Featured News

Posted on Friday, July 11, 2008 by Sarah Owens

CCA artists worked with students from Stuttgart, Germany

The Institute for Social Research and the Discovery of Art God started as a pedagogical experiment between California College of the Arts students and learners from the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, Germany, to make art while living in a self-organized commune.

The Institute for Social Research (ISR) emerged from the experiment and the result is a collection of mixed-media works: films, altars, songs, performances, truth-tellings, Art God, an idol to which to pray and ask guidance—even a sofa-Jacuzzi—all of which are currently on exhibit at the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, California, through July 26, 2008.

Artist and CCA Graduate Fine Arts Chair Brian Conley and Berlin-based, teacher-artist (and recent CCA visiting artist) Christian Jankowski initiated the collaborative exhibition by offering a for-credit class, simply titled Commune, that was based on the experience of self-organization, self-agency, and experience in an intensive laboratory-style learning environment.

The students rented a communal house between August and December in 2007 in San Francisco's Ocean Beach neighborhood in which to live and work, without set parameters for their creations. Christian Jankowski loosely supervised the group, often from overseas, offering little direction or discipline. The goal was for students to create art for the exhibition and academic advancement.

Curator and CCA alumna Erin Elder (Curatorial Practice 2007) discusses how Art God materialized: "Participating artist Byung-Chul introduced prayers to the ISR's daily regimen, asking for guidance, support, and authenticity from something called Art God. The group joined him in these strange rituals and within very little time Art God became part of the group's regular vocabulary, showing up in collaborative artworks, conversation, and even public events."

Elder's essay, "793 Possibilities and How to Make Sense of it?," is featured in the exhibition's 450-page catalogue, as are essays by Conley and Jankowski.

The ISR is planning a second exhibition at the Württembergischer Kunstverin near Stuttgart that opens in August 2008.

For more information and a complete list of ISR participating artists, visit the Richmond Art Center website.

The Richmond Art Center
2540 Bartlett Avenue
Richmond, CA 94804


Ministry for Science, Research and Art, Baden-Württemberg
Rectorship of the State Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart
Friends of the State Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart
DAAD German Academic Exchange Service
California College of the Arts, San Francisco
Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
The Richmond Art Center
The German Consulate of San Francisco
Lobot Gallery, Oakland

Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 by Jim Norrena

Pierre Collier designed the official poster of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival (an adaptation of a photograph by David Lynch)

While much of the stargazing that took place at the 61st annual Cannes Film Festival (May 14–25) focused on established industry moguls—movie stars, directors, and producers—it was also an international arena wherein several CCA students, in collaboration with San Jose–based nonprofit Reel Ideas Studios, not only were selected to participate in the prestigious Cannes Student Filmmaking Program but also received highest honors for their contributions.

Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2008 by Jim Norrena

Photo by Stevan Nordström

Last week for CCA's Fashion Design Program's Senior Fashion Show, a gigantic circus-like tent was erected in front of the San Francisco campus, shutting off an entire block of Eighth Street. The scene mimicked what one would expect to see at, say, the Cannes Film Festival, and the payoff was just as grand.

The much-anticipated event marked the ninth annual fashion extravaganza—an exclusive, end-of-year fundraiser to showcase the fashion designs of the 2008 graduating class.

The sold-out apparel smorgasbord attracted hundreds of supportive and enthusiastic attendees, each of whom paid $25 (VIP ticket holders paid $100, which included a festive wine-tasting reception at Axis Café) to celebrate "the future of fashion" on a fierce asphalt runway encased by a portable, makeshift auditorium.

Fashionably and sustainably speaking, it was unadulterated fabricated entertainment.

With wall-flap-to-wall-flap bleachers and folding chairs, CCA President Steve Beal, flanked on either side by 10-foot-tall projection monitors, stood almost as tall himself in his new presidential shoes as he commended Amy Williams, chair of the Fashion Design Program, for her ingenious venue set up. The tent served to expand the exhibition hall, fostering a greater sense of CCA community and inclusiveness, as well as accentuating the Fashion Design Program's best work.

(Note: while the tent idea was definitely not Senior Fashion Show modus operandi, audience attendees and fashion models alike appreciated its protective warmth from San Francisco's chilly and hairdo-disassembling, garb-ruffling winds!)

Highlights included how truly humbled Jihye Kang appeared as she accepted the Surface magazine award, which earned her a detailed photo spread of her work slated for the magazine's October 8 issue—including an expense-paid trip to New York; and Zara Franks securing an internship with Marciano (a Guess division based in Los Angeles).

