‘On Creativity’ interview series debuts on Delta Studio

June
5
2015

As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. And what about moving pictures? In order to harness the power of video, I decided to film conversations with distinguished Savannah College of Art and Design guests. By capturing the insights of successful professionals, these interviews further the university's reputation as the leader in creative education. Moreover, students, alumni, and the larger creative community can benefit from this trove of wisdom for years to come.

Delta Air Lines is broadcasting my all-new interviews with leaders in design, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and style on Delta Studio, the airline's in-flight entertainment system, offered on passengers' seatback screens and the FlyDelta and GoGo apps. On Creativity shares the magic of SCAD with Delta's 170 million annual passengers, taking our stellar reputation to stratospheric heights. Guests include designer Joseph Altuzarra, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, actress Mindy Kaling, philanthropist Lauren Bush Lauren, and ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir.

Of course, this is just the beginning. The best thing about creative conversations is that they have a way of inspiring others. As you continue your lifelong quest for knowledge, please tune in to On Creativity for new episodes throughout this summer and fall, and be sure to invite others to join us at SCAD or in flight.

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Savannah Film Festival rewind: honoree portraits of 2013

October
10
2014

In the midst of the count down to Savannah Film Festival 2014 (Oct. 25 - Nov. 1), a batch of Adam Kuehl’s distinctive portraits of Savannah College of Art and Design's honorees went up in Jen Library. From where the portraits hang in Jen’s study rooms, it’s hard to decipher who is ogling whom. Do the students glance up between chapters to study the faces of the film icons whose paths they want to trace? Or do the filmmakers stare at the students with motionless expression, wishing to trade places with the young creatives poised to make their own mark on the world?

Here's Adam's 2013 portraits, emblems of a week’s worth of the best and latest in film. Just like the festival, the portraits keep getting better. Styling by Amy Zurcher.

Portrait of actress Abigail Bresslin by photographer Adam Kuehl.

"Amy had the clever idea to fill the space from floor to ceiling with Domestic Construction rugs. Abigail was a fan."

Portrait of Alec Baldwin by photographer Adam Kuehl.

 "Alec Baldwin has been to the festival several times, so he knew exactly what to do with Christian Dunbar's (M.F.A., furniture design, 2013) lamp."

Portrait of Alexander Payne by photographer Adam Kuehl.

"Alexander Payne, recipient of the Achievement in Cinema Award, in the newly renovated lobby of Trustees Theater."

Portait of Bruce Dern by photographer Adam Kuehl.

Bruce Dern, a 2006 Savannah Film Festival honoree.

Portait of Candice Accola by photographer Adam Kuehl.

"A candid moment of Candice Accola rocking a pair of earrings by Aimee Petkus (B.F.A., jewelry, 2013) and leather top by Brooke Atwood (M.A., fashion, 2010).

Portrait of Jeremy Irons by photographer Adam Kuehl.

Jeremy Irons, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, sits comfortably in front of a painting ("Untitled") by JenMarie Zeleznak (M.F.A., painting, 2011). His intensity matched the scene Amy created perfectly. The wood wall is actually a small stage that we flipped on its side."

Portrait of Julian Sands by photographer Adam Kuehl.

Julian Sands in front of “Star Chamber” by Summer Wheat (M.F.A., painting, 2005).

Portrait of Natalie Dormer by photographer Adam Kuehl.

Natalie Dormer, recipient of the Discovery Award.

Portrait of Norman Reedus by photographer Adam Kuehl.

Norman Reedus in front of wallpaper designed by Joanne Duran (B.F.A., interior design, 1999).

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A museum’s worth: artists’ perspectives on SCAD Museum of Art

July
1
2014

This week, Savannah College of Art and Design brings home three honors from the American Institute of Architects convention: the AIA Young Architect’s Award, the AIA Fellowship for Emerging Leaders and the 2014 AIA National Honor Award for Architecture for the SCAD Museum of Art. The mission of the latter is to ‘establish a standard of excellence against which all architects can measure performance, and inform the public of the breadth and value of architecture practice.’

