Career Development News

Posted on Monday, February 9, 2015 by Benjamin Austin

Thor (Þorfinnur) Guðnason and Lynn Kirby

In 1985 documentary filmmaker Thor (Þorfinnur) Guðnason (BFA Film/Video 1988) was just starting his career, a journey that has led him to great success, when he graduated from CCA.

Since then he has made award-winning documentaries with worldwide distribution (National Geographic, TBS, ARTE, ZDF, NRK, TVP, Discovery Europe, etc.).

And like most young artists, Guðnason had many interests when he began his career, but it wasn’t until inspiration struck that he was able to pursue his passion in earnest.

Inspired by Filmmaking

“When I saw David Lynch's film Eraserhead, something struck a nerve in me,” says Guðnason. “I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: make films and tell stories.”

This revelation brought clarity of purpose, but realizing intent is only part of the process of becoming; actualization requires sacrifice.

For Guðnason it required leaving his Icelandic home, where no film programs existed, in search of cinematic opportunities abroad.

Posted on Friday, February 6, 2015 by Jim Norrena

CCA's Oakland campus

Editor's note: CCA Graphic Design associate professor David Asari met with Art.College.Life blogger Elaine Pelz, who highlighted the benefits of a CCA education at

Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2015 by Laura Braun

From the Serpent & Bow blog

When Rachel Blodgett (Textiles/Printmaking, 2011) first arrived at CCA’s Oakland campus, she knew she had found her place. As someone drawn to history and nature, the century-old college and its foliage-laden campus instantly called to her.

In fact, the lush landscape of the campus served as an impetus for her fascination with dyes, which inspired her to launch Serpent & Bow, a full-fledged online business specializing mainly in sustainable indigo-dyed lingerie.

Visit Serpent & Bow on Etsy »

“The Oakland campus felt magical and it just felt like home to me. I enjoyed taking the shuttle between campuses. My first year I took Fashion [Design] and had to get up early and it was just really beautiful,” says Blodgett.

Posted on Friday, January 16, 2015 by Jim Norrena

In 2011 students Anna Acquistapace (DMBA 2011), Olivia Nava (DMBA 2012), and Eric Persha (DMBA 2012), launched an idea inspired by the MBA in Design Strategy program's Social Ventures course (taught by faculty member Steve Diller).

The idea involves working with members of a solar-distribution company as a partner organization to offer community members in rural Tanzania connectivity services that use renewable solar energy.

(Initially the partner organization had wanted to address better solar-powered lighting solutions in Tanzania, which evolved into the more wide-serving Juabar business model.)

"Our [CCA] education helped us realize that you don’t approach innovation by answering questions, but rather you look to understand end-users’ needs.

"So we didn’t come to that project on 'how can we better sell solar lights?' but more 'how do we understand the electricity experience of Tanzanians with little or no electricity experience?'"

Posted on Monday, January 12, 2015 by Rachel Walther

New York-based alumnus Erik den Breejen’s (BFA Painting 1999) paintings from afar read as simple pop art portraiture, but from up close they acquire another dimension entirely.

His portraits of famous musicians and performers -- including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Richard Pryor, Karen Carpenter, and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, to name just a few -- are composed of meticulously selected texts from the performer’s own body of work that, when laid out on the canvas, fit together to pay tribute to the subject’s impact as an artist.

Learn more »

Posted on Friday, December 26, 2014 by Rachel Walther

Fashion chair Amy Williams with Laura SchmitsView slideshow 

At Madewell’s bustling fashion design offices in Manhattan, CCA alumna Laura Schmits (Fashion Design 2010) is part of a growing creative team. Madewell is owned and nurtured by its parent company, J.Crew.

Schmits’s career has seen a rapid rise into New York’s fashion scene aided by her consistent vision of clothing that is minimal and precise.

Posted on Friday, October 10, 2014 by Erin Wheeler

CCA student Tanya Poovaiah (Animation 2015) was selected by AwesomenessTV to create an original animation short, Designing with Pixar Animation: My Personal Code Ep 5, which aired Sunday, October 5, 2014.

AwesomenessTV is a YouTube-funded channel with over 14 million subscribers and 800 million views, making it one of the biggest teen destinations on YouTube*.

Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2014 by Laura Braun

What does “The Invisible Hand” mean to you?

For Leigh Markopoulos, chair of CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice, and alumna Xiaoyu Weng (MA Curatorial Practice 2009), who were invited to participate in the 2nd Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum (CAFAM) Biennale in Beijing in February, it meant, above all, opportunity.

About the CAFAM Biennale

The CAFAM Biennale is an international tour de force that, in this second edition, put the focus on curatorial education. As curatorial practice becomes more recognized in China, CAFAM officials took the opportunity to showcase the ways in which other schools teach curation as a discipline.

“This biennial was an enlightened attempt to bring international and national art to Beijing and to allow students to participate not only through lessons, but as interns, et cetera, in the event’s organization,” explained Markopoulos.

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Turner Duckworth is an award-winning visual identity and packaging design agency

"The time I spent at Turner Duckworth as a junior designer has been brief, but full of valuable lessons," recalls Graphic Design student Suwanna Ruayrinsaowarot. "The experience has been enriching and insightful in many different aspect of life."

Inside Scoop

Ruayrinsaowarot gained useful experience in her role as a junior designer at the award-winning visual identity and packaging design agency's San Francisco studio. She worked within a team of creatives, which allowed her to achieve various hands-on experiences from creating professional mockups to packaging designs.

"The company culture at Turner Duckworth is a strong, unique, and friendly one. It offers a book club, Tuesday jogging sessions, and staff birthday celebrations. The staff is friendly, funny --  most members are in their mid-20s and mid-30s. Yet they are experienced and professional."

She adds: "They have all been a great source of inspiration for me. I am motivated to discover what I want to do in this field in the future."

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Carolyn Packer, visual designer at Townsquared

"This summer I have been working as a visual designer at Townsquared, a new tech startup based in the Mission district of San Francisco," shared Carolyn Packer, a Graduate Program in Design student.

Townsquared delivers a private online network structured around neighborhoods, allowing small businesses to connect, communicate, and collaborate with each other.

Packer is quick to point out some of the perks of working at Townsquared: "Everything in the office is sourced from local merchants, artisans, printers, shop owners, etc. All of us got to play in part in making the office a beautiful and inspiring creative space."