19 December 2007

A Sandow Sampler

Otis Fine Arts alum ('88) Sandow Birk has been a busy guy lately. Among his recent activities- His solo show "The Depravities of War" just closed at the Cal State Long Beach University Arts Museum (after premiering at Catherine Clarke Gallery) and he is participating in a group show at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. His film latest "Dante's Inferno" was recently screened in London. Here is just a sampling of the buzz his work has been creating:

Depravities of War
Los Angeles Times review
Orange County Weekly review
Long Beach Press Telegram review
The District Weekly review

The Landscape of War
Metro active review

Dante's Inferno
London screening
Household Opera blog review
A Distant Mirror blog book comments

04 December 2007

Passionate About Painters

(Chad Robertson Untitled 2006)

In this December 2nd piece for the Los Angeles Times Painting Gets a Broader Brush, Christopher Knight makes the case that painting is not dead, has not been dead for some time (if it ever was) and is not likely to be dead anytime soon- "Lingering animus toward painting is so end-of-the-20th century. Painting hasn't been the black sheep of the art family for a couple of decades now, except in academic backwaters of provincial thought."

Knight suggests that if anything, Los Angeles is the hot bed in the United States for painting- "Unlike New York, Los Angeles never had an established reputation as a painting town. That might help to explain the abundance of painting now: Without history's heavy baggage, the field seems wide open -- ripe for the picking."

To illustrate his points he identified 45 Los Angeles (broadly defined) artists under 45. The list includes seven Otis alums- Kevin Appel '89, Michael Brunswick MFA '07, Gajin Fujita '97, Sandeep Mukherjee '96, Chad Robertson '91, Steve Roden '86 and Timothy Tompkins '03. It was gratifying to see the College so well represented in Knight's list.

As a further illustration of the LA influence on painting, Knight called out Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects as the gallery that provides painters with the most "parity." Vielmetter represents both Roden and Tompkins.

Each artist was represented on the cover of the Arts and Music section (where the story ran) by a detail of one of their paintings. The full images can be seen on the Times' website.

(Kevin Appel Houses and Timbers 27, 2006)

27 November 2007

Roden Resonates in Austin

Otis Fine Arts alum Steve Roden's recent two person show (the other artist was Stephen Vitiello) at Lora Reynolds Gallery in Austin struck a chord with reviewer Kate Green in the Dec/Jan issue of Modern Painters.

Describing the choice of the two artists, both involved with sound pieces for a long time Green wrote- "Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello...share a Fluxus-influenced interest in how it (sound) might look or feel when synesthetically translated into other media. Their pairing...seems as if it should have happened a long time ago."

Green's take on Roden's work focused on the piece Another, Another Green World. Created in 2002, he sculpted clay forms with eyes closed and using only touch in response to music as his guide. "the resulting balance between intuition and discipline resembles the structured play of a musical composition."

In concluding her assessment of the show she said "This layered work embodies Roden and Vitiello's experimental dialogue about how visualizing sound emphasizes its ability to stimulate our other senses.

16 November 2007

A Conversation with Caroompas

In advance of her new solo at Western Project, longtime Otis Fine Arts faculty member Carole Caroompas was featured in the Nov/Dec 07 issue of Artillery magazine.

The article by Ezrha Jean Black starts out as a light read- "As we enter the studio, we're greeted by one her (Caroompas') cats, a lion-sized marmalade named Arthur Lee, followed by a slightly smaller Asian blue named Lux..." but as the article moves toward a discussion of her current work, it morphs into a much denser exchange- "...an element of transcendence one step removed from Sartrean (and perhaps Hustonian) existentialism- the flip side of the absurd universe Maxine, Shannon, and the others swim through, the Huston jungle absurdly destined to become the Puerta Vallarta of Burton and Taylor: what for Caroompas anyway, appears to be the possibility, however fraught or contingent, of meaning."

Working through the whole article is worth it, you'll have a better sense of what drives Caroompas in her work and the physical space in which she makes it.

Her exhibition at Western Project remains up through December 22nd.

For another take on Caroompas and her work, here is an interview from earlier this year, done as a part of Otis' faculty profile series. Enjoy.

14 November 2007

Holy Helio!

For the Fall 2007 issue, Helio Magazine teamed up with several of Otis' Communication Arts students and now their work is featured throughout the edition.

Danielle Buerli, Julian Callos, Jessica Cooper, Saul Espinosa, Kim Lewis, Aya Masuda, Aaron Needham, Evelyn Salmeron, Joseph Anthony Samaniego and Niguel Sanders all contributed illustrations for the magazine and they provide short reflections about their inspiration for their piece on the contributors page.

For example, Jessica Cooper, who has the back cover said-

"Helios was the personification of the sun in Greek mythology, who drove a chariot through the sky with a team of magnificent solar bulls. I wanted to take this description of the sun personified and modernize it in an illustration while maintaining the integrity of the Helio flame logo."

Helio Magazine is an extension of Helio, the folks who tell you- it's not a phone, is a mobile experience...They recently opened a store on the Third Street Promenade and have also partnered withe former Otis Fine Arts student Tim Biskup on a couple of projects.

So check out the fall edition when it becomes available and see the great work our students did!

Pollari Picks Up the Props

Linda Pollari's architecture firm PXS, was honored by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects for her project "barcode housing system." Pollari, who is the chair of the Architecture/Landscape/Interiors program at Otis received a Citation in the Next LA category.

A listing of all the winners can be found in the September/October edition of Form magazine.

Congratulations Linda!

02 November 2007

Rosebud Was His Blog?

Otis student Christopher Barischoff took the notion of the research paper in new direction last month when he created the Citizen Kane:Case Study blog for one of his Digital Media courses.

It provides a quick primer on this remarkable movie- I remember watching it over and over again for my Intro to Film course at Chapman- complete with video and additional references.

Have a look at his blog and then have another look at the film!

19 October 2007

And the Emmy Went To

Sue Mondt! The Otis alum has been honored with an Emmy for "Individual Achievement in Animation" for her work as an Art Director on the Squirrel Secrets episode of the Cartoon Network series "Camp Lazlo."

