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Myspace Tatyana Kim and Christine Spines

Students gain massive exposure through Myspace collaboration

Have you logged in to Myspace lately? You might not recognize the sweeping on-screen landscape, entirely re-envisioned to conjure a 360-degree environment, with horizontal scrolling and a new emphasis on high-quality visuals. Acquired in 2011 by Specific Media with Justin Timberlake, and officially relaunched last summer, Myspace has resurfaced as the social medium for music and entertainment.

Art Center has been collaborating in conceiving and creating multimedia content for the new Myspace, whose decidedly sleek and aesthetic interface is nothing like the more utilitarian dashboard of the site’s heyday circa 2005. Our student-driven presence began last October with a week-long “occupation” of the homepage, during which Charlene Chen (Graphic Design), Addie Liang (Film), Terry Carr (BS 13 Product), and Carolina Rodriguez (Illustration) contributed material prepared specifically for showcasing on Myspace. Graduate Film student Tatyana Kim produced and edited video content tailored to the new interface.

“We wanted to give Art Center students unprecedented exposure for their talents through Myspace,” says the company’s Mazen Alawar, director of marketing. “And we saw an increase in the millions of impressions. It’s always advantageous for us to help members of the creative community showcase their art, grow their brand and gain an audience.”

But the project has seeds going back further than the homepage occupation. Art Center alumnus Marshall Rake (BFA 90 Graphic), former creative director at Myspace, proposed and developed the collaboration with his alma mater. “Myspace strives to be home to the creative community,” he says, “and what better embodiment of a cross-functioning creative ecosystem than Art Center?”

Terry Carr couldn’t agree more. He says this is an opportunity for Art Center to “highlight the diversity of work coming from different majors.” He also feels that Art Center’s contri-bution helps establish Myspace as an authority within the art and design community. “It has introduced me to the power of using video for my projects,” he says, having received 10.6 million views of his infographic campaign to address the problem of food deserts in low-income neighborhoods. Hailing from Mississippi, a state leading the nation in chronic illness, Carr is acutely aware of how people’s surroundings affect their health. His project came about organically, when he traveled abroad and noticed how little obesity there was outside the U.S. Carr’s project is evolving to explore product opportunities, like an app to navigate for wholesome food, and entire systems for farming unused urban green spaces.

Filmmaker Kim waged a sort of “what if” campaign with the Myspace project, intoning at the opening of each video: “Imagine if your creativity could influence change.”

Carolina Rodriguez, whose video profile has generated more than 7.5 million views, is thrilled to have the kind of exposure that Rake predicted. She is earning Designmatters independent study credit for her project to provide print collateral for Orangutan Foundation International and the Rainforest Action Network, including an educational piece about the devastating effects of palm oil plantations on the world’s rainforests.

“The fact that Art Center and Myspace were intrigued with this topic makes me feel that there is validity in pursuing a career in social impact as a designer,” she says.

Art Center Web Communications Director Christine Spines is the lead creative force on the College’s side of the collaboration. “It benefits the school,” Spines says, “by introducing the creative dynamism and innovation that are core to Art Center’s methodology to a broad audience of prospective students from around the world.”

Avid users now, few on the team remember any sustained personal interaction with the former Myspace—except Kim, who had a band back home in her native Kazakhstan. She’s hopeful that the partnership really can promote design solutions to real-world problems. “This project shows how different our students are and what influence these creative minds can have in their fields,” she says. “We need to share this experience. We need to spread the word. We need to be proud of what we do.”

Fine Art Chair Vanalyne Green
Fine Art Chair Vanalyne Green in the new 870 Building.

College welcomes new chair of undergrad Fine Art

Vanalyne Green, newly appointed chair of Art Center’s undergraduate Fine Art Department, joined the College in November. The renowned art maker, teacher, critic and activist comes to Art Center following an extensive international search conducted by a committee of faculty, alumni, students and staff.

“Vanalyne is an artist, a scholar and, most importantly, an educator with a keen understanding of the relationship between pedagogy, curriculum and student success,” says Art Center Provost Fred Fehlau. “She is uniquely qualified to continue the work of the department and its faculty in addressing new opportunities in the fine arts, including the Artmatters concentration and opportunities for collaboration with other disciplines.”

Green’s arrival coincides with the completion of the 870 building, the new home of the Fine Art and Illustration departments; and with the launch of the Artmatters concentration, an interdisciplinary course of study that parallels the College’s Designmatters concentration. Artmatters explores the shift from individual expression toward collective experience, breaking down the traditional separation between artist and audience with an emphasis on collaborative projects in the public sphere.

“This is an especially optimistic moment for education programs such as Art Center’s because of the unusual flexibility they offer to students to cross disciplines,” says Green, who served most recently as a professor at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. “My goal is to support young artists to recognize their inherent interests and to strengthen their commitment to work through a program of experimentation and exposure to an international art world.”

Green sees a connection between making art and administrative leadership within an educational institution. “I find pedagogy and program development to be intrinsic to the project of being an artist: They involve narrative, composition, architecture and art as a form of social energy. This idea of a porous boundary between practices originates in the unorthodox programs I was privileged to experience.”

Green’s work has been shown in the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the Guggenheim Museum and in galleries in New York, Los Angeles and Europe. She was one of the original 15 students in artist Judy Chicago’s pioneering feminist art program at California State University, Fresno. Later, Green studied with Sheila Levrant de Bretteville in her yearlong feminist design program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Green earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from CalArts.