Additional trivia for the truly raiment-minded: Wray Serna's feathers were entirely hand-sewn and the antlers she used were sourced on Ebay; Lauren Devenney used actual mushrooms and berries to over dye her organic wools (from sheep raised and sheered in Vermont, no less); Andrew Hague's bicycle inspiration traces back to his messenger-bag designs for Chrome; Karina Michel screenprinted her cashmere panels, shibori'd her denim pieces, and hand-burned her velvet from a screen print she designed, and she used over 400 grommets in her collection. Amylou Bilodeau designed all her prints and jewelry, offset printing the fabrics and laser cutting the jewelry.

Kara Krauss deserves a special mention, too, because at between 5–7 years old, her models were the least likely to lie about their ages. Actually, the guise girls stem from CCA faculty and staff and they truly commandeered the catwalk as they twirled in vintage prints inspired by the tiles of Spain's coast while carrying Kara's handmade and embroidered Rufus dolls as accessories. (Look for these dolls in select San Francisco boutiques soon.)

Dozens of models, women and men alike, animated the various designs and onlookers took their cue, reveling more in an artistic spirit than, say, from a shopper's frenzy. After all, CCA's Senior Fashion Show is about pizzazz, not paparazzi; it's truly the future of fashion, no matter how you wear it.

Read local coverage: "Inside Bay Area" by Dino-Ray Ramos (contributor to the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, and other Bay Area News Group publications.)

Additional photos: CCAsnapshots

Posted on Thursday, May 8, 2008 by Jim Norrena

CCA President Stephen Beal between Steve (l) and Doug at their retirement party.

**On May 14, 2008, Steve Reoutt passed away due to a recently diagnosed illness. The entire CCA community is saddened by this news and offers its condolences to the family.

Commencement at CCA is a time for beginnings and endings alike; while graduating students, still exhausted from completing their thesis exhibitions, are eager to embark on their new careers, other CCA community members are winding down, stepping back, and embracing their well-deserved retirements.

Two such notable faculty members, whose combined years of teaching within CCA's graphic design community exceed half the college's actual years in existence(!), are Doug Akagi (24 years: January 1984 to May 2008) and Steve Reoutt (41 years: January 1967 to May 2008).

Akagi is a founding member of the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Design (AIGA) who holds more than 150 awards in his field.

Reoutt is the recipient of the AIGA's Fellowship Award (2001) "For personal and professional contributions to raising the standards of excellence within our design community."

Each was honored Tuesday evening at a posh, heart-warming gathering held at the Graduate Writing Studio where fellow faculty, administrative leaders, students, and family and friends collected to pay tribute and celebrate the accomplishments of these two extraordinary educators.

During the program, each of the honored guests was "bestowed by resolution of the board the status of professor emeritus of graphic design . . . in recognition of their service of distinction as respected teacher, exemplary mentor, and cherished colleague." (Wow! That's better than a gold watch by anyone's standards.)

Newly appointed CCA President Stephen Beal presided, sharing with the group seemingly endless accolades, praises, first-hand student testimony, and personal insights about both men—far too many to list here (though it's likely the next issue of Glance will highlight each gentleman's epic list of accomplishments).

CCA Director of Research & Planning David Meckel and Visual Studies professor Leslie Becker each showered Akagi and Reoutt with additional praises that illustrated their unstinting spirit to CCA's community, all while an accompaniment of acoustic guitar filled the room (compliments of The Real Placebos) and the stellar Suzy Bettinger Catering folks provided the creme de la creme of the evening—literally).

According to Cinthia Wen, current Graphic Design Program chair: "CCA is indeed losing a wonderful resource, but Steve Reoutt's teaching lives on in those he has taught and in those who have since returned to teach at CCA." (His collected slide archive of the history of graphic design and visual communication has provided an invaluable resource for faculty in creating classes and lectures.)

Wen said about Doug: "He exemplifies what we try to teach and promote within the CCA community and within the Graphic Design Program—to appreciate, create, participate . . . and the ability to think beyond oneself and to give with sincerity."

And so while giving a gold watch may be a standard retirement gesture, ironically it's the two most recent CCA retirees who've given back to CCA a gesture of timelessness.

Congratulations (and many, many thanks) to Doug Akagi and Steve Reoutt on their retirement from CCA. We are indebted to each of you.

