A “silver lining” is what we call a positive aspect of something difficult. Like the silver lining of a dark storm cloud. Though we were disappointed when the pandemic kept us apart from spring 2020 to spring 2021, we knew that artists, designers, architects, and writers are distinctly equipped to find the creative opportunities—the bright side, the silver linings—of a low point. We are the people who help the rest of the people see problems in a new light.
This page was our space to try to make the best of a bad situation by tracking our creative achievements, breakthroughs, inspirations, events, and stories. It was our way of simply sharing space with each other in the cloud as we waited to be able to return to campus.
We’ve left Silver Linings here as a time capsule of that historic and challenging moment. Because whether we’re on campus or off, together in the Bay Area or distributed around the world, it’s worth remembering that CCA’s creative community will always find the silver lining.
We completed Silver Linings with our spring 2021 virtual commencement experience (graduates all received a piece of silver-colored regalia!), but we'll always have your cloud pics and the soundtrack to an ~unprecedented year~. Plus, the Silver Linings news and event roundups remain as archives on this page, so you can (re)read inspiring community stories from our fully remote semesters.
One of our favorite silver linings of a remote semester was that our international guest lectures, scholarly critiques, event series, artist interviews, and social gatherings were virtual, open to the public, and accessible to more of us than ever before.
Scroll through selections of past featured work, made by students all around our campus on the cloud.
Congratulations, Class of 2021! Celebrate our newest alums by watching the 2021 Commencement Video, featuring artist performances and community reflections, as well as formal speeches by President Stephen Beal, Honorary Doctorate Sir Jony Ive, this year’s distinguished alum, and undergraduate and graduate student speakers.
Big grant, bigger impact. Alum Camila Wandemberg (BFA Individualized Studies 2020) was recently named recipient of a $15,000 grant from the Swarovski Foundation. This grant will further Wandemberg’s work in developing sustainable alternatives for textile processes in her home country of Ecuador, helping local artisans and communities establish a circular economy.
Care-full curation. MA Curatorial Practice and the Wattis Institute present Contact Traces, an exhibit that questions assumptions of care as an act of benevolence and “cries out against a ‘return to normal,’ suggesting that a society in which care is fully recognized could be more just and sustainable.” On view through June 6.
Reaching new heights. Read about the collaboration between renowned artist Jim Campbell and CCA Film and Fine Arts professors and students. In January 2021, Campbell and his studio, White Light, launched an ongoing Midnight Artist Collaboration series, which showcases the work of young emerging Bay Area artists every night from midnight to 1 am on Salesforce Tower. A number of the recent projections were created by CCA students or recent alumni.
A look back at lockdown. Looking Back, Looking Forward, an exhibition from CCA Libraries, shares work by students made in response to the COVID–19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown in spring 2020. Now, a year later, these artworks resonate with renewed, prescient somberness, reflecting circumstances that were new or heightened then but have since become part of our daily reality.
Illustrious interview. Alum Samuel Rodriguez (BFA Illustration 2006) spoke with Experimenta in a Q+A about illustration, process, and developing one’s own style.
Overdue recognition for Okamura. Point Reyes Light’s analysis of honoring the Asian American legacy of West Marin includes a nod to former CCA professor Arthur Okamura, “whose artwork is in collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian, [and] cultivated the abilities of thousands of students during his decades as a professor at California College of the Arts.”
Championing arts education. Alum Lorelei Linklater (BFA Painting/Drawing 2015)—an artist, children’s educator, and actress best-known for her performance in the 2014 drama Boyhood—discussed the importance of arts in American education with OCNJ Daily, who notes that “since graduating, Linklater has become a celebrated multimedia painter.”
Empowerment superpower. MFA Comics Adjunct Professor Melanie Gillman shared their story of success within the comic book industry and offered insights on how to draw a path toward broader representation at an event presented by Stonewall Hall and the LGBT Resource Center (which also mailed all attendees a free copy of Nonbinary, a minicomic created by Gillman that discusses the process of coming out and living as a nonbinary person).
National Poetry Month. Our newest Instagram Live closed out April’s #NationalPoetryMonth with a reading by graduate student Emilio Gallegos (MFA Writing 2021), presenting his work Still Not There.
A hidden journey, a home. From Colombia, to California, to a virtual Fashion Design 3 course that changed everything—Melissa Rodriguez (BFA Individualized Studies 2022) shares the hidden journey that helped her uncover a new definition of home.
Art history reading recommendation. Don’t miss the story of professor emeritus Marguerite Wildenhain’s Pond Farm studio and classroom, featured in The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s series Where Women Made History. “As one of the most influential ceramicists of the midcentury American Studio Pottery movement, Marguerite Wildenhain understood what it took to perfect one’s craft. Producing great art meant putting your whole self into the work, and not caring about what others thought about it.”
TL;DR: 💥 “To make art, you have to care a great deal and not give a damn.” 💥 — Marguerite Wildenhain
For your ears only. “After a year of screens and video saturation, Diné composer, performer, and installation artist Raven Chacon wants you to go on a walk,” writes SFCV about the Wattis Institute artist-in-residence, whose latest project, Radio Coyote, explores sound collage. The experimental programming continues through June 30, at 88.1 FM or radiocoyote.org.
Thesis turned trilogy. Alum Alka Joshi (MFA Writing 2011) began working on her hit novel The Henna Artist in graduate school at CCA. It was her thesis project, but the process for developing the project included 10 years of research, writing, and trips to India. Since its publication last March, The Henna Artist has become a favorite of Reese Witherspoon and is being turned into a TV show, and the second book in the trilogy, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, will be released this June.
CCA to zines. The new issue of the SF Bay Area Comics & Illustration anthology Lazer Zine is live and features a smattering of work by CCA graduate and undergraduate alumni alike. For the 72-page publication, contributors reflected on and created comics inspired by their “Mixed Emotions.” #mood
Advice for bravery in art. Alum Vernon Keeve (MFA Writing 2013) gave tribute in Berkeleyside to former teacher and California Poet Laureate Al Young, who passed away at age 81 on April 17. Keeve says Young helped his poetry become more intimate. “Instead of wanting to hide on the page,” Keeve says, “Al taught me how to be more authentic. He said to face things that hurt you, don’t run away from trauma on the page.”
Advice for bravery in life. Alum Julie Lythcott-Haims (MFA Writing 2016) spoke with NPR’s Fresh Air podcast about her newest nonfiction book, Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, and dug into basics for achieving adult status, such as: showing up, being gracious to other humans, managing your money well, stop trying to please others by sacrificing yourself, and much more.
A Guggenheim fellowship. Alum Elizabeth Malaska (BFA Painting/Drawing 2006) was recently named a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. Malaska is one of 184 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists chosen for the prestigious fellowship following a rigorous peer-review of almost 3,000 applicants.
A distinguished guest Legendary designer Sir Jony Ive KBE will receive CCA’s Honorary Doctorate degree during the college’s annual commencement ceremony in recognition of his devotion to design as a craft, which ties to CCA’s 114-year legacy of forward-thinking making in the arts and crafts. Sir Jony, who is responsible for the design of some of the world’s most profoundly influential products—the iMac, PowerBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods—will deliver the commencement address during an interactive viewing on Monday, May 10. CCA is also pleased to announce Sir Jony as the honoree at our annual gala, happening virtually on Friday, May 14, at 5 pm PT.
