07 December 2009

I Heard It on the Radio

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to be a guest on LA Talk Radio's weekly college show- College Admission Confidential. Each week hosts Chris Krizak, Elsa Clark and Vince Garcia touch on an aspect of the college process and they asked me to join them to discuss fashion design and its related fields.

Chris and Elsa are long time friends and the conversation was easy and the hour passed quickly. You can hear the entire show here.

12 November 2009

Creativity is Serious Business

This week Otis released the 20o9 edition of the Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region. That is a bit of a mouthful to be sure but the report, now in its third year has quickly become a key source for the media (on and off line) when citing the impact of the creative industries in the greater LA area (the report includes data for Orange County).

The report was unveiled at the Omni Hotel downtown and featured comments by Dr. Nancy Sidhu from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) followed by a panel discussion. The panel was moderated by KCRW's Frances Anderton and included Sir Ken Robinson (a noted thinker and leader on creativity and leadership), Andy Mooney (Chairman of Disney Consumer Products) and Laura Zucker (Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission).

Working at Otis I routinely tell students and their parents that an art school education is (contrary to some thinking) a pathway to many career options and the report supports that. Here a few tid bits-

  • One of every six jobs in the region come from the creative industries, nearly 1 million in total
  • Companies in the creative industries generated over $139 billion in revenue and contributed $5.1 billion in state and local taxes as a result.
  • The average annual salary of people involved in making toys in the LA region is $101,899

The entire report can be read at www.otis.edu/econreport

Speaking of toys, the very large cherry on the top of the sundae was the announcement that Mattel is making a gift of $1.85 million! The money will be used to provide scholarship and instructional support for the Toy Design and other programs at Otis. In addition to the gift Mattel International President Bryan Stockton presented our President, Sammy Hoi with a one-of-a-kind Barbie that was designed by Otis alums who now work at Mattel.

03 November 2009

Mia's Motivations

I just finished reading a great interview with Otis alum Michelle Mia Araujo ('07) on Art Nouveau Magazine's website. I've been following Mia's career pretty closely ever since we used one of her images for an ad in Juxtapoz Magazine, and it's been rewarding to see how she continues to grow as an artist.

The interview covered a lot of expected ground- when did you know you wanted to be an artist, creative influences, favorite subject matter, and such but I think my favorite answer to a question was how she responded to "What is your favorite color to incorporate into your work?" to which she replied "Interesting question: I don’t really think of colors in that way, probably because I’m naturally a drawer, so I think with lines."

You can read the entire interview here and you can learn more about Mia's work here.

*image- detail of "My Mind's Eye" from Art Nouveau Magazine article

26 October 2009

Fisher's Finesse

There was a great article about Architect Fred Fisher in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. He is a long time member of Otis' Board of Governors and he designed the Galef Center for Fine Arts, located on our Goldsmith campus.

Written by the paper's Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne, the piece focused on two of Fisher's most recent projects- The Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica and the Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology at Caltech in Pasadena. I appreciated how Hawthorne placed the work in the context of Modern architecture and his appreciation for Fisher's efforts.

This was my favorite quote- "Fisher's recent projects by contrast, employ restraint not in an effort to wipe the historical slate clean but as framing devices to set off and help us examine the past, the surrounding architectural context and, perhaps most significant, the always-slippery and typically fraught relationship between public and private space."

You can read the entire article here.

*photo of Fred Fisher by Spencer Weiner from the Los Angeles Times website

21 October 2009

Facts About Fashion

Before it even hit the shelves Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider's Guide to Careers in Fashion was getting a lot of buzz and it has been selling at a brisk pace ever since, so it was quite a treat for Otis to have Teen Vogue Editor in Chief Amy Astley on campus this past Monday to talk about the book and some of the realities of the fashion industry.

Seated on stage in the Ahmanson Hall Forum Amy talked with Otis' own Rosemary Brantley about what inspired the book- the tremendous series of questions she has been asked about the industry, how to break in- work hard, offer to intern for free, be ready to fetch a lot of coffee, her own path- Michigan girl takes a chance on New York and succeeds, to name just a few.

Following the talk there was a question and answer session and then a book signing. I was impressed that Amy managed to be both very candid and very encouraging at the same time. Many of those in the audience were current or prospective Otis students and I thought she struck just the right balance of encouragement and fair warning about the world of fashion. You can read one student's take on the whole here.