But what do artists think? Here, Kehinde Wiley, Liza Lou, Stephen Antonakos, Alfredo Jaar, Rosemarie Fiore and Trenton Doyle Hancock lend an artist’s perspective on the value of SCAD Museum of Art. They join the ranks of exhibiting artists like Jason Middlebrook, Fred Wilson and Nicola López who have responded to SCAD Museum of Art's distinctiveness by creating site-specific installations for the museum.

Congratulations, SCAD Museum of Art, for successfully connecting past and present, emerging artists with established artists, in both form and substance, and for being a magnet the draws the world in to contemplate the transformative power of art and design.

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AD's Margaret Russell's 'simple truths' for graduates

June
2
2014

A good commencement address is irresistible. Whether graduating or firmly planted in career or school, the distilled life experience and wisdom are too convenient and enlightening to pass up. And so, in case you missed Savannah College and Art and Design's 2014 commencement ceremonies, here's speaker Margaret Russell's 'simple truths', which she delivered to SCAD's 1,560 graduates in Atlanta and Savannah after tracing her rise to the helm of Elle Decor and now Architectural Digest.

I’m going to end with some simple truths, some things to keep in mind as you enter the workforce. These are more pragmatic than they are profound. Actually, they’re tips to help you do well at work and to keep you from annoying your future bosses.

Be early.
I remain challenged by this, but I’m usually still the first person at the AD offices each morning. It’s better to consistently arrive early at work than to have to consistently stay late.

Be a trouble shooter and problem solver.
These are key qualities that everyone in every industry looks for when hiring. Think ahead and always anticipate the unexpected.

Expect good and don’t gossip.
Don’t ever write emails that might land you in trouble if read in public. Email should communicate facts, not emotion.

Be aware of the power of social media and never post a photo when it’s clear that you’ve had far too much fun.
Your bosses are also on Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and they will find you. Try imagining that your social accounts have a pause button and take a breath before you hit send.

Embrace change as it’s the most constant aspect of your future.
The happiest people around you are those who are flexible and adapt well.

Don’t be afraid to ask; ask for everything. Just never have a sense of entitlement when you do.
Some of the best stories published in the magazines I’ve edited are there because I had the nerve to go after them.

Don’t be afraid, period.
Life’s too short. Conquer your fears today.

Pay attention.
Listen, stay focused, be ambitious, have common sense, show good judgment.

Do the right thing.
You’ll never go wrong by doing what you truly believe is right.

Give back.
I love AD, but the most rewarding work I do is philanthropic or political. Volunteer, develop your personal sense of social responsibility and integrate it into your daily life.

Think green.
Please think green because your forebears did not. Use your genius to save our planet.

Find your passion and your joy.
I hire people who are passionate about their work. I’ve always been told that there’s no place for emotion at work, and indeed that’s true. But I know for sure that being passionate about what you do will drive you to far greater success.

Feed your creativity. Get off your iPhone. Look up.
Don’t passively email someone sitting a few feet from you in the office. Talk to each other, write thank you notes, read books.

Don’t settle. Expect the best. Want to be the best.

You are so well prepared to make your way and to change the world and we can’t wait to see what you’ll do. Congratulations, class of 2014. We honor and admire you. Here’s to your brilliant future. Here’s to tomorrow.

Share your favorite or most memorable piece of commencement advice by posting it in the comments below.

 

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The jewelry of Downton Abbey with designer Andrew Prince

April
28
2014

English jewelry maker Andrew Prince is across the pond for a U.S. tour that includes Bergdorf Goodman, which sells his designs, and Kleinfelds in New York City. He’ll give a public lecture at Savannah College of Art and Design on April 30 at 5:00 p.m.

Andrew’s impeccable taste and encyclopedic knowledge of jewelry and fashion could convince the most unadorned of us to match our bling and bouffant. Coexisting with Andrew’s unflinching sense of humor and style is a scholarly seriousness about his craft that will change the way you watch the PBS hit series "Downton Abbey," now filming its fifth season, or any other period piece on television, big screen or stage. Here’s the designer on the virtues of costume jewelry, his commissions for legends like Michael Jackson and, of course, how he bejewels the ladies of Downton.

Thread: Give us a sneak preview of the talk you’ll give at SCAD Museum of Art.

