Featured News

Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 by Chris Bliss

President Stephen Beal and the entire California College of the Arts community send very best wishes for the holidays and for the new year.

Holiday Schedule

Friday, December 13, 2013
Fall classes end.

Saturday, December 20, 2013 through Sunday, January 5, 2014
All CCA offices are closed.

Monday, January 6, 2014
CCA administrative offices reopen.

Monday, January 20, 2014
All CCA offices are closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 by Lindsey Westbrook

"Japan totally blew my mind."

That's a typical comment from a student after returning from Doug Akagi's summer study-abroad trip to Japan. Akagi created the course -- titled "In Search of Emptiness and Wabi-Sabi" -- three years ago, and he has led it each summer since. It's often difficult for the students to put into words what the adventure means to them and their work.

"Most of them," Akagi observes, "have never experienced a metropolis like Tokyo or the sublime beauty of an ancient city like Kyoto. And I realize that the trip is expensive, with the tuition and the airfare and the incidentals. So I try to make it a trip of a lifetime.

"Leading 14 students to almost 30 venues in two different cities in 12 days without incident is a challenge, and exhausting. Dozens of subway, train, and bus rides, endless miles of walking, and counting heads at every juncture.”

But there is plenty of beauty and inspiration as a reward. And Akagi gets a profound kick out of showing off his old haunts from when he was a young graphic designer living and working in Tokyo and Kyoto.

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Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 by Simon Hodgson

John Chiara, “20th at San Bruno,” 2002

For Bay Area native John Chiara (MFA 2004), who is preparing to create a series of photographs in and of New York, swapping the Bay Area for the Big Apple presents a few challenges.

The issue is not at all about tackling New York's art scene; having had 2013 shows at Pier 24 Photography and the de Young in San Francisco, as well as at galleries in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Zurich, it's clear that he is already coming into focus for an increasing audience worldwide.

Rather, New York will be a challenge in terms of the subject matter it offers up, given that until now Northern California has been such a looming presence in Chiara's work. The Bay Area infuses the photography of this San Francisco-born artist like the terroir of a vintage bottle of Saint-Emilion.

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Posted on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 by Allison Byers

On October 10, 2013, CCA hosted an OpenCo session, an event that announces itself as “a mix between a business conference and artist’s open studio with the vibe of a music festival.”

OpenCo launched in 2012 in San Francisco and has since expanded to four cities. At this year’s San Francisco edition, more than 3,600 attendees -- investors, marketers, job seekers, and curious neighbors -- visited 135 different companies and organizations, getting direct access to local innovation leaders in, you might say, their natural habitat.

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Posted on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 by Allison Byers

Over the weekend of November 16-17, 2013, 24 CCA undergraduates participated in Wheel Well, a “design sprint” for bicycle safety in Silicon Valley.

Organized by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s Roadway Safety Solutions Team, CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life, and CCA’s Design division, the event challenged students to rapidly conceive an intervention that would: 1) improve the relationship between motorists and cyclists in Silicon Valley; and 2) encourage behavior change to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

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Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013 by Jim Norrena

(l-r) Film chair Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

On Tuesday, November 26, 2013, the United Nations hosted a screening of Film chair Rob Epstein's and Jeffrey Friedman’s short film, The Battle of amfAR (Telling Pictures), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. The film details the story of two very charismatic and powerful women who joined forces to create America’s first AIDS research foundation: Dr. Mathilde Krim and film legend Elizabeth Taylor.

The screening followed a discussion with Dr. Krim, and executive producer Kenneth Cole. The event was cohosted by the United Nations Creative Community Outreach Initiative, UNAIDS, and amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research).

Attendees of the event included heads of international AIDS organizations as well as members of various advocacy groups.

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Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013 by Claire Fitzsimmons

Tim Belonax in Facebook's Analog Research Laboratory [photo: Andria Lo]

Along the walk to the cafeteria, a poster reads: "Eventually everything connects." Another, "People not pixels." In the atrium, "Hack the graph," and in the corridor, "Empathy. Have some!"

This sounds like it could very well be CCA's campus, but it's actually Facebook’s. Each poster is stamped at the bottom with the words: "Poster brought to you by your friends at the Facebook Analog Research Laboratory."