We video taped the event and plan to have something up on our YouTube channel in the near future!

06 October 2009

Createmake Makes A Winner Out of Otis Grad

Createmake, a blog (and soon to be print) that focuses on the many facets of art and design recently held a competition in conjunction with the online portfolio site Society6. At stake was the inaugural feature in the first issue of Createmake Magazine.

They announced the winner yesterday and Otis grad Julian Callos ('09 Communication Arts) bested nearly 150 other artists when his work was selected!

You can read more about Julian's selection here and you can see more of his work here.

Congratulations Julian!

*Image of Julian Callo's work "What Develops" from Createmake.com

29 September 2009

Food for Thought

I love to cook so I was very intrigued when I heard about an Otis alum's use of her garden as a culinary co-op for fellow artists. Linda Kunik ('06 Fine Arts) has combined her love of gardening, sustainability and art conversation into an ongoing project dubbed "Plant it Forward- The Starving Artist Project."

Linda describes the project this way- (it is) "A multi-dimensional, interdisciplinary project which examines a sustainable,agricultural practice as it relates to the barter system, while referencing the patron/ artist relationship. 5 large gardens were created, producing all types of vegetables and even fruit. Artists work in the garden in exchange for a bag full of recently harvested produce."

Among the contingent of participating artists are a lot of other Otis folks including- Juna Amano, ('08 Fine Arts), Marissa Magdalena ('08 Fine Arts), Ofunne Obiamawe ('09 MFA Public Practice), Suzanne Oshinsky ('05 Fine Arts), Luke Van Hook ('04 Fine Arts) and Whitney Stolich ('03 MFA Fine Arts).

The Beverly Hills Courier ran a great story about the project last week. You can read the entire article here.

Linda is keeping a very active blog about the project, which you can read here and fellow alum Ginger Van Hook ('04 MFA Writing) is photographing it to document its progress.

Enjoy! I am hungry after writing this and need to get get some lunch.

*Image from Linda Kunik's blog "Plant it Forward LA"

18 August 2009

Otis Alum Featured in Stages 09

When Lance Armstrong returned to France last month for the Tour de France he talked a lot about using the occasion to continue to raise awareness about the fight against cancer. To help re-enforce that message, his Livestrong Foundation, along with Nike presented an art exhibition- Stages 09.

Twenty artists including Raymond Pettibone, Ed Ruscha and Shepard Fairey created pieces "to raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer." Fairey's work was mounted right next to the title wall so it really set the tone for the entire exhibition. The subject of his work- a young woman, staring back at you with an expression that is at once pensive and impatient (my interpretation)- is where Otis alum Jessica Ikenberry ('02) comes in (full disclosure Jessica is also my boss' step-daughter).

Two years after graduating from Otis Jessica was diagnosed with breast cancer- an especially aggressive form. She had to undergo in her words "massive surgery" followed by 12 rounds of chemotherapy in six months. Thankfully that treatment was successful and she is now, five years later, making art, designing and living happily in Los Angeles.

The photograph (a portrait by Dina Douglass/Andrena Photography) that served as the source image for Fairey's piece was taken early on in Jessica's recovery process. He described his intention for the piece as wanting it to be intense but also reflective of the fact that she was on the other side of her surgery and chemo and was healing. I definitely think that he accomplished that.

Stages 09 is still available to view online here. I have embedded a video that includes interviews with both Jessica and Shepard Fairey and you can learn more about her work and her life by visiting her blog.

19 July 2009

CERT Certainly Was Interesting

One of my responsibilities at Otis is serving on the College's Emergency Response Team (ERT) and this past week a group of ERT members along with some of the College's floor safety wardens and student Resident Assistants took part in Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.

The program was created in 1985 by the Los Angeles Fire Department in recognition of the fact that in a major disaster professional response resources will be stretched beyond demand and community members, if trained could help with their safety and the safety of their families, neighbors and friends. The course included instruction in disaster survival and basic rescue skills. We learned about how maximize our safety during and after a major disaster and how to help others. The program has trained over 60,000 members of the community in the Los Angeles area and has been so successful that since 1994 it has been taught nationwide.