Commencement traditions. From the tam and gown’s little-known origins to a particularly relevant Honorary Doctorate address that’s more than two decades old, these stories behind the college’s commencement quirks are so CCA.
Five questions with Raven Chacon. Capp Street Artist-in-Residence Raven Chacon conducted a Q+A with I Care If You Listen and spoke about the intent behind Radio Coyote, streaming now through June 30 through the Wattis Institute.
“Radio Coyote started with an initial idea to bridge the Southwest (New Mexico and Arizona) with the San Francisco Bay Area,” Chacon says. “There are already many musical links: musicians from California who come through Albuquerque on tour and vice-versa. Other collaborations and friendships have evolved since. But also in our individual isolations, we all have recognized our shared concerns about the outside world. What is happening in our neighborhoods, or in other neighborhoods, or in the nation’s capital? I wanted Radio Coyote to be a vehicle for sharing these thoughts, whether through music or interviews or other live radio actions.”
Tune time. Check out a new Tiny Desk concert featuring pop singer Rina Sawayama, written about by recent alum Alex Ramos (BFA Animation 2021), who also serves as editor-in-chief at Sunstroke Magazine, an independent publication that centers Generation Z, culture, and activism.
Best in the continent. Congratulations to graduating students Conor Daly, Maria Antonieta Ramirez, Navya Sharad, and Valeriya Velyka. The four were recognized among the top 50 Architecture and Interior Design graduates in North America by a new list called the Metropolis Future 100.
A grant for good. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts recently launched a new program called the YBCA 10, which awards $50,000 to 10 artists to “develop creative prototypes that center the health and well-being of communities through a focus on racial equity, climate justice, and their intersections.” The inaugural class, which includes alum Dorothy R. Santos (MA in Visual and Critical Studies 2014), are artists advancing the essential role of art in social and cultural movement and interested in developing new systems for building regenerative communities.
Earth Day, every day. Faculty members Janette Kim, Ren Fiss, Curtis Arima, and Kim Anno have started the E-school at CCA, an environmental justice collaboration across divisions that topples figureheads and centers frontline communities. The “E” in E-school stands for eco and its aim is to collaborate with the Earth itself.
Architecture in conversation. Master of Advanced Architectural Design students Leandra Burnett and Kurt Pelzer sat down with visiting MIT professor Ana Miljački to discuss her work with MIT’s Critical Broadcasting Lab and the architectural exhibition as a medium. “I think transformation is not always recognizable to those who already have the authority to sanction it as such,” she says.
Art in conversation. A new group show titled The first swing of the bat, curated by Gallery46 and Paint Talk, pulls together a broad collection of language and conceptual framework. Each artist, including alum Sophie Lourdes Knight (BFA Painting/Drawing 2014) brings a distinct language to the show, writes FAD Magazine.
Cool neighbors. The San Francisco Chronicle’s latest housing guide for where to live in the city included a CCA shoutout, noting that Dogpatch and Potrero Hill “are among the most well-rounded in the city, with a distinct youthfulness and creative undercurrent owing to a California College of the Arts campus, the Minnesota Street Project arts foundation, the Museum of Craft and Design, and two popular indie music venues in the Bottom of the Hill and Thee Parkside.”
So metal. Watch Juice Pro Wrestling podcast’s new episode, featuring professor Ed Luce, who talks comics, teaching, his Ignatz-nominated comics series Wuvable Oaf, and his love of heavy metal.
Water works. Pre-register to attend a free online conversation with the artists of Water, an exhibit of contemporary art on view at Vesterheim National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School. The April 24 event features alum Pamela Fingado (BFA Interdisciplinary 1981), whose multimedia contribution uses water as a metaphor for emotional spirit.
End-of-semester stories. Don’t miss our Instagram Live stories—from Ann Li’s performance, The Object is Present, to short conversations between graduating BFA students and classmate Daniela Segovia.
~IRL~ exhibitions (yes, yes, you read that right). The 2021 MFA Showcase exhibition is now open for in-person visits at 360 Kansas Street. Through April 29, explore a new exhibition featuring a selection of work by 16 emerging artists from California College of the Arts’ graduate program in fine arts. CCA’s entire 25-student MFA graduating class will showcase their work online beginning Monday, May 10.
And opening May 9 at the CCA Wattis Institute, California College of the Arts Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice (CURP) presents Contact Traces, an exhibition considering the urgency and significance of care. Artists Derya Akay, Lenka Clayton, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ilana Harris-Babou, and Jenny Kendler offer complementary and divergent positions on the messy processes of caregiving—especially topical as we work toward a post-pandemic world. This exhibition is curated by the CURP class of 2021: Leandra Burnett, Katherine Jemima Hamilton, Shaelyn Hanes, Youyou Ma, and Emily Markert.
Spinning local history. The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Writing and Literature Associate Professor Jasmin Darznik about her newly released historical novel The Bohemians, a coming-of-age story about photographer Dorothea Lange set in 1920s San Francisco. Darznik animates free-spirited visionaries like Lang, Maynard Dixon, Imogen Cunningham, and others, who created a vibrant hub in the city’s North Beach neighborhood. “The novel is elegiac in a way, but it’s also a celebration of the city’s artistic spirit. Looking back gives us an opportunity to think how we can bring that spirit back because it’s been such a vital part of our history and who we are,” she says.
High-tech partnership. We’re excited to announce the Architecture division’s new Academic Alliance with Autodesk Technology Centers. Beginning in spring 2021, students have the opportunity to work within the company’s workshops and studios under the supervision of CCA’s Architectural Ecologies Lab (AEL) and the Digital Craft Lab (DCL) lab directors. This Alliance further cements Autodesk Technology Centers’ ongoing work with CCA Architecture. Since 2014, Autodesk Technology Centers have hosted CCA design research ranging from the AEL Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab breakwater project to the Presidio Culvert Reef oyster restoration project.
Monuments on Ohlone land. Oakland artist Katie Dorame (MFA Painting/Drawing 2011) pays homage to the Ohlone people through illustrated monuments, displayed as posters in Muni shelters along Market Street. “I made these future, imagined monuments to honor Native Californians and their contributions to everything around us,” says Dorame, a member of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe.
Architectural team honored for residential design. Robert Wallis (BArch 1997) and his team at Wallis Design Studio Architects in Nevada County were recently recognized by Home Builder Digest for being among the best residential architects in the outer Sacramento metro region. The prestigious acknowledgment — coming from colleagues in a highly competitive field — came as a pleasant surprise to Wallis, who had no idea the publication was reviewing his work.
Why don't we live together? Researchers (and CCA faculty) Neeraj Bhatia and Antje Steinmuller are studying co-living from the ground up in San Francisco’s hot realty market. They bring an international perspective to their Urban Works Agency, based here at CCA, as they look to alternative housing solutions, such as "share houses" across Asia, resident-generated building groups in Germany, and communal living in Northern California.
Oscar-nominated connections. At the upcoming Academy Awards on April 25, join Oakland writer Samuel Sattin (MFA Comics 2015) in rooting for the animated film WolfWalkers, which is nominated in the Best Animated Feature category. The material has a personal connection for Sattin, who adapted the story into a graphic novel—using writing skills honed here in the Bay Area to reach audiences worldwide. “It really came together as its own thing, rather than as a slapdash collage of images from the film, which would have been beautiful but wouldn’t have worked as a comic,” Sattin said of the adaptation.
