Livestream: One-of-a-kind rides by JT Nesbitt


Bienville Studios' lead designer JT Nesbitt drove his vehicle the Magnolia Special from New York to Los Angeles. It wasn’t your average drive because the 89-hour trip was powered purely by natural gas. What’s more, the car was crafted to be functional and to delight. It’s the result of a career spent pursuing the unconventional, one that began at Confederate Motorcycle, where Nesbitt created the Wraith and the G2 Hellcat. We’ll livestream Nesbitt’s talk “Reimagining the art and allure of the American motorcycle” below on Tuesday, April 14 at 6 p.m. EDT. This SCADstyle lecture is free and open to the public.

Lauren Bush Lauren feeds hunger with fashion


One of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs” and Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” Lauren Bush Lauren has mastered the art of ‘creating good products that help feed the world.’ Since launching FEED in 2004, Lauren has proved that unlimited good can come from aligning consumer tastes with social causes. The result: 87 million meals provided to children around the globe. To learn how she did it, tune into the livestream from SCADstyle below on Wednesday, April 15 at 6 p.m. EDT. This lecture is free and open to the public. 


Steven Alan's 'smart' growth story


As Steven Alan prepares his brand for further expansion, he’s reflecting on how he got his start. After launching in 1994, the American fashion force spun his unique approach into a global presence reaching 300 stores worldwide and an additional 22 U.S. shops that bear his name. Hear how he keeps evolving at SCADstyle (April 12-16). For now, we bring you this teaser.

Preview Fred Spector's furniture collection for High Point Market


Watch as the owner of Frederic Spector Design Studio shows how he creates award-winning residential furniture. In this demonstration, livestreamed here on Tuesday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. EDT from the SCAD Museum of Art Theater, Fred Spector takes you inside the design process of collections like Avalon, a bedroom suite to be shown along with his new dining collection in Casana Furniture's showroom at High Point Market (April 18-23). Furniture makers AAmerica and Ligna will also show bedroom collections by Frederic Spector Design Studio at the furniture industry’s largest trade show. The program coordinator for SCAD furniture design, Spector has also worked for Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Williams-Sonoma and Anthropologie. This presentation is part of the School of Building Arts Lecture Series and is free and open to the public.

Building João Vasco Paiva's 'Mausoleum' at Art Basel Hong Kong


When Hong Kong-based Portuguese artist João Vasco Paiva needed a studio assistant to help with a large-scale sculpture for Art Basel Hong Kong, the news spread quickly by word of mouth. Jakarta-born painting student Novita Permatasari jumped on the opportunity. Despite finals being just around the corner, Novita traveled between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China to assist the artist in creating Mausoleum (2015), a massive sculptural installation inspired by ordinary Styrofoam coolers found in local markets. We caught up with Novita to reflect on her experience at the world’s premier contemporary art fair and being in the right place at the right time, as Hong Kong’s art scene is rising.

SCAD: What interested you in studying fine arts?

NP: Fine arts hold so many possibilities. I used to think painting was a major where you spent a lot of money and didn’t receive anything in return. Then I hung around with painters during my foundations year and that changed my mind. Obviously, that thinking is obsolete. Art Basel, for example, is the way contemporary artists sell paintings and how they become superstars. In the fine art world, you get to meet many people and you get to mingle. It excites me.

I like meeting new people from other worlds; I like to learn their cultures. That’s what attracts me. Painting is a way to live freely. - Novita Permatasari

SCAD: What drew you to switch your major from animation to painting?

NP: I took both animation and painting classes during my first year because SCAD students are not limited to classes in their majors. With painting, I can harness more experimentation with real material. I’m okay with using the computer; I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s just that I like to touch things with my own hands.

SCAD: Walk us through your internship experience with João Vasco Paiva.

NP: João derived the idea for Mausoleum from his last show and he just pushed the boundaries. I was involved in the preparation stage. Although the sculpture itself is big, it’s comprised of small pieces: Styrofoam boxes cast in resin. The tape seen in the sculpture looks real, but it’s not real tape. It’s casted. In the casting material, everything is comprised of white concrete. Before he painted it, I had to mask everything to make sure the paint didn’t leak out. So each person could only mask eight to ten boxes per day because they had so many holes. It was labor-intensive. I also helped to dismantle the sculpture. There were 208 boxes that we wrapped delicately, one by one. We started at about 5:00 p.m. when the fair ended and finished around 1:00 a.m.