It was enlightening to realize that even some basic preparation- food and water, extra clothing, first aid kits and the like can make a big difference. Having a personal disaster safety kit in your office, your car and a larger kit for you and your family at home will ensure that you will be more prepared when a major event occurs. To learn more about the CERT program in Los Angeles, click here.

I would be remiss if I did not extend a big thank you on behalf of all of us who completed the training to our LAFD firefighter instructors- Curt, Jennifer, Alex and Sue. They were all really great and we learned a lot from them.

*image from last day of CERT training- learning to safely deal with a small fire. Click on the image for a link to more

17 July 2009

Going Below the Surface of Superficiality

The Ben Maltz Gallery exhibition "Superficiality and Superexcrescence" which opened to a great crowd a couple of weeks ago, has received a good review from Los Angeles Times art critic Holly Myers.

After beginning the piece with the observation that shows dealing with "surface" have been going on in LA for a long time, and therefore more shows would be unnecessary, Meyers points out how the Superficiality show does stand out and why it is definitely worth a visit. She said (in referencing the accompanying catalog) "If the result feels at times like a graduate seminar, it is only in the best way: sound in its argument, rich in its examples, with plenty of room left for debate. She made particular note of the work from artists Elliot Hundley, Rebecca Campbell and Joel Morrison.

In addition to the review the article includes a nice installation shot by Otis faculty member Chris Warner.

Superficiality and Superexcrescence remains on view through September 12. Gallery hours and info can be found here.

Image- Installation shot by Chris Warner that appeared in LA Times review

10 July 2009

Donghia Foundation Honors Otis Senior

We recently learned that Architecture/Landscape/Interiors senior Joem Sanez has been selected by the Angleo Donghia Foundaiton as one of just 13 students nationwide to receive a Foundation Senior Student Scholarship Award! The prestigious award will provide Joem with a $30,000 scholarship to pay for his final year at Otis.

Donghia has been a valued supporter of our A/L/I program. In addition to honoring a senior this year they have provided support to establish the Donghia Designer-In-Residence. The residency brought noted designer Eva Maddox to campus this past year.

Congratulations to Joem!

07 July 2009

Otis Alums Honored by California Community Foundation

The California Community Foundation has announced their selections for the 2009 Visual Arts Fellowships and Otis is very well represented! Of the 14 artists honored, two are alums-

Sandeep Mukherjee was honored in the mid-career artist area (one of 10), receiving a $20,000 fellowship and Juan Capistran received a $15,000 fellowship as an emerging artist (one of just four).

The CCF site itself is pretty thin but there is a nice write up on the LA Times Culture Monster blog that features an image of Juan's work.

*image from Juan Capistran's website

02 July 2009

Props for Otis Publications

The AIGA recently announced the honorees for their annual 365 Competition and I was thrilled to see that both the undergraduate and graduate Viewbooks were included (full disclosure I was the "client" for both of these books in my role as Dean of Admissions)!

Communication Arts faculty members Ana Llorente-Thurik and Jessica Fleischmann collaborated on both pieces and it is great to see them being recognized for their hard work.

There were over nearly 4000 entries into the competition and only 182 selections so for us to have two was exceptional.

Congratulations to Ana and Jessica!

25 June 2009

The Cycle of Enrollment Life

I've been in the admissions profession for quite a while now (just over 21 years in fact) and I am often asked if there is a "down time." I usually answer with some variation on- not really, it's more a matter of what I am busy with at the time.

The truth is that there was a time when true breaks occurred between enrollment cycles and yes, it is true that some schools do have a true end to their recruitment year that is not the first day of the fall term, but even they work on multiple and overlapping cycles now.

So what exactly am I currently busy with then? Good question. Today we are registering the first of three groups of new Otis students for their fall classes (we'll do it again in July and in August). I had a meeting yesterday to check on the progress of our new Viewbook, I'm getting ready to send out our annual canceled student survey (helps us understand why students do not choose Otis and why they chose the school they did) and reviewing some new applications. We've already mapped out much of our office travel for the coming year to recruit the class of 2014 and we are in the midst of updating our presentation (new pics, updated video, etc.). Oh, and I did I mention that review of spring 2010 files is just around the corner?

I tell folks around here that if they ever ask me if I am busy and I say that I am not, that is when they should worry. I am happy to say I am indeed very busy these days!

