Alumni News

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Peril as Architectural Enrichment
Kelsey Street Press, 2011
Paperback, 96 pages, $16.95

Hazel White (Writing alumna) tests landscape as the subject of experience in Peril as Architectural Enrichment. She questions how limbs want to move in space, when convivial with landforms, treetops, views, and pollen. The poems greet danger -- chopped narratives, lost crops, a fall, inundation -- and the refuge of a familiar curvature: the turning of long lines becoming the same as building shelter in the wild where a peril can be seen and felt, and to write is to know what's near. Like a designed landscape, White's poetry delivers a new sense of orientation.

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme
Sterling, 2009
Hardcover, 50 pages, $17.95

Adam McCauley (Illustration faculty) designed this book to look like a treasured scrapbook, every page features an eye-catching mix of drawings, photos, and handwritten text. It is a collection of letters, notes, and interviews: the fruits of a monsterologist's research. In engaging rhyme, the monster master tells all about Count Dracula ("When you visit Transylvania, be sure to stay with me"); issues a werewolf warning; and dishes on trolls, ghosts, witches, ogres, and myriad mythological and literary creatures. Winner of the Society of Illustrators gold medal and AIGA's 50 Books/50 Covers!

Check out the book's website and video trailer

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Adam Green, "Boy in Bed," 2010

Adam Green's (Sculpture 2010) current summer job with AmeriCorps, teaching high-risk youth, represents for him a creative coming of age. "I guess you could have considered me a high-risk youth. I was sent to a military academy in Georgia for part of high school." In AmeriCorps' program in Providence, Rhode Island, Green is involved on the administrative side and is also teaching drawing, sculpture, and glassblowing.

The medium of glass was Green's own artistic liberation. "Working with glass takes intense focus. There's a huge learning curve, and a lot of failure. Making a perfect cup is like chasing a dragon. You have this balance between an unreachable goal and a meditative exercise. It's physically intense, and also cathartic. And when it works, it's extremely gratifying."

The quest to create order from chaos is a touchstone in Green's personal fine art practice. His Rocket Grids depict unfurling orthogonal patterns of spaceships, arrayed almost like windows in a skyscraper. Why rockets? "I've always built rockets: from latex, milk, rubber, or wax. As a kid, I was always more interested in science than art. I had a computer at a really young age and loved to take it apart and look at the circuit boards. The grid format is a natural for me in terms of classification, lists, and free association. To me, rockets represent a fantastic metaphor for manhood. NASA in particular is this gigantic phallus-obsessed institution, focused primarily on penetrating the atmosphere. All those failed test flights in the 1950s and 1960s are a huge inspiration for my work. They represented to me an erectile dysfunction in American society. My Rocket Boy costume, this ridiculous red and yellow rocket rig, uses humor to lower viewers' defenses. It's a self-portrait without being too serious."

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Cultural Confluences: The Art of Lenore Chinn
Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, 2011
Paperback, 44 pages, $21.95

Edited by Jen Banta (MA Visual and Critical Studies 2009) this book maps the life and times of the Asian American artist Lenore Chinn via essays, reproductions of her exquisite realist paintings, and visual ephemera. Tirza True Latimer (Visual and Critical Studies chair) is one of the essayists. Chinn is an artist and community activist in San Francisco’s diverse LGBT and Asian American communities who paints her life and the lives of others in her social milieu. Her sensibility is informed not only by social justice issues, but also by Civil Rights and her experience of traditional Chinese culture in the bohemian 1970s.

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Just Design: Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes
How, 2011
Hardcover, 208 pages, $40

Christopher Simmons (Graphic Design faculty) is a designer, writer, educator, design advocate, and principal of the noted San Francisco design office MINE. Here he organizes 150 design projects into six sections exploring the different ways design can serve the greater good, from supporting existing causes to seeking out hidden problems to celebrating positive change. Essays by influential designers and interviews with designers who pursue social change offer insight into how any designer can use his or her talents to change the world. Works by numerous CCA faculty and alumni are featured, and Cinthia Wen (Graphic Design chair) contributes an essay.

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Music for a City, Music for the World: 100 Years with the San Francisco Symphony
Chronicle Books, 2011
Hardcover, 272 pages, $45.00

NOON, the design studio of Cinthia Wen (Graphic Design chair), designed this book in which author Larry Rothe shares the San Francisco Bay Area's love of music. Released in time for the San Francisco Symphony's celebration of its 100th anniversary, this definitive history features hundreds of archival photos and images to give readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of the world's foremost orchestras and the cultural life of the city, from the Gold Rush to the present day.

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Suggestions of a Life Being Lived: A Queer Exploration of Three Public Themes
SF Camerawork Publications, 2011
Hardcover, 64 pages, $19.95

Adrienne Skye Roberts (MA Visual and Critical Studies 2009) coedited this presentation of contemporary work that looks at queerness as a set of political alliances and possibilities.

Untethered to institutions of sexual or gender normativity and in pursuit of greater freedoms, the work in this book represents queer activism, intentional and imagined communities, self-determinism, and DIY alternative world-making.

The work looks outward toward collective and resistant expressions of queer community existing outside of dominant gay and lesbian culture.

Posted on Monday, June 27, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs win the best documentary feature award for Inside Job (photo: Mark Ralston, Getty Images)

From the mosh pits of Olympia, Washington, to collecting an Oscar on stage at the Staples Center. From indie music scenester to hit documentary maker. (With a stop along the way in CCA's Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice.)

Audrey Marrs -- former punk rock musician, Ladyfest cofounder, and CCA alumna -- won the 2011 Academy Award for best documentary feature for producing Inside Job, the story of the 2008 financial crisis. The statuette was handed over to Marrs and her artistic partner, the director Charles Ferguson, by none other than Oprah Winfrey. Marrs and Ferguson had been nominated in 2008 for their documentary No End in Sight about the American occupation of Iraq.

(Watch their Academy Award acceptance speech on YouTube)

The two began working together in 2003. Ferguson posted a job listing on Craigslist for an "assistant to a writer/investor," and three (grueling) interviews later, Marrs got the gig.

Fast forward a bit. Marrs really likes her assistant job but wants more out of life. She applies to and enters CCA's Curatorial Practice Program, but continues working for Ferguson, and they begin making No End in Sight.

Fast forward again. Six months prior to her thesis deadline, she and Ferguson realize that she has actually been producing No End in Sight since the beginning. "We were so naive about the process of filmmaking," she says, "that we didn't realize that 'producer' was the function I'd been performing all along!" The film was received to great acclaim and led naturally to the next documentary project, Inside Job.

Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Still from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (courtesy Tippett Studio)

As art director for the animation company Tippett Studio, CCA alumnus Nate Fredenburg (Printmaking 1993) speaks with authority when he assures all you art students out there: The time you're spending in foundation courses -- drawing, sculpting, painting, color theory -- is time well spent. "Back when I was a work-study student, one of my jobs was to call prospective students and explain to their parents the value of an arts education. At the time, I only had anecdotal evidence.

Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Jason Hanasik (MFA Fine Arts 2009) shot, directed, and edited Gap Inc.'s official "It Gets Better" video, the first video of its kind from a major retailer, for inclusion in the national It Gets Better Project, which is committed to reducing or eliminating harassment of LGBT youth in schools.

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