The award was presented to her during the Creative Arts Awards ceremony last month. Unlike the most of the other Emmy categories, Mondt's award was through a juried category. There are no nominations, rather the Academy identifies excellent work annually.

Mondt was also nominated for an 2007 Annie award for her work on the Hard Days Sampson episode of the same show.

You can read more at The Ogden Reporter. They deserve special thanks because it was their story that alerted me about the award in the first place.

*photo courtesy of Sue Mondt's family and The Ogden Reporter

17 October 2007

Maberry the WPMu Maven

Since I have been writing this blog I've come across several examples that show librarians and their "clan" are major contributors to the blogosphere. This past summer for instance, I learned that our Information Literacy video was a favorite of a library group in the Philippines.

This week brought another example and another citation for Otis. In his blog bavatuesdays, Jim Groom discussed his favorite examples of colleges using WPMu (that's Word Press Multi-user as I found out) and he made special mention of Sue Maberry and Otis-

"Otis College of Art and Design is one of my personal favorites. Sue Mayberry(sic) has done an unbelievable job at Otis and needs to be applauded. The policy and the documentation is wonderfully done. And, as with most things from Otis, it looks so good!"

I certainly agree with Jim on this one. Sue has been a great help and support to me with this blog and has created an atmosphere on campus that really encourages faculty and staff to make creative use of blogs and other web2.0 "gadgets."

Congratulations Sue, well deserved!

16 October 2007

Oatey is Okay!

Otis alum Chris Oatey ('07 MFA Fine Arts) received a nice plug for his upcoming solo show in this week's Los Angeles version of Flavorpill. Labeled by Shana Nys Dambrot as "fresh faced," the mention describes Oatey's work-

"meticulously removes the majority of the detail from photo-based images, creating pattern-based abstractions based on athletic spectacle and hero worship."

Oatey's show at Seeline Gallery opens this Saturday (10/20/07) with a reception from 6 to 9PM and remains on view through November 24th.

15 October 2007

Gajin Fujita Probably Won't Read This

In the October issue of Juxtapoz magazine, Otis alum Gajin Fujita ('97) talks about his artistic influences, life after art school and the fact that he does not own a computer so its not likely that he'll read this post but I encourage you all to read the article.

Described as "elusive" by writer Shelley Leopold, she nonetheless draws Gajin out into the open. I was especially interested in his responses to questions about the gallery world, which included:

"It still hurts to this day that they take 50 percent. I wish artists in general would get treated more like athletes. And deadlines; I don't think art has or should be given a deadline. I have a qualm about that. It's contradictory to the process, but I guess it's tied to the business and money end of things."

The reality is that Gajin has become very successful and his work is selling quite well. His last show at LA Louver Gallery drew a great deal of interest, and he has had recent shows at LACMA and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art but he comments in the story that it is not the financial gain that drives him:

"I'd be doing this stuff even if I weren't getting paid. I always think that my art, or art in general comes from within."

Several images from his recent shows both at LA Louver and LACMA accompany the interview and more of his work is available at LA Lover's website.

19 September 2007

Ochoa Very Well Received at Vielmetter

Otis alum Ruben Ochoa's current show at Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects received strong praise from Holly Myers in her September 14 review in the Los Angeles Times.

Describing the show in comparison to his recent work at LAXART, Myers said "His current show at Suzanne Vielmetter is more modest in scale but no less eloquent. Here he focuses primarily on the intricate entanglement of the urban and natural environments as reflected in the figure of the ficus tree..."

Her thoughts on the installation piece in the show included "Simultaneously delicate, even fragile, and dauntingly impenetrable, the installation is an impressive sight, emblematic of Ochoa's knack for extracting elegance from banality."

The exhibition- “A Recurring Amalgamation” remains on view through October 20.

13 September 2007

Ota Has Your iPhone Covered

Illustrator and Otis faculty member Nathan Ota has created a very cool "skin" for the new Apple iPhone based on his painting "Robo."

The skins are for sale on the tech site AudioCubes.com

Now if he only had one for the iPod...

10 September 2007

Sandow Singled out in San Francisco

Sandow Birk ('88) was singled out for praise in the San Francisco Weekly in response to his new show "Depravities of War", which opened at Catherine Clark Gallery last week. The show features 15 new large scale prints that Birk created during a recent residency in Hawaii.

Commenting on Birk's ability to weave current events with historical reference author David Downs said "Birk has mastered the retooling of iconography, and here he posits the iconic American soldier in an interrogation with another icon of the Middle East -- the riddling and mythic Sphynx, who challenged travelers like Jason to answer its questions before they could continue on their quest."

The exhibition remains on display through October 20th.

07 September 2007

I Sing You Sing We all Sing for Ice Cream!

Karaoke Ice, the mobile art event that features frozen goodies in exchange for belting out a happy tune, made its way to Otis yesterday. The project was conceived in 2006 and is on its summer tour of Los Angeles with support from LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)

Our students and staff turned out and so did reporter Dave Malkoff from KCAL9 so click on the link turn up your speakers and enjoy the entertainment!

Karaoke Ice at Otis

24 August 2007

Do it Now! Watch it Now!

Meg Linton, Director of the Ben Maltz Gallery and Public Programs at Otis was featured in a news story on KCAL 9 news this afternoon. Reporter Dave Malkoff did a walk through of the Do it Now:Live Green show, which opens tomorrow with a public reception from 4 to 7PM.

The interview will run again on the cbs2 8PM newscast.

You can read a blog entry about the show and watch the interview on-line:

Dave Malkoff's blog

Live Green interview

Silver Success for Koplin Del Rio

Christopher Knight found a lot to be happy about in his Los Angeles Times review of Koplin Del Rio's 25th Anniversary show. Titled "Light and playful, solemn and deep" the piece calls out two Otis alums for praise- "...Peter Zakosky's ('81) hauntingly lovely 'Aboriginal Skull'... positions art- and anniversaries as earnest, ritualized hedges against mortality." -and- "The show's most mesmerizing work is Kerry James Marshall's ('78) black ink-wash 'Study for a Portrait of John Punch (Angry Black Man Year 1640).' The story of John Punch represents a turning point in the nation's history- one of the cruelest imaginable. Sentenced to slavery 467 years ago by a Virginia court, he marked the passage from an already evil system of indentured servitude to hopeless, permanent bondage...the artist gives the otherwise anonymous figure a sharply drawn, indelible countenance."