16 June 2009

Meandering Through Blogland

I have mentioned before that one of the ways that I pull information to write about on this blog is through Google Alerts- very handy to say the least. Another source is by searching blogs, something I had not done for a while so today I took a few minutes to do so, but with a slight twist. Rather than looking for Otis mentions I was looking for blogs by Otis students.

There were a lot out there, which is not surprising given that several of our Liberal Arts and Sciences classes have used them as part of the curriculum. Here are just a few that I thought I would draw your attention to:

The Tuna Blog- Tuna just graduated from our Digital Media department
Beautiful Inside My Mind- Yilin hasn't even enrolled yet (she'll be joining us this fall) but I was quite impressed with her blog
Ellipsis Closure- one of our Digital Media students. It's a nice chronicle of her time at Otis as well as her personal interests
Nevermindings- insightful commentary on design by one of our Communication Arts students

Do you know of others? I'd love to hear about them!

20 May 2009

It's Quiet- Too Quiet

After working on a college campus for over 20 years one of the things that I am still not used to is the almost eerie silence that descends on a school after commencement. It's not like we all leave of course but, there is a notable shift in the energy of the place.

Otis concluded the 2008-09 academic year on May 9th when Nike CEO Mark Parker delivered the commencement address to over 250 new graduates. This capped a very busy week of senior exhibitions and other year-end events to celebrate the class of 2009. You can read Mr. Parker's address here.

Lest I give the impression that there are no students on campus, summer school started this week, our Graduate Graphic Design students return in June and Summer of Art will be in full swing come July. Still, I find that I am already looking forward to our new students joining the Otis community when fall term commences in August.

In the meantime, enjoy the summer and if you are in Los Angeles, stop by campus! We're here and would love to show you around.

08 May 2009

Three Cheers for 3 Solo Projects

3 Solo Projects, currently on view in Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery received a very nice review last week from Leah Ollman on the LA Times Culture Monster blog.

Ollman began her post by saying- "The works that make up “3 Solo Projects” at Ben Maltz Gallery are clever showpieces of aesthetic resourcefulness that exploit the tension between synthetic and natural. Together, they make for a variably engaging show that could be subtitled “The Haunting, the Daunting and the Whimsical.”" You can read the entire post here.

3 Solo Projects remains on view through June 13th. Open hours and other information for the Gallery can be found here. In the meantime, check out the video walk through of the show from the Otis YouTube channel.

29 April 2009

Times Twofor

Last Sunday's Los Angeles Times contained not one but two full page articles about Otis!

Fashion Forward covered the recent Juried Show and how it impacts our Fashion students' end of year participation in the Fashion Scholarship Benefit Show at the Beverly Hilton- "The competition is intense, and this year's seniors, weeks away from entering the least favorable job market in decades, are keenly aware that a Silver Thimble -- or even a noteworthy garment in the show -- could vastly improve their chances of scoring that all-important first job. In the last three years, John Varvatos, Nike and Monique Lhuillier have all hired top-ranking students to become assistant designers." The print version of the story carried several great pictures but the online version just one, though it is a great portrait of Chair Rosemary Brantley with four of our students.

Laton: The little California town that served as a muse
provided a really nice summary of March's Laton Live! Reunion Reunio'n, a culminating event for the Graduate Public Practice program that I blogged about last month. One of my favorite descriptions in the article was- "The normally blank walls of the buildings were alive with video projections of local couples two-stepping in their Wranglers and ropers, and shots of the nearby walnut groves. Video monitors tucked into the few commercial storefronts played interviews with the citizenry. Throughout, a team of artists and MFA students from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles scurried about with walkie-talkies and video cameras, orchestrating and documenting the night’s events under the close watch of veteran artist and educator Suzanne Lacy."

Both are still available at the LA Times website to take a look!

*Images from Fashion Forward and Laton: the little town from Los Angeles Times website

17 April 2009

In Memoriam- Dick Baker

Otis Board of Trustee and surf wear industry legend Dick Baker passed away this past Tuesday after battling cancer for the past two years. Dick became part of the Otis community first as a mentor and wise counsel for our Fashion Design program. In 2002 he was honored by the College with its Creative Vision Award and subsequently joined our Board of Trustees, putting an amazing amount of energy and dedication to the last days of his life.