Can't get enough of Doug & Steve? See CCA Snapshots on Flickr.

Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 by Sarah Owens

CCA alumni Christine Miller Kelly's Flux breast pump

California College of the Arts alumna Christine Miller Kelly took second place in the 2008 Dyson-IDSA Eye for Why design and engineering competition, a joint effort between Dyson, Inc. and the Industrial Designers Society of America.

The competition's goal is to challenge industrial design students to create a problem-solving domestic product that upholds Dyson's stated commitment to "intelligent, function-first design."

Posted on Monday, March 24, 2008 by Brenda Tucker

Master Yasuo Nakajima of Hanyu City, Japan, participated in CCA Textiles Program's Maters of Tradition Series

Master Yasuo Nakajima Sensei (master indigo dyer) of Hanyu City, Japan, participated in CCA Textiles Program's Masters of Tradition series on the Oakland campus, where he was artist-in-residence March 24-28, 2008.

Many regular classes in the Textiles Program were suspended, and Master Nakajima and and his entourage of experts taught a series of workshops on indigo dyeing and traditional stitching that included customary dyeing and surface design methods, such as ikat, shibori, and katazome.

Mr. Nakajima is a master indigo dyer and successor to the family business that was founded in the mid-19th century, Nakajima Indigo Dye Works. Master Nakajima continues to operate the dye-works using the traditional methods of natural indigo dyes kept alive in sunken earthenware vats.

As a designated regional Living Treasure of Japan, Master Nakajima's goal is to impart his experience, skills, and knowledge to the next generation of artisans and artists wishing to work with traditional Japanese indigo dye techniques.

Also teaching were Kiyo Oshio Sensei (master stitcher), Kumiko Toya (stitcher), and Daigo Niijima (indigo dyer). Dignitaries visiting CCA with Nakajima Sensei included Mr. Koumei Kawata (mayor of Hanyu City, Saitama Prefecture) and his wife, Mrs. Midori Kawata, Jyun Saito (the mayor's secretary), and Hideo Ninomiya Sensei (clothing manufacturer from Hanyu City).

CCA Provost Stephen Beal hosted a dinner that was attended by Associate Dean Mark Takiguchi and Textiles Program Chair Deborah Valoma who honored the guests from Japan.

In an effort to bring traditional skills and voices into the curriculum, CCA's Textiles Program has cultivated a nine-year relationship with Master Nakajima. During week-long residencies occurring in 1997, 2002, and 2005, and now again in 2008, Master Nakajima taught, demonstrated, and lectured about a wide variety of indigo dye techniques.

These intensive learning experiences focused the attention of the entire student body on the depth and breadth of Japanese indigo dye techniques. Just as important, these cross-cultural encounters provided a unique opportunity for students to be immersed in Japanese aesthetic and philosophical approaches.

The Textiles Program is deeply committed to bringing diverse voices and viewpoints into the curriculum at all levels. In the classroom they have hosted traditional artists, including Tongan tapa makers, Mien embroiderers, traditional French-lace makers, and Native American basket weavers, among others.

Recently the Textiles Program established the biennial Masters of Tradition series. Every other spring semester the program invites a master of a textile tradition to teach workshops available to all students interested in taking a textile course.

Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 by Sarah Owens

Joanna Paull, Interior Design

Interior design student Joanna Paull is the recipient of the IIDA Northern California Chapter's 2007–08 Student Scholarship. The $7,500 scholarship was awarded to the student who best responded to the theme "cultural authenticity," a topic chosen by current IIDA Chapter Honor Award recipient Steven McCollom of Gary Lee Partners. The competition is open to all final-year students who are enrolled in Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)-approved interior design programs.

Titled Build It Green, Joanna's entry was a multipurpose project located at California and Van Ness streets. It featured offices, classrooms, a library, café, lecture hall, and housing. The project was originally a CCA studio assignment.

Judge Steven McCollom explained why he selected Joanna, saying not only that the presentation itself was "well executed" and "visually appealing," but also that "the jury got the distinct impression that the designer inherently understood the issue of homelessness and its impact on society—and created a design solution that served the homeless population, as well as the surrounding neighborhood and the city of San Francisco."

Joanna would like to stay in the Bay Area after graduating and join a firm that "fosters the enrichment of individuals, site, and community—whether that is office design, retail, civic projects, or larger housing projects."