Green is former chair of the Department of Film, Video and New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also taught at Temple University and at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she started the school’s video program.

A respected researcher and writer, Green is widely published on the subjects of art, theory, criticism, single-sex education, experimental pedagogy and feminism.

Graduate Industrial Design students Graduate Industrial Design students

New Innovation Systems Design grad program

“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” said Peter F. Drucker, widely known as the father of modern management.

Art Center’s Graduate Industrial Design (Grad ID) Department, led by Chair Andy Ogden, has entered into a partnership with the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management to create a new dual- degree Innovation Systems Design (ISD) program that will confer to graduates an MS degree from Art Center and an MBA from Drucker, preparing them for future leadership roles.

“Tomorrow’s innovators will need both design skills and business acumen to thrive in a global marketplace characterized by heightened competition and accelerated change,” says Ogden, co-executive director of the ISD program. “Exposing designers to these two completely different cultures is necessary in order to train business leaders who can lead the multidisciplinary teams that will create the future.”

The ISD curriculum, which can be completed in two years, provides students with an immersive Art Center design education in the first three terms, followed by an immersive business education at the Drucker School over the next two terms. The final term requires completion of a thesis project.

Michelle Cheng, daughter of Product Design alumni John (BS 74) and Laura (BS 76) Cheng, is part of he program’s first cohort set to graduate this year. Even though Michelle was born into the world of design, she began her college career with a focus on business, excited about the potential of being an entrepreneur and tackling new and complex business problems emerging from the digital revolution. She was eager to learn how to analyze problems and to come up with strategic and innovative solutions.

In 2008, Michelle began an internship with a major music retailer that was struggling with the disruptive impact of digital music and streaming video. She was surprised to discover that the organization was unprepared for this shift, and she found it difficult to contribute the creative abilities she knew she could offer.

To better position herself as a creative, Michelle enrolled at Art Center, beginning her studies in the undergraduate Product Design Department and then transferring to Grad ID. Seeking an education that would bring together her interests in both business and design, she joined the pilot class for the ISD program.

For next-gen designers like Michelle, the ISD program employs both theory and applied practice to prepare them for professional success.

“Grad ID taught me to take a heuristic approach to the creative process in order to generate meaningful, strategic solutions to a big-picture problem,” says Cheng. “ISD gave me the quantitative tools to thoroughly analyze the current marketplace and provided me with the confidence to make smarter business decisions.”

Entering the workforce as a graduate of the ISD program, skilled in design and knowledgeable in business, Michelle intends to seek out opportunities where she can add value in dynamic technology R&D environments, specifically focusing on the adapting and maturing UI and UX spaces.

“I am looking forward to creating the next chapter in my future,” she says.

Re/Bootcamp in Berlin Re/Bootcamp in Berlin Re/Bootcamp in Berlin Re/Bootcamp in Berlin Re/Bootcamp in Berlin

Alumni refocus and recharge at Art Center’s new Re/Bootcamp

“The needs of creative professionals are changing,” says Elizabeth Collins, Art Center’s executive director of educational partnerships. “Re/Boot camp was conceived with the intention of providing mid-career Art Center alumni with information, experiences and tools that will help them recharge, reframe and rethink their practice.”

Collins, together with Kristine Bowne, executive director of alumni relations, connects with Art Center alumni working in sectors that are ripe for refreshment or greater exposure to a global professional cohort. Collins and Bowne identify select markets and communities, and develop scope, content and structure for events that alumni participate in to “reignite their creative spark,” as Bowne puts it, “and remind them of the curious and creative people they were as students.”

The goal is to bring transdiscipli-nary teams of alumni together and, to that end, program content has been developed in partnership with Product Design Chair Karen Hofmann and her fellow alumni and faculty members Rob Ball in Environmental Design, Brad Bartlett in Graphic Design and Patrick Hanenberger in Product Design. Re/Bootcamp was piloted with Europe-based alumni in Berlin last June, in a fruitful collaboration with Graphic Design Chair and Executive Director of Berlin Programs Nik Hafermaas. Highlights included a workshop led by graphic designer Michael Sans (BS 97 Product).

Among the attendees, Florian Dengler (BFA 94 Communications) reported that it “really caught me right where I am now, in the middle of rebooting my career, my life, myself. Inspiring presentations and galvanizing insights from other professionals were more than relevant for me.”

Collins and Bowne are now targeting U.S. cities with robust alumni networks, like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, to launch a serious primer for custom executive education programs. Re/Bootcamp, they feel, could pave the way to a greater Art Center presence in key industries around the world. Alumni provide connections as well as ideas for Re/Bootcamp curriculum, and they serve as de facto advisors on programming.

“After the program has been seeded with the alumni community in select markets, we will open it up to the broader creative community,” says Collins. “It’s possible that the companies and organizations where alumni work will be interested in custom Re/Bootcamps.” Some content may be adapted for access online, too, so that alumni unable to travel to cities where events take place can also benefit from the programming. Eventually, Re/Bootcamp will grow to encompass cities in Europe and Asia.

“The Art Center network is a strong and powerful force,” says Bowne. “It helps provide industry connections among alumni throughout their lives as creatives. The Re/Bootcamp programming will help to strengthen and empower our community and keep them engaged.”

More Re/Bootcamp Berlin photos on Flickr



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