The exhibition closed last weekend but work from the show can still be viewed on the gallery's website. Koplin Del Rio is owned by alum Eleana Del Rio ('89).

21 August 2007

Green Garners Great Gab

Do it Now:Live Green, hasn't even opened yet (it will this Saturday 08/5 at 4PM) at Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery but it is already getting a lot of buzz in the blogosphere. Sites highlighting the exhibition include:

Green LA Girl

Art Daily- including a nice plug and a photo by Amanda Lovelee
LAist- featured the show in its "Do Goooding" section
Vincenze's Pit- from all the way down under, noting that there will be another Live Green show the same day in Australia
A Little Birdy Told Me
Yahoo events
California Green Solutions
H3 Environtmental
Knoend-which has products in the exhibition
Bio-Diesel Action Center-they are helping organize the bio-diesel parade
Atelier Zero Event list
LA Weekly
Juxtapoz Event List
Craig's List

And the list could go on...Come out and see the show!

17 August 2007

Info Lit is a Hit!

This week two blogs focused on the world of libraries (PLAI and Ames Chat) picked up on Otis' novel approach to information literacy, applauding the College in particular, for its video on how to cite your sources.

"Information Literacy:Identify Your Sources" stars our own Dr. Parme Giuntini, Director of Art History. She takes us through the basic categories of information sources, highlighting the benefits and drawbacks that each type brings to academic writing. It was produced through the Teaching/Learning Center in the Millard Sheets Library, which also maintains Otis' YouTube profile and ITunesU presence. My favorite part of the video is the discussion of "substantive news," a term I must admit I was not familiar with prior to watching this piece.

16 August 2007

Vernissage TV Touts Timothy Tompkins

Switzerland based Vernissage TV, the online art blog and video site, is highlighting Otis alum Timothy Tompkins' ('03) latest exhibition at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Featuring an interview with Vielmetter, the piece provides background on Tompkins' body of work "Left Over" and footage from the August 4th opening reception.

According to Vielmetter's comments Tompkins' pieces start with the orphan goods that haven't sold when their "seasonal" life span is over. Visiting surplus stores (think Tuesday Morning or Big Lots) Tompkins arranges the pieces into a still life, clearance tags and all. The resulting compositions are then documented in his paintings.

You can view "Left Over" at Vielmetter's gallery in Culver City through September 1st.

10 August 2007

WWD Points Out What Makes Otis So Good

Women's Wear Daily, the highly respected fashion industry daily, carried a feature story on Otis' Fashion program in its August 7th national edition.

The story covers both the program's innovation in using new technology and materials to create apparel and several "outcome" examples and quotes from industry heavyweights on why they prefer our graduates.

On the innovation side:

Rosemary Brantely, founding chair of the department is quoted- "We're focusing on new technology, new ways to see clothing in the world" and the writer reports about Otis' work with Nike- "the college recently worked with Nike in incorporating metal-plated fabric with stretch, used for the first time in apparel."

On the outcome side:

"Industry observers say Otis is one of the top four fashion schools in the country..."

"Otis differentiates itself from Parsons and FIT with the mentoring program for students."

Marla Schwartz, a senior recruiter for several Liz Claiborne lines (C&C California, Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand Jeans) is quoted- "I feel that their students are well rounded, with beautiful illustration skills. They are innovative, creative and willing to take some risks while still producing collections that are wearable..."

Noted designer John Varvatos, who served as a mentor in 2006 and hired two alums from the program. He said "I loved their sensibility and personalities and they have fit in wonderfully on my team."

The article is available on WWD's website but you must register to see the whole thing.

07 August 2007

Book Blog Says Bully on Otis

Robotic Librarian, a blog that seems to be concerned with all things "library" cited Otis the other day as home to one of the best artist book collections around-

"Luckily, there are valuable portals online for armchair book-lovers. The Otis College of Art and Design Collections Online has a remarkable sampler of artists’ books, digitized and ready for browsing."

The post in which Otis is mentioned focuses primarily on the book binding process and is worth a read. Some of the language was complex enough that I found myself rereading some of the paragraphs but quite interesting with a nice primer on the history of binding books and some great examples of, well let's say unusual binding materials-

Human skin found book found in West Yorkshire
(image taken from Robotic Librarian blog)

02 August 2007

Passionate about Perspectives in the Crowd

Art Forum's influential web section "Critics' Picks" is currently featuring a review of Perspectives in the Crowd, the video installation piece by recent MFA grad Tucker Neel. Drawn from video shot by audience members at Daft Punk's 2006 Coachella Music Festival performance, Neel created a compilation video, presented in an endless loop along with sound from the performance. On view at Otis' Bolsky Gallery through August 29, it has received high praise from Christopher Bedford-

"The effect of this unlikely project is mesmerizing and variously suggestive. Like much of the best performance documentation—think of Chris Burden’s early performance photographs or the Viennese Actionists’ fastidiously composed performance stills—this video compilation immediately establishes itself as ontologically distinct from the live source event."

Bedford goes on to compliment Neel's curatorial efforts- (his) "work has a presentness entirely absent from most performance documentation. This presentness derives chiefly from that fact that Neel accepts the formal limitations of the medium he is working with, as well as the serendipities of novice camerawork, and exploits those characteristics to create a shimmering, largely abstract audiovisual spectacle that offers the viewer an entirely self-contained, entirely gripping experience."

Having seen and enjoyed the installation myself, I wonder if Neel will consider returning to the piece's origins and place it on YouTube after the exhibition closes (of course most of the source video resides there already). Some of the sensory experience would certainly be lost but it seems a fitting way to close the loop on the project.

Heard it on the "Close" Radio

Doug Harvey's review of the "Evidence of the Movement" exhibition (currently on view at the Getty and part of a larger story about John Duncan and Paul McCarthy) provided a detailed account of the Close Radio archives from radio station KPFK, which are prominently featured in "Evidence."