Andrew Prince: It’s about how fashion and jewelry are usually treated as two entirely different subjects, yet they are absolutely intertwined. So many people in the clothes industry know nothing about jewelry, and so many people in the jewelry industry know nothing about fashion. Jewelry follows fashion and it’s a talk that explains how the fashions change and why they change and why at the beginning of the 20th century there was such a revolution in jewelry design.

T: What’s the relationship between jewelry and costume design in film and TV?

AP: With costume design, one of the important things is not so much to match the jewelry with the costume, but to match the jewelry with the age of the person. You might get someone in the 1930s in their 60s wearing a modern dress, but her jewelry would be 20 or 30 years older than that. It wouldn’t be up to date because most people buy their jewelry in their 30s, 40s and 50s when they look their best. Using Maggie Smith’s Downton character the Dowager Countess as an example, all her jewelry would have been Victorian and Edwardian pieces. She would not have had Art Deco piece. Sometimes you see period dramas where you have a matron wearing modern jewelry and that’s totally wrong. It’s like if you can imagine someone in their 60s today wearing someone like Stephen Webster. It wouldn’t happen or it would be very unusual.


Necklace for Dowager Countess of Grantham that was worn at a formal dinner along with a choker. This style and combination is typical of the late Victorian or Edwardian period.

T: How does your jewelry aid the development of Downton’s characters?

AP: The jewelry is more of a background really because it’s supporting an image. It was never meant to take the characters over. For example, Cora, who is the American heiress, she would have had very large jewelry, diamond pieces to hold her own against the English aristocracy who had some very large pieces themselves. At that time, England was a very wealthy country because it had an empire and lots of money was coming in. So the families were able to afford these very lavish pieces of jewelry. So the jewelry is more of a frame for the character rather than part of the character. It’s a little bit of decoration to enhance the character.


Tiara made for Cora of pear shaped diamonds. This is a very dressy tiara worn for court and, being an American heiress, Cora would have come to England with a lot of diamonds as an indicator of great wealth.


Hairpiece made for Cora. She wore this tucked in back of her hair for dinners at home. Because of the eclectic influences, such as exotic countries, during the Art Deco period this design was based on a Japanese plum blossom.

T: Do you loan pieces to the production or are they commissioned?

AP: Some of the early pieces were ones that I already had in stock, but some of the pieces, particularly for the presentation of court and Lady Mary’s feather piece, they were made specifically for the character. The one for Caroline McCall, the show's costume designer, she basically said, "This is the period, this is the person, this is what’s happening. What do you think needs to be done?" There is one particular tiara, the one Queen Mary was wearing during the presentation, and when it came to two days before shooting I had a panicked call from Caroline who said, “We need her tiara to be bigger because Cora’s is going to be bigger than the queen’s and it does not look good.” So I spent 24 hours on the new crown and delivered it two days later.

Tiara that Queen Mary wore during the court presentation. Closely resembling a crown, this piece had to be very big and grand because she is the queen. Pearls were very expensive during these times, and a matched set of pear shaped pearls would have been out of reach for most everyone except royalty.

Maggie Smith is very specific on her jewelry. She’s particular about her character. I was concerned about what she would think about the choker and the tiara. And when it was shown to her she said, “Oh it’s wonderful, it’s exactly what I want,” I was relieved because it could’ve been a case of making something else.


The Dowager Countess of Grantham’s signature choker. She wears this in almost every scene, as she models herself on Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra (who were both very into chokers). The style is Late Edwardian/Belle Époque and is typical of a piece that a wealthy man would have bought for his wife while she was in her 30s.

The choker is a big piece of jewelry that shows wealth, and while it is not considered blindingly flashy or ostentatiously vulgar, it is something she would have used almost as “armor” to show the world her social and financial status.

T: What are these pieces worth or is it a matter of worth?

AP: The most expensive thing that goes into them is time. A lot of the stones are especially cut for me so that the cuts are correct. For example, a 1930s piece would have a different style of cut than a piece from the Victorian times. So quite often you find that when films loan real jewelry that it’s too bright. Under the lights in the studios the stones are too dazzling, so they have to be dulled down. Costume jewelry works best up under film lights because it’s not as bright as diamonds. Diamonds are blinding. There’s a particular tiara that Judy Dench wears in the film “Mrs. Henderson Presents” that is emeralds and crystals. In the studio I toned them down with graphite, which makes the stones look darker and can be washed off, because under the lights they were too strong. The pieces have to be tailored to the filming. Also, insurance on jewelry is too expensive, so studios tend to commission very good costume jewelry.