Facebook designer and CCA Graphic Design faculty member Tim Belonax calls the Analog Research Laboratory -- known around Facebook simply as the Analog Lab -- "a playground for a print designer. There are very few places around the Bay Area where a lover of handmade graphic design would encounter such amazing facilities."

Wired magazine has called it "Facebook's secret propaganda arm." The Huffington Post dubs it "a slogan factory where techies get tactile."

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Posted on Friday, November 15, 2013 by Rachel Walther

Wenxin Zhang, "Self portrait by the lake," 2012

Wenxin Zhang (MFA 2013) is always redefining her reality. In her writings and photography, she describes her experiences&mdash growing up in China, her current life in San Francisco, and her personal relationships—in a voice that is melancholy and surreal. Images of fall leaves in an industrial landscape are juxtaposed with a young boy’s glassy stare. A description of nocturnal wanderings illuminates the artist’s haunted sense of displacement wherever she goes.

Zhang has exhibited her work throughout the United States. Here she discusses her future projects and reflects on how her time at CCA has shaped her practice.

Since I was little, I was always longing to go to a faraway place—to be a stranger in a foreign country. I was unsatisfied with my hometown of Hefei. It’s a smaller, inland Chinese city. Young souls would leave for a bigger place after high school, and there was nothing new really going on. I felt so trapped by the place.

My father was a journalist for a local radio station. He traveled a lot and often took me with him. In 2004 he gave me a digital camera, and I used it every day. I would take photos and try to interpret my environment, to create a new little world with my camera in order to get away from the mundane. When I was in high school I would take bus trips with my best friend to the boundaries of our hometown—to the suburbs and the countryside. Student bus tickets are very cheap, so we would go the furthest distance we could by bus and take pictures of each other as our own story characters.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by Chris Bliss

Participants in the Waste Land exhibition in November 2013

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded CCA a $200,000 grant, one of largest awards made to an art college. The three-year grant will support CCA’s innovative Exploring Science in the Studio project.

CCA’s award is part of the NSF’s TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program, which seeks to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all undergraduate students.

“A Model to Transform Science Education”

The NSF review panel praised the CCA grant proposal stating, “This project may serve as a model to transform science education at art and design schools so that science is not simply fulfilling a general education requirement, but becomes integrated into the arts and allows art and design students to develop an understanding of their field from a science-based perspective.”

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Posted on Monday, November 11, 2013 by Allison Byers

Uriarte sketching in Gharma, Iraq, in 2009View slideshow 

Maximilian Uriarte (Animation 2013) literally draws from experience to create the virally popular comic strip Terminal Lance. Started in late 2009 and based on Uriarte’s experiences as a Marine in Iraq, Terminal Lance is now published weekly in the Marine Corps Times newspaper and online.

In the Marines for “Art’s Sake”

There are many reasons men and women join the military, but Uriarte’s reasoning at age 19 was quite unique. “As an artist, I felt an intense need to experience the world in order to give a kind of legitimacy to my art. It might sound strange, but ultimately I joined for the sake of my art. I wanted to find the most difficult thing I could imagine.”

Uriarte joined in 2006, with the war in Iraq in full swing. With high scores on his ASVB entrance exam, Uriarte chose to go into the infantry. “My actual MOS ended up being 0351, Infantry Assaultman. I was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines in Hawaii, where I deployed to Iraq twice between 2007 and 2009.”

Art at War

During Uriarte’s second tour, his battalion commander saw his penchant for art and photography and offered him the opportunity to serve as combat artist and photographer. Through this, Uriarte was able to travel all over Iraq, taking photos and sketching the Marines’ daily lives.

“Most of the work I did was official, classified, documentary photojournalism. On a rare occasion, I would embed with a unit and effectively be allowed to capture anything I wanted, photographically or otherwise. This was the most fun, as I was given artistic freedom to sketch and take pictures of basically anything.

Part of my billet was also photographing for use our battalion “Cruise Book” (a yearbook for the deployment), which I designed cover to cover.

“This would ultimately prove to be an important step in my career, as it not only gave me experience I could draw from, but also laid the groundwork for Terminal Lance.”

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