Musical futurism. Designing The Future of Music, a program founded by Graphic Design alum Lawrence Azerrad, facilitates conversations and creative decisions across disciplines of design within the sphere of music. A new virtual exhibition explores this project, which is rooted in an international collaboration between students from CCA and the Royal Academy of Art’s Global Innovation Design program in summer 2020.
Sage advice on “adulting.” In our alum spotlight, bestselling author and writer Julie Lythcott-Haims discusses her new guide for adults of all ages. Because, as it turns out, adulting is hard. Even for adults.
New Chimeras! CCA’s newest offers of admission went out April 1. Welcome to CCA, new admits! Congratulations. 🎉 We can’t wait to create and change the world with you. ‘Gram us @cacollegeofarts once you’ve accepted your offer so we celebrate together.
Graphic novels that illuminate. Comics Assistant Professor Thi Bui’s illustrated memoir—part autobiography, part immigrant tale—The Best We Could Do, chronicles family life before and after the Vietnam War. The Washington Post recently included it in its reading list of graphic novels that illuminate anti-Asian racism through personal experience.
In-depth conversations. Ocula magazine’s April issue featured an edited version of the Wattis Institute’s February conversation between Cecilia Vicuña and Daniel Borzutzky. The original conversation was part of the Wattis’s year-long research season, Cecilia Vicuña is on our mind, which uses Vicuña’s work as a lens to think about our contemporary moment.
Fighting the good fight. During Comic-Con International’s [email protected] virtual event, Associate Professor Justin Hall moderated a panel of queer comics creators who expolore the form as a source of social power and community. Their discussion, titled LGBTQ+ Comics and Social Activism, is now available online.
Small scale, big impact. Alum Elisheva Biernoff (MFA Painting/Drawing 2009) has a new exhibition on view this month at San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery. Elisheva Biernoff: Starting from Wrong presents 12 hyper realistic paintings that are re-creations of vintage snapshots and true to the small size of standard Polaroids. “The paintings capture casual, even banal moments—people on road trips and beach vacations squinting into the sun, and oddly cropped landscapes—yet they take on a deeper gravitas through Biernoff’s scrupulous sustained attention,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle.
Officially official 🇺🇸. CCA was recently recognized as a Voter Friendly Campus by the Campus Vote Project and NASPA, the professional association for student affairs administrators in higher education. CCA was one of just two art and design colleges out of 235 schools in the U.S. to meet the rigorous criteria to be named a Voter Friendly Campus this year. A huge thank you to the students, faculty, and staff comprising Creative Citizens in Action ([email protected]), which led the Voter Friendly Campus Initiative.
Smithsonian shout-out. Fiber artist and alum Kay Sekimachi (Textiles 1955) was named in Smithsonian magazine’s list of “Five Women Changemakers in American Art,” which told her story of first being introduced to the weaving room on campus: “Fascinated by the sight of the loomers at work, Sekimachi immediately decided to spend all of her savings on a loom. She would soon push the limits of what weaving could produce, creating sculptural forms out of textiles and ultimately resurrecting the medium as a form of art. Sekimachi’s incredible ingenuity behind the loom earned her the respected title of the ‘weaver’s weaver.’ ”
In the know. Alum Lauren O’Connell (MA Curatorial Practice 2014) made the Phoenix New Times’ list of 15 women curators to know in Arizona. The newspaper noted that “O’Connell’s curatorial practice focuses on promoting inclusion through elevating under-recognized histories and facilitating new artworks. She has worked on retrospective exhibits on modern and contemporary artists, and is currently working on a retrospective and catalog about painter Dorothy Fratt.”
Glass class. The glassblowing of alum Conrad Williams (BFA Individualized Studies 2004), who also studied with world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly early in his career, was featured in Naples Florida Weekly for his multifaceted community practice.
Blockchain bust. Assistant Professor Christine Tien Wang spoke with How Stuff Works about her critique—informed by conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper’s 1993 essay The Logic of Modernism—of the NFT phenomenon and its impact (or lack thereof) on the traditional business of art.
Mystery man. Numéro magazine featured the life story of alum John McCracken (BFA Painting 1962) and how his work took a decisive turn in the late sixties when he designed objects resembling colored boards placed against a wall. He’s now famous for the approach: the late McCracken, you may remember, was hot gossip last fall when he was rumored to be behind that mysterious monolith in Utah.
Radio Coyote. On April 1, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts’ Capp Street Artist-in-Residence Raven Chacon launches Radio Coyote, a 24/7 online and FM radio station with a range of compelling programming, including music, archival lectures and recordings, interviews, and improvisational content. Save the station now and listen in through June 30!
Spring reading. History of Art and Visual Culture Assistant Professor Monica Bravo’s first book, Greater American Camera: Making Modernism in Mexico, will be published by Yale University Press in June, with support from the Terra and Wyeth Foundations for American Art. In her book, Bravo studies work by four modernist photographers who traveled from the U.S. to Mexico during the interwar period and examines the vital role exchanges between these expatriates and their Mexican contemporaries played in forging a new photographic style.
Future plans. Jamie Rose Valera (BA History of Art and Visual Culture 2021) was accepted into Boston University’s graduate History of Art and Architecture program and will start this fall. Her recent research interests span between the 19th and 21st centuries in the West, and she investigates the notion of art as archive. She’s been recognized through notable awards such as the R.A. Brown Memorial Scholarship and a CCA All-College Honors Award. Congratulations, Jamie!
Exploring urgent liminal states. Professor Caroline Landau re-created a Newfoundland iceberg out of glass, a process documented by videographer Oliver Rye for the Glass Meet the Future Film Festival, happening now through April 4. Landau’s piece illustrates the condition of the melting North. “The glass vessel can both mimic the ice and contain the absence of the liquid lost,” she says. “This work explores liminal states of material existence, the vulnerable line between comfort and discomfort, and the delicate space between fragility and strength.”
New Diedrick. Alum Diedrick Brackens (MFA Fine Arts 2014) shares with VMan his conceptual process and how his powerful textile practice is often inspired by cultural and personal historical events. His new exhibit at Jack Shainman Gallery, blessed are the mosquitoes, opens June 24.
Remembering a rarity. Alum Terry St. John (MFA Painting 1966), who recently passed away at age 86, was remembered fondly in the San Francisco Chronicle. “St. John—who was prone to peeling the paint off a canvas and starting over, eliminating months of work if he did not like what he saw—was a legendary plein air painter… He was the rare artist and art scholar who held the three most important art jobs at the same time: painter, educator and museum curator.”
Thrower throwback. A new book titled Edith Heath: Philosophies examines the work of the visionary San Francisco ceramicist (and CCA professor emeritus) and her lasting impact on the form. The tome features a historical timeline, essays, in-depth commentary, and images from Heath’s life—including a photo, as seen in a Dwell magazine article about the book, of Heath examining a clay-rich wall of earth with her ceramics class at CCA (at the time, California College of Arts and Crafts) in the mid-1950s.
People are talking. CCA was listed as a desirable candidate to set up a satellite site at the Time Century Jewelry Center in downtown Miami. It’s an honor just to be name-dropped. ✨
Paving the way for more Black artists. Glass student Jason McDonald—who was recently featured in the second season of Blown Away on Netflix—spoke to Bay City News reporter Gina Gotsill about using his craft to study identity, racism, and representation. “I live in a culture that doesn’t value brown skin,” McDonald says. “When you have elected officials that are openly racist, there are issues you need to talk about openly. I choose to talk about my experience as a Black man in a racist nation. It has been really powerful to be unapologetically Black.”