T: I saw your quote: "You can’t have fun with diamonds." You must be joking.

AP: Seriously. It’s because if you have a $25,000 pair of earrings you will spend the entire evening wondering if they’re still on, or whether the event you’re going to justifies the occasion to bring them out. If you have a string of pearls for $10,000 or glass beads, which one are you going to where more often?

T: What are the most memorable commissions that you've made?

AP: A friend of mine was making Michael Jackson a jacket. I had made a very large piece of jewelry for me - a shoulder jewel - that I was going to wear to a party. She saw it and she said, “I know someone who would like that, but can you make it bigger?” And that’s how that commission came about. That was a fun one. The other is a shoulder strap that runs down the back of a dress. It was for an Oscar lady. I can’t really say who. It went through the dress designer.

T: Mentorship is a big part of your story. What do you tell your mentees?

AP: One is to keep at it. The second one is don’t blow the profits. You always have bills coming in. When you start off and the money comes in, it seems fantastic and it builds up and builds up. You’ve got to put something aside every month, just in case something happens because everybody’s business goes down. It’s never an easy ride. Also, there are two things you’ve got to listen out for when dealing with clients. One is, “Don’t worry, I’m very easy to please.” You’ve missed out on a word. I’m “not” easy to please. And the second one is, “I don’t mind how much it costs, just go ahead.” They don’t mind how much it costs, but they’re not going to pay you. You’ve got to give them a price. Otherwise they’re going to refuse to pay.

T: What designers influence you?

AP: I’m rather ashamed to say it, but Cartier. Cartier from about 1900 to about 1939. They were outstanding. So much better than they are today. At that time the company was run by Louis Cartier himself and he was the driving force. They were modern. Now the company is not a driving force because it has so much history to rely on. So like Stephen Webster, he’s a fantastic designer. Cartier would never produce pieces like that because it’s too groundbreaking and they’d alienate their traditional customers that have been with them for 30 or 40 years. Lalique was also groundbreaking. I wish my brain worked like that because he was a genius in every single way. From a jeweler’s point of view, Cartier is wonderful for technical reasons and commercial reasons, but for sheer artistic extravagance and amazement Lalique is unsurpassable.


Tiara for the Earl of Grantham’s sister for the post court presentation reception at their London house. This piece is a copy of an actual Cartier tiara that was worn by a titled English woman and is reflective of the appropriate style that an extremely wealthy woman would have worn during that period.

T: What’s next for you?

AP: I’m going to start doing some more lavish pieces. I want to do impact pieces. So I’m being influenced by the Duchess of Cambridge’s things at the moment; big necklaces. I love big necklaces, so there’s some big necklaces coming out. I’ll also be working with English dress designer Sharon Cunningham. She did a lot of bridal stuff years ago and wants to do more couture things, and she’s a beautiful cutter. We want to create wonderful gowns incorporating lavish jewelry. 

And that takes us back to where we began, fashion and jewelry. Hear more from Andrew on April 30.

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Prabal Gurung chats with Steven Kolb live

April
14
2014

Prabal Gurung, world renowned fashion designer born in Singapore, will discuss his career and views on modern glamour with CFDA CEO, Steven Kolb. The livestream of their conversation from Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, part of SCADstyle 2014, starts tonight at 6:00 p.m. EDT here on Thread.

Parabal Gurung was the recipient of the 2010 Ecco Domani Fashion Fund Award, has served as Goodwill Ambassador for Maiti Nepal, and his designs have been worn by fashion icons such as First Lady Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge.

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Snapshots of SCAD alumni in the South
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Slam dunk for a college application: making art with Tim Rollins and K.O.S.

February
20
2014

Hanging amidst the exhibitions of celebrated contemporary artists at SCAD Museum of Art is the work of 14-year-old Winter Jones.

I never would have suspected that I would have the chance to put one of my pieces inside of a museum as good as this.

