Holiday shopping with Kickstarter

December
13
2013

If the season of giving and holiday movies has you under its spell, head on over to the Kickstarter page for student film, Sea Odyssey, where you can indulge your appetite for both. Sea Odyssey won’t be out in time for Christmas, more like May 2014. But by pledging to support the short film, you'll score an inventive and charitable gift for someone special, and put into motion a project that has grabbed the attention and participation of award-winning visual effects company Fugo Studios.

The internship for high school students in Sea Odyssey's art department (donation $150) has my sister’s name written all over it. The DVD of the father-son themed flick (donation $25) are perfect for dad and brother. You have until Dec. 17 to nab these gifts and bragging rights to launching an inspiring indie film.

Learn more about Sea Odyssey and writer-director Adam Nelson (candidate for a B.F.A. in Film and Television) below. The Atlanta Film Festival (March 28-April 6) is touting Adam as a model for emerging filmmakers on its own Kickstarter page, which features more great gift ideas. Um, honey, that tour of Atlanta movie sets (donation $150) is right up my alley.

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On the trail of SCAD artists at ABMB

December
7
2013

Dotting the massive and brilliant landscape of Art Basel Miami Beach and surrounding fairs are the bright lights of artists who have studied or exhibited at Savannah College of Art and Design. Whether you’re in Miami or following the fairs from afar, here’s a guide to their piece of the action.

At SCOPE, Eileen Braziel Gallery is showing Marcus Kenney (M.F.A., Photography) taxidermy in a booth that previews the artist’s upcoming collaboration and exhibition with artists from the Navajo Nation. Marcus is also showing at North of Modern, presented by Florida Mining Gallery.

In a neighboring booth, Elizabeth Winnel’s (B.F.A., Illustration; M.F.A., Painting) work is featured in curator Lori Zimmer’s project Message in a Bottle. Elizabeth’s captivating vessels are coming soon to ShopSCAD, where you’ll be able to collect one of your very own.

Though showing at SCOPE, Elizabeth’s days are filled with NADA, hosted by the New Art Dealer’s Alliance. Elizabeth nabbed a gig as a floor manager for the fair after reuniting with Charlotte Walters (B.F.A., Photography), one of NADA’s two fair managers. Charlotte, who manages the domestic dealers showing at NADA, has her hands full year-round with fairs in Miami, Cologne and New York, but also works in her craft by officially documenting the fair through photography.

Joining Elizabeth and Charlotte, also as a floor manager at NADA, is SCAD senior Kyle Joseph, candidate for a B.F.A. in painting.

The three regularly pass by the booth of American Contemporary Gallery and the work of Mariah Robertson, who previously exhibited at SCAD Museum of Art

Further down Collins Avenue, on the beach at UNTITLED., you’ll find Mary Lum and Dario Robleto, whose work has also graced the galleries of SCAD MOA.

In the same corridor at UNTITLED. hangs Tony Orrico’s Penwald: 4. Tony will be featured at SCAD deFINE ART in February.

Showing both at UNTITLED. with Anna Kustera Gallery and at the M Building, Wendy White (B.F.A., Fibers) has tread the well worn path between the beach and her exhibition, CURVA, in Wynwood.

Please keep us posted on the SCAD treasures you find along the way.

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CURVA: In Wendy Whites' Adidas

December
6
2013

Donning her signature shoes, whose iconic stripes are prominently referenced along the borders of her work, Wendy White (B.F.A., Fibers) took visitors through the logic of CURVA. The exhibit opened this week at the M Building in Miami with a VIP preview that was attended by hundreds of connoisseurs of contemporary art, Art Basel attendees, and Wendy’s fellow alumni from Savannah College of Art and Design. CURVA will remain on display through Dec. 20.

The five pieces that compose CURVA seamlessly blend the boundaries between art and sport, between fine and urban art. Here, Wendy describes why sport, and soccer in particular, served as the impetus for collection.

Wendy on why she incorporates the Adidas stripe as a frame.

A soccer ball conspicuously hangs from the edge of Tietz. Wendy uses the structural element to connote pace and movement.

