Alumni News

Posted on Monday, August 8, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Silver Curtain, 1997

Remembering Larry Sultan, Photographer and Friend

In June 2011 Photography faculty members Jim Goldberg and Todd Hido (MFA 1996) discussed the influence of their friend and teacher, photographer Larry Sultan, (1946–2009), who taught at CCA for 20 years!

Heroes & Mentors: Jim Goldberg & Todd Hido On Larry Sultan was published online by Photo District News on August 3, 2011:

Todd Hido: When did you meet Larry and what did you learn from him?

Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 by Leslie Roberts

Jen Pearson Designs the studio of 2009 MFA Design alumna Jen Pearson, is a sustainable design studio located in the flats of Oakland. When Pearson completed her MFA, she knew she wanted to start her own design practice, making things based on her strong beliefs in sustainability. She says she envisioned "a space to create unique objects and design solutions through sustainable methods. My background in the arts encompasses diverse practices, which influence household product and object design.

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2011
Hardcover/eBook, 240 pages, $15.99

Ronald "Cheesie" Mack is not a genius or anything, but he remembers everything that happened before, during, and after fifth-grade graduation, and he's written it all down in his own unique and hilarious way, with lots of lists, drawings, and made-up words. Cheesie -- with a little help from Steve Cotler and black-and-white illustrations by Adam McCauley (Illustration faculty) throughout -- writes about family, friendship, and tough choices with great humor. Steve Cotler is also the author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

June and August
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2009
Hardcover, 32 pages, $16.95

In June and August, a misunderstanding leads to the humorous but pivotal moment, bringing together two very unlikely friends. One night in the jungle, June is thrilled to see a shooting star while August loves looking at the moon. Although they can't see each other in the dark, the two promise to meet again the next day. But when morning dawns, they face a dilemma. How are they going to recognize each other? This imaginative story, illustrated by Adam McCauley (Illustration faculty), explores the concept that the greatest friendships can come to be if you are willing to overlook differences. Vivian Walsh is the co-creator of several best-selling books for children.
book video trailer:

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Trevor Mantkus in his studio

Of all the career paths leading to Detroit's auto industry, you might think majoring in ceramics would be an unlikely route. But Trevor Mantkus (Ceramics 2008) is not your average ceramicist.

When he's not at work at General Motors as an automotive sculptor, he spends his spare time drawing, making paintings on commission, designing tattoos, and customizing a 1978 Corvette Stingray. He also customizes superfast motorbikes -- a YouTube video shows him pulling a (don't try this at home) freeway wheelie on a retooled Suzuki streetfighter with an estimated top speed north of 180 mph. His motorcycle designs have been featured in Hot Bike and Sport Bike magazines.

Shortly after being hired at GM he rushed to sign up for classes in digital modeling. "I wanted to be a candidate to do whatever the company needed. Now I move back and forth between digital and clay. There's benefits to both media. Although, obviously, I was a ceramics major, so I like working with my hands, getting dirty, and seeing something come to life in three dimensions."

The seeds of Mantkus's success were sown at CCA. "I've always been into cars, and in the Ceramics Program, I made a motorcycle. In 2007 my professors Nathan Lynch and Arthur Gonzalez came to me with the application for a summer internship at General Motors. They saw this as a good path for me even before I realized it. I knew cars were sculpted out of clay, but I had no idea what was really involved. Thousands of art students from across the country, mostly industrial and automotive design students, applied for 18 internships, and I got in. It was an amazing opportunity to work, to learn, and also to make contacts. One of the guys I met there had an automotive design degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, another was a digital designer from Howard University. It was one of these contacts I made back in 2007 who tipped me off about GM hiring in 2010. I got this job because of that internship."

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Team CCA's efforts will help benefit dozens of Bay Area AIDS services

Team CCA Meets Goal, Places Among Top 50 Fundraising Teams!

