With 30 years of experience under her belt, creative director Jane Kobayashi has become a force in graphic design, as a partner of 5D Studio with awards from shows such as Communication Arts, Mead, and AIGA, she is also published in multiple “Best of” design books. Meanwhile, daughter Daria Kobayashi Ritch is making her mark as a photographer shooting for clients such as Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Solange, i-D, and W Magazine. For this special Storyboard, we speak to these ArtCenter alums about their artistic methods and what the future holds.
Jane: Everyone wants to create beautiful things. At ArtCenter, that focus on creativity and beauty bonded me with fellow students. I worked for two ArtCenter alums before opening 5D Studio and have hired multiple ArtCenter photographers for projects. Now it bonds me with my daughter, Daria, who’s also an alum. When my kids were young, I took Daria along with her brother to multiple photo shoots and press checks. I was surprised at how much Daria took to the photography part of it.
Daria: My mom and I are both creative people. We both have an eye for it. I respect her as an artist. She and my dad, who’s a successful furniture designer (and partner of 5D), have been essential in helping me discover my creative voice.
Our family works together in the same way that we collaborate on jobs. My mom is always helping me with my various creative endeavors. She did my logo and helped me design my business cards. My brother has created music for films I’ve made. We’re a creative family – we encourage each other and help each other out, even though we’re all in different fields.
J: I had a BA in Design from UCLA before I went to ArtCenter. At that time, they didn’t accept students straight from high school, which made for a different student dynamic and teacher to student dynamic. Being older, I think we were ready for collaborating and knew what we wanted. I still enjoy that collaboration today with other ArtCenter alums. I especially enjoy teaming up with people outside of my discipline. In my experience, this leads to a curiosity and respect for what it takes to master another art. In that regard, ArtCenter has been one of the great connectors in my life.
D: I also went to UCLA for two years prior to ArtCenter. During that time, I learned a lot about the theoretical aspects of photography. But I didn’t have an entirely clear idea of how to break into photography as a business. ArtCenter offered me a path into that side of the practice.
J: Design teaches you to attack problem solving with a sort of intensity. That’s the word I’d use to describe the primary experience of being at ArtCenter: intensity. Daria has to do her thing in her own way. But I love seeing that same intensity in her creative process. She has this gift for choosing the right models and locations because she “feels” the moment she wants to create and capture. But during the shoot, she is able to temper that intensity and connects with the model and capture who they really are.
D: I’m starting to find my own voice in my work, and I’m finding that my voice has its own unique place. My goals are constantly changing, because I’m constantly evolving. I’m four years out of ArtCenter and it’s probably time to set some new goals.
J: Looking at my time at ArtCenter in hindsight has been tremendously beneficial for my own creative growth. Because you never stop growing, do you? In that way, ArtCenter was the launching pad for the rest of my life. I can already see that it’s had the same type of effect on Daria, which is inspiring to watch.
D: I started working immediately after graduating and haven’t stopped since. That’s thanks to ArtCenter. They taught me about the technical side of my trade. They also taught me to push myself harder than anyone else in the room. ArtCenter is really about growing up, taking your education into your own hands, and deciding how much you’re going to get from it.
J: ArtCenter is all about progress, and you can’t stop progress. I’ve always pushed to be the best that I can in any situation presented to me and to embrace all that is new. I feel a lot of the progress I’ve made in my own life was inspired by my time there, and now I’m seeing the same thing with Daria. We bond over that experience in a way that is deeply fulfilling.
BFA 84 Graphics/Packaging
Owner, 5D Studio
Daria Kobayashi Ritch
BFA 15 Photography
Photo + Imaging, Photographer
Looking at my time at ArtCenter in hindsight has been tremendously beneficial for my own creative growth. Because you never stop growing, do you? In that way, ArtCenter was the launching pad for the rest of my life.Jane Kobayashi