Alumni News

Posted on Monday, July 30, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Before CSI the television show there was still the scientific investigation of crime, and before computer software there were other (albeit more cumbersome) ways of using fingerprints found at crime scenes to convict criminals.

"Many aspects of crime detection are timeless," observes Pablo "Paul" Cardoza (Art Education 1982). And he speaks with authority here. A deep interest in art and visuality, new technologies, and creative problem solving led Cardoza from art school to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, where he spent several years, to his current occupation as a private investigator specializing in computer-based forensics.

From CCA to the Sheriff's Department

"I loved CCA! I got the best grades of my life there," laughs Cardoza. "Shortly after I finished in 1982, I stumbled across an ad from the Sheriff's Department to take a test in fingerprint IDs. It was essentially evaluating our aptitude for pattern matching and negative-positive discernment. I scored really high, and was recruited for a job. I received training from the FBI and the California Department of Justice, and I also took some courses in crime scene analysis.”

Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 by Victoria Deblassie

Victoria DeBlassie at the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, summer 2010

This is a story by CCA alumna Victoria DeBlassie (MFA 2011) recounting her study-abroad trip to Italy in summer 2010. It inspired her to apply for a Fulbright grant to return to Italy, which was accepted!

Learn more about CCA's study-abroad programs, hosted by the Office of Special Programs.

Tuesday, July 14, 2010: I'd been traveling throughout Italy for more than a month and had just arrived in Rome. My eyes, heavy from the long trip from Venice and the dense summer heat, glanced at the marquee of the building where I was staying, one floor of which was the Lilium Hotel. I did a double-take when I saw the neighboring proprietor's name: Di Blasi, the original Italian version of my own last name!

Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Erinn Clancy at work (photo by Justin Nunnink)

A specialist, style-wise? On the contrary, Erinn Clancy (Media Arts 2010) is continually looking to expand his vocabulary as a filmmaker. He and his longtime friend and creative collaborator Justin Nunnink, recently cofounders of Shot & Cut Productions in New York, are working on projects that range from day-in-the-life documentaries to cutting-edge experiments.

Every aspect of filmmaking presents an interesting new challenge for Clancy: "You create your film three times: when you storyboard and conceptualize it, when you shoot it, and when you edit it. Each experience adds a unique problem, and you have to find a creative way to solve it."

Clancy reports that he almost didn't attend CCA. "I was shopping around for colleges; and had planned on going to Boston’s Museum School. Ultimately it was the beauty of the Oakland campus that lured me to CCA, and the Presidential Achievement Award and Scholarship that sold me." During his time here he took full advantage of the interdisciplinary approach the college promotes, building glassblowing and screenprinting courses into his schedule. "I went in as a Media Arts / Film major, but constantly had opportunities to expand my creative palette. I found ways for other disciplines to inform my work in film."

Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 by Allison Byers

San Francisco-based artist Mia Christopher is making leaps and bounds with her new body of work, which includes paintings and drawings made from a range of alternative materials- confetti, glitter, iridescents, eyeshadow, and lipstick. After graduating with a BFA from California College of the Arts in May 2012, Mia’s prolific process of making hasn’t slowed down for a second.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 by Allison Byers

Although she has long harbored artistic aspirations, it wasn't until Maine native Mati Rose McDonough ( www.matirose.com) moved to San Francisco in 2000 that she became determined to make art her livelihood. "I was working at a small art law firm as a legal assistant and wishing that instead of helping to draft contracts for the artists that I was on the other side."

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Posted on Monday, July 9, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

For Visual and Critical Studies alumna Susan Miller, who just received her degree in 2012, the final semester of graduate school proved to be a series of both great challenges and great successes. Simultaneously, she researched and wrote her thesis while co-curating a major exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California, Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes, an effort that had been decades in the making.

