26 June 2008

Nectar is Sweet on Otis Grad

Nectar, the Long Beach based product design company had a nice piece in their blog that highlights Otis alum Shaun Redsar (07), who recently joined their company as a designer. The post is very complimentary of both Redsar and the IPD program, citing the rigor of our program and skills of our grads-

In describing the program- "...the IPD program takes an artistic approach to design, training creators who “work in the gallery of the real world….” In Shaun’s case, this approach can be seen in some of the young designer’s creations, including the Sephira lamp and the Zygo teapot, both of which were crafted both as art objects for display in galleries, as well as products suitable for mass production."

And the benefits of making it through- "However, the rewards for taking this arduous journey are more than just a sense of accomplishment; IPD graduates have been hired by such outstanding companies as Apple, Disney, and, of course, Nectar."

I also enjoyed what Shaun had to say when talking about his experience at Otis- "I took as many classes at Otis that focused on the theory and issues of design as I did on the logistics of how to make it work in the real world. It all comes down to creating beautiful objects that improve the quality of life."

See more of Shaun's work here and learn more about IPD at Otis here.

image of Sephira lamp from Shaun Resdar website

16 June 2008

Remembering Ralph Bacerra

Renowned ceramist Ralph Bacerra passed away on June 10th at his home in Eagle Rock. He was a long time member of the Otis Community, chairing the Ceramics program from 1983 to 1997.

His Los Angeles Times obituary included the following quote in reference to his piece Teapot (part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection)- "The piece was not created to brew tea but to be enjoyed as a purely visual and tactile experience..." Reading that reminded me of our teapot project in the Interactive Product Design program where form, rather than function was the primary intent.

Long represented by Frank Lloyd Gallery, Bacerra made work to be enjoyed rather than analyzed. In an interview for the Smithsonian oral history project he said, "I am not making any statements- social, political, conceptual, or even intellectual. There is no meaning or metaphor. I am committed more to the idea of pure beauty. When it is finished, the piece, should be like an ornament, exquisitely beautiful."

Apart from his own words, the idea was probably best described in a 1999 New York Times review by Ken Johnson- "To look at Ralph Bacerra's gorgeous ceramic vessels is to wallow in visual hedonism. Mr. Bacerra, an immensely skilled craftsman based in Los Angeles, does not try to express any important meaning, social, psychological, philosophical or otherwise. His works are witty and sophisticated in their manipulation of influences ranging from Japanese to early modernist to Pop, but mainly he wants to delight the eyes of his viewers."

Image of Teapot from Smithsonian American Museum website

04 June 2008

Poetic Ponder

In his blog Airform Archives, Otis alum Steve Roden muses about the world of sound, the spoken word, artists and their work just to name a few. In this post from 4 June, he featured the thoughts of another alum- Robert Irwin in the context of Irwin's consideration of the southwestern desert.

Culled from a 1981 LACMA catalog, Irwin's quote is simple in its words but very rich in the mental image it encourages:

"it's a place where you go along for awhile, and there seems to be nothing happening... it's all just flat desert, you know, no particular events, no mountains or trees or what have you. and then all of a sudden it just takes on this sort of - i mean it's hard to explain, but it takes on almost a magical quality. it just suddenly stands up and almost hums, it becomes so beautiful...incredibly, the presence is so strong. then in twenty minutes it will simply stop. and i began to try and wonder why - what those events were really about - because they were so close to my interest, the quality of the phenomena"

Living in Los Angeles it's good to be reminded that this place that is so built up once was just as Irwin described.