It Must Be Week Twelve... Most art and design schools have some aspect of their essence that is uniquely their own. The Transportation Design Department is a very distinctive aspect of Art Center’s uniqueness. You can almost use the transportation project rooms and public hallways, filled with models or covered with drawings, as a weekly clock for the term. As models evolve, you know we’re getting near the end of the term. Inner structures and armatures are covered with smooth surfaces and beautiful forms and curves. Eventually, they are painted to showroom perfection in the tradition of Joe Farrer.
While computer-generated models have replaced some of the traditional ways models were built, I understand that the clay used in the past is still in use today. That clay’s distinctive smell permeated the old Art Center on Third Street, and I sometimes miss the distinctive odor.
Many things have changed over the years. Our students have access to the CMTEL Lab, a fantastic color, materials and trends laboratory that helps inform and inspire many of their creative decisions. (Alumni have access to the lab as well.) Although Transportation Design majors still seem in love with high-performance vehicles from Tomorrowland, many of their projects are now focused on the new demands faced by auto makers: high-efficiency cars that will run on alternative fuels. Art Center’s Summits on Sustainable Mobility have brought the issues of renewable, recyclable and green products to the forefront of problem-solving in the classroom and is a top educational priority at Art Center. The curriculum of the Transportation Design Department has evolved to address the next 60 years. In a way, I see the Industrial Design group as the College’s football team, and I always hope that the cars and products the ID alumni design for industry will make touchdowns in the global marketplace, especially with more green design solutions.
As we move into a transitional period for the College, I have never felt more confident that Art Center will retain its strength and unique creative dominance in the world of art and design. This is evident in the classroom, where I consistently encounter the most talented, earnest and motivated students you will find anywhere. I recently addressed the incoming Fall class during orientation, the second largest class to ever enter the College. They were as excited and eager to get to work as I was 35 years ago. As a teacher, it is a joy to watch the variety of creativity going on in all of our departments, but I'm sure you would agree that Art Center would not be Art Center without the ID department and, in particular, that special breed of men and women who design vehicles for the transportation industry. I just wish they would keep a small pot of that smelly clay brewing at the entrance to the College, for old times sake.
Art Center Remembers Joe Farrer