The piece appeared in the July 27 edition of the LA Weekly and included mentions of Otis faculty members Suzanne Lacy and Paul Vangelisti. The latter being cited as "Otis' poetry guru..."

Vangelisti was program director for KPFK during the time of Close Radio- "There was a group at the radio station- myself among them- that believed what was progressive artistically was progressive politically."

Lacy was a frequent contributor to the program, one contribution noted in the article as "Suzanne Lacy reading police-blotter reports or recent sexual assaults on woman in LA..."

The entire article can be read here- Doug Harvey LA Weekly July 27

Information about the exhibit at the Getty- Evidence of the Movement

Audio excerpts from Close Radio- Close Radio Audio

31 July 2007

Views from the Island of Petropoulous

After opening to a packed house on July 7th, Rene'e Petropoulos' solo show at Rosamund Felson Gallery was reviewed by Leah Ollman in last Friday's Los Angeles Times Calendar section. The Otis faculty member received accolades for specific elements of the show- it "...has merit as a diffuse collection of prompts about space and perception." though Ollman was less generous in her overall assessment- "the show ends up feeling like a compilation..."

The exhibit remains on view through August 18th.

30 July 2007

I Spy ML at MLI

Meg Linton, Director of the Ben Maltz Gallery and Public Programs at Otis was featured in a New York Times photo that accompanied a story about the Museum Leadership Institute (MLI) program, which is sponsored by The Getty. She just completed the 2007 edition of the prestigious program where she studied alongside directors and curators from around the world including The Smithsonian, SFMOMA, the Van Gogh Museum and the MET.

In addition to the NY Times story, you can read about the program at Pierre Arpin's MLI blog.

29 July 2007

Still Flying High at 96

Tyrus Wong has long been respected as an artist, held up as an example of longevity in a art world that does not always support long careers. In today's Los Angeles Times magazine West, the Otis alum is honored for his longevity as a person. At 96, he is the oldest of five people profiled who explain their various approaches to staying healthy and happy. Wong's solution? Kite-flying. In commenting on why he took it up in retirement he said "In fishing, you look down; in kite-flying, you look up."

Having just been given a kite, I'm now inspired to go see for myself.

23 July 2007

Rave for Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave '07, currently on view at L.A. Louvre gallery was described by Leah Ollman in her July 6 review as one that "...abounds in freshness and vigor. Its contents are insistently visual, materially inventive and thoughtfully subversive..." Among the 12 artists in the show are Otis alums Timothy Tompkins ('03), Eduardo Sarabia ('99) and Sandeep Mukherjee ('96).

In calling attention to Mukherjee's pieces in the show, Ollman noted that the only "pure abstractions" in the show are "luminous..."

The show runs through August 18.

22 July 2007

Success with the SIMS

The SIMS in the Hands of Artists opened at Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery on July 14th and it received a strong write up in the Los Angeles Times this past Thursday. Sixteen Otis students had their work selected from among all the entries. In addition to being in the exhibition, several students won cash awards from exhibition sponsor Electronic Arts. The first place winner in the coveted Machinima category was Olivier Chatard ('07 Communication Arts). His winning piece "H20=Life" can be seen on the Otis College YouTube channel. The exhibition runs through August 11.

16 July 2007

Oldham Awed by Harper

Otis alum Todd Oldham used to be known primarily as a fashion designer. These days like so many others he's entered into the "life style" market- making objects, creating interiors, hosting a television reality show- Top Design, etc. Now you can add book author to the list. On Wednesday (07/18) Oldham will be signing his new book "Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life" at Hennessey and Ingalls bookstore in Santa Monica from 7 to 9 PM.

Charlie Harper was a prolific illustrator whose work Oldham first saw as a kid. In the July 12 edition of the LA Times Calendar section he commented- "Charley illustrated my favorite childhood book, 'Giant Golden Book of Biology.'" It wasn't until 2002 however that he linked the artist to the work had been enjoying for so many years.

After making a pilgrimage to Harper's home in Cincinnati Oldham began work on the book. Describing Harper's style Oldham said in the same article- "It's like he never saw painting before. He's completely unattached to the tenets of someone who went through art school. His brain is very open."

Oldham finished the project in time to show Harper a proof this past May. The artist passed away the following month at age 84.

14 July 2007

Otis in the Galleries

Otis faculty, alums and students are routinely showing all over LA and beyond. I've added a new list section to the bottom of the blog where current shows are called out. I've made special mention of receptions that are coming up.

Am I missing an exhibition listing? Give me a shout and I'll add it!

09 July 2007

Where's Your Otis Been?

So the focus of this blog has been to catalog and comment on the many mentions of Otis in the world, primarily in the press (broadly defined). It occurs to me however, that those of us at Otis go out into the world all the time. Near and far, mundane and exotic, the locations vary as does the purpose for being there.

I want to know where "your Otis" has been. If you are on a trip, out for the day or just wanted an excuse to take a photo, take your Otis tee shirt with you and document it! Send me the picture along with where you were and what you were doing. To get you started, Meg and I each took a photo on recent trips in California. They are posted on the Otis Admissions Flickr pages.

Don't have an Otis tee? You can get them from the folks at GraphAids Westchester store(heck they'll even mail them to you after you buy one) or be one of the first three people to email me about this and I'll send you a shirt to wear.

So get out there and let us know where your Otis has been lately!

02 July 2007

Hanging out in the SFMOMA Bookstore

On a recent trip up to San Francisco I stopped into the musuem shop at SFMOMA. Among the seemingly endless books, posters, note cards and the like, I saw publications by several Otis alums, including Blaine Fontana ('02), Camille Rose Garcia ('92 ) and Darren Waterston ('88)!

20 June 2007

I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rock

Mike Gravel is a candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 2008. By all measures his is a campaign long on hope and short on prominence, he is polling in the 1% range in a crowded field that includes heavy hitters Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Otis faculty members, Matt Mayes and Guston Sondin-Klausner are two of Gravel's supporters and they believed in him enough to produce two videos for his campaign. The twin pieces "Rock" and "Fire" were posted to YouTube last month and enjoyed some immediate buzz for their unusual content. Things really took off a few days ago when John Stewart featured the Rock video in a segment of The Daily Show. Rock has now been viewed over 100,000 times and Fire is closing in on 50,000 views.