The article also gave a nod to CCA student Katie Johnson, who shot and edited the audition video that McDonald sent to Netflix, as well as Nate Watson, CCA faculty and executive director of San Francisco’s Public Glass, which Watson opened to CCA students after campus closed during the pandemic.
Finding a home, giving others a voice. “Art is my home,” says alum Omid Mokri (BFA Illustration 1985), a contemporary Iranian artist living in San Francisco. Mokri was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook feature on “10 artists who shed light on mass incarceration.” His solo show at Huma House in Los Angeles opens in April.
Going to the max. Alum Carmen René Smith (BArch 2011) spoke with House and Home about the power of maximalism and her portfolio of work as principal designer for Aquilo Interiors, which the publication calls “as captivating as it is rule-breaking.”
A spirit of disruption. Adjunct Professor Cathy Lu’s sculpture installation Customs Declaration, made of ceramic fruit and steel cable net, is featured in San Francisco Art Institute's 150th anniversary show. The exhibition, titled A Spirit of Disruption, was curated by Leila Weefur and Margaret Tedesco, who told Hyperallergic, “This exhibition is focusing on celebrating the history of the institution and prioritizing untold stories from those who haven’t historically been included or made visible.”
Robust storytelling. After studying graphic design at CCA, alum Lindsay Daniels (BFA Graphic Design 2013) gravitated toward filmmaking “because I didn’t feel that print gave me enough room to tell the kinds of stories I wanted to tell,” she says. “For me, it’s about creating a more robust, compelling experience. Film lets me connect with people on a more emotional level.” She’ll now bring that vision to FANCY, the film company recently announced.
A near-blank canvas for the future. Adjunct Professor Forest Young, who taught CCA’s inaugural MFA course in Future Design, spoke with AIGA’s Eye on Design about radically redesigning a more inclusive future. He also shared his own sort of silver lining of last year: “Had I not experienced 2020, I would still be living in Harlem, recovering from crisscrossing the country the last few years, operating in auto-pilot. I would be looking for a kind of life resolution from conventional avenues and channels. I would not have been given this near-blank canvas to reimagine what a life could be.”
New comics. Introducing: Electric Squeak! This publication debuting from CCA’s MFA in Comics program will be a biannual digital must-read, featuring work by the current Comics cohort. We can’t wait. :)
Doing the work. Fashion Design Chair Lynda Grose spoke with Vogue about the continued challenge of creating a standard of end-to-end sustainability in fashion. “The business system is utterly dependent upon exponential growth and incremental product improvements cannot keep pace with this growth,” she says in critique of sustainability certifications.
Cheese graters (and other ceramics tools). While some ceramics tools are ancient, others are ready and waiting in unexpected places—like your kitchen cabinet. Three makers from the CCA Ceramics program share their favorite tools and why they love them, starring selections from Studio Operations Manager Craig Petey, Assistant Professor Kari Marboe, and Professor Arthur Gonzalez.
Songs that move us. Associate Professor Bryan Keith Thomas shares a song that “expresses his unshakeable faith and the confidence he feels in the souls of other Black folk,” in a recent KALW My Mixtape spotlight.
Artist & curator bonds 🌟 A new exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art introduces new work by Diedrick Brackens (MFA Fine Arts 2014), curated by Lauren O’Connell (MA Curatorial Practice 2014). The pair of alumni discuss working together for the exhibition, the relationship between fine artists and curators, and the various stars that aligned for them while attending CCA.
New to stream. 🎥 Students, faculty, and alumni reflect on CCA’s Master of Advanced Architectural Design program, a STEM-designated, post-professional degree for advanced students and mid-career architects.
Grammy Gold. Congratulations to our newest CCA-affiliated Grammy award winners: CCA Film Professor Rob Epstein and alum Lawrence Azerrad (Graphic Design 1995).
Epstein took home a 2021 Grammy in Best Music Film for the documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, which examines the iconic singer’s life and career—from her folk-pop start in the 1960s to a present-day sojourn in her ancestral hometown in Mexico to be with family. This is Epstein’s first Grammy Award. As for Ronstadt? She’s won 10.
And Kudos to Azerrad, whose inside-the-box thinking won him a second Grammy in the category of Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package. The art director and graphic designer co-created an interactive pop-up book to bring Wilco’s album Ode to Joy to life. Azerrad is no stranger to musical collaborations: His Los Angeles-based firm LAD Design regularly partners with cultural institutions, brands, and musicians.
Self-direction. Our newest alum feature spotlights director Shane T. Watson (MFA Film 2017). “There’s a sense of me infused in every piece of anything I write because I write what I know, and what I know is myself,” says the former Student Oscar nominee. Read about what he’s working on now, his advice for CCA students, co-founding the Black X Film Festival, and more.
High-profile appointment. Xiaoyu Weng (MA Curatorial Practice 2009) makes a highly-anticipated move from the Guggenheim Museum to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Taking the helm of the AGO’s modern and contemporary art department, Weng is considering what it means to “lead a global discourse in contemporary art” and how exhibitions can “bring in multiple perspectives and look at history differently.”
Predictions on mental health and work. For the Wall Street Journal, Julie Lythcott-Haims (MFA Writing 2016) and other experts weigh in on mental health support in the workplace post-pandemic. “In five to 10 years, I think every employer will have to offer resources to support folks’ mental health,” says Lythcott-Haims. “Millennials and Gen Z are going to demand it.”
Hyperallergic has the scoop on the newly-formed Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), San Diego, directed by alum Andrew Ütt (BFA Individualized Studies 2005). Merging the San Diego Art Institute and the Lux Art Institute, the ICA’s mission is to “be everywhere and for everyone,” says Ütt, presenting a year of thematic programming responding to the environment and honoring San Diego’s status as a border town with a rich Latinx history. The ICA opens August 21.
Startup support. DMBA student Ben Lang and his company Native Chats, a multilingual messaging platform with real-time translation, have been selected to join the first nationwide cohort of Google for Startups Founders Academy for Black, Latinx, and military veteran founders. The highly selective, six-month program is designed to help underrepresented founders generate revenue and obtain investment capital for their high-potential startups.
Decolonization in action. Read Senior Adjunct Professor William Littman’s writeup for PLATFORM about how the CCA Architecture division’s efforts to decolonize architecture practice manifested in his history of architecture and history of interiors courses last semester, including shifting “away from a primary focus on major styles and ‘great’ architects to a course that was more diverse, global, and incorporated both high-style and ordinary buildings.”
Love and optimism. Alum Chelsea Wong (BFA Printmaking 2010) spoke with It’s Nice That about her recent work with watercolors and acrylics, and her motivation for creating positive and diverse art in response to a difficult year. “I want people to feel strong and happy,” she says. “As a figurative painter it’s important for me to include diversity in my paintings. I grew up in a multi-racial and ethnically merged family. As a child, I didn’t see many Asian role models in the media.”
Advice on ~adulting~ Alum Julie Lythcott-Haims (MFA Writing 2016) is the author of the New York Times bestselling book How to Raise an Adult and her award-winning memoir Real American. Next up: the recently announced Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, set to release in April. The book’s goal is to “inspire younger readers to dig deep in seeking their own personal and professional happiness.”
Exploring histories. Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with the photography program at Parsons School of Design at The New School, announced it will present an artist talk on May 6 with CCA alum Dionne Lee (MFA Fine Arts 2017). Lee will discuss her practice and the complex topics addressed in her work. “I’m interested in the history of landscape photography and history, and authorship,” Lee says, “and who has historically captured these types of images.”