SCAD: Tell us about your work with Edouard Malingue Gallery, Mr. Paiva’s gallery.

NP: The internship began when I was working with João on Mausoleum in Shenzhen. They needed more hands because of Art Basel Hong Kong. Now I do their design work and assist with the gallery’s social media coverage. I also update artist PDFs and create renderings for clients to show how a painting will look in their home. It’s a three-month internship, but my goal is to work there through August, when the gallery has a show in Indonesia.

SCAD: Describe the experience of working for an international gallery in Hong Kong.

NP: It’s fun. There is so much pressure to get work done, so every day we set targets and keep the social media going. As you know with social media, if you are inactive even for one day interest will quickly decline. You have to keep posting. Writing the blurbs is not as easy as I thought. When you’re talking about other artists, you have to do editorial research on their work.

SCAD: In what ways have these experiences influenced your personal art practice?

NP: If you consider what was shown at Art Basel Hong Kong, art is becoming more conceptual instead of commercial. My art is leaning more towards the conceptual side. I think it’s more exciting. João is really good with digital art. He practices the materiality and form in real life. I like that a lot and I think that might be happening soon in my work.

SCAD: Why did you choose SCAD?

NP: I looked at the rankings of art schools. SCAD was one of the best and has different locations, which was important. Because I live in Asia, Hong Kong is closest. So why not choose SCAD when I can get an American education within Asia?

SCAD: What are your plans after graduation?

NP: If possible, I will stay in Hong Kong. It’s a growing place for art. In Indonesia, it’s super hard to see art because shows are located on different sides of the island. In Jakarta, there are some galleries, but the art center is in Jogja. Here in Hong Kong, you can just hop on the MTR or hop on the bus and see everything. Even in Central at the Pedder Building, for example, you can see at least five different major galleries. The most feasible option for me is to stay in Hong Kong, but not limit myself to other options.

Given her unlimited potential, it’s safe to bet this isn’t the last time that we’ll see Novita at Art Basel.

Whitney Yoerger is a special projects manager overseeing collaborative projects with external partners at Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong. She is also a writer, always in search of stories about talented students and alumni. Follow her on Twitter @whityoerger.

The Ross Brothers return to SXSW with 'Western'


Western will be the third film in a row that Bill Ross (B.F.A., video/film, 2003) and Turner Ross (B.F.A., painting, 2003) have shown at SXSW, part of an acclaimed series of documentaries about the American experience that also includes the films 45365 and Tchoupitoulas. This trip to Austin is particularly meaningful to the team given that they spent more than a year in Texas shooting Western, which explores the relationships of residents in the border towns of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico. We caught up with them soon after they returned from Sundance, where Western won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Vérité Filmmaking.

SCAD: Congratulations on the success of Western. How did this film get made?

Bill Ross (BR): We scouted the border through New Mexico and Texas, looking for a place of visual resonance and cultural significance. Once we ran into the mayor of Eagle Pass we knew we had to stay. We got a dumpy apartment and didn't leave for 13 months. We got by. Logistically, we had to release Tchoupitoulas before we could dig into Western, so a bit of time did pass in the interim. That, and we had to create what we envisioned as a non-fiction western. It took its time, and we do things our own way.

SCAD: When did you know that you had a story?

We went in looking to explore what the modern frontier looks like, hoping just to observe without any sort of agenda. Once the cartels shook things up, though, it was unavoidable. That steered so many of the lives that we had been following. -Bill Ross

SCAD: Do you ever disagree on how to tell a story?

BR: How to tell it? Not really. The story comes together in the edit and we go back and forth until we’re happy. It's more of a long-running conversation than any sort of shortsighted argument.

SCAD: How did this film stretch you as filmmakers? What progression can we see from 45365, Tchoupitoulas, River and Western?

BR: Each one has developed its own character and set of rules. While we hope they are all recognizable as a body of work, they all have their own personality. Western asked for much more attention to the progression of the characters’ feelings and movements as things unfolded. We had to focus more on story elements and the trappings of genre. That said: we have a base approach that we bring to every shoot, though the aesthetic choices and motivations always differ.