Using Green Brigade, which evokes the atmosphere created by the fierce rivalry between Scottish teams the Rangers and the Celtics, as an example, Wendy explains her use of photography.

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Get on the bus: free shuttle from Wynwood to Art Basel Miami Beach

November
29
2013

Here’s a peek from concept through production of the bus Savannah College of Art and Design is exporting to Art Basel Miami Beach. The complimentary shuttle will run Dec. 4-8 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and transport riders from UNTITLED. Miami Beach (bus stop located at 10th Street and Ocean Drive) and The M Building (194 NW 30th Street), home to Wendy White: CURVA, in the Wynwood Art District.

It took three days to wrap the vehicle in the vibrant paintings of Xiaolu Zhang (M.F.A., Painting) and the bright magenta that’s sure to catch a few stares along the 6-mile loop between Wynwood and Ocean Drive.

Every inch of the shuttle was covered, even the roof, where one last portrait will give airborne enthusiasts, and the many helicopters that are sure to be circling, a focal point.

Let’s just call this an Art Basel debut for Xiaolu’s ‘Little Evils’ series, which harkens back to a time before life became too serious. The perfect tenor, I'd say, for ABMB.

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Video: Lee Daniels' commencement address at Savannah College of Art and Design

November
24
2013

Yesterday, Academy Award-winning director and producer Lee Daniels delivered the commencement address at SCAD's very first fall commencement ceremony in Savannah. Lee told graduates and their families, “I couldn’t afford to go to college and I was angry about that for a long time. This would have been the college that I went to because it’s pretty badass.” SCAD awarded Lee the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

 

 

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SCAD teams with Hewlett Packard to create field trip of the future

November
20
2013

In a world of devices and screens of every variety, it’s easy to wonder, do we really need paper? Hewlett Packard recently turned to students and the Collaborative Learning Center at Savannah College of Art and Design to help them answer that question in the affirmative.

On the first day of fall quarter, Hewlett Packard came to Savannah to invite the help of the very demographic that’s using less and less paper in their every day lives. Rather than fear these millennials, HP asked students from SCAD’s advertising, graphic design and illustration programs, among others, to help them bring paper to life using their free augmented reality app, Aurasma.

In turn, the SCAD students enlisted a generation even younger than they - third and fifth graders from May Howard Elementary School - to test whether paper, spruced up with digital qualities, can win over young attention spans.

Using the Aurasma app, the SCAD students created the interactive Passport to Nature tour of animal exhibits at Oatland Island Wildlife Center. At each stop, the elementary students collected a stamp created by scientific illustrator and graphic designer Grace Washko (B.F.A., Illustration) to put in a passport conceived and designed especially for this purpose by Shaun Oppedisano (B.A., Advertising) and Brenna Kaplan (B.F.A., Graphic Design).

Once inside their passport, the students could scan the sticker with an iPad or other smart device to yield a digital experience called an Aura. Complete with videos, produced by Andrew Lainhart (B.F.A., Film and Television) and statistics about the animal’s diet and habits, for example, the Aura contained information that the students might not have been able to gather from the exhibit itself.

What was the verdict?

Suffice it to say that the experience managed to impress the group, many of whom probably mastered a screen swipe before they could walk. According to one third grader, Aurasma made the trip to Oatland Island Wildlife Center, “more funner.” Doesn't get more honest than that. They’ll probably never look at a field trip the same way again. If only homework could be this cool.

Oatland Island Wildlife Center is researching how to implement the Passport to Nature Program permanently.

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DesignIntelligence’s 2014 rankings name SCAD interior design #1

November
12
2013

For the third year in a row, DesignIntelligence has ranked Savannah College of Art and Design's graduate and undergraduate interior design programs number one in the nation.

Leading professionals and educators determine “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools.” SCAD’s close relationship to industry and unique interdisciplinary environment are two factors that keep its programs at the top of the list.

Interior design students who study at SCAD benefit from exposure to more than 40 degree programs and the Collaborative Learning Center, through which they solve real-world design challenges for major corporations and brands.

In one of the first such partnerships between SCAD and industry, for example, interior design students worked directly with Benetton and their North American staff to design a new flagship store for the retailer. The students tapped the university's graphic design, advertising, fashion and marketing management, architecture, furniture design, and service design programs to present Benetton with plans for a retail store of the future.

In an increasingly competitive economy where the demand for skilled talent is high, these projects give students an edge, especially within a multi-disciplinary profession like interior design. The result is a success story for higher education and employment for a new generation of designers.

Ninety percent of students who graduated from SCAD’s interior design program in Spring 2012 reported that they were employed or pursuing further education within nine months of graduating.

A few recent projects by SCAD faculty and the 1,500 alumni of SCAD’s interior design program:

Restoration of Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy by Chuck Chewning.

New Balance Experience Store in Boston, Massachusetts by Nikole Nelson.

Nectar Skin Bar in Washington, D.C. by William McGovern.

Celebrity Cruise's Sky Observation Lounge by Professor Charles Boggs.

Gulfstream's 9,300 square-foot sales and design center in Dallas, Texas by Tray Crow.

SCAD will celebrate its number one ranking tomorrow with events in Savannah and Atlanta.

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FOX Sports taps students to create show open for Super Bowl XLVIII

November
11
2013

Updated Jan. 31: Get a peek at the final Super Bowl project here.

What does art have to do with football and football have to do with art?

NFL Network’s documentary on the late Steve Sabol, filmmaker and president of NFL Films, answers this question eloquently. The film enlightened me on how the seemingly disparate worlds of art and football complement one another. After all, Steve, who is largely responsible for how we experience the modern era of football, got his start as an art student. Throughout his career, he spent as much time on the gridiron and in testosterone-laden locker rooms as he did in his studio creating his trademark collages. That blend of art and sport, which Steve embodied, resulted in dozens of Emmy Awards and acclaim for days.

That context makes it easy to understand why FOX Sports has enlisted a team of art students to help it pull off its coverage of the Super Bowl in February.

As football season got under way, FOX Sports visited Savannah College of Art and Design to ask motion media, illustration and animation students to design the introduction to the Super Bowl. The project is a partnership between SCAD's Collaborative Learning Center, which gives students course credit for real world assignments, and FOX’s Creative University Program. Inside the kickoff presentation, the mood wasn’t all business, though. Laughter erupted when FOX Sports creative director Gary Hartley told the students,

“You want to impress the old grizzled veterans who have covered a lot of Super Bowls. If they turn to me and say ‘that was cool’ I will personally call you.”

FOX Sports senior motion graphics designer Jon Kaczmarski (B.F.A., Visual Effects) was also in the meeting to explain the role he plays in game day coverage. The passion these designers exude for creating the thematic art that makes ‘the big dance’ shine rivals NFL Fandom. I can see why they get such a charge out of their jobs. Their genius contributes to the fans’ fury. It’s their work, along with the commentators’, that’s responsible for transporting fans through the television screen and into the stadium.

On Super Bowl Sunday, the FOX Sports reps told the students, up to ten hours of broadcasting will feature their work, as will the network’s set in New York City’s Times Square. The FOX Sports Graphics creative team will take the SCAD concepts and spin them into the graphic elements for the titles you see in the lower third of the TV screen, highlight packages, player profiles and more.

Such elaborate graphics are rare on TV these days. In the case of the Super Bowl, they take up some pretty pricey real estate with 30 seconds alone costing advertisers $3.5 million.

But the sheer number of eyeballs that will be on their work didn’t seem to phase the undergraduates who listened in rapt attention as Gary let them in on the DNA of the NFL on FOX brand. Why would FOX give away these secrets? Well, to the cable giant, these aren’t your average college students. They’re vendors, partners, and FOX Sports wants their new ideas so it can continue delivering the kind of show that makes the Super Bowl the most watched TV event in history.

And, with any luck, Steve Sabol will be smiling down on them.

