Parking space as commentary at Art Center’s Hillside Campus

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39794-RBLOG-SEEN-SECTIONHEADER.jpgLiteral street art alert! Leave it to the pavement at Pasadena’s Art Center to get all sassy on us.

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Some faculty and staff parking spots at the Hillside Campus have new, playfully irreverent descriptors attached today. “Cat lady,” “jaunty,” “balding,” “sensible shoes” and “name dropper,” are among the tags.
A post on the school’s Dotted Line blog suggests the display might be part of a mystery student’s project. (Banksy 2.0?)
The open attitude toward creation is refreshing and indicative of an art school with this for a mission statement: “Learn to create. Influence change.” Rather than chastising any “vandal,” the cheeky, maybe-guerilla artwork gets a thumbs up and some public praise.
“It’s pretty fun working at an art and design school,” Lara Warren, Art Center’s editor of online communications, notes in the blog post. Color us jealous.
See the slideshow on Art Center’s Flickr feed.

(Photos courtesy Lara Warren / Art Center College of Design)

Pasadena-based Sleepypod lets the fur fly in comfortable style

 
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Just in time for the holiday travel season, today’s Star-News business section features a story on a Pasadena company’s recent innovation for flying the pet-friendly skies.
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Sleepypod’s Air carrier, which has been racking up honors from various pet-lifestyle publications, adapts easily to the under-seat storage requirements that vary from airline to airline. Erick Galindo reports:
“A patent-pending, folding-base design allows it to fit in the space below a range of airline seats during the restricted times of takeoff and landing. Once you are free to recline your seat, you can simply slide Sleepypod Air from under the seat and expand the carrier so your pet is allowed the largest space possible.”
Like the simplehuman of pet products, Sleepypod was founded by a trio of Art Center graduates who take a sleek and functional approach to designing for pets and their owners.
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“After having met in school, keeping in touch, and then establishing Sleepypod, they were drawn back to Pasadena, as the area is a great source of inspiration to them as designers,” Sleepypod spokeswoman Jane Skuta says.
The company also produces its namesake product, Sleepypod, a mobile pet lounge with plush bedding that transitions from everyday bed to traveling carrier with a mesh dome and shoulder strap.
Also, the Crater Dot is a simple, colorful, comfy spot for pets that, like all of Sleepypod’s products, can be made even cozier with an insertable warming pad.
More Cute Overload candidates photos after the jump:

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Curious worlds apart: Dual exhibits at Art Center’s Williamson Gallery in Pasadena

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The exhibitions are dual: One looking back at the fascinating domain of patent models in the 1800s, the other looking forward to the future of objects conceived on computers and sprouted up by machines. One revolution has already changed the world; the other soon will.
Image, at top: This printed rose began with a high-resolution scan of a real rose, and was then printed at Art Center on a 3D Systems’ V-Flash 3D Printer, in which a photo-polymer resin is cured by UV light, in micro-thin layers, each one four-thousandths of an inch thick. (Photo credit: Steven A. Heller / Art Center College of Design)

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Lecture and tour: Lloyd Wright, architect of sunshine and shadow

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Architectural historian and writer Dana Hutt reconstructs in a May 1 lecture the story of Lloyd Wright, eldest son of Frank Lloyd, who moved to Los Angeles before his father had even built his first structure in the city.
The younger Wright designed buildings and landscapes in the vein of his father’s pioneering modern style, but the stamp of Southern California and its brash vitality was all his own.
Photo, at top: Lloyd Wright’s Journey’s End/Gainsburg House in La Caada Flintridge. (Credit: Michael J. Murray)

More photos plus lecture and tour details after the jump.

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Weekend guide: Sew contemporary, spring festivals blossoming and a sweet pairing menu


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SATURDAY, April 10, & SUNDAY, April 11


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    “Stitches”

A group exhibition at the Armory Center for the Arts opening Saturday will have you bobbin and weaving. Curated by Sinead Finnerty-Pyne, “Stitches” highlights 12 culturally diverse artists who approach craft, textile and fiber art in an unconventional manner. In a versatile — and sometimes obsessive — art form, the works use materials ranging from yarn and thread, to found objects and recycled clothing. Contemporary artworks approach the homespun techniques of sewing, knitting and weaving, including two-dimensional and freestanding sculptural works, along with large-scale installations.