Going home. Alum Tajo McBurnie (BFA Painting & Drawing 2019) painted a vibrant mural on a home in the Tiny House Empowerment Village. This project in Oakland operates as a transitional housing center, providing 26 tiny homes for unhoused youth.
An in-depth discussion. The Comics Journal featured a conversation between Comics Adjunct Professor GB Tran and History of Art and Visual Culture Associate Professor Jeanette Roan. They discuss Tran’s journey from creating comics as a kid to becoming an award-winning artist as an adult. Tran’s graphic memoir Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey was nominated for an Eisner for Best Reality-Based Work and made Time Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Graphic Memoirs of all Time.” Of determining the scope for the 2011 book, Tran says, “I’m trying to tell the smallest story possible, and the smallest story in Vietnamerica is my parents’ journey, and the perspective of me learning about it.”
Editors unite! Join the collective movement to close the online information gap about gender, race, feminism, and the arts during two local Art+Feminism Edit-a-Thons happening this week: SFMOMA on March 9, from 4-8 pm PT, and UC Berkeley on March 10, 1-5 pm PT. Past A+F edit-a-thon activists have created and improved more than 84,000 articles on Wikipedia and other sister projects.
Hall of Fame status. ✨IwamotoScott Architecture, the architecture and design firm of Professor Craig Scott and Lisa Iwamoto, is being inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame, a prestigious honor from Interior Design magazine that “recognizes the individuals who have made significant contributions to the growth and prominence of the design industry.”
Big gig. Recent alum Carl Edward Mongan (BFA Animation 2020) has been selected to join the new class of Nickelodeon’s annual Writing and Artist Programs. On the Storyboard Track, Mongan will work with Nickelodeon for six months, learning from the studio’s lead artists and working on an animated series in various stages of production. Alumni of the Nickelodeon programs have gone on to work at Nickelodeon and other various networks, including HBO, DreamWorks, Netflix, Disney+, PBS, Cartoon Network, and more.
Superdoom signing. Creative group Superdoom has signed alum Heidi Berg (BFA Graphic Design 2008) as a director for its U.S. commercial production. “Just before completing their degree,” writes Creative Cow, “they were exposed to the intersection of graphic design and film present in title sequences, and were hooked.” Berg has created mind-melding cinematic narratives for brands and entertainment properties like Netflix, BMX, and Nike, and they’ve earned two Emmy nominations for their work on the title sequences for The Politician and The Alienist.
Alumni connections. Alumni Woody de Othello (MFA Fine Arts 2017) and Jessica Silverman (MA Curatorial Practice 2007) have teamed up to show de Othello’s show-stopping work at Art Basel Miami Beach two years running. San Francisco Chronicle wrote about how the dynamic duo met at CCA: “She spotted his work at a student open-studio and was immediately enthralled, and within a year she had signed him and given him his own solo show at [her] San Francisco gallery.”
New work, new ideas. Alum Sara Ahli’s (BFA Fashion Design 2015) sculptures, on view now in a new show at Foundry in downtown Dubai, “were created specifically for the exhibition, produced in her studio over the past two weeks,” writes the National News. Called Balloon Stacks, they “were made by filling balloons with plaster and then compressing them in a vacuum bag or with panels. After seeing the resulting shapes, she was reminded of body parts and skin texture, which led her to paint some of the works in flesh and blood colours.”
Reading recommendations. InsideHook’s list of seven ways to pay tribute to the late Lawrence Ferlinghetti, legendary leader of the Beat Generation, included “Buying more poetry,” specifically the collection Why the Black Hole Sings the Blues by distinguished professor Ishmael Reed.
Life on canvas. Alum M. Louise Stanley (BFA Painting 1967, MFA Painting 1969) “captures the imagination and confronts social issues through a humorous storytelling style of art that has made her a Bay Area legend for half a century,” writes Bohemian. MarinMOCA is celebrating Stanley’s 50 years of work in a new retrospective exhibition M. Louise Stanley: No Regrets, on view by appointment now through April 18.
CCA Pre-College apps are open! High school makers can make friendships and gain new skills at CCA this summer, much like alumni Crystal Morey (BFA Ceramics 2006), Claire Taggart (BFA Painting/Drawing 2006), and Shannon Danielle Taylor (BFA Illustration 2006), who forged practices and friendships that will last a lifetime thanks to Pre-College.
A space for young artists. Artist James Koskinas spoke with Art Business News about attending art classes at CCA while he was in high school and how the courses helped launch his decades-long art practice.
A special shoutout. The Artian, “a transdisciplinary training company,” spotlighted CCA’s DMBA program in its recent editorial about how art can help bridge the management gap: CCA “offers an MBA program, with the belief that, as an arts school, they are uniquely positioned to teach innovation through questioning, listening, and focusing on human needs in technology.” We couldn’t agree more. ;)
Making history. On the 50th anniversary of Critical Ethnic Studies, a program that grew out of the longest student strike in U.S. history, we mark Black History Month—and it’s different this year. “For a lot of people, among them people who identify as Black, the filters are coming off,” says Jacqueline Francis, chair of Visual and Critical Studies.
New exhibition. Dean of Humanities & Sciences Tina Takemoto spoke with SF/Arts about their recent experiential film about Margaret Chung, the first American-born Chinese female physician. The film is now on display at the Chinese Culture Center alongside artistic work from 10 other LGBTQ+ artists from the Asian diaspora. The new exhibition, WOMEN我們: From Her to Here, aims to explore agency and belonging in queer and feminist communities.
A shocking show. For her site-specific exhibition Future Shock, Assistant Professor Sam Vernon breathes total disruption into MiM Gallery—her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Future Shock borrows its title from the 1970 international bestseller by futurists Alvin Toffler and Adelaide Farrell, which defined “future shock” most simply as “too much change in too short a period of time.” <raises hand>
An international first. The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga presents, for the first time in Spain, After The Gold Rush, by CCA alum and artist Jules de Balincourt (BFA Ceramics & Painting 1998) and curated by Helena Juncosa. The exhibition, open to the public between March 12 and May 23, presents more than 40 paintings of various formats between 2010 to 2020, covering the last decade of his artistic production.
Neighborhood notes. In the latest updates from Mission Local, Painting & Drawing student Kennedy Morgan gets a shoutout for their delicate charcoal and graphite drawings, which were on view in a three-person exhibition, Ox, Child, & the River, at San Francisco’s Delaplane gallery. Plus, our campus neighbor the David Ireland House is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and a new artist in residence, David Wilson, is creating a series of drawing exercises and a map to discover sites of neighborhood intervention.
Urgent fashion activism. A wave of journalists, fashion designers, and academics call for President Joe Biden to appoint a “fashion czar.” Allbirds, Mara Hoffman, and more have signed on, including scholars and sustainable fashion experts like Lynda Grose, chair of CCA Fashion Design. Signatories of the fashion czar request believe the move would signal a commitment to humane labor and environmentally sound practices, “as well as a recognition of the role of fashion as a driver of the U.S. economy.”
Walls as active narratives. Alum Nigel Sussman’s (BFA Illustration 2005) complex, graphic murals are hard to miss. As East Bay pedestrians can confirm, his works encourage engagement, drawing the viewer in with intricate details and interactions between characters and objects, surrounded by colorful movement and meandering pathways. Walls become active narratives that render the attentive viewer a gamer in Sussman’s large-scale play. Don’t miss this 48 Hills feature on how Sussman “delights East Bay pedestrians with Escher-like worlds.