Posted on Thursday, March 6, 2008 by Brenda Tucker

CCA is one of just four design schools that have been selected to exhibit student work at the 2008 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York in May. ICFF is one of the most prestigious design events in the world and the premier showcase for contemporary design in North America. Each year ICFF invites the world's leading design schools to participate in a competition juried by industry leaders. This year's other winners are Savannah College of Art and Design, the School of Visual Arts, and Yale University.

Both the Furniture and Industrial Design programs will be represented at the booth. The Furniture project represents the outcomes of the Bevara Design House / Walmart.com sponsored studio that was run by faculty member Oblio Jenkins in the fall 2007 semester. That interdisciplinary furniture studio addressed a "sustainable design for mass production" theme. After researching the complex issues associated with sustainability and the wide range of locally available production technologies, students worked with Bevara Design House and Wal-Mart to develop those designs with market potential.

CCA's Industrial Design Program coordinated two projects which will also be featured at the booth: Glass+, a collaboration with the Glass Program, and the Kitchen Sink, a joint effort with the Ceramics Program. The students worked individually and in teams to design and develop a wide range of products for the home, from cocktail sets to kitchen sinks, using real-world production techniques such as blow-molded glass and slip-cast ceramics.

For more information please visit ICFF's website at www.icff.com.

Posted on Friday, February 29, 2008 by Sarah Owens

Technology never tasted so good

Industrial Design Program senior Noah Balmer tied for second place in the 2008 International Housewares Association student design competition. Noah will receive a $1,800 cash prize, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to Chicago, where he will present his winning design, KitchenSync, at the 2008 International Home and Housewares Show.

The show is expected to attract 60,000 visitors from more than 100 countries all focused on buying and selling the latest products at the world's largest home-goods marketplace.

KitchenSync is a durable, hand-washable, portable wi-fi device that allows the user to look up recipes via a touch screen, thereby eliminating the risk of having a computer in the kitchen, as well as preventing the loss of smudged recipes printed in water-soluble ink. Slim and easy to use, the waterproof, book-shaped device ships with a stationary dock that it magnetically attaches to and through which it charges via induction. KitchenSync can remain in its dock or placed on a counter or even kept in one's hand.

Noah attended Lewis and Clark College, then transferred to California College of the Arts to pursue his design career. Regarding his choice to attend CCA, he explains it was because of its "great teachers, future thinking, and emphasis on sustainability."

In 2006 Noah also won an International Housewares award for his design of a kitchen scale manufactured with zinc. Studying industrial design is a natural progression for Noah, who has sculpted and created objects since childhood. He believes industrial design is "psychology of form," or the study of how "a person chooses a simple, sleek object over a complex mechanical one."

Noah will further advance his design career as an intern with designer Karim Rashid in the spring.

Additional press coverage available at the International Housewares Association website.

Posted on Friday, February 29, 2008 by Brenda Tucker

Ryan Duke of CCA's Industrial Design Program presents to Gucci

PPR French worldwide group is sponsoring a series of design studios at California College of the Arts (CCA) during the 2007–8 academic year. Students in CCA's Architecture, Industrial Design, and Graduate Design programs are examining a variety of design issues while working with representatives from three PPR brands: Gucci, Puma, and Redcats.

"We are delighted to be working with PPR," stated Stephen Beal, provost of CCA. "This partnership enriches our design curriculum considerably and provides our students with unique opportunities to interact with top international professionals."

Sponsored studio courses at CCA give students the prospect of conceptualizing design within the context of a particular brand. They also give the retail, manufacturing, and design industries access to the fresh perspectives of next-generation designers. Other recent sponsored studio collaborations at CCA have included a sustainability studio with the international design firm IDEO and a pet product studio with the Turkish design firm Gaia&Gino.

About PPR
PPR develops a portfolio of high-growth global brands. Through its general consumer brands and luxury brands, PPR generated sales of EUR 19.8 billion in 2007. The group is present in 90 countries with approximately 93,000 employees. PPR brands include Fnac, Redcats Group (La Redoute, Vertbaudet, Somewhere, Cyrillus, Daxon, Ellos, The Sportsman's Guide, The Golf Warehouse and brands of the plus-size division), Conforama, CFAO, Puma, and the luxury brands of Gucci Group (Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, YSL Beauté, Balenciaga, Boucheron, Sergio Rossi, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney). Explore the universe of PPR brands at www.ppr.com.

Founded in 1907, CCA offers studies in 20 undergraduate and eight graduate majors in the areas of architecture, business, curatorial practice, design, film, fine arts, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of business administration, and master of fine arts degrees.