27 March 2008

Toy Story Told in Toy Book

Otis has one of only three Toy Design programs in the United States and it is featured (along with FIT) in the March 2008 edition of The Toy Book, an industry magazine for the toy industry.

The article lauded the impact the two programs have had on the industry- "Both feature professors still active in the industry, various internship opportunities, and a job placement rate for graduates that can't be beat." And- "The toy industry is one in which a new trend is declared the next best thing before you've even had a chance to turn around. The importance of that child giggling at home with Elmo, however, is one aspect that will be around 10, 20 or even 100 years from now. The Toy Industry 101 textbook may not have a specific chapter on this, but learning it early and having it reinforced often are things that make those who spend the two years at Otis or FIT very valuable for the future of play.

This piece is just the latest in a series that have highlighted the success of our Toy program and it is especially gratifying for the students' work to be acknowledged by the industry whose future they will shape.

Photo Otis Toy seniors courtesy of Candice Lavin and Otis Toy Design Flickr pages

16 March 2008

A Brief Pause for Poultry

In 1978 Otis alum Jeffrey Vallance buried a store-bought chicken in a pet cemetery. "Blinky" as the bird was known, was given a "proper" burial complete with a service and a headstone.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Blinky's burial and subsequent exhumation (conducted in 1988 to mark the 10th anniversary), Vallance created a chapel inside Track 16 Gallery.

Paul Young from the Los Angeles Times talked with Vallance about the project in the 03-06 edition of The Guide's "60 Seconds With..." section. The exchange included this question from Young and response from Vallance-

What's the Strangest Reaction to Blinky That You've Ever Seen or Heard of?
"Several people have told me that they stopped eating chicken. which makes sense because I was a vegetarian when I performed the piece 30 yeas ago. I didn't eat meat for health reason and because I was against the inhumane treatment of animals. Similar to the Unknown Soldier, Blinky represents all chickens that have been slaughtered for the dinner table."

The chapel and accompanying exhibition remain on display through April 5th.

06 March 2008

A Complimentary Compare and Contrast

The thrust of Holly Meyer's February 29 review in the Los Angeles Times of the parallel solo shows at Carl Berg Gallery is that the two artists- Megan Williams and 2005 Otis grad Jessica Minckley are products of their respective generations and their work is reflective of those separate times. Williams coming of age in the turbulent 70's versus Minckley arriving in an art scene that is "booming; LA has become a widely respected art capital; galleries are sweeping up artists right out of school..."

Despite the significant differences that result from those two generations, Meyers found much to like about both shows. Of Minckely she said, "...has a much lighter approach: Her exhibition is quiet, delicate and contemplative. Each piece feels considered and specific in nature, a sequence of discrete conceptual statements..." And "The most enchanting works are the simplest: a series of pattern-oriented drawings made on the epigraph pages of books; a ceiling high stack of pink cake boxes; a MormonAd (a poster distributed by the Mormon Church) coated with a thick crust of salt. Concise yet enigmatic, each has the air of a meditative excercise."

Both shows close this Saturday- March 8.

Jessica Minckley
Cake boxes
125 x 9 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches

From Carl Berg Gallery

04 March 2008

Remembering Milford Zornes

Otis alum and noted watercolor painter Milford Zornes '27 passed away on February 24th at his home in Claremont. As noted in his obituary from the Claremont-Courier he was "the last living artist in the small but elite group of California Scene Painters." As noted in the The Oaklahoman, this group of painters were "credited with elevating watercolor to a legitimate art form..."

After completing his studies at Otis, which including taking classes from Millard Sheets, he completed a Bachelor's degree at Pomona College. Upon leaving college he taught art at several schools, including at Otis.

According to the Los Angeles Times he maintained an active artistic practice until the very end of his life- "
He continued painting and teaching into his 90s, completing a mural for East Los Angeles College in 2004. He gave his last public demonstration in January at the opening of an exhibit celebrating his 100th birthday at the Pasadena Museum of California Art..."

As part of the College's Legacy Project, Mr. Zornes was interviewed last November and I have included it here.

02 March 2008

Illustrating Influence

This week's Los Angeles Times Magazine is the spring fashion issue. It's full of Otis mentions including a nice piece about Ruben and Isabel Toledo written by Rose Apodaca. It's a nice plug for the upcoming "Inside the Designer's Studio" series that Fashion Chair Rose Brantley hosts- the next installment featuring her discussion with the Toledos on March 11th- but my favorite part of the piece is Isabel's response to Apodaca's question about why they have worked with our students so often-

"To us, the spirit of California is unique." (I) tell the students "Search your soul for your identity. Allow necessity to be the mother of invention and remember that, for a creator, time in obscurity is a blessing. It allows you to incubate your ideas."