Following the Daily Show appearance, the story of the videos has been picked up by CNN, whose reporter Jeanne Moos did a profile, The New York Times blog, The Chicago Tribune blog, The Washington Post blog and MSNBC.com to name a few. Even some of the responses are garnering their own buzz.

Senator Gravel seems very pleased with the videos and with the resulting attention. Will it make a difference for his campaign? Who knows, but at a minimum it is a great example of the power of mass collaboration at work.

18 June 2007

Otis is the First Art School to be Honored by the NMC

Otis was honored at the 2007 New Media Consortium (NMC) summer conference as one of three recipients of the Center of Excellence Award. The College was recognized for "their creative, technical, and artistic support of the campus community"

It was the first time the NMC honored a professional school of Art and Design with such distinction. In addition to fellow 2007 honorees- The University of British Columbia and The University of Wisconsin, Madison other recipients have included- the California State University System, Johns Hopkins University and University of California, Berkely.

NMC CEO Larry Johnson noted that- “The NMC organizations recognized this year represent the best of our field, and each has had a tremendous history of accomplishment.” Lev Gonick, NMC Board of Directors Chair further noted that all three of the 2007 recipients "...exemplify the highest values of the NMC, and each has compiled a history of accomplishment that has helped set the standards in the application of new media forms to teaching, learning, and creative expression."

15 June 2007

Gama-Go Gets the Green for Otis

The Underwire, one of Wired Magazine's blogs had a nice plug for Gama-Go's event last night at 111 Minna Gallery. In addition to launching their new limited edition book, the "GG" folks also held a silent auction to raise scholarship money for Otis.

Nice deeds and good fun all at the same time, not a bad way for folks to spend an evening...

08 June 2007

Eye on iTunes

iTunes, the predominant site for downloading music and video debuted its "iTunes U" recently to much acclaim. Otis was one of only 16 colleges in the country to be included by Apple as a "launch" school and the only professional school of art and design. Visitors to the site can download lectures, features on world culture and current events and lots of "how to" pieces including a whole series by Otis faculty and staff on everything from drawing fundamentals to how to attend a National Portfolio Day.

The launch has been covered by several media outlets including The Chronicle of Higher Education, Technorati and The Daily Galaxy.

So have a look for yourself! If you have iTunes, just open it up and look for the iTunes U section. If you need to get iTunes first, just start here.

Like what you see? Let me know! Have a request for Otis content, tell me what it is.

15 May 2007

All the News That is Fit to Blog

Khoi Vinh ('93), the design director for NYTimes.com, gave an eloquent address to Otis' graduating class of 2007 on May 12th.

In his remarks Khoi extolled the virtues of failure to the students, imploring them to "...FAIL early and often. Don’t waste any time — get out there TODAY and start failing..." there was a clear bit of tongue-in-cheek in that recommendation but he also encouraged them to "Start doing WHAT YOU WANT TO DO now, and be willing to lose at it as much as you want it to succeed. Let your dreams get BEATEN and KICKED AROUND a little, let them leave the cozy confines of your imaginations and live in the REAL WORLD, so that they can realize their full potential."

I appreciated his very personal approach to the entire address, the contents of which he posted on his personal blog Subtraction. Read the whole thing, it's worth it.

11 May 2007

Red Got Inside Their Heads

In announcing why they picked Otis senior Jesse Kersey's entry as the winner for the 2007 Heineken USA/AAF Public Service Advertising Competition contest, the judges felt that her project was most effective in addressing all of the contest parameters-

This year, students were tasked with communicating the importance of not getting into a car with someone who has been drinking. Their campaign submissions were required to feature creative executions in media that speak to the post-graduation audience -- print, radio and Internet advertising.

Using a combination of traditional word games, puzzles and accompanying radio spots, Jesse's campaign would give people an opportunity to test their skills and therefore, their ability or their friend's to drive.

In addition to a $3000 cash prize, Jesse was flown to Heineken's US headquarters where she and the second place winner met with company officials and pitched their campaigns for possible use in the Enjoy Heineken Responsibly program.

Among the honorable mention winners was one of Jesse's classmates- Arlene Fontanilla.

Oh, and why the title Red...? If you've ever had a chance to meet Jesse, you'll understand.

10 May 2007

This Dr is Up in Smoke

That would be Dr. Cheech Marin. He was honored at Otis' commencement ceremonies on May 12th with an honorary doctorate.

While many known him only as half of the famous duo of inhalers in all the Cheech and Chong movies, Dr. Marin has also been amassing a very strong collection of Chicano art, including work by several Otis alums including Eloy Torrez and Patssi Valdez. In a recent Los Angeles Times article Agustin Gurza identified him as "...the nation's leading advocate for Chicano art." In the same story he was lauded for his donation of prints to several museums and universities.

Otis Sophomore in Great Demand

Charlie Edmiston is just finishing his second year at Otis and it looks like the Fine Arts major won't be wondering what to do with his summer. Thanks to his mural work at Paliskates, he has been approached by several other business owners to create original pieces for their stores. Today's edition of the Palisadian-Post has a feature on his work at the skate shop, where he has been a member of the skate team since he was a student at Palisades High School.

In describing the variety of media he uses in his work Charlie said "You don't have to follow any rules for art,' 'You find a medium that you're comfortable with." He further describes his recent projects- "...I have been working on mixed media, which includes tempera, spray paint and cel vinyl, a medium that cartoonists use for cartoon cels."

The article is also a nice endorsement of Otis' Foundation year program and the College's admission process.

01 May 2007

Second to One

Just one design team finished ahead of Otis' pairing of Matthew Gilio-Tenan and Eunice Yoon in the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Interior Architecture Committee's 15th annual Student Competition. Gilio-Tenan and Yoon took second place, winning $6000 in scholarship money according to a story in the Orange County Register.

