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