SCAD: What’s your favorite scene that didn’t make the cut?

BR: With hundreds of hours of footage your heart gets broken a lot. There are full characters and storylines that get dropped and those are people and life experiences that you adored. I’ll just throw one out. Our rancher Martin and his cowhand J.W. were out hunting when they were attacked by bees. A very long chase ensued and Turner really covered it well. It would have been a great laugh for the film but it didn’t end up making sense.

SCAD: What did working with fellow SCAD alumni lend to your film?

BR: On the ground shooting our films it’s mostly Turner and me, but we often have fellow SCAD Bees show up and we hand them a camera. It’s in post that the team really pulls together. The core crew we had at SCAD all moved out to LA together, for the most part. Everyone started out with entry-level jobs and now find themselves in some pretty nice spots. They take breaks from their big-time stuff to help finish our films. This is one of my favorite parts because it feels a lot like college. Staying up all night and hustling to reach deadlines with your buddies. 

SCAD: What are you looking forward to about returning to SXSW? How do you get business done there?

SX threw us into the world, so it’s great to get to go back. Being close to Eagle Pass gives us an opportunity to share the film with a lot of people we shot with. That’s what we're most excited about. -Bill Ross

BR: Business happens everywhere and in many different forms, you just gotta find balance.

SCAD: Do you have advice on the festival circuit for aspiring filmmakers?

BR: Treat it as a party. Celebrate what you’ve done. The business will come down the line and the people you meet will be the people you make your next film with, but there is also life. Being present is key on all fronts.

SCAD: What’s your take on the status of documentary filmmaking? What trends should we pay attention to?

BR: Laura Poitras. Laura Poitras. Laura Poitras.

SCAD: How did you come across your next project working with Talking Heads frontman David Byrne on Contemporary Color?

BR: He had seen our films and asked for a meeting. It’s working out pretty well. We always use to close down Pinkie Master’s Lounge with ‘This Must Be The Place.’ So it's kind of funny. 

SCAD: What filmmakers have you learned the most from?

BR: Robert Altman.

SCAD: What’s your best advice for aspiring documentary filmmakers?

BR: Learned this one while working at a kitchen on Broughton Street in Savannah: ‘Don’t talk about it, be about it.’

SCAD: How did SCAD prepare you to become award-winning filmmakers? Turner, how does your degree in painting inform your films?

BR: The access to equipment was big for us and for our buddies.

We were always shooting, regardless of whether there was an assignment or not. The opportunity to get out there and make every mistake possible taught us so much. -Bill Ross

Turner Ross: Our family in college was all film kids, so from early on I got the opportunity to assist in the more creative aspects of their projects. I translated that into art department work on studio features before going for broke with Bill. Theory in painting and theory in film are analogous; it doesn't really matter the medium, it's what's behind it.

SCAD: You’ve said before that your point of view or angle is Americana trilogies. Do you think a filmmaker has to define their point of view to be successful?

BR: We have our mantras, but don’t feel the need to talk about it too loudly outside of that. The work should speak for itself.

Finding creative talent: employers share 4 in-demand traits


More than 150 companies attended Savannah College of Art and Design’s annual career fair in search of the next great creative talent. They ranged from boutique outfits like animation house Bento Box Entertainment, to behemoths like Amazon and Proctor & Gamble. Whether these employers are design oriented in their function, or using design to enhance their mission, the talent they’re recruiting has never been better prepared or more sought after.

The awareness of and demand for what we do as artists and designers is ten times what it was 30 years ago. – Doug Grimmett, Primal Screen


Which path to success at #SCAD Career Fair will you take?

A video posted by @scaddotedu on


Doug Grimmett, whose motion graphics company Primal Screen created the psychedelic '60s trailer for the final season of Mad Men, has been recruiting at SCAD for seven years. He’s one of the industry leaders who weighed in on our question: What are the most important attributes for future creative professionals to posses? Four qualities emerged on which this diverse group of employers agreed. The way they see it, the next great designers, animators, producers, art directors and more will:

Be generalists
The employers in our informal focus group agreed that an influx of rapidly changing technology means that too much specialization could render young talent irrelevant. Instead, they prefer young recruits to have a broad range of abilities that will enable them to be the ultimate team players. This is definitely the case in the growing world of independent films, shared producer Tamanna Shah, where time and budget constraints make the adaptable staffer a commodity.