They competed against students from Art Center, Sci-Arc, Woodbury University and the winning team from Cal State Long Beach. In addition to the scholarships, all the winning teams will be honored at the association's annual gala this September.

28 April 2007

Now You See Her

Zeal, one of our graduate Fine Arts students made a brief appearance on the KNBC show "Your LA." She was participating in a group show at 626 Gallery and Wine Bar and the program highlighted the gallery as a place to check out in downtown.

27 April 2007

Them's Fightin' Words

At least that is what the Los Angeles Times would have you believe in their April 15th edition of the "Image" section. In what was clearly an attempt to create a rivalry that doesn't exist, the article "Ready to School You" pits the Fashion Design program at Otis against that of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising or FIDM as it is commonly known.

To their credit neither Rosemary Brantley, our Fashion chair, or Tonian Hohberg, founder and president of FIDM took the bait. In response to the reporter's question about a rivalry, Ms. Hohberg commented "There isn't a rivalry." Rose was even more succinct offering a simple and declarative "No."

While both schools offer education in Fashion and yes, both schools have had multiple contestants on Project Runway, their missions are appropriately different and the two co-exist quite peacefully.

FIDM seeks to place its students into the Fashion industry with a specific skill set and in a short amount of time. Their students complete one of the institute's associate degree programs and then head into entry level positions. Many also transfer to Otis to enroll in our Fashion program and earn their BFA. As a proprietary entity, FIDM has resources that I wish we had including additional funding for marketing and infrastructure. They also have the pressure that comes with being in the business of making a profit.

As a non-profit professional school of art and design, Otis does not share that burden. We routinely place our Fashion graduates as assistant designers with all the major labels and they regularly win, in fact sometimes sweep, major industry based scholarship competitions such like the ones sponsored by Council of Fashion Designers of America. When I talk with parents and prospective students about our program I say it is one of the very best in the world. Simple, straight-forward and true.

Los Angeles is fortunate to have two significant Fashion programs. There is no quarrel, no feud and no rivalry because there is no need for one.

21 April 2007

One Man- One Great Show

Done Suggs: One Man Group Show opened to a large and appreciative crowd on April 14th in Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery and it's receiving strong reviews.

In his Los Angeles Times piece, David Pagel said "At a time when the sheer volume of information available seems to swamp the individual's capacity to synthesize and discriminate — to think — 'One Man Group Show' stands out. It is a testament to open-minded curiosity and patient deliberation, to the value of individual activity in the face of all sorts of collective chicanery." He also seems to encourage multiple visits to the exhibition- "The complexity of Suggs' art makes an adventure of every visit, fueling one's sense of discovery and inviting further exploration. Every time you turn your head, there is something new to see...far from the streamlined, prepackaged experiences mainstream culture serves up."

Holly Myers of the LA Weekly reports that Suggs is "...all over the place- in a good way." She conducted a four hour interview with the artist in his Atwater Village studio, talking about his show at Otis, the upcoming solo show at LA Louver and his more than 30 years of teaching at UCLA and other universities- "Don Suggs has the verbal ease and subtle theatricality of one who’s accustomed to standing in front of a classroom." The article does a nice job of bridging the two shows- "Between the vertiginous bull’s-eye pattern, the delectable color, and the seductive sensuality of the oil paint (most modern concentric-circle paintings, Suggs is clear to point out, are acrylic), not looking is almost not an option with these paintings — or with most of the work in these two indefatigable 'group shows.' Looking, however, is only the beginning." -and providing us with a bit of Suggs' back story. A real treat since the artist has traditionally not been particularly enthusiastic about discussing his career.

Co-curated by the Weekly's art critic and Otis' Meg Linton, Doug Harvey, "One Man Group Show" runs through June 23rd. Sugg's show at LA Louver "Concentric" opens May 19th.

13 April 2007

Confounding the Conventional Exhibition

In his review in the May edition of Artillery magazine about the just closed Cindy Smith exhibition at Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery, Tucker Neal states that the showed worked because it was "powerful specifically because it confounds traditional essentialist exhibition tendencies." In his praise of Cindy's efforts he cites "Smith embraces this idea, takes it to a place where events, both real and imagined, exist on a similar playing field and in doing so encourages her viewers to question the entire notion of an archive..."

I think Cindy's project joins others such as The Museum of Jurassic Techonogly and Bill Burns' Safety Gear Museum for Small Animals in using a tongue in cheek approach to blurring the line between authentic and imagined. It will be interesting to see what follows next in this vein of art that does not rely on April Fools day to have a bit of fun with us.

Cindy Smith's "Moral Museum: Selections from the Bick Archive" was on display at Otis January 20 to March 31, 2007. A summary of the show is archived on the Ben Maltz website and a brochure is available from the Gallery.

12 April 2007

Jux the Facts for Suggs

May's edition of Juxtapoz Magazine includes a plug in the Events section (pg 130) for the Don Suggs exhibition in Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery (opens this Saturday 04-14-07). Somewhere between a "go see this" calendar listing and a reprinting of a press release , it includes a single photo and a brief description of the show.

The exhibition is also listed in the calender section of the magazine's website, offering an enhanced description and complete contact information.

04 April 2007

Rose Buzz

Rosemary Brantley- Tastemaker. That has a nice ring to it. As the founding chair of Otis' Fashion Design program, Rose has shepherded over a 1000 students through the program and into some of the most well known design houses in America (Anne Klein, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Eduardo Lucero ('87), John Varvatos to name a few).

Los Angeles Magazine has taken note, featuring Rose in the April issue (pg 72), noting her ability to continue to draw the biggest names and brands in Fashion to the College: "Brantley wrangles top designers (Isabel Toledo, Francisco Costa, Vera Wang) to guide students..." There is also a reference to the Scholarship Benefit Show, to be held this year on May 5th at the Beverly Hilton. The event features the best work by Otis' juniors and seniors and regularly raises over a million dollars for student scholarships.

28 March 2007

Slacker? Maybe Fool? Definately Not

In Flavorpill's plug for the upcoming April Fool's day reception for Otis faculty member and interim chair of Fine Arts Scott Grieger's show at Patricia Faure Gallery, the artist is good naturedly labeled an "old school slacker..."