In the Otis Community email notifying us of Dick's passing President Hoi commented "He remained a most dedicated Otis Trustee to the end. In fact, he called to check on the Otis Scholarship Benefit just a couple of days ago." He went on to remark "In addition to being grateful for his support to the College, we will remember Dick for being a warm, positive, generous, and inspiring friend."

Founding Fashion Chair Rosemary Brantley remembered him this way ""Dick himself was a man of great integrity and could make anything happen he believed in. He remains a hero to all of us at Otis Fashion and will always be remembered as one of the truly greatest guys ever!"

The website Shop-Eat-Surf has set up a tribute page where you can read many more accounts of how Dick Baker touched so many lives. He will be greatly missed.

*Image of Dick and Una Baker from Otis/Quicksilver benefit via SES website

14 April 2009

Otis Nominated for a Webby!

Just learned this morning that the Otis website has been nominated for a Webby Award! Our site, which was created for us by Hello Design, has been nominated in the School category. We've received a lot of great feedback since it was launched last summer but this is a truly amazing endorsement!

In addition to the School category we are candidates for a People's Voice award. You'll find us under the School/University section. Registering takes just a second to complete and then you can cast your vote. Just click on the Webby logo to the right to sign up. Voting ends on April 30th so don't delay and thanks for your support!

03 April 2009

Wilkins' Windows Worth Thousands of Words

Each spring one of the things I look forward to is the series of MFA Thesis Exhibitions in the Bolsky Gallery at Otis. Every couple of weeks a new pair of Grad students present their work and as is fitting for a an MFA program, the content is varied and often thought provoking, including the show that just closed, which included the work of Crossman Wilikins.

Among the pieces in Crossman's show was a series of three posters mounted on the windows of the Galef Center, that provided a visual commentary on the state of our economy. Earlier this week the Shop Talk blog from Reuters picked up on his work as prominent part of the post "Picture the Economy: L.A." The story leads with "A picture is worth a thousand words-and some Californians have a lot to say about the worst financial crisis in decades." Crossman's work provides an extended commentary on the subject.

You can meet Crossman and see more of his work at the MFA Open Studios this Sunday (5 April from 2 to 5PM). More information is available here.

Image of Crossman Wilkin's work by Amanda Keller-Konya by way of Reuters blog Shop Talk

26 March 2009

Viva la Photograph!

As a country we have had a long (and at times tense) relationship with France. There have been the highlights (Thomas Jefferson once said "France is every man's second country") and the lowlights (Freedom Fries anyone?) but through it all the connection between our two countries has continued.

One effort to link the two through art is the Jeunes Talents program sponsored by the French Government Tourism Office. Now in its third year, the program brings young American artists to specific cities in France so that they may "freely express their feelings and impressions on the cities' cultural heritage, its quality of life and its people."

This year 8 photographers were selected from throughout the United States and two of them are from Otis! Amanda Keller-Konya and Tasha Moore are both enrolled in the Graduate Fine Arts program. Amanda photographed the city of Biarritz (along France's Atlantic coast) and Tasha shot in Montpellier (in Southern France).

Their work, along with the work of the other six photographers can be seen locally at Louis Stern Fine Arts beginning tonight with an artists reception from 6 to 8PM. The exhibition will remain on view through 11 April, 2009.

If you cannot get out to see the work in person then you can also view it (and vote for your favorites!) at the France Guide website.

Meilleurs voeux Amanda et Tasha!

*Image of Tasha Moore's untitled photo from Jeunes Talents section of France Guide website

19 March 2009

Going Second is Going Places

When I am talking to students and their families about what it means to choose art school and deal with the constant tension of "doing what they love" versus "being able to make a living" I try to hit it head on. The fact is that you may have to doing one thing to pay the bills so that you can have the freedom do to what you are driven to do. Sometimes this resonates with them and sometimes it doesn't but the longer I am at Otis the more certain I am of this idea. We have a lot of very successful alums some of whom are making a living by doing what they love and others who do something else in order to attend to their passion in life.

Then there's Josh Alfaro who is doing a bit of both. A graduate of the Communications Arts program (and former Admissions office Intern), Josh is the Art Director at Emm Studio, which has developed an impressive client list that includesboth "big" names (Sony, Pioneer) and boutique operations (Green Dot Films, Space Magazine).