Before she ever arrived at CCA for graduate school, Miller had already built a long curatorial career distinguished by hard and impassioned work and the desire to give artists a platform to be heard. "I was drawn to the Bay Area's vibrant community of artist-run spaces," she explains of her 1986 move to San Francisco. She left the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, where she was the promotions director, to be a part of San Francisco's collectivist and grassroots contemporary art scene. From 1988 to 1992 she served as the program director of Capp Street Project (which later became affiliated with CCA's Wattis Institute) before moving to New Langton Arts in San Francisco, which she headed from 1993 to 2005.

At Capp Street Project, Miller produced exhibitions and installations of work by Mowry Baden, Shu Lea Cheang, Mel Chin, and Ursula von Rydingsvard, among many others. After moving to New Langton Arts, she focused the programming on important local artists who had yet to receive the critical writings and public exposure she felt they deserved. Some of her "profile" exhibitions there surveyed the work of the local artists Jim Pomeroy, Tony Labat, and Jeanne Finley (now a CCA faculty member).

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2012 by Allison Byers

When local multi-media artist Mia Christopher received an email asking if she'd like to collaborate on designs for nationwide women's retailer Anthropologie, she thought it was a prank.

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Posted on Thursday, July 5, 2012 by Allison Byers

Mary Meyer was once a painter whose sartorial ambitions exceeded her wallet’s limitations. Thus, she began making clothes that she wanted to wear. And people just started buying it off of her. She’s still a painter. As a graduate of California College of Arts & Crafts, her fine arts skills take the place of the a design background.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Woodcut
Princeton Architectural Press, 2012
Hardcover, 128 pages, $29.95

If there is, indeed, nothing lovelier than a tree, the Connecticut-based artist Bryan Nash Gill (MFA 1988) shows us why. Creating large-scale relief prints from the cross-sections of trees, the artist reveals the sublime power locked inside their arboreal rings. Gill creates patterns not only of great beauty but also year-by-year records of the life and times of fallen or damaged logs. He rescues the wood from the property surrounding his studio and neighboring land, extracts and prepares blocks of various species (including ash, maple, oak, spruce, and willow), then makes prints by carefully following and pressing the contours of rings and ridges until the intricate designs transfer from tree to paper.

The results are colored, nuanced shapes -- mesmerizing impressions of the structural integrity hidden inside each tree. These exquisitely detailed prints are collected and published here for the first time, with an introduction by the esteemed nature writer Verlyn Klinkenborg and an interview with the artist describing his labor-intensive printmaking process. Also featured are Gill's series of printed lumber and offcuts, such as burls, branches, knots, and scrubs.

Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Art of Stanley Grosse
Blurb, 2012
Hardcover/paperback, 200 pages, $70/$60

Stanley Grosse (1956 alumnus) and photographer/designer Bob Will (also an alum from the 1950s) created this biography featuring Grosse's life and work. It features 550 photographs and extensive comments by friends and former students. There is also a second version available that excludes the comments (160 pages, 469 photographs, $63 hardcover / $49 paperback).

Grosse says: "Bob Will flew to Maui to meet me. He's now 70 years old. He went away with interviews, hundreds of photos, and a secret desire to do his first book. We Skyped and shared screens, allowing us to have a dialogue while the book was in progress. I furnished him with stacks of CDs with archival photos of my travels, my art over the last 50 years, my master's project completed in Mexico in the early 1960s , discussions of my work, and much more, right up to the present day. A labor of love, but a dream come true of a proper biography.

"Those of us graduating back in those '50s days are getting more rare. Just losing too many old friends. But those of us remaining are dedicated to continuing our craft and have a deep regard for our CCAC. I'm in a wheelchair now but I still feel like when I graduated back in 1956. At least my brain thinks so. I recently finished 200 paintings on envelopes using a variety of materials: watercolor, acrylics, ink stains, transparent overlays, and collage. Since becoming wheelchair-bound, it's the first time in my life that I've dedicated time to doing small pieces. What fun. My electric go-go scooter allows me to get around to photograph and make visual comments about my surroundings.

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