The event- 2 to 4PM, which is being co-sponsored by Otis celebrates this show's 30 year retrospective of Scott's work.

In describing Scott's work in the show, Flavorpill editor Shana Nys Dambrot cites "His ceaseless connoisseurship of ready-made images and unintended compositions...has produced a litany of paintings and mixed-media works...the cheekiest of which are on view..."

So whether you think he is a bit cheeky or a slacker, come out to Bergamot on Sunday and see for yourself why Flavorpill encouraged you to do so.

The Omnidisciplinary Artist and the Omnivorous Collectors

Jennifer Vanderpool is a multidiciplinary artist. Sirje and Michael Gold are Los Angeles based collectors. Both the Golds and Jennifer are profiled in the March edition of art ltd.

The magazine's artist profile of Jennifer describes her work saying "...in her own wacky way, she seems almost omnidisciplinary." In addition to a nice review of her recent show at Bandini Art, the piece gives the reader a brief history lesson on her work and a partial listing of upcoming shows including a summer installation at the Riverside Art Museum, which Jennifer suggests might look like "...a confectionary shop." "an explosive, overwhelming confectionary shop." Oh and she teaches at Otis.

Speaking of overwhelming, I felt just a bit so after finishing the piece on the Golds. Writer George Melrod describes his long association with the couple and does a very nice job of highlighting their extensive and quite varied collection that includes pieces by Otis alum Steve Roden and Otis faculty member Maura Bendett among others.

Art is Much More than a Game

This art is for sure...

MTV announced on its website that Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery will host "The Sims: In the Hands of the Artist," an exhibition of that brings together characters from "The Sims" and the art of our students. Presented in conjunction with Electronic Arts, the makers of the Sims, the show will be on display this summer from July 11 to August 14. Works will include original machinima films, virtual fashion and other mashups of art and the simulation game world. In addition to Otis, exhibitions will be mounted at Parsons in New York and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Additional coverage:

London Free Press
Pro Game News
Indianapolis Star

22 March 2007

Juxtapoz- It is From the Fifteenth Century and it is Slick

If you've read the last couple of editions of Juxtapoz magazine, you've probably noticed an increased focus on graffiti art. April is no different. The edition- just about to hit newsstands- includes feature stories on alums Andrew Schoultz and "Slick" aka ?

In his interview with Caleb Neelon, Schoultz describes his work as "being influenced by a cross-section of fifteenth century German map making and fifteenth century Indian miniature painting as they meet the more contemporary influences of comic and graffiti art, with a political undertone." The piece also covers his growth from primarily muralist- authorized and otherwise- to his current work that he describes as "...working on paper. That purpose was mixed media, which currently my favorite way to work."

Mear One talks with Slick touching on many areas of the artist's rise in the west coast graffiti scene, including crediting his work for "...bringing graffiti into the public eye..." One of the more compelling parts of the interview is the way Slick describes the change in the art world. "Time is money. Rather than hire a Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, which would take four years, the church could now hire David LaChapelle to photograph that image with models and decorated sets, then do a digital wrap on the whole dang church interior for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the time." I found this to be an original and rather accurate way to characterize where much of the art market is at the moment.

20 March 2007

Perhaps Not Only In LA

Steve Harvey writes the column "Only in L.A." for the Los Angeles Times and in his Sunday edition (B4) he cites Otis' report on the creative economy when listing a few things to be proud of as an Angelino including: "strapless bra, tooth-whitening toothpaste, the Hula Hoop, Bugs Bunny..."

The twist of course is the the origin of the fortune cookie, which is included in the report (LA Noodle Company 1918) but an alternative is offered by Mr. Harvey, namely that it was actually created in 1914 in San Francisco by Makota Hagiwara. He also cites the "Court of Historical Review" that was held by our neighbors to the north to determine who should claim the cookie. We did not fare well. Seems like another example of "In Smog and Thunder" to me.

14 March 2007

There was "Otis-Parsons" and then there was "Otis Parsons"

Otis has been around since 1918. In fact, we like to say that we've been in the art education business longer than anyone else in Los Angeles. So far no one has called us on it so we'll keep saying so.

During its nearly 90 year history, the College has been identified by several names including- Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles County Art Institute, Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design (commonly referred to as Otis-Parsons) and of course our current (and hopefully final) name: Otis College of Art and Design.

Well one way that I keep up about Otis being mentioned in the world is with "Google Alerts" and I have set them for the many different configurations of our name. Several times an alert for Otis Parsons has come up and it is usually linked to one of our graduates from that time in the school's history.

However tonight, in a case of don't take anything too literally, my Google Alert for Otis Parsons was in fact about a gentleman by that name who lived in the 1800's and whose family tree is on-line.

So now you know two things- how I find out about mentions of the school and that we weren't the first ones to be known by that name.

12 March 2007

It is Definately Not Paint By Numbers

Otis student Justine Serebrin was featured in a Long Beach Press Telegram article about the 6th annual Women's Art and Music Festival, held last Saturday. In addition to a photo of Justine at work, the article provides a brief summary of her work and how her upbringing framed her artistic desires- "Growing up with a mother and grandmother who were both artists, Serebrin says her affinity toward art came natural, as well as her association between art and female empowerment."

11 March 2007

Paul Vangelisti Back in His Old Stomping Grounds

Paul Vangelisti, the head of the Otis MFA:Writing program is heading back to the bay area for what the Berkeley Daily Planet cites as "...a rare East Bay reading..." in conjunction with writing Debra Di Blasi. He will be reading from his new book- Days Shadows Pass (Green Integer 129, Los Angeles). Describing Paul's work- "The influence of the Italian Neo-Avantgarde on Paul’s poetry gives it a different sound, more musical than we’re used to."

The event will be held on Monday, March 11 at Moe's Books and starts at 7:30.

The article includes the following excerpt:

Sound of hard freight before dawn

a few lights and chill in the arroyo,

considering the lie of the strangers

and later on the flock of pigeons

at noon soaring and tumbling

silver then white then sunlight

against the weight of air.