Be mobile
The project-oriented nature of creative initiatives, in which teams are built today and disbanded tomorrow, means that the prospect who’s willing to travel is the one who might get the most work. Keeping with the film industry as an example, this is especially so given the dependence on state tax incentives, which production companies and their crews routinely relocate to capture.

Be detail-oriented
Recruiters repeatedly stressed their interest in the candidate who minds the details and mines the details. Reps from fair flung industries emphasized their interest in prospects who can grasp intricacies well before production, in the planning phase, especially through their sketches and drawings. As IBM designer Rebecca Lemker explained, the details are so important that the software giant recently introduced the new position of design researcher, whose task it is to surface the finer points that will ultimately help shape a better product. Rebecca and the others use portfolio reviews not only to evaluate a candidate’s eye for details, but also the decisions they made to include them.

Be brand aware
There have never been more ways for companies to communicate the essence of their brands so, it follows, that artists and designers who can support these initiatives would be in high demand. If talent is just the price of admission, as one recruiter put it, then prospects can distinguish themselves by demonstrating a grasp of the brand they want to work for, before they work there. For BCBG Max Azria HR director Christina Chiaro, reviewing a portfolio and seeing designs that match the brand is a signal the candidate has done their homework and posses the skill needed to succeed at the label.

In addition to agreeing on these basic characteristics, the recruiters overwhelmingly recommended that job seekers, “Do what they love.” Unsurprisingly, that advice pairs well with the qualities they seek.

deFINE ART 2015 honoree Xu Bing returns to SCAD


Savannah College of Art and Design honoree, Chinese artist Xu Bing, first visited SCAD ten years ago, well before the existence of SCAD Museum of Art, where his exhibition, “Things Are Not What They First Appear,” is showing through July 3. Then as now, the MacArthur Fellow and U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts recipient invigorated this community of emerging artists with his lecture and work. Bing’s 2015 deFINE ART keynote, in which he chronicled his most recent exhibitions, was as transparent as his series, “Background Story.” In his interview with SCAD shone through a personal mission, which Bing also shared in his keynote address: to use his exhibitions to further art education, now matter where his work takes him. Here are excerpts of our conversation with him, conducted with the assistance of his student interpreter at SCAD's Magnolia Hall.

SCAD: Our students enthusiastically lined up to see your gallery tour at deFINE ART, snapping photos and no doubt posting them to their social networks. As a recent adopter of Instagram, what do you think of social media as a platform for sharing artistic works?

Xu Bing: I am always slow in this technology. I’m very late compared to others to use social media tools, even in China. I don’t use it a lot because I feel that nowadays social media provides people with too much information, and you are kind of just torn into too many pieces. You kind of lose yourself to it. Meanwhile, it is very valuable because it has changed people’s every day life. As you said, it reflects what young people like and that can be the future of the world. We recently started to use Instagram because we recognize its power as a tool. 

S: Seen at SCAD MOA, the diversity in your practice is particularly striking because of the close proximity of the works that comprise, “Things Are Not What They First Appear.” Do you advise students to have a multi-disciplinary practice?

XB: I would tell them, please don’t focus only on the forms of art, the styles of art or what media you’re going to use, because all those forms are already fixed, they can hardly be used to address contemporary problems or situations. So if you only limit your thinking or creation to what style you’re going to use, or what category you’re going to put your art into, then you can hardly be a successful artist.

S: Is there any one message that you most want artists and students of art to take away from your keynote address?

XB: I want to show my appreciation for SCAD. I’m honored to be here to get this award. I want students to takeaway that there are so many choices in contemporary art now, so please stick to what you really want. There is one experience of mine I really want to share.

I feel like everyone has his or her own strengths or limitations. The question is how you adapt your limitation into something that only you have and try to make the full use out of it. - Xu Bing

S: Sometimes we can’t make sense of our immediate surroundings until an outsider comes and puts them in perspective. What was the reaction in Durham when “Tobacco Project” opened there? How did it differ from the reaction in Shanghai and Savannah?