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Fête d'Automne

November
6
2013

What happens when you turn dozens of inventive art students loose on the streets of a medieval village in late October? A Halloween celebration for the ages. Savannah College of Art and Design students imported the festive atmosphere of Halloween here to Provence last week. The annual event started several years ago when students studying in Lacoste wanted to bring their Halloween traditions with them overseas. Now more than 500 villagers celebrate every year with the students, who organize pumpkin carving and face painting workshops for local children.

Revelers traveled from Avignon and Marseille to Lacoste to get a taste of a "real" Halloween party.

 

The old bakery of the village, the Boulangerie, became the Boo-langerie. During their free time, students spent about a week decorating the main street of the village and transforming studios and classrooms into haunted houses.

Some students bring a costume with them when they pack for France, and some get creative with what they have on hand or find here in Lacoste. Everyone gets excited the few days and hours before the event, posting on Facebook about having face paint or costumes to lend. The festival is an opportunity for the students to come together, relax and spend a great afternoon with the community.

Halloween would not be Halloween without pumpkins. It's a challenge to find the 100 pumpkins needed for the children's carving workshop. A local farmer from the village usually grows the pumpkins especially for SCAD. Though the carving workshop is intense for the student volunteers, seeing the kids walk through the streets of Lacoste with a small carved pumpkin in their hands is plenty of reward.

This year, all of our professors joined the festivities and welcomed visitors into the printmaking studio, which they transformed into a dark catacomb. You don't need many decorations to make a medieval cave look appropriate for Halloween, which is one reason why this festival is here to stay.

Cedric Maros is an events and communications coordinator at Savannah College of Art and Design in Lacoste. He came to SCAD in 2010 after working as a production manager in the movie industry.

 

 

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Under the spell of “Mo Chara”

November
1
2013

You might say that the luck of the Irish is with emerging filmmaker Ciaran McGuigan. “Mo Chara,” the first film that Ciaran directed, was accepted into the Savannah Film Festival and is steadily growing in acclaim. In between stints as a professional soccer player and an assistant soccer coach at Savannah College of Art and Design, Ciaran made this film about school age boys whose friendship overcomes the Catholic-Protestant rivalry in Northern Ireland. I sat down with him this week in Savannah, where he’s visiting from his native Ireland with his mom, Rosie. Rosie and Ciaran’s father came of age in the 1970s as the ‘Irish troubles’ flared, but they taught their children to find common ground with all people, regardless of race or religion. It was this upbringing that inspired Ciaran to make “Mo Chara.”

TM: Thanks for taking a break from the festival to talk with me. So did you always know that you wanted to make films?

CM: When I came to SCAD, I told my dad that I thought I would do interior design or architecture, something that would tie back into the family furniture business. Dad rang me up and he was like, "Try something different so you have a few bows to your arrow." Is that the saying?

TM: Yep.

CM: Dad said, "Why don’t you do film?" I didn’t really want to do film at the start.  He said, "No, do it you’ll enjoy it." I ended up doing it, but I was really intimidated by film at first.

TM: I understand what you mean. This is only my second film festival and I feel like I have to speak a certain language.

CM: Well, I didn’t know anything about the history of film or RED cameras and stuff. It really intimidates you at the start. But Professor Chaney, he just goes, "Forget about the big cameras and forget about 50-man crews, it’s all about the story." That really registered for me.

TM: That’s so true. That’s all I keep hearing this week. Focus on story. So lets go to “Mo Chara.” You’re in the program and…

CM: I thought it would be interesting to teach people in America about kids in Belfast, how they conduct themselves, how they speak, and what their view on life is. Growing up as a kid in Northern Ireland, there are Protestants and there are Catholics, and the two are usually very separate. But in “Mo Chara” these two little boys have common interests. They support the same soccer team, they like soccer, and their religion doesn’t really matter. I wrote the film on the bus to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving.

TM: Almost exactly a year ago. You just wrote it a year ago?

CM: Yes. I had it all written in the notes on my phone. Two boys meet, there’s a conflict, then there’s a resolution at the end. My uncle (director of photography Kieran McGuigan) told me with that everything in life there’s a beginning, middle, and end, and that if you stick to that three-act play then you’ve got the foundations to make a good film. So that always stuck with me.