Opening reception Saturday, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Suggested donation, $5. Runs through June 6. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Caldwell Gallery at the Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave. 626-792-5101, armoryarts.org

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Design Revolution Road Show rolls through Art Center


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The Design Revolution Road Show that will be rolling through the Art Center College of Design campus on Monday has an agenda, and the 40 objects it’s bringing in tow help make a convincing case: good design solves problems.

There are solutions to first-world problems, like needing to sync your iPod with your workout. But there are also straws to purify polluted water as you drink it, sharp jewelry to punch would-be attackers and affordable, custom-fit eyeglasses that use liquid to bend light accordingly.

The photos are of Hippo Rollers, a water transport barrel for the developing world. The Hippo has a capacity of 24 gallons, and frees women and children from having to spend most of their days collecting water for their households.

The all-day exhibition takes place in a mobile, 1972 Airstream trailer, and visitors can experience, use and touch all of the products on display. In the evening, GOOD, Art Center’s Alumni Office and Designmatters present a celebration with food, drink, music, books and dialogue.

Monday, Feb. 8, noon-10 p.m., lecture at 1 p.m., evening reception at 6 p.m. Art Center College of Design at Ahmanson Auditorium, 1700 Lida St. designrevolutionroadshow.com

(Photos via Design Revolution Road Show)

Beauty in common: Roses and the Arts and Crafts movement

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Hot Cocoa, Strike It Rich, About Face and Betty Boop.
Feel free to judge a rose by its name — yes, those names above really belong to rose varietals — when rose hybrid master Tom Carruth delivers an illuminating lecture this weekend on “Roses and the Arts and Crafts Movement.”
Presented by Friends of The Gamble House, the second installment of its 2009-2010 lecture series highlights the work of Carruth, director of research at Weeks Roses in Pomona.
He will discuss the enduring symbol of the rose as it intertwines with the Arts and Crafts movement, and will share the secrets and future of rose hybridizing.
Pasadena is known as the “City of Roses,” and it earned this floral distinction for a reason. In his lecture, Carruth explains why the city is one of the best in the nation for rose gardening and suggests low-maintenance roses for our climate.
The Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th century was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and a romantic ideal of the craftsman taking pride in personal handiwork.

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The rose — an enduring symbol of the romantic notions of the movement — is present in works such as William Morris textiles, stylized Charles Rennie Mackintosh furnishings and the “cottage” garden designs of Gertrude Jekyll.
Roses, like designs of the time, are carefully crafted and are seen as timeless symbols of an era of expert craftsmanship.
“Roses and the Art and Crafts Movement,” Saturday, Jan. 23, noon, Art Center College of Design, Ahmanson Auditorium, 1700 Lida St., members $20, general $25, students $15 Tickets: 626-793-3334, Ext. 52, www.gamblehouse.org or at the door.
(Photos courtesy Friends of The Gamble House. At top, Julia Child rose hybrid. Below, Wild Blue Yonder rose hybrid.)

Fashion weekend: Sinking ships and Betsy Bloomingdale

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The Sidney D. Gamble Lecture Series opens its 2009-2010 season tomorrow with two fashion-oriented engagements.

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    At 10 a.m., Kevin Jones — curator of the museum at downtown’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising — will speak at Art Center College of Design on “adDRESSING Titanic: Appearance and Identity in 1912.”

The lecture explores the four categories of passengers on the ill-fated ship: first class, second class, steerage and crew. The Titanic is known to have carried some of the day’s illustrious figures of fashion, from those in high society to industry trade to journalists.

Like their wearers, some garments survived the journey, while others were recovered from the site of the wreckage.

  • Jones will also lead a 1 p.m. tour at the FIDM Museum of an exhibit he curated: “High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture.”

Fashion icon and socialite Betsy Bloomingdale, widow of Alfred P. Bloomingdale — heir to Bloomingdale’s department stores and founder of Diners Club credit cards — donated 125 haute couture garments to the museum over 30 years.

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Her French couture wardrobe, purchased from 1961 to 1996, includes designs by Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferr for Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent and Andr Courrges, along with ready-to-wear by James Galanos, Adolfo Sardina, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino Garavani.

Sixty ensembles are on display, showcasing Bloomingdale’s favorite designers, her personal style and life. Colored sketches, fabric swatches, contemporary photographs and magazine layouts accompany the garments.

Forget cotton; This is the fabric of a life. (Stunning photo gallery of just a handful of gowns below)

Titanic lecture: 10 a.m., Art Center, Ahmanson Auditorium, 1700 Lida St., Pasadena. Tickets.