XB: I didn’t realize a difference in the audience feedback, however, I felt one thing really intensely and that is that people feel so connected to tobacco’s history and they felt very strong feelings about that connection. Through this piece of art they kind of reflect on their own history and their working situation. For example, a lot of people have a very close family relationship, memory or even personal memory of it. Also, through this piece they have a new understanding about art. Because these materials have nothing to do with art, after the show they start to see that these materials can be art and have artistic meanings. So they come up to a level where they realize a relationship between art and life, which is hardly something they recognized before.

S: What is your reaction to SCAD MOA, which embodies the same principles of adaptive reuse that infuse your work?

XB: I feel strongly that students really love this environment. For the students and other audiences, SCAD MOA has a strong connection to outdoor spaces, which helps them to share and enjoy art. This should be attributed to the architect who made the original designs, which preserve the original parts of the building. For example, the renovation of the out building creates spaces that are very special. The Poetter Gallery actually benefits contemporary artists who work there because it’s not easy to use. They need to figure out innovative ways to present their art. That’s how they’ll take further steps to develop their art.

In honor of Fashion Week: career advice from Oscar de la Renta


The debut of Peter Copping’s first collection as creative director of Oscar de la Renta at New York Fashion Week reminds us of the designer’s timeless advice to students of the industry. During his 2001 visit to Savannah College of Art and Design to accept the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. de la Renta emphasized the importance of fresh ideas. Hear what he shared below and see his philosophy embodied in the exhibition Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style now through May 3 at SCAD Musuem of Art.

Loglines from aTVfest 2015


The star-studded line up of Savannah College of Art and Design’s third annual television festival sent #aTVfest trending. But true to the tag line – Go Behind the Screen - the buzz was as much about the people who make television as it was about the people on it. In addition to the actors, directors, producers, editors, show runners and programmers shared invaluable insights on the state of the industry. Below are some of the recurring themes that emerged from the panels and screenings.

Shows serving up the foreign and the familiar are surging.
Digital is the answer to two seemingly incongruous trends of shows getting simultaneously more personal and unfamiliar. The reason is, unlocked from the vise of linear TV, content is free to speak to narrower audiences. At the same time, the proliferation of content spawned by digital distribution has audiences wanting to go deeper into immersive worlds where they can escape the “noise” and get lost in a rare environment. It’s why Travel Channel greenlit coming of age adventure, "Boy to Man" and why "Game of Thrones" and "Downton Abbey" are favorites.

New technologies complicate workflow but are making content better.
Helping to feed the appetite for more immersive worlds on the small screen is the increasing affordability of visual effects for television. While permitting show creators endless creative freedom, the explosion of new technologies and formats can hamper show delivery and are transforming workflows. This is true of the most sophisticated formats, like Ultra HD, and the most pedestrian, like the refurbished cell phones being used to shoot a show for BET. What is a headache for post supervisors and editors, however, is a bonus for those entering the industry. Easy access to these tools for aspiring producers and editors, and their mastery of them before they get hired, will make it easier for them to land jobs, even while they're still students.

Cord cutters, ‘cord nevers’ and superfans are overthrowing business as usual.
To capture audiences who have never watched or rarely watch linear TV, networks are pulling out all the stops: giving pre-releases to Netflix and Amazon and producing original digital content alongside show content. It’s not just about finding audiences who aren’t watching TV, but about keeping the ones who are in front of the tube longer. So there are new tools in programmers arsenals, like pods of fresh content in the middle of commercials, deep teases, super teases, cliff hangers and marathon viewing. Then there’s the superfans, like "Scandal's" ‘gladiators.’ In the process of using their personal social networks to over share their enthusiasm for certain shows, these viewers become the ultimate brand ambassadors. In return, they expect direct access to the writers, actors and glam squads. More than ratings, social media and word of mouth are so crucial to a show’s success that some networks have added cast member social media classes to their marketing playbooks.

Authenticity is getting more authentic.
Technology like drones and HDR increasingly provide consumers an unrestricted and unfiltered view. Meanwhile, digital has heightened attention to diverse points of view. Both of these realties contribute to an appetite for real perspectives and an environment where TV can help you to truly connect instead of assimilate. So networks are moving away from creating situations to building shows around realities that already exist. This is easiest to see in unscripted programming like HGTV’s hit "Fixer Upper," which takes viewers into the marriage and renovation business of husband and wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines.