensuring a stellar listening experience.
Courtesy of Frances Stark © Frances Stark.
Frances Stark MFA ART 93
The fall schedule of contemporary artist and writer Frances Stark MFA ART 93 is sure to impress even veteran art world insiders. Her 11-episode video My Best Thing is currently on view at the Venice Biennale 54th International Art Exhibition, ILLUMInations, through November 27. Back on the West Coast, Stark is the subject of a solo exhibition at the Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, Calif., where her multipart work, the whole of all the parts as well as the parts of all the parts, explores the space between text, drawing, PowerPoint, musical score, film, random video chats, animation, installation and live performance. And next month in New York, Performa has commissioned a new Stark theatrical piece for its 11th Biennial.
Can you hear me now?
Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects, on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York through November 7, features imaginative work by designers that explores the increasingly complex dialogue occurring between humans and their inventions. Of the 194 works on display in the Paola Antonelli-curated exhibition, two are student projects conceptualized in Art Center’s Graduate Media Design Program: Beyond the Fold (2007) by alumnus Sebastian Bettencourt MDP 07 proposes transplanting traditional newspaper gestures to interact with a futuristic paper-like device; and The Messenger (2010), a wearable device for the faithful—designed by alumni Ting Yuin Chien MDP 11 and Scott Liao MDP 11, current student Dustin York, and former student Jae Yeop Kim—records the audible prayers of its wearer and uploads them to a series of databases, which other members of the same faith can access and, if they so choose, answer.
Sting Like a B-12 Bomber
What do you get when you cross Rocky with The Iron Giant? Hint: it rhymes with “robot boxing.” Set in the year 2020, where eight-foot-tall, 2,000 lb. robots have replaced humans as the pugilists du jour, Dreamworks’ Real Steel tells the story of a washed-up-boxer-turned-small-time-promoter (X-Men’s Hugh Jackman) who teams up with his estranged son (Resurrecting the Champ’s Dakota Goyo) to build and train a World Robot Boxing championship contender. Based on the short story Steel by author Richard Matheson (Twilight Zone, I Am Legend) and directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, The Pink Panther), Real Steel promises a one-two punch of tender father-and-son bonding and not-so-tender metal-on-metal pummeling. The film features a number of robots designed by Art Center’s Chair of Entertainment Design, Tim Flattery. Show your Art Center spirit (and irk fellow filmgoers) by cheering on the Mohawk-sporting Midas and the two-headed Twin Cities, both designed by Flattery.