Bloomingdale tour: 1 p.m., suggested donation: $35 general admission, FIDM Museum & Galleries, Grand Hope Park, 1st Level, 919 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.

Red evening gown of silk crpe and organza adorned with flowers.
Autumn/Winter 1989-90. Gianfranco Ferr for Dior.
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Silk gazar, dramatic bow-evening gown.
Spring/Summer 1983. Marc Bohan for Dior.
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Gown of polka dot, printed silk charmeuse with black cotton lace and snakeskin trim.
Spring/Summer 1982. Marc Bohan for Dior.
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Black iridescent coq feathers and silk chiffon crepe dress.
1985. Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
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(Photos courtesy Brian Sanderson, FIDM Photography; and Friends of The Gamble House)

That’s genius: Art Center students turn symphony experience on its ear

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Art Center College of Design students have been thinking a lot lately about how to give the Pasadena symphony-going experience a fresh, visionary appeal.

Students in Mikio Osaki’s “The Agency” advertising class came up with a quirky “Magritte meets Dali” marketing campaign for the Pasadena Symphony that’s getting a lot of attention. It involves a fiberglass ear that measures more than 3 feet tall; The ear last week made its YouTube debut, and you can check out the video at Culture Monster.

Rob Ball’s environmental-design class also took on “The Symphony Project” to give symphony officials some light-bulb-brilliant ideas for attracting a younger audience and enhancing the musical experience as a whole. Their presentations proved to be chock full of that whimsical stuff only Art Center students would dream up. Read the full story on “The Symphony Project,” above, in Rose Magazine.

Below is a photo gallery, courtesy of Art Center, of the environmental-design students’ symphony presentation.

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Promise of creation at Art Center’s summer graduation showcase

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(Above, photo courtesy Crystal Jean Photography / Art Center College of Design (c) 2009)

Last week we attended the Thursday-night graduation show preview at Art Center College of Design to get a glimpse of some of the work being produced by a slew of summer graduates. (The actual graduation ceremony was on Saturday.)

The massive showcase was held on Art Center’s Hillside Campus and featured displays from each field of study at the design school.

We culled just a handful of the highlights from Art Center’s hallways and showrooms, every square inch of which were wallpapered with student work, promising and advanced.

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Strother has exhibited his work at Alhambra’s Nucleus Art Gallery, Pasadena Central Library and L.A.’s Ghettogloss.

His brilliantly colorized figures remind us of muecas quitapenas, but in Strother’s works the color comes, most of the time, from without.

Engaging African and Afro-American iconography and boilerplate notions in miniaturized detail, Strother’s forms are mesmerizing.

(Right, top) “Tear Down the Dancehall,” 2009, gouache, acrylic, Cel-Vinyl and silkscreen on cut paper

(Right, bottom) “Please Don’t Tear Down the Dancehall,” 2009

(Images courtesy of Devin Troy Strother)

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A skilled portraitist and illustrator, Davison’s work conveys complex ideas as radically simple visual statements.

Illustration, at right, illuminating the inflating value of the American college degree. At far right, Davison’s illustration explores the notion that people are increasingly turning to the Internet and technology as substitutes for meaningful human relationships.

Also check out Davison’s blog.

(Images courtesy of Eric Davison)

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  • Kelly Ahn

Ahn’s contemporary character designs and background illustrations blend the flavors of Tim Burton and “Alice in Wonderland” with a “Coraline” aesthetic; her work tastes to us like a colorful sweet-and-sour swirl.

At right, “Wicked Cat,” part of a clay animation project. See more on Ahn’s blog.

(Photo by Evelyn Barge)



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  • Rawn Trinidad

Trinidad was part of the award-winning Designmatters creative team that in May was honored with the Corbis Creativity for Social Justice Award & Scholarship, part of
the ADC 88th Annual Awards program recognizing the best in advertising
and design from around the world. See the Art Center team’s entry here.

At right, part of Trinidad’s graduation show display. Our take: Cube World meets Tokidoki.

(Photo by Evelyn Barge)

Levy’s sustainable tea-drinking device turns the concept of enjoying a cuppa on its head.

The single-serving Moietea uses just enough water and electricity to create the perfect serving, while wasting not — and wanting not.

The idea appeals to us, and not just because we’re known to suck down several cups of ginseng oolong in a handful of writing hours.

The green movement is becoming an economic powerhouse; There’s definitely a market for this product. We can already imagine the Ikea packaging.

(Photo courtesy of Sharon Isadora Levy)