—Paul Vangelisti

an excerpt from “Absolutely Like Spring,” Days Shadows Pass

Art Scene Says Go See The Moral Museum

The March issue of Art Scene (page 24) gives a nice plug for Cindy Smith's exhibition in the Ben Maltz Gallery- "The Moral Museum: Selections From the Bick Archive." Describing the exhibition as a "...tableaux 'mockumentary' of the fictional life of Violet Bick..." the reviewer comments "what is really exciting about this information and artifact collection is how simultaneously through provoking and funny it is" and "It is research that is both poignant and unsettling."

The exhibition runs through March 31st.

07 March 2007

There's Porn and then there's Library Porn

Writing in his column "Academia in America" (part of the Chronicle of Higher Education) Thomas Benton confesses a long time fixation with "library porn" describing a book featuring the New York Public Library as "...a beautiful coffee-table book with photos of the library's most notable holdings and, more important, a few tantalizing pictures of the library itself, showing the exquisite architectural details of the public catalog room."

Alas, while the New York Library is a major turn on for Mr. Benton, our own Millard Sheets Library is apparently the equivalent of a cold shower. Referencing the book Libraries by the noted photographer Candida Höfer, he laments Höfer's willingness to include mundane images, citing Otis as having a "...dreadful, concrete room at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. As one of the few images showing people, perhaps it is meant to convey the ugliness of so much contemporary library architecture: cheap, ephemeral, and bookless."

I suspect our Library staff might take issue with such a characterization, particularly since the space was not built as a library at all but as the areospace headquarters for IBM, having assumed its next life as a library space when we moved the College to Westchester in 1997.

01 March 2007

LA's the Place...

One million jobs. That is how many can be attributed directly and indirectly to the creative economy according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation in a report that Otis commissioned. Released today during an event at the Omni Hotel in downtown, the findings show that graduates of schools like Otis, Cal Arts, Art Center, UCLA and the like are shaping how we spend our time and resources.

PDF of complete report:

Otis presents...

Mentions of the report:

Los Angeles Times
LA Weekly
Hollywood Reporter
Daily News
Daily Breeze
Media Bistro
Art Updates
Fashion Report Online

27 February 2007

Bob Dob Says...

Bob Dob (aka Robert Dobbie '01) played 20 questions with the new on-line magazine "Pipe Bomb." Turns out he did not originally set out to be an artist, has played in punk bands and thinks young illustrators are not being properly compensated. Read the whole interview here.

26 February 2007

Multiple Vantage Points Indeed

I attended the opening reception yesterday for the Multiple Vantage Points show at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Among the 50 artists- all female- in the show were many from the Otis family including current and former faculty members: Lita Albuquerque, Carole Caroompas, Phyllis Green, Alexis Smith and Betye Saar, and alums Camille Rose Garcia ('92), Sarah Perry ('83), Alison Saar ('81), Patssi Valdez ('85) and Carrie Whitney ('96).

Lots of folks at the event, enough so that I had to park well off-site and it had a really nice energy about it.

Co-sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Southern California Women's Caucus for Art and the Southern California Council of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the exhibition remains on view through April 15.

25 February 2007

Robert Irwin- This is What I Do

Jason Schmidt's new book "Artists" (Edition 7L) features Robert Irwin ('50) among others in their native element- making and talking about their work. In Sunday's Los Angeles Times Arts & Music portion of the Calendar (F3) Irwin's entry in the book is featured along with that of Chris Burden.

In the story when prompted by Schmidt "I'm here to take a picture of you doing what you do" Irwin- pictured at work at his drafting table- is quoted as saying "This is what I do."

18" one one hand later...

Last June, Kent Twitchell's ('77 MFA) mural "Ed Rucha Monument" was unceremoniously and abruptly painted over. The six story piece, which adorned the side of a downtown LA building, vanished after a work crew for the Job Corps re-painted the exterior walls.

Just as quickly as the mural was covered, the effort to restore it began. While the legal process grinds along- Twitchell is suing the building owners- a parallel effort was undertaken to try and reclaim one of the artist's most loved murals.

In the Saturday Los Angeles Times Calendar section (E2) it was reported that a square of paint 18" x 18" had been removed and Rucha's hand was once again visible- the first small test to see if removing the remainder of the top coat is viable.

23 February 2007

Norman Rockwell- Icon- Otis Faculty

Norman Rockwell, who would have turned 113 this month was an icon of course, known for his slice of Americana illustrations, especially the covers of The Saturday Evening Post. Less well known perhaps was his role at Otis.

During the late 1940's Rockwell served as an artist-in-residence during the winter months and even used some Otis students as models for Post covers*

*reference taken from Wikipedia

LA Times Reviews Mario Ybarra Jr's new show

Christopher Knight describes Mario Ybarra Jr's ('99) new show at Anna Helwing Gallery as "...rather too diffuse. But when it hits, it clears the fence." The review appears in today's Calendar section on page 30 and it can also be seen on the paper's website.

22 February 2007

Artillery Magazine littered with Otis mentions

Picked up the latest copy of Artillery magazine today. Fine Arts faculty member Alexis Smith has the center spread. Nice little story about Eloy Torrez's ('77) mural "The Dancing Anthony Quinn" and efforts to restore it and other imporant works, including Kent Twitchell's ('77) piece on the same building (pg 11). Ruben Ochoa ('97) received a strong review of his Los Angeles I-10 Freeway project and grad student Tucker Neel ('07) wrote a review of Jefferson Pinder's recent installation in Washington D.C. (pg. 40)

LA Weekly Highlights current show in the Ben Maltz Gallery

The LA Weekly gave the current show in the Ben Maltz Gallery "The Moral Museum: Selections from the Bick Archive" a nice listing in their calendar section.

You Never Know What You'll Find Out There

Like most schools, Otis is listed on a lot of college search sites. Here's a great example of some of the information being "mostly" right and some being way off- not to mention the scary old logo. I'm going to have to check into that and get back to you...

California Colleges

NMC Digital Story Telling

Otis has been involved with Second Life for a while now, with some of the good folks in the Library really taking a leadership role. The College joined the New Media Consortium as a result. This blog entry about NMC and digital story telling includes references to an earlier meeting at our Campus on EduIsland