California College of the Arts joined AIDS Walk San Francisco 2011 held in Golden Gate Park Sunday, July 17, which marked the 25th anniversary of the event. Team CCA exceeded its $5,000 fundraising goal by almost 20 percent, contributing $5,810 to the largest AIDS fundraising event in Northern California that attracts hundreds of thousands of donors from the Bay Area and across the country.

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Rebecca Najdowski with Tio Lino. They created Rocinha Foto Project, a photography course for community youth

Even after the end date of her nine-month Fulbright scholarship in São Paulo, Brazil, the photographer and artist Rebecca Najdowski (MFA 2010) couldn't resist staying just a little longer to make one more trip, south to the Argentinean border, to see the legendary waterfalls of Iguaçu.

Art and travel have been soldered together in her life for as long as Najdowski can remember. She grew up in Santa Fe, a city world-renowned for its art scene. "I was surrounded by this impulse for craft. My dad was a silversmith and had a studio attached to the house. His work wasn't separate from his regular daily life. My mom was a school counselor and teacher at a public elementary school. During school holidays, she'd take off to Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, with organizations like Save the Rainforest, and often brought me with her. I've definitely inherited my love for travel from her, the drive to really experience other parts of the world."

Movement infuses Najdowski's own artistic practice, from her Spectra photogram experiments with color and light to her photographs of rural Brazilian storefronts to her roaming investigations into South American shamanism. "Travel forces you to be really open to new people and experiences. During my time in Brazil I couldn't stop traveling, moving around to collect experiences and material. I went to Rio, to Brasília, to Recife for a folk carnival (a super cool experience), and took a three-day boat trip on the Amazon River between Belém and Santarém. The river is so massive, sometimes you feel you're on a lake. Near the northern Brazilian outpost of São Luís, I went to see a tidal bore known as the pororoca, from the word for 'destructive noise' in the indigenous Tupi language. It is an immense wave caused by salt water crashing over fresh water during the new and full moons. It's not exactly on the tourist map -- I had to go through hoops to get in touch with local surfers to reach it."

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Daniel Dallabrida's "Damage Is Done" [photo: Jim Norrena]

Remember that someday the AIDS crisis will be over. And when that day has come and gone there will be people alive who will hear that once there was a terrible disease, and that a brave group of people stood up and fought and in some cases died so others might live and be free.

~ Vito Russo (1946–1990)
(Excerpted from "Why We Fight," a speech delivered
in front of the Department of Health and Human Services
during a demonstration on Monday, October 10, 1988)

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Give Them the Picture
CCA, 2011
Paperback, 203 pages, $20

Give Them the Picture collects and places in dialogue 24 articles penned by critics and artists that originally appeared in La Mamelle / ART COM magazine in the 1970s and 1980s. The authors include magazine founder Carl Loeffler, Lynn Hershman, Richard Irwin, Anna Couey, Linda Montano, Douglas Davis, Eleanor Antin, and others. It is conceived as a literary extension of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice 2011 thesis exhibition, and thus also features conversations between the student curators and two of La Mamelle / ART COM's key figures, Nancy Frank and Darlene Tong. The book is a copublication between the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice.

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

History's Shadow
Nazraeli Press, 2011
Hardcover, 72 pages, $75

David Maisel’s (MFA 2006) work has always been concerned with processes of memory, excavation, and transformation. In the History’s Shadow series, Maisel re-photographs, then scans and digitally manipulates, X-rays from museum archives that depict artifacts from antiquity. X-rays have historically been used by art conservators for structural examination of art and artifacts much as physicians examine bones and internal organs; they reveal losses, replacements, construction methods, and internal trauma invisible to the naked eye. Maisel's mages seem like transmissions from the distant past, both spanning and collapsing time. The book, designed by Graphic Design faculty member Bob Aufuldish, contains an original short story by Jonathan Lethem that was inspired by Maisel's images. It was named one of American Photo magazine's Best Photography Books of the Year!