Better education because of the pandemic?Wired interviewed half a dozen professors at the forefront of design, art, and creative technologies—including CCA professors Forest Young and christopher hamamoto—to examine how the COVID–19 pandemic “holds these keys to a better education.”
Expressions of grief. CCA Wattis Institute Curator and Head of Programs Kim Nguyen commissioned artist Divya Mehra to turn their drawings cataloging the madness and sadness of the COVID-19 pandemic into postcards. Of the work, called The End of You, the New York Times writes, “The key players are people of color in service jobs; they’re the only ones who see the end of the world. In the postcard that arrived in my mailbox recently, a waiter distracted by the distant mushroom cloud spills wine as his customer barks, ‘A little HELP!’”
Outdoor sculpture. Golden Bars, a new exhibition of outdoor sculpture works by Los Angeles-based artist and alum Alika Cooper (BFA Painting/Drawing 2002 and MFA Painting/Drawing 2006), was recently featured in Contemporary Art Daily. “For the exhibition, four bronze cages and one neon sculpture dutifully hang on delicate stands. Assembled from fabric fringe and remnants of discarded material, the works duplicate classical decorative motifs embodying a simple exteriorization; a restrained expression or perhaps tension of a hidden inner life.”
Alum spotlight: Social impact designer Megan Moyer. After launching the Design & Innovation team at Sutter Health—one of the nation’s largest nonprofit hospital systems—Megan Moyer (MBA Design Strategy 2015) now uses design strategy to help reimagine care in the 21st century with The Holding Co., a collaboration between IDEO and Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures.
Alum spotlight: Choreographer and filmmaker Kat Cole. Kat Cole (MFA Film 2017) spun a background in dance, film, and arts administration into a dynamic practice that spans music videos to film festivals. She’s currently co-directing UP ON HIGH, a short film series featuring drag artists and contemporary dance in an exploration of queer legacy, and organizing the 7th annual Tiny Dance Film Festival, a collection of dance films that prioritizes works by marginalized communities.
CCA Scholarship Exhibition. Now online! → Explore the talent of this year’s CCA scholarship recipients studying art, design, architecture, and writing. Congratulations to all our student recipients and an enormous thank you to the hundreds of donors who make scholarships possible at CCA. ❤
“Art still lives in our hearts.” Interaction Design student Deyi Robin Zhao created two ox sculptures to help San Francisco celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Ox. Her sculpture in Sacramento Plaza is a modern take on traditional blue and white porcelain motifs; the second, in Portsmouth Square, channels springtime, strength, and peace.
“Even though I wish we could have the real parade, the ox project really makes me happy,” Zhao says. “We still want to pass the love for our community and tell our community that even though we’re in this hard pandemic year, we’re still here for everybody and art still lives in our hearts with these oxen.”
Love the loom. Coming soon to the Smithsonian American Art Museum: an exhibition of work featuring fiber artist and CCA alum Kay Sekimachi (Textiles 1955), who says she fell in love with the loom while attending CCA. “There’s something very soothing about weaving,” she says, “sitting at the loom and watching something grow.”
Emily wins! “I believe in making information beautiful and accessible,” says Emily Vander Mey, a CCA Interaction Design student who was recently named a winner in the IxDA Student Design Charette. This year’s SDC challenge asked students to explore the potential for private data to enhance global health and well-being.
Legacy building. As the LGBTQ+ film festival Frameline approaches its 45th anniversary, alum Allegra Madsen (MA Curatorial Practice 2007) has been announced as its new director of programming. “I’m excited to be part of the legacy of Frameline and to bring my BIPOC lens to the LGBTQ+ community,” Madsen says.
Future healing. As soon as it’s safe to open, SFMOMA invites visitors to enjoy Conjuro para la sanacion de nuestro futura, a new mural by alum Liz Hernandez (BFA Industrial Design 2015) on the museum’s third-floor landing. “Hernandez speaks to viewers clearly and lovingly in words and images that are powerful in their size and simplicity,” Juxtapoz magazine writes. “She hopes ‘they find a symbol or sentence that really gives them comfort and hope. I want people to feel powerful.’”
Room to grow. “Over 90 percent of the world’s population is breathing polluted air, which causes diseases like asthma and cancer,” says Associate Professor Negar Kalantar in an interview with engineering.com. To help counter these adverse health effects, Kalantar and the team at the tech startup CREO have designed AirIQ, a soilless hydroponic system, as well as other products for plants that use AI, machine learning, and 3D printing to develop modular and autonomous green living systems.
New on SCAFFOLD. Last fall, students in professors Irene Cheng and James Graham’s Architectural Theory course selected images on the theme of “Environment” or “Air” to use as launchpads for short speculative fiction about architecture or urbanism of the future. The assignment helped students practice theory by immersing the reader in a moment or encounter that suggests something specific and meaningful about that future. SCAFFOLD now features five of these stories, as well as the images that inspired them.
Reading recommendations. The San Francisco Chronicle asked Bay Area authors to recommend books to read this Black History Month, including Writing & Literature Associate Professor Faith Adiele, who “noted that 2020 was a fantastic year for Black literature.” Her selection? Claudia Rankine’s Just Us: An American Conversation, which Adiele says “marries essay, poetry, photographs, oral conversation, research and documents to interrogate the American psyche.”
Event recommendations. Graduate Visual & Critical Studies Chair Jacqueline Francis’s four-part course at MoAD, titled Making Race: Modernism and “Racial Art” in America, was included in Architectural Digest’s shortlist of don’t-miss design events happening virtually this month.
Gen Z energy. In an article about 14-year-old Bay Area artist Tyler Gordon, CCA’s Director of Exhibitions and Public Programming Jaime Austin complimented the Gen Z breakout artist. “It’s less common for people at that age to have their own style [like] they do and follow through so consistently,” she says.
Weekend plans. Writing & Literature Professor Tom Barbash—novelist and author of two books about 9/11—will join Vendela Vida, author and founding editor of The Believer magazine, in conversation on February 13 during a free, virtual event.
Great advice. Alum Elizabeth Brunner (BFA Fashion Design 2007) was interviewed for Authority Magazine’s Female Disruptors series about how she started two fashion-forward clothing lines and her most valuable advice to young entrepreneurs.
Design differences. Nike designer and CCA alum Dustin O. Canalin (BFA Graphic Design) designed the Golden State Warriors’ record-selling “The Town” jersey, which was based on the civic Oak tree illustration integral to his experience growing up in Oakland. In contrast, Canalin calls the basketball team’s new “Oakland Forever” jersey insincere.
Research presentation. Architecture Associate Professor Irene Cheng recently spoke at SPUR about the correlation between zoning and segregation, specifically the racist roots of single-family zoning. “Home equity is still a prime source of wealth and a huge factor in the racial wealth gap,” Cheng said.
CCA Maker’s Commons. While we wait for it to be safe to return to campus, studio managers and faculty—along with a small but ambitious group of work-study students—have been hard at work building CCA Maker’s Commons, a creative online space for the entire CCA community. Have you joined yet?
Catching up. Alum Kristine Yuen (MDes Interaction Design 2016) spoke with CCA about her design leadership career at LinkedIn. “I am really proud of the emphasis of social impact in our design work at CCA,” Yuen says. “As designers, we have a huge responsibility to create diverse, inclusive, accessible, and trustworthy products in the tech industry. It’s important to design with humanity and ethics in mind.”