Emm's success is great to see but its Josh's burgeoning music career that is grabbing the headlines. As lead vocalist of the Salt Lake City based group Going Second Josh and his band mates have been receiving great reviews including recent write ups on Salt Lake's CityWeekly.net and In Utah This Week, which praised their release Wake Up saying- "Local boys Going Second could teach a class on pop/punk songwriting. They've got all the right moves -- the verses are crunchy, the choruses are big, and the vocal harmonies are tight throughout."

Going Second is playing gigs in and around their home base in preparation for a full blown summer tour. If you are in the LA area you can catch them at Molly Malones on April 15th and you'll find extensive coverage of their performances on YouTube.

*Image of Going Second from CityWeekly.net

10 March 2009

Riff on Recycling Results in Reflection

Carrie Ungerman's solo show at Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery opens on April 18th and she, along with Otis received a nice plug in the March 9 edition of The Daily Breeze.

Each of the three solo projects included in the show will have some relationship to the topic of natural resources. Ungerman's piece will be a sculpture made up of over 30,000 used water bottles and according to the Breeze article she hopes that it will cause "...the viewer to walk through the environment and think look at all those water bottles...what does that mean in my life?"

The artist has been collecting bottles for months in order to construct the piece and she still needs more in order to hit her target of 30,000. At Otis we've been doing our part, saving bottles from major events and asking community members to bring in their own bottles from home. In the Admissions office we've been donating on average about 50 bottles a week.

The exhibition opens in just over five weeks but there is still time to help out. Clean used bottles (with caps still on) can be delivered to the Ben Maltz Gallery. For additional information call 310-665-6909 or email galleryinfo@otis.edu.

Come see the finished sculpture on Saturday April 18 from 4 to 6PM!

*image from The Daily Breeze

27 February 2009

Otis' Essence Exemplified

As an Admissions person representing Otis out on the road, I make a lot of claims about the environment in which our students learn and the culture of the Otis community. While I believe that what I am saying is an accurate reflection, it is helpful to have it confirmed.

I had such a confirmation today when I was privileged to attend the “Ikebana” exhibition of our Interactive Product Design sophomores. The project centered around the Japanese flower arranging practice of the same name, the students were called upon to make use of the skills they learned in Foundation (such as color theory and form and space) as well as their Liberal Arts and Sciences knowledge (including cultural anthropology and Asian art history).

The results were amazing and while holding true to the design prompt, each solution was unique. Heather Joseph-Witham (our resident Folklorist) commented on the blending of traditional Japanese asthetic with Los Angeles car culture. Sammy Flores-Pena commended the students on not falling into the trap of having their results be simply “cultural tourism.” Listening to their evaluation of the work provided me with a much deeper understanding of what was at stake for the assignment but it was the comment of guest artist Yoshio Ikazaki that proved most helpful to me. He talked about the concept of “Ma” the notion of objects conveying the sense of time and space and suggested that the student’s work did just that.

Two things I say repeatedly about Otis are that we don’t have a house style and that we are trying to create “visual problem solvers” with the ability to transcend any one discipline of art or design. In my eight years here, this exhibition was among the most successful at proving both points.

21 February 2009

Legacy in Laton

When Suzanne Lacy started Otis' MFA program in Public Practice in 2007 she was determined to create an environment where her students could develop an artistic practice that influenced communities and the people that lived in them much as she had done during her own distinguished career.

This year the students have been doing just that in the community of Laton California, a small town in the heart of state's Central Valley. The Hanford Sentinel had a great feature on the project this week.

You can read the whole article here.

19 February 2009

Telethon Time Warp

If you grew up in the 60's and 70's (and probably before and after for that matter) telethons on t.v. were common place- watch people talk and ask you for money while a telephone number flashes on the screen and a bunch of people in the background take calls.

At Otis in 1977 a group of students led by Joe Potts decided to put on their own telethon with the decidedly different goal of wasting time as a measure of the event's success. More time wasted- more successful. That experience took place on the old campus over the course of 24 hours.

This weekend history repeats itself with a 21st century twist. Led by some of the same folks involved with the original, Otis will be presenting "Telethon Revisited" from Saturday 02/21 at 12noon until Sunday 02/22 at 12noon. The main performance space will be on campus in the Student Lounge and the proceedings will be broadcast live over the web.

The LA Times posted a nice plug for it today. You can read more about it here.

