Alumni News

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by Allison Byers

Yield Design Co. Picnic Bag

More and more, the talented and driven creatives of the CCA community are turning to Kickstarter -- a funding platform for creative projects. We’ve seen more than 20 successful projects on the CCA Kickstarter page, and even more are out there, achieving their goals.

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Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012 by Allison Byers

In 2007, Oakland artist Packard Jennings made headlines when the New York Times cited his sneaky method of placing “battle in Seattle” style Anarchist action figures for sale in local Target and Wal – Mart stores just in time for a holiday season filled with more than a few unsuspecting consumers. In the New York Times, Ian Urbana defined “shopdropping” as the act of “…surreptitiously putting things in stores, rather than illegally taking them out, and the motivations vary.”

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Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 by Chris Bliss

Lisel Ashlock, My Escapee, cover art and design

A friendly alligator on a quest to get clean, an imaginary universe of original creatures, and a depiction of the phenomenon called data scraping -- these are just a few of the concepts that CCA Illustration alumni have been challenged to bring to life.

With 167 students currently enrolled, the Illustration Program is one of the largest at CCA. Every year, students, alumni, and faculty are recognized and honored in national illustration competitions. The program consistently produces talented and accomplished artists who go on to build successful careers.

We recently interviewed four Illustration alums to see what paths they have taken since graduation and to ask them to reflect on their time at CCA.

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Posted on Monday, November 19, 2012 by Allison Byers

As a conceptual art student, Neil Grimmer created what he considered his greatest design: a wireless hug. He designed a pair of electronic vests that transferred pressure and body temperature to mimic an embrace.
Today, as CEO of Nest Collective, a booming organic baby and child food company with brand name Plum Organics, Grimmer has come a long way from his days at the California College of the Arts. The business he built is still intimate, though it has grown from three employees when it was founded in 2007 to 60 today. The entire company still huddles at the start ...

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Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012 by Allison Byers

On Grove Street, across from the gilded, Beaux-Arts exterior of City Hall, the San Francisco Arts Commission has a space that it is no longer allowed to use as a gallery – quite. 155 Grove has been deemed seismically unsafe, which means the general public is not allowed inside, but the city does allow SFAC to put the space’s large front window to use: A rotation of artists fill the cube with site-specific installations that the public can view from outside.

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Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012 by Allison Byers

Sebastopol painter Kent Rupp sometimes wonders what life would be like if he had taken a different turn in the road.
In high school, Rupp was a less-than-stellar student who had attended nine grammar schools during his first eight years of formal education because of his father's scattered work in those post-Depression years. At Alameda High School, he said, the only classes where he achieved good grades were English and art. By senior year, Rupp had decided to join the merchant marine.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 by Allison Byers

Dabbling in a night of high glam nails, local San Jose consignment boutique, Black and Brown, in conjunction with Nail Jerks, mobile nail art service, indulged fellow vintage fashion lovers to an afternoon full of Floss Gloss fun.

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Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2012 by Allison Byers

It’s not always quite this bustling, Hank Willis Thomas tells me as we make our way into his small, fifth-floor studio located in Midtown Manhattan; it’s just when he’s gearing up for a major project or a show—which, these past few years, has been more or less his perpetual state.

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Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

The Cast of La Bamba 2: Hell Is a Drag

"I wrote a sequel to From Dusk Till Dawn when I was in seventh grade."

So began the filmmaking career of Rob Fatal (MFA 2012). His obsession with film proceeded apace, but it took him a surprisingly long time, he says, to realize that there was a person called a director -- that movies didn't just spring into existence like Athena from Zeus's head.

Inspired by Quentin Tarantino, Mel Brooks, and Robert Rodriguez, Fatal began writing screenplays at age 12. "I loved camp and sci-fi films before I even knew they were genres." At 19 he borrowed his father's camcorder and made a 30-minute film about DJs with magical turntables. "It was accidentally campy. It was accidentally bad. But it had a lot of sincerity." Much to his surprise, it did well, even getting into a couple of festivals.

Film Maker, Filmmaker, or Artist?

Fast forward a few years. Fatal was still working in film and experimenting with video art, but not quite to the point of considering himself a filmmaker, and certainly not an "artist," whatever that meant. But one day, in the midst of editing a video documenting an experimental opera by Fatal's collaborator/mentor Juliana Snapper, he recomposed portions of the footage into a new composition and showed it to CCA faculty member Cheryl Dunye. Dunye delivered the unexpected news that what he was doing was art, and urged him to apply to CCA's MFA program. The faculty there, she said, were pushing the boundaries of genres, and dealing with gender politics and racial identity -- fields of study Fatal had been researching for years in his graduate program at Sacramento State University. CCA presented Fatal with a place to finally bridge his dual love of film theory and practice.

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Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Zarouhie Abdalian (MFA 2010) maintains quite the hectic travel schedule. This fall she made a trip to Bergen, Norway, to participate in the Kunstindustrimuseum's Material Information exhibition, and afterward she headed to the 9th Shanghai Biennial as a participant in the San Francisco pavilion. She's exhibited work and created site-specific installations throughout the United States and eight other countries; right now you can see one of her works, The fall without the fruit, at the CCA Wattis Institute's When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes exhibition, on view through December 1, 2012.

Abdalian's work has evolved dramatically since her years as an undergraduate at Tulane University, where she focused on painting and printmaking. While at CCA she developed an entirely new way of working that is sculptural, and profoundly site specific. A new piece doesn't begin until she researches the place where it will be located. Visually and historically, her installations engage in dialogue with their viewers and -- ideally -- disrupt their typical interaction with a particular place.

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