Poetry in painting. Alum Nicole Hayden (MFA Painting & Drawing 2003) painted a mural of National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman on San Francisco’s Page and Laguna streets. The San Francisco Zen Center, located across the street from the mural’s wall, commissioned the work, which channels the powerful address Gorman gave at President Joe Biden’s inauguration earlier this month.
Bringing Dead to life. Indie publisher Cast Iron Books announced it will print volume one of the acclaimed webcomic Hans Vogel is Dead by alum Sierra Barnes (MFA Comics 2019). Until then, read the online comic, an anti-fascist fairytale with elements of history fantasy that Barnes launched in 2015.
An ongoing series goes big. ASU Art Museum presents Body/Magic: Liz Cohen, an exhibition showcasing never-before-seen video, photographs, performance, and ephemera from the Bodywork series by alum Liz Cohen (MFA Photography 2000). For the original Bodywork series, Cohen merged two cars into one customized lowrider and transformed her body to become a bikini model for the car. This ongoing project examines the artist’s identity, as well as femininity and the female form.
A different view of publishing. Check out Graphic Design faculty Jon Sueda and chris hamamoto’s project On Publishing: Graphic Designers Who Publish. This digital experience presents Q+A interviews with designers and small publishers. Readers can explore the publication virtually or click “Make Book,” an option that lets you select which interviews to print on your own, thereby making you the publisher.
Interrogating boundaries with Design. Don’t miss these five examples from MFA Design that demonstrate how collaborative, multidisciplinary design can unlock new possibilities in unlikely places. Then explore the outer realm with former DMBA Associate Chair Susan Worthman as she offers some guiding wisdom for navigating change and uncertainty.
Remembering Diane di Prima. LA Review of Books honored the late Diane de Prima by republishing a 2013 interview with the legendary Bay Area writer (who used to teach at CCA) in which she discussed writing, life, the writing life, and more topics that seem even more relevant in 2021.
Distinctive dwellings. Alumni Melissa Szpik Serrao (BArch 1996) and Jay Serrao (BArch 1995) met as students at CCA and founded their own design and architectural firm in 1998. Comstock’s magazine featured the couple’s “distinctive dwelling” in a new article about architects who use the modernist template to design their own homes. “Design is one of those things for us that is an ongoing effort,” Serrao says.
“Languaging” art and design. Meet Allison Yasukawa, CCA’s new director of multilingual art and design pedagogy. Yasukawa finds similarities between teaching art, teaching a language, and learning how to talk about both. “As a little bit of a troublemaker,” she says in our latest Q+A, “in my art practice I like to look at those points where people are pushing back against expected roles and conventional systems—this kind of pushback happens all the time, but I think it’s often ignored or undervalued.”
Artistic binge-watching. Save season two of Blown Away to your Netflix queue! CCA student Jason McDonald is a contestant on the popular glassblowing competition show. According to his show bio, McDonald “is very proud to be a Black glassblower. He hopes to inspire more artists who look like him, and he’s ready to show off his work.”
Residency opportunity. Applications are open for the Ali Youssefi Project Artist in Residency (deadline is February 16). The current artist in residence of the Sacramento space is alum Veronica Jackson (MA Visual & Critical Studies 2016), whose multidisciplinary, conceptual visual art practice “stems from the position of a Black woman marking space within a landscape that consistently overlooks and devalues her. Jackson’s oeuvre is text-based, autobiographical, and critically elucidates the visualization of gender and race in America, with a special focus on the portrayal, perception, and legacy of Black women in popular media both past and present.”
Trying a new medium. Alum Maximilian Uriarte (BFA Animation 2013), creator of the Marine Corps-themed comic strip Terminal Lance, recently released a new 3D-animated short film about two Marines titled Frag Out, described as “part Beavis and Butt-Head, part Looney Tunes.”
Sew calming. Fashion Design Assistant Professor Greg Climer spoke with SFGate about the therapeutic benefits of working with fiber and thread—as evidenced by the rising interest in embroidery and needlecraft during the pandemic. “It’s a different kind of shutting off your brain,” Climer says. “It’s shutting down the part of my brain that’s worrying, that’s overanalyzing, but it’s very meditative at the same time. As opposed to pushing pause, it’s meditating.”
Virtual group gallery show. Alumni Keyvan Shovir (MFA Fine Arts 2018) and Shaghayegh Cyrous (MFA Fine Arts 2017) are featured artists in When People Decide To End Themselves, a virtual exhibition curated by Project 13.
Billboards for accountability. Alum Michele Pred’s (BFA Interdisciplinary Fine Arts 1990) billboard design in response to the January 6 attack on the Capitol aims to demand accountability now from “politicians that inspired and supported the attack,” according to the project’s Kickstarter page. After receiving full funding for the first billboard, which will go up near Senator Josh Hawley’s office in Saint Louis, Pred is now trying to raise an additional $4,000 to place a second billboard in Washington, DC.
Accessible artmaking for all. Registration for CCA Extension courses is now open! These noncredit, online classes offer professional, intellectual, and creative development for adults. This semester features synchronous and asynchronous options that dive into subjects such as industrial design, watermedia painting, sustainable fashion, and more.
A generous grant. CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is one of the recipients of the 2020 VIA Grantee Relief Fund, which is awarding a record-breaking total of $1.5 million in grants to artists, collectives, and institutions like the Wattis.
Saving the birds ✅ The colony of rhinoceros auklets (a burrowing seabird closely related to the puffin) on Año Nuevo Island hadn’t grown significantly since the mid-1990s. They were struggling to fledge their chicks because of soil erosion, predation, and trampling by sea lions. So in 2010, researchers from Oikonos, a nonprofit coastal research group, and CCA students and faculty teamed up to prototype and create ceramic nesting habitats for the auklet. The restoration has officially been deemed a success: “Last year, some 600 rhino auklets nested on the island, a 129% increase since the project began,” writes the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Oikonos reports that hundreds of seabirds have raised their chicks in ceramic nests that CCA students help design.
New role. MAK Center for Art and Architecture recently appointed its new director: Jia Yi Gu, visiting faculty in the graduate Architecture program. “She will take on directorial and curatorial responsibilities with her wide-ranging expertise in architectural curation, history, research, and design leadership,” according to Archinect.
New “Neighborhood Characters.” History of Art and Visual Culture Professor Mitchell Schwarzer spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle about new housing developments in the Bay Area that challenge the notion that new apartment buildings are a visual snoozefest. Speaking about Wardenclyffe, a condo building in North Oakland that’s an homage to Nikola Tesla, Schwarzer says, “If you look at our fascination today with video games and fantasy television, there’s an audience in architecture for that kind of wacky stuff.”
Studio views. The latest issue of Luxe Interiors + Design featured alum Rachel Kaye (BFA Painting/Drawing 2004) about her practice, her process of starting with notebook sketches before painting, and what she loves about her San Francisco studio—built by her husband and fellow CCA alum Jay Nelson (BFA Painting/Drawing 2004).
Meaningful places. Baltimore Woods Nature Center is presenting oil paintings by alum Diane L. Menzies (BFA Individualized Studies 1987) in a physical and virtual exhibition, Woodlands and Water: Paintings of Meaningful Places. The paintings are based on scenes near Menzies’s home and in the Adirondack Mountains.
