Alumni News

Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, "Bay Area Now 6" (video still)

Alumnus David Huffman (MFA 1998), who is a recently tenured assistant professor in CCA's undergraduate Painting/Drawing Program and Graduate Program in Fine Arts, is one of three featured artists in the current group exhibition SHIFT: Three Projects Constructing a New Dialogue About Race in America at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery (through December 10, 2011).

Shifting Demographics, Shifting Races

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Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2011 by Allison Byers

During her visit to the Orient, Editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani is selecting young emerging designers. Here’s for you the next generation of Chinese designers.

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Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Social Craft builds a home on the campus of Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore

$10,000: It's a daunting amount of money to a student, especially when the task is to spend it in three months on a single project. But three CCA student IMPACT teams proved up to the challenge in summer 2011.

The IMPACT: Social Entrepreneurship Awards is a new initiative at CCA, run by the Center for Art and Public Life under the direction of Center director Sanjit Sethi and program manager Rebecca Wolfe. It is one of a trio of unique programs managed by the Center that connect students with outside communities to address specific, real-world problems.

The three winning IMPACT teams had competed against numerous other contenders, and they all had what the judges were looking for: They were interdisciplinary, they had strong relationships with their proposed community partners, they were attentive to a relevant social and humanitarian need, and they balanced innovation and pragmatism.

Sanjit Sethi says, "The name of this speaks for itself. At its core the IMPACT program is about innovation, community, collaboration, and making. It celebrates the entrepreneurial drive of CCA students combined with their desire to create a tangible, positive impact within a specific community."

(Note to students: Info sessions for summer 2012 IMPACT are happening in San Francisco on Nov. 8 and 17 at 6 p.m. in the Timken reception area, and in Oakland Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in front of A2 Cafe.)

The year-one IMPACT teams reported on their completed projects on September 29, 2011, in Timken Lecture Hall on CCA's San Francisco campus.

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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2011 by Chris Bliss

(l to r) CCA alumni Daniel Gonzales (Animation 2010); Sage Matthews (Fashion Design 2007); and Kelly Puleio (Photography 2010)

CCA is rated as the #4 Bay Area institution for yielding the highest-paying jobs, according to PayScale, a compensation data company, in its 2011-12 College Salary Report. The annual report ranks undergraduate degrees and schools by postgraduation salary potential. Statewide, CCA ranked 11th and was the top art and design college on the list. (The three Bay Area schools in the report that ranked higher than CCA were Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and University of California, Berkeley.)

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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Jens Hoffmann leads CCA Curator's Forum tour of Istanbul Biennial (Kris Martin's work in foreground) (photo: George Jewett)

The Istanbul Biennial is a key event in the international contemporary art scene -- a highly visible, highly respected exhibition that draws more than 100,000 visitors to the city and exposes them to some of the most engaged and relevant art being made today. In its opening week, the 12th Istanbul Biennial (which remains open through November 13) was attended by almost 4,000 guests, including critics, curators, museum and gallery administrators, and approximately 400 members of the press from 50 different countries. Everything they saw (whether they realized it or not) bore the marks of a CCA affiliate's hand -- specifically two CCA curators, one CCA graphic designer, and one CCA editor. They also saw the work of one faculty member and three alumni; all three alumni had entire galleries devoted to their work.

CCA President Stephen Beal, chair of the Board of Trustees F. Noel Perry, other trustees, and several members of the CCA Curator's Forum (a dedicated group of Wattis Institute supporters) flew to Istanbul for the opening weekend. Stephen Beal remarked, standing at the biennial entrance, "It is very gratifying to see the college so prominently represented here. It is evidence of the major relevance, at the international level, of what we are doing, and the kinds of experiences and access that CCA makes available to its community."

The Curators

It was almost two years ago that Wattis Institute director Jens Hoffmann accepted the invitation to co-curate the 12th Istanbul Biennial. Beginning with that moment, what began as a single thread of connection between the college and the city of Istanbul expanded into a densely packed web involving multiple individuals.

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Posted on Monday, October 24, 2011 by Allison Byers

A glimpse into a day at fashion house Oscar de la Renta for art director and CCA alumna Laura Kramer (Graphic Design 2002).

Ten years ago, Laura Kramer (Graphic Design 2002) was sitting at a desk in a classroom at CCA. Today, she barely has time to sit down at her desk . . . in her office at one of the most influential fashion houses in the world, where she collaborates with many of today’s top fashion industry leaders. Kramer is the in-house art director at Oscar de la Renta.

The job encompasses a vast range of responsibilities: directing photo shoots, editing video, producing visuals for fashion shows, and shooting in-house. She also takes part in designing fragrance packaging, trunk show invitations, web assets, and social media platforms. "It's a family-run business," she explains, "so we all wear many hats."

