Alumni News

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Piero Passacantando at work in his studio with Dawa Tamang in Kathmandu (photo by Clarissa Bynum)

Now back at home in New York after a 10-month Fulbright residency in Kathmandu, CCA alumnus Piero Passacantando (MFA Social Practice 2009) is already planning his return to Nepal. During his time there, the Italian-American artist studied Thangka, a centuries-old traditional Himalayan art form that uses specific geometric guidelines in its compositions.

"My hope is that I can somehow continue my project. I originally went there to learn the technical and iconographic aspects of Thangka, but I became interested in the geometry and social production, the workshop system. The guys I worked with, Dawa and Sherab Tamang, were only 19 and 20 years old, and their level of skill was just astonishing." Passacantando was impressed by Kathmandu's artistic community, which was very different from that of San Francisco or New York. "The Thangka artists see it as labor, a job. They don't have the same underlying conceptual framework or discourse. The organization I worked with, Dharmadhatu Foundation, is a social enterprise that produces Thangkas to raise money for scholarships for rural children."

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Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 by Chris Bliss

Renowned San Francisco retailer Gump’s will celebrate its 150th anniversary by opening its doors March 31 for Mirror Mirror, a gala celebration to benefit California College of the Arts (CCA). The festive event features a dinner party and an auction of one-of-a-kind mirrors created by 30 leading artists, architects, and designers, including designer Yves Béhar, architect Mark Jensen, artist Raymond Saunders, and interior designer Kelly Wearstler (see complete list below).

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Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Mentor Alicia Escott (MFA 2009) at the January kickoff sessionView slideshow 

CCA's new Alumni/Student Mentorship Program connects students with alumni for a semester of one-on-one mentoring sessions. The alumni draw on their own experiences and expertise to provide the students with professional advice, encouragement, inspiration, and realistic critiques.

The pilot session began in spring 2010, with 10 fine arts alumni matched with 10 third-year and fourth-year students in fine arts programs. It was so successful that the program has doubled its numbers in spring 2011, matching 20 alumni with 20 students.

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Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 by Chris Bliss

Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs on stage at the Academy Awards

Audrey Marrs (Curatorial Practice 2008) won an Oscar last night for best documentary feature for Inside Job, which she coproduced with director Charles Ferguson. Only her second feature film, it exposes the truth behind the global financial crisis of 2008 and includes interviews with major financial insiders, politicians, and journalists.

The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010 and was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. The film has won many other top awards, including Best Documentary by the New York Film Critics and Outstanding Directional Achievement in Documentary by the Directors Guild.

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Posted on Friday, February 25, 2011 by Sarah Owens

Pre-College takes place on CCA's Oakland campus View slideshow 

Now celebrating its 25th year, CCA's Pre-College Program, administered by the Office of Special Programs, has a long-standing tradition of combining an art college experience with world-class art instruction.

Pre-College students are immersed in art education, yet also steeped in real-world college life—a unique and rewarding combination of benefits that truly makes a student’s transition to college life more successful.

Academic Rigor + Social Engagement

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Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Associate professor Lynda Grose (right) with student

In the recently published Christian Science Monitor article "Trendy Threads from Waste," contributing writer Micheal Benanav turned to CCA Fashion Design Program assistant professor Lynda Grose and alumna Karina Michel (BFA 2009) for their expertise in designing with sustainability and economy of resources in mind.

Linda Grose: Industry Specialist & Sustainable Design Consultant

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Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Pang, The Wandering Shaolin Monk Vol. 1
Iron Crotch University Press, 2010
Hardcover, 192 pages, $20 ($25 for the artist's edition)

Heralded by Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai as "a well-researched saga, with wonderfully exciting action sequences." Ben Costa (MFA Writing 2008) won a Xeric Grant for this web comic featuring the titular monk. Early on Costa details the attack and burning of the Shaolin Temple by the Kanxi Emperor's forces and the harrowing escape of Pang, who finds himself on a quest for the remnants of his brotherhood, in the care of a beautiful inn attendant, and confronting an army captain for the return of a sacred book. Pang himself is a charmingly human character often filled with doubt.

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Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

From Melissa Wyman's Spring Play, a Fight Therapy performance in Seoul, 2009

Where others see awkwardness, CCA alumna Melissa Wyman (MFA 2008) sees art. Like, those clumsy moments when one guy puts his hand out to shake just as the other guy reaches for a hug. "You can make a big deal out of it, or it can just pass, but you both know it's there," she says. Through her Fight Therapy videos, photographs, and watercolors, Wyman sharpens her eye for "fleeting, candid, unscripted" seconds of embarrassment, anger, or humor.

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Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Lia Tjandra signs books at the Infinite City release party, 2010View slideshow 

For Lia Tjandra (Graphic Design 1997), now art director at the University of California Press, professional success has been a group effort. While pursuing her CCA degree, she was inspired by professors such as Martin Venezky and Bob Aufuldish. "Bob's a great person to know. I'll be forever grateful to him." She is grateful as well to Jennifer Sonderby, her former boss at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, for lessons on strategic thinking and different ways to make a designer's voice heard. She credits Steve Renick, who was art director at UC Press for 20 years and taught a book design course at CCA, for sparking her interest in that field. In fact, as she looks back on her 15-year career, there's only one person Tjandra forgets to praise: herself.

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Posted on Friday, February 4, 2011 by Samantha Braman

Elyse Mallouk, "Always On My Mind," 2010 (photo by Alex Greenburg)

Finding a balance between two passions can be challenging, but Elyse Mallouk (MFA 2010, MA in Visual and Critical Studies 2010) built her dual loves into her CCA education. Midway through her first year as an MFA student, she decided to enroll in the dual-degree program with Visual and Critical Studies. Having previously thought of herself as an artist with an interest in writing, she began developing a deeper balance between writing and art.

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