Featured News

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?'"

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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.

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Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2015 by Glen Helfand

Holland Cotter speaking at CCA's Honorary Doctorate Luncheon

Without oversight, the art world might be ruled by spectacle and sales. We hear a lot about record-setting auction prices, blue-chip artists, and art fair attendance figures. All well and good for the beneficiaries, but these are just parts of a much more nuanced arts ecosystem.

Too easily eclipsed is the fact that most art is made by people who have plenty more on their minds than making money. Which is why a critic with the humanistic temperament of Holland Cotter is so important, and so refreshing to read.

About Holland Cotter

Cotter is a Pulitzer prize–winning writer, a poet, and the recipient of CCA’s 2014 honorary doctorate in fine arts. He writes weekly reviews and more extensive essays for the New York Times, where he’s been a full-time critic since 1998.

Cotter is hardly strident -- he’s more like an endearing watchdog -- and his thoughtful writings encourage readers to consider the value of aesthetic and intellectual adventurousness. He also consistently draws attention to artists and perspectives that might otherwise be overlooked.

It’s an important role, and he carries it out with engaged responsibility and humbleness.

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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.

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Posted on Monday, December 15, 2014 by Em Meine

Metamorphosis: the Transformation of Everyday Objects is a current exhibition of Jewelry / Metal Arts alumni at the Museum of Craft and Design. The exhibition is curated by CCA faculty member David Cole and features the work of 10 California College of the Arts alumni.

About Metamorphosis

What is beautiful? How do artists see the world around us?

These artworks were selected to examine the creative process of makers who choose to use common and even humble objects as their medium. Some of these things were found in thrift stores -- or the trash -- and have an entire history of manufacture and use before they were rediscovered for another purpose.

Their relationship to some previous, unknown owner and the journey of that object into and out of the life of that person, is recorded in the patterns of wear on the surfaces.

Other materials have inherent beauty that is easy to overlook because of the context in which we perceive them. The luster and radiance that would distinguish the rarest pearl is viewed quite differently when it is seen in grains of rice or pencil leads.

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Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Chris Bliss

The college is open today (December 11) and classes will run as usual. Shuttle service between the campuses is running. Periodic updates will be given throughout the day.

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Posted on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 by Jim Norrena

On November 11, CCA’s Graphic Design Program resurrected the long-dormant Concept Lecture Series, bringing in four esteemed speakers from different parts of the country and graphic design world.

The efforts were spearheaded by Graphic Design faculty member Eric Heiman and the CCA Graphic Design student group.

The lectures ran all day on the San Francisco campus and concluded with a reception in the Campus Center Student Gallery, where the WTF2 exhibition was taking place (the exhibition featured Graphic Design student work made outside of class).

See images from the Concept Lecture Series reception »

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Posted on Friday, December 5, 2014 by Jim Norrena

The Center for Art & Public Life (The Center) and the MBA in Design Strategy program, both at California College of the Arts, last month co-organized TechRaking 7, an annual hackathon series put on by The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), which focused on the intersection of journalism and design.

TechRaking 7, the first within the series to work exclusively with college students (and CCA as its official partner), had CIR CEO Joaquín Alvarado reaching out to CCA to pose the question: How can we rethink human interaction around the news within our communities?

CIR enlisted colleagues from two of its local media partners -- Bruce Koon of KQED and Martin Reynolds of the Bay Area News Group (BANG) -- to challenge CCA students with some of their toughest community-engagement issues. For example, how might:

CIR create new ways for people to communicate about the role of guns in their neighborhoods?
BANG offer a more participatory model that empowers residents to share overlooked topics?
KQED develop cross-regional tools to communicate better the personal effects of the growing technology industry?

Far be it for anyone at CCA to turn away a challenge, thought leaders at The Center decided to enlist the help of CCA students -- working in small teams representing a wide range of disciplines -- to collectively come up with innovative solutions that could encourage greater public participation in today's changing news gathering and distribution policies and procedures.

In short, TechRaking 7 challenged students to give the concept of the traditional newsstand a much-needed facelift.

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Posted on Monday, December 1, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Read this feature and many others in the fall 2014 issue of Glance, the college magazine.

Architecture faculty member Douglas Burnham’s architectural firm, envelope a+d, created the interim use of the CCA's back lot on CCA’s San Francisco campus.

“We conceived of the back lot as a kind of gridded game board populated by both designed and off-the-shelf movable playing pieces: greenery in tubs, 8-by-40-by-10-foot steel storage containers, a 100-foot-long picnic table that breaks down into modular components, trees in mobile planters, bicycle storage components, and so on," explains Burnham.

"The concept is that for the inaugural academic year, 2014–15, a “starter set” of pieces has been assembled with an emphasis on social uses of the space. In the fall, there is only one square of the board associated with a studio course: a demonstration-studio enclosure created with a pair of double-stacked containers.

"The coursework doesn’t actually take place in the containers, but outside, with the containers serving as spatial enclosures, and as storage when class isn’t in session.

“Next fall, more playing pieces will be provided, increasing the outdoor studio options and refining the campus-life components based on what we learn from this year’s experience.

"And at the end of every year, we’ll push all of the playing pieces to the edges of the lot and erect a big tent to house commencement events.”

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Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Sienna DeGovia (Sculpture 1999) is a sculptor and food stylist based in Los Angeles, with 15 years of commercial experience styling food for film, TV, and print. 

Unlike many of her peers, she comes to the field from a three-dimensional art stance rather than a purely culinary one. 

Unique Specialty Pays Off

Her specialty is highly decorated baked goods and anything sweet, though she enjoys styling all of the food groups and beverages, too. 

Her list of clients includes Mad Men, The Muppets, Coca-Cola, Target, Disney, and Bon Appetit.

It was at CCA that DeGovia started creating artworks using food as a medium, specifically as a means to elicit emotional responses. She articulated for herself the connection between beauty and food that has characterized all of her work since.

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