Fashion Week Challenge

Last month was Kramer's first experience with New York Fashion Week. "The process is very hands-on. While photographing the fittings in the showroom with Oscar and the creative team, I recognize how amazing it is to be so closely involved in the process.” She manages the visuals both in preparation for the show and the night it takes place, including organizing the videographers and photographers in the pit to ensure the collection is well captured on the runway. The moment the show is over, she is editing video, uploading photographs to the website, and planning for look books. "At times it's stressful, but you step back and think, 'Wow, this is incredible -- I never thought I would end up here.'"

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Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Jon Sueda and Martin Venezky (photo by Nikki Ritcher)

Today, professors Martin Venezky and Jon Sueda seem like two sides of the same coin. In the Graphic Design courses they co-teach at CCA, they listen to their students before speaking, argue with each other fruitfully and comfortably, then almost always agree on what the student should do next. In addition to their academic work, each has forged a successful professional career. Venezky is one of the most influential designers of his generation. His projects include work for SFMOMA, Reebok, the Sundance Film Festival, and the two-volume, 600-page, award-winning publication for the International Center of Photography's The Mexican Suitcase, documenting recently unearthed Spanish Civil War photographs by Robert Capa and others. Sueda just finished a major international commission, designing the graphic identity for the 12th Istanbul Biennial. He is also curating an exhibition at the International Biennial of Graphic Design in the Czech Republic in 2012. While the rapport and respect between these two designers is solid and obvious today, it's not a relationship that developed overnight. This is the story of a mentorship spanning two continents, four states, and 15 years.

Back in 1996, the 25-year-old Sueda enrolled in CCA's undergraduate Graphic Design Program. A tennis-playing Hawaiian with a BFA from UC Davis and a background in painting and printmaking, he signed up for a class with Venezky. "Jon was extraordinarily shy and basically terrified," says Venezky. "He was also really, really good. He hated the critiques, but when I made suggestions, he followed through and went much further, and I was really impressed with that. His development was amazing to watch." Says Sueda, "I didn't know what graphic design was, and I wasn't sure what I was getting into. At UC Davis, we never really had critiques. So I wasn't prepared, and I found it hard. I didn't even know I needed a computer. I went through the first semester doing everything at Kinko's."

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Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 by Clay Walsh

Hello Etsy

On September 18, 2011, close to 200 people convened at CCA’s San Francisco campus to say “Hello!” to Etsy, the online marketplace where independent artists, craftspersons, and vintage sellers from around the world sell their wares directly to their customers. Visitors and locals came to CCA as part of a unique satellite conference that not only featured live streaming from the two-day Hello Etsy summit in Berlin (September 17¬-18), but also afforded the CCA campus with a full day of workshops, lectures, panel discussions with key speakers, and hands-on making sessions.

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This first-ever conference by Etsy joined business owners and leaders in the locally made / entrepreneur community alongside artists who have invented their own products and markets to discuss innovations and challenges to succeeding in the independent and handmade movements. CCA’s fine arts and Communications administration was thrilled to partner in the programming and support of this event. Attendees ranged from crafters, CCA fine arts students, local business owners, bloggers, faculty, and dozens of CCA alumni.

The Hello Etsy event kicked off a new partnership between the college and Etsy, called I Heart Art: San Francisco. Said Etsy Director of Community and Education Vanessa Bertozzi: “Over the past few years we were seeing so much activity and energy coming out of our community in the Bay Area. After visiting CCA for the Craft Forward Symposium, it was clear to me that we wanted to partner with this school -- filled with talented faculty and students, filled with history, and new ideas.”

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Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 by Allison Byers

Nomadic Rahn, 2010 (from Mirrors Series)

CCA alum Bayeté Ross Smith (MFA 2004) is a contestant on Season 2 of Bravo’s creative competition series, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. The series seeks to discover new talent and shed light on the artistic process that typically occurs behind closed doors. Bayeté is an artist, photographer, and arts educator living in New York. His work has been exhibited with the San Francisco Arts Commission, The Oakland Museum of California, MoMA P.S.1, the New Museum, the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, and the Goethe Institute.

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Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

For an artist who has made her name celebrating the everyday, the career of Kate Pocrass (MFA 2001) is anything but ordinary. Pocrass's well-considered salute to normalcy began at CCA, when she launched Mundane Journeys, a community art project based around a telephone hotline. Art fans calling the line would hear a series of instructions directing them to a specific address in the city where they might find intriguing graffiti, a charming storefront window, or an upholstered tree stump.

"The hotline started in 2001, the year I graduated from CCA. It was in reaction to a show one of my advisors, Ted Purves, did at Southern Exposure called Sites and Expeditions. I changed the telephone message every Monday, figuring at first that it would end when the gallery show ended. I ended up continuing it for eight years, from 2001 to 2009."

Mundane Journeys led directly to a residency at the Hammer Museum. Allison Agsten, who curates the Hammer's residencies, saw a Mundane Journeys poster created for the Orange County Museum of Art's 2006 California Biennial and gave Pocrass a call.

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