*image from original Telethon Returns performance

11 February 2009

Futurists in the Near Future

Next Friday (20 February) Otis' Graduate Writing program will be hosting a Futurist Evening to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's Futurist Manifesto.

The program, which is free and open to the public will take place from 8 to 10PM.

There is a nice plug for the event from Design And Architecture's Frances Anderton that you can read here.

Additional information about the event can be found here.

04 February 2009

Veca on View

Last week Meg and I had a chance to go to the opening of Otis alum Mark Dean Veca's ('85) show Paintings, Wall Drawings and Collaborations at the University Art Gallery (located on the University of California, San Diego campus).

Mark's show on campus last fall was well received and I'd never seen the Ben Maltz Gallery painted so many colors. Though smaller in scale, the UAG show incorporates some of the imagery and themes from the BMG show. It also showcases some of his limited edition clothing he made in collaboration with Nike and Burton. We also were treated to a first look at his new line of pillow cases.

If you are going to be in the San Diego area at the end of the month he'll be giving an artist talk on 26 February. You can find more information here. The show remains on view through 1 March, 2009.

*image from Mark Dean Veca

22 January 2009

Otis Influences the Obamas Part Two

The other day I wrote about Otis trustee and former student Michael Smith and his appointment to design the interior spaces of the White House residential quarters but that wasn't the only Otis connection to our new President and his family.

On inauguration day the dress that Michelle Obama wore was designed by long time Fashion Mentor Isabel Toledo. The Los Angeles Times ran a complete review of her wardrobe that included comments from Fashion Chair Rosemary Brantley who described Toledo style this way- “She’s about flattering the figure and she’s curvaceous herself. Everything she does is thoughtful."

There was also a short piece about the Toledo dress and the ball gown Mrs. Obama wore that ran on CNN.

Here is a piece from Otis' Inside the Designer's Studio series where Rose interviews Isabel and her husband, noted Fashion Illustrator Ruben Toledo.

20 January 2009

Otis Influences the Obamas

Type "President Obama" into Google and you'll get back 59,600,000 (as of a moment ago anyway) results. It's extraordinary how many things can be linked to our new President and I'm about to add one more.

Last week it was announced that Otis Trustee and former student Michael Smith had been selected by our new First Lady to decorate the White House living quarters. Mr. Smith, who studied Environmental Design, has a thriving practice in Santa Monica and is well known for his work with celebrities including Steven Spielberg, Cindy Crawford and Dustin Hoffman. Despite his high profile client list, he has been known to keep a low profile so the vast amount of media coverage about his selection has not included many quotes from him but plenty is being said about him.

Here is a sample:

Los Angeles Times
Domino (includes a video tour of his own home)
Washington Post
New York Times
Huffington Post
The Guardian

And a segment that ran on the Today show (embedded)


14 January 2009

Ayeroff Assesses the Situation

Many of my posts center on others writing about our alums and students. But what about when Otis folks are the ones writing? Alum Tucker Neel (MFA '07) has written for several publications including Artillery. Faculty member Marlena Donahue writes extensively for Art Scene and Meg Linton (Director of the Ben Maltz Gallery and Public Programs) has authored many pieces for Juxtapoz magazine.

These are just a few examples and now I'm glad to add Fine Arts junior Anna Ayeroff to the list. She's been a frequent contributor to ArtSlant since the fall and you can find her latest take on the LA art scene in this week's edition of their LA "gallery hop."

When I am working with students during the enrollment process I talk about the importance of being able to talk about art, not just make it. Anna and the others I cited are all good examples of why it matters. Enjoy!

08 January 2009

In Memoriam- Clio Chafee

The Otis community was saddened to learn about the death of Communication Arts alum Clio Chafee last weekend. The Rhode Island native returned to the east coast after finishing her studies and had been working for an architectural firm in Boston according to a story in the Providence Journal.

Sarah Russin, our Alumni Director shared with me how Clio's friends described her as a "brilliant woman and gifted designer." Her family said she was very committed to the environment and global issues. She was involved with bringing the exhibit "Darfur/Darfur" to Boston in 2007.

Funeral services are being held in her hometown next week.

06 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from The "O" Observed!

I took a bit of an extended break at the end of 2008 but I'm looking forward to brining you many more Otis mentions in the coming year. As always if you see something about Otis and its alums in the media (very broadly defined), please give me a shout- otiscollege@otis.edu