Alumni News

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 by Allison Byers

Artist Heather Johnson biked from New Jersey to Joshua Tree and back.

CCA alumna Heather Johnson’s (MFA 2001) artist residency with BoxoHOUSE, one of the newer residency programs in Joshua Tree, California, provided her with a unique opportunity -- an ambitious motorcycle journey and visual art project called In Search of the Frightening and Beautiful -- which has forever changed her life’s trajectory and art practice.

About the BoxoHOUSE Artist Residency

Johnson began the BoxoHOUSE artist residency, conceived and directed by former Judd Foundation deputy director, Bernard Leibov, in 2012. The residency targets artists who work across diverse media and prioritizes those who are exploring issues of site, community, and the environment.

"Heather’s practice is composed primarily of creating very detailed handmade embroideries that resemble highly defined drawings," explains Leibov on the BoxoHOUSE website. "She layers the embroideries so that the base imagery deals with the experience of the project and the upper layers portray mechanical drawings related to the subject matter.

"In the works inspired by this latest project, the under layer consists of a series of topographical and navigation maps that capture the experience of being on the road with its ups and downs and twists and turns. The upper layer is made up of technical drawings of her motorcycle and of its constituent parts.

"Heather considers the bike to be an extension of herself – they are as one when on the road – and the parts to be like her body parts."

Johnson found the project to be a dream opportunity: “In addition to one month of uninterrupted research and art making, this meant a motorcycle journey across the United States and back -- something I’ve dreamed of since the day I learned to keep a 500 pound hunk of metal upright and moving forward on two wheels.”

Backed by a crowdfunding campaign, Johnson spent April, May, and June of 2013 out on the road and at residency in Joshua Tree, developing In Search of the Frightening and Beautiful.”

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2015 by Laura Braun

Sahar Al-Sarheed, a 2010 graduate of the California College of the Arts,  had not slept much.  Her portfolio on Sunday included t-shirts based on binary codes (she sold out the first day and had to return to Soma’s Tech Shop Saturday night to print more), lovely framed knits, books, body jewelry, earrings and prints.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 by Laura Braun

The process of demonstrating extraordinary ability "was not particularly hard but very, very annoying," said Wenxin Zhang, a San Francisco–based artist who makes "nonlinear photographic stories." She graduated from California College of the Arts and then got her O visa in 2014. It took two tries. The total bill?

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Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 by Laura Braun

Tenazas attempted to enroll but much to her disdain, was rejected time and again. “They probably thought my work wasn’t too western and not sophisticated enough,” she recalls. She didn’t  give up and instead, headed westward and eventually took courses at California College of Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.

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Posted on Monday, April 20, 2015 by Laura Braun

Last fall, when the Oakland Museum of California approached Chris Johnson for ideas on connecting the museum to a broader range of Oakland residents, Johnson was blunt. “I said, with all the rise in gentrification, this is a really charged moment in Oakland,” the California College of the Arts professor, former Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission chair and three-decade Oakland resident says. Fortunately, Johnson is an expert in getting people to talk candidly about heated topics.

Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 by Laura Braun

Born in San Francisco in 1932, raised in Alameda, artist Robert Bechtle has lived most of his 82 years in the Bay Area.  He received his Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts from the California College of the Arts in Oakland, and taught painting at San Francisco State University for 30 years.  He currently resides in Potrero Hill.

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Posted on Monday, April 13, 2015 by Laura Braun

Flipping through more than 100 advertisements that are stripped of all words and context and guessing what they mean is an exercise for the brain. Nevertheless, last week, for more than an hour, we sat in artist Hank Willis Thomas' midtown Manhattan studio doing just that. The images we viewed compose his most recent body of work, "Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015," which will go on view today at Jack Shainmain Gallery in Chelsea, and delves even further into the artist's previous explorations of power, beauty, privlege, and desire in America.

Posted on Friday, April 10, 2015 by Laura Braun

When we digest a printed advertisement, whether it's for a skin cream or an underwear brand or a fast food joint, the actual commercial good being plugged is often irrelevant. Behind the logo, messages such as this is how you want to look and this is how you want to be seen bubble beneath the surface, instructing us all how to look, act and speak in order to be accepted, valued, loved.

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Posted on Thursday, April 9, 2015 by Laura Braun

In the year of Barack Obama’s election, the artist Hank Willis Thomas created a project called “Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America, 1968–2008.” It was made up of 82 magazine advertisements, two from each year, that showed or made reference to African-Americans — except that he’d stripped all the text out.

Posted on Thursday, April 9, 2015 by Laura Braun

Becker announced his departure from HTC last week. He will serves as vice president of industrial design -- a newly created position at Fitbit -- and will report to CEO James Park, Fitbit said in an e-mailed statement. Recode earlier reported on Becker's new job.

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