Gallery interaction. Root Division Studio Artist Bonny Nahmias (BFA Sculpture 2016) presents a new body of work in the solo virtual exhibition Shirat Ha’Yam, which is also on view in the Frank Ratchye Project Space through January 22. Viewers have the opportunity to answer a collective question: “What dream did you have at sea?” In response, Nahmias will mail participants a small artwork.
AIA recognition. Architects Rosannah Harding (BArch 2007) and Matthew Ostrow of HardingOstrow were recognized with a Merit Award in this year’s AIA New York Design Awards for their project “Perch.” It offers an architectural proposition for the Brooklyn Bridge, adapting the historical structure to better serve those who walk on it through materiality and design.
Make art that matters. Alum Breena Nuñez (MFA Comics 2019), whose autobiographical comics explore gender, sexuality, and race, spoke with KQED Arts about zines and feeling seen as an Afro-Latinx comic artist. “Using comics as a way to make people feel less alone, is what I realize at the end of the day is what I’m constantly doing with my work,” she says.
On the radar. Artsy’s January list of “5 Artists on Our Radar” includes alum Troy Chew (MFA Fine Arts 2018) and his Slanguage still-life series. “Painted in the style of 16th- and 17th-century Flemish vanitas still lifes, the works imagine a history in which Black culture was recognized within fine art, especially during a period in which it was excluded and unrepresented.”
Creative heroes. Alum Daniel Lorenze (BFA Photography 2006), head of creative for North America at Just Global, spoke with Little Black Book about his creative hero, the late Larry Sultan, CCA distinguished professor of Photography. “I worked closely with him to develop and hone the conceptual underpinnings of my [thesis] project over the course of several years,” Lorenze says. “Larry was an incredible and thoughtful teacher, and always challenged me to think in new ways, and expand my scope of vision.”
Major metals. Tastemakers at Design Milk featured alum Hannah Jewett (BFA Individualized Studies 2012), spotlighting the artist’s “jewelry for a post-pandemic world: one part Terminator, all dripping metals and menace, and one part Blade Runner, at the meeting point between inorganic materials and deeply sensuous shapes.”
Sustainable business tips. In an interview with ideamensch, alum Elizabeth Brunner (BFA Fashion Design 2007) shared her process, inspiration, and future plans for StereoType, her line of one-of-a-kind, high-end pieces that reuse discarded sample swatches from larger fashion houses.
An exercise of imagination. Bloomberg Green invited architects known for their focus on sustainability, including alum Casper Mork-Ulnes (BArch 1997), to imagine dream homes of a green future. They were to “pick a place in Europe, design a single-family home to suit that climate, and make it produce more energy than it uses.” Mork-Ulnes’s design, Stabbur House, was inspired by Norweigan buildings that have stood for hundreds of years.
A welcome return. In a Women’s Wear Daily article championing “The Return of Designer-Activists in 2021,” Fashion Design Chair Lynda Grose discussed her work in the late 1980s creating the Esprit Ecollection, a women’s clothing line that created products from the brand’s fabric waste; used low-impact dyes and organically grown cotton and linen; and included a small-run of sweaters that were produced by women in rural Appalachia.
Market Street art. Associate Professor of Comics Justin Hall was honored as the fourth and final artist to create work visualising historical LGBTQ moments for the San Francisco Art Commission poster series, which is being displayed on bus stops along downtown Market Street.
Design discussions. Chair of Interior Design Amy Campos contributed thoughts to an interiors + sources article about how to adapt design thinking to ensure a healthier, sustainable, and connected future.
Rethinking history’s first draft. In Mother Jones magazine, Writing & Literature Distinguished Professor Ishmael Reed writes about how the white power curriculum is spread, from the New York Times to Hamilton.
Remaking built environments. On a recent edition of WNYC’s On the Media podcast, Vanessa Chang, adjunct professor of Critical Studies, discussed how pandemics of the past have been instrumental in shaping architecture. She also covered the topic for Slate last spring, writing that “in the deadly wakes of cholera, tuberculosis, and flu pandemics, early 20th century architects saw design as a panacea to the sickness of overcrowded cities. Just as those scourges scarred and then reshaped cities, so will ours.”
Art is always possible. Critical Ethnic Studies Professor Claudia Bernardi spoke with Forbes about her frescoes on paper, developed by burying maps beneath pigments. The practice is informed by her earlier work visualizing and drawing archeological maps of areas in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Ethiopia where human remains were exhumed. “Art is always changing and always possible,” Bernardi says. “Even if the images are sad, the creative process is a remarkable opportunity.”
A fresh start at Clifton Hall. Oakland campus’s 63-unit residence Clifton Hall, which the City of Oakland bought last year, has been transformed into community housing: “The top two floors are permanent housing for at least 42 seniors, the second floor is a 20-household family shelter, and the ground floor provides services and support for homeless families,” the Mercury News reported.
New year, new video. Don’t miss this new video feature about CCA’s three-year Master of Architecture program. Students, faculty, and alumni reflect on the college’s collaborative and hands-on environment, opportunities for cross-disciplinary research, and the benefits of studying architecture in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Though Silver Linings is complete, we’d still love to feature your silver lining! Send us news, story ideas, updates, happy thoughts, whatever—if it’s happening in our community, we want to shout it from the stratosphere.
You can submit your stuff using the link below or, because we know you might work differently on your cloud, send it to us via email.
You can also send us your photos. What kinds of photos? Cloud photos, for example. ☁
Send them with a timestamp and location so we can see what the world looks like from everyone’s POV.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Isn’t this all a little fluffy? Sure. But it’s also important to honor how our community stuck together during this challenging time apart.
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Dec. 6, 2021
It's lit 🔥in the Streich Zone.
This space is a multifunctional room for the Jewelry/Metal Arts program. where enameling, forming, and fabricating takes place. #CCAFaculty Curtis Arima (@arimacurtis) shows us how the kiln works in a casting demo during Homecoming 2021.
Dec. 4, 2021
Go eaaaaasy on me 🎶 Created by Robin Parks (Illustration 2023), inspired by @adele.
The assignment: illustrate the feeling/vibe/emotion you get from an artist's music.
"For Adele, the main takeaway I got was heartbreak and sort of going on an emotional rollercoaster. We’ve all been through heartbreak whether that was recent or years ago, so I believe we all have that understanding of what it means to feel that type of loss. Instead of adding a woman crying, I felt like it would add more emotion to have crashing ocean waves of hair and green skin, touching on the idea she might be “green with envy”. I had made the hair with a palette knife whereas the rest of this was painted with a paintbrush (aka this is technically a 3D painting)."
Dec. 1, 2021
Look what we 🪚 going down in the Backlot.
Studio Atelier gives students the chance to learn first-hand from established furniture artists and designers from across the country and around the world. The course offers direct hands-on experience with diverse approaches to materiality, craft, and sustainable creative practices.
Here, the students are working with California walnut sourced from Aborica in Marin County, an organization that is focused on salvaged wood stewardship, which is a unique approach to material sourcing in the U.S. #WornickProfessor Ido Yoshimoto took the students to Arborica, where they selected and hauled these tree sections back to CCA.
📸: Ido Yoshimoto (@ido_yoshimoto), Hanwen Jiang, Juan Ignacio Pazmiño, Ina Trayanouskaya (@inka_t_cca).
Nov. 27, 2021
Seeing the Nave like this >>>
Earlier this month, the Architecture and Interior Design programs hosted a Show & Tell for students and faculty to hang out and show out 👀 Everyone was invited to bring one physical model, drawing, or work in progress and exhibit the work collectively.
#architecture #interiordesign #CCArts