TM: You had those basic things.

CM: Right. And for me it was like filling in the blanks almost.

TM: This is for your senior thesis film, so I understand.

CM: Yes.

TM: When did you shoot  “Mo Chara”?

CM: We shot “Mo Chara” in March 2013 over spring break. I got a flight home to Ireland. There’s only one other kid from SCAD who came. Sean Robinson, he was fantastic, he was my first assistant director.

TM: So you’re the writer-director of “Mo Chara”?

CM: I’m the writer, director and producer, yeah. We literally, eh, had no money. Our Kickstarter was in shambles.

TM: (laughter) How much did you raise with Kickstarter?

CM: A few hundred dollars. We all stayed in my grandmother’s house. She woke us up every morning with porridge and a full Irish breakfast fry. We stayed in my cousin’s house where my mom grew up. My auntie lives there now and they all gave up their beds for my six crew. We woke up every morning and traveled an hour to Belfast. My cousin Robert drove us and my cousin Laura was there in the camper van making breakfast and tea on set.

TM: That’s great. How did you raise the rest of the cash to fund the production?

CM: Budgeting wise, we shot the whole film for around 2,500 to 3000 pounds. I used some savings from football that I had. My mom and dad were very generous, as well. I took a loan out. Then, after we shot it, the grandfather of one of the boys in the film, Mr. Bryne, I gave him an executive producer credit…

TM: Yeah, I saw that.

CM: He came up to me and gave me a check. He said, “What you have done for these kids to foster cross-border relationships between a Protestant and a Catholic is terrific. Go and do good things with this film. Go and get it into festivals.” I was really emotional because I just couldn’t believe that this guy would give me 2000 pounds.

TM: That’s wonderful. I really liked what you said at the Q-and-A after the screening about the importance of having an international crew. Tell me about that.

CM: The editor is from Spain, the art director is from Colombia, the director of photography is from London, the grip is a French guy. You bring different cultures together and they bring different things to the plate, their experiences and their know-how. You sit down over dinner and a coffee and you’re joking, and then things come into the conversation about what we’re going to do. Everyone had an open ear. There were no egos. I said to them, "This is our film, it’s a collaboration." For me, problem solving and creating with other artists, that’s just epic. It was such a joyful and amazing experience.

TM: W.C. Fields said to never work with animals or children because they’re unpredictable. But you chose to work with children. Where did you discover the talented young actors?

CM: At first, I had this casting call and it just didn’t work. These parents were coming in and teaching their kids what to do. They were posh kids coming in and a trying to act raw and I was like, "No, I want this raw element to it." So I went into the streets with a family friend of mine, and we ended up meeting Nathan Corbett and Ben Labourn. The boys had never acted before in their lives.

TM: I can’t believe you directed untested actors in your first film. That’s crazy.

CM: They’re the best lads you’ll every meet. Impeccable manners. I had one hundred pounds each for them in the budget. I took them to the soccer store to buy them a football jersey and football boots. One them said, "Ciaran, can I get a pack of these football cards, I’ll put my boots back." The cards were like one pound. I was like, "You can have the boots, too." I bought them like 15 packs of cards and they could not believe that.

TM: What does it mean to have your film shown at a festival? What went through your head when you got the call?

CM: To have “Mo Chara” showing at a festival is fantastic, but to have it showing at this festival, in Savannah where I know everybody, I’m so overwhelmed by it. When I got the email telling me that I had been accepted I was so happy because I got to come back and thank everybody for helping to make it happen. Frankly, it was this institution that provided me with the foundation to enter into a career or a medium of art that I didn’t have a clue that I was any good at. You can’t speak highly enough of this college. I am really honored and thankful that I was able to go to school here.

Ciaran is currently finishing his degree online while playing soccer in Ireland. He plans to enter “Mo Chara” into more festivals soon and will graduate from SCAD with a B.F.A in film and television this spring.

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