Who better than Tim Rollins and K.O.S. to introduce Winter and his 7th and 8th grade classmates from Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts to the art world. The collaboration between Winter’s class and the New York-based artists was a condition of sorts that Tim set for bringing the exhibition “Rivers” (Feb. 1 - June 8, 2014) to SCAD Museum of Art. Because, quite naturally, he wanted to interact with the community.

And so, among staples of the Tim Rollins and K.O.S. collection inspired by literature like Harriet Jacbos’ “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” and Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” is the piece that bears the untested marks of middle school students like Winter, “Darkwater III (after W.E.B. Du Bois).”

The students saw their work - first edition pages of the text "Darkwater" dipped in watercolor and gold acrylic - displayed on museum walls for the first time this week during deFINE ART.





Judging from their reactions, the students' encounter with Tim and K.O.S. was one opportunity that made their possibilities seem endless.

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A walk through deFINE ART with critic Paul Laster
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Inside the mind of Theaster Gates

February
19
2014

Award-winning artist Theaster Gates began his lecture “An Analog but Very Important Conversation” with a slow, soulful prayer, which he sang, his rich voice filling the crevices of the packed theater at SCAD Museum of Art.

 

Then, playing Nina Simone’s "To Be Young Gifted and Black" on vinyl from a turn table on the desk from where he spoke, Theaster turned his pulpit into a parlor, inviting the audience into his perspective on space, race and art. He punctuated his narrative about salvaging the interiors of Crispus Attucks Elmentary School in Chicago – where he is implementing a philosophy of radical urban revitalization - with an image of his work, "A Maimed King."

I'm not mad at the museum. It just won't do more than it can do. I'm not mad at the 'hood. I just expect more from my 'hood.

Of the crumpled image of the civil rights icon caught in a lock, Theaster explained that he wanted to preserve this "mutilated" depiction of “the King” just as he’d found it. He recalled shooing away his assistant who dutifully went to wipe away the thick layer of dust coating the glass and frame because, to him, all of it symbolized an ideal trapped, half-realized, then abandoned. A metaphor for the reality facing black schools in Chicago.

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Alfredo Jaar live from Savannah College of Art and Design

February
19
2014

Chilean artist, architect and filmmaker Alfredo Jaar delivered the keynote address of deFINE Art 2014 from Trustees Theater in Savannah, Ga on Feb. 20, 2014. Watch the lecture below.

The world premiere of Alfredo’s exhibit "Shadows" runs Feb. 18 – June 20 at SCAD Museum of Art. All deFINE Art lectures, events and receptions are free and open to the public.

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5 minutes with American Idol contender George Lovett

February
17
2014

Savannah College of Art and Design alumnus and former member of SCAD’s performance ensemble the Honeybees, George Lovett (B.F.A., performing arts, 2011) recently sang his way to the Top 30 of “American Idol” Season 13. George is no stranger to Idol’s stage, having auditioned and made the show in Season 11. He told us between tapings that this time he's doing things differently. Read what George had to say about his new approach and pursuing a second degree in sound design. Then watch Idol on Wednesdays and Thursdays and vote for George.

Thread: What's your reaction to your success on Idol?

George Lovett: I've always imagined and dreamed of having success through “American Idol.” Now that I'm gaining that success slowly, it just goes to show that if you can dream it you can achieve it.

T: What are you doing differently this time around?

Last time I was too overwhelmed and was just having fun being around all the singers. This time around I'm focusing more on my artistry and on reaching the hearts of people at home watching.

T: How do you spend your days while you're competing on the show?

GL: Playing games on my phone. I try my hardest not to think about it too much because I get too in my mind. I want each performance to be raw in-the-moment emotion.

T: What's going through your mind when you perform and stand before the judges?

GL: I honestly never remember anything when I'm performing. I always say I feel like I'm elevating on a cloud. I try to do everything I can to make sure the judges have no reason to say “no” to me.

T: Of all the judges, who do you identify with the most?

I love watching Keith's reactions when I perform. They seem so authentic, as if he is really in the moment with me and appreciating my gift and not necessarily judging me.

T: How did SCAD's interdisciplinary environment prepare you to succeed on such a visible stage?

GL: SCAD showed me how to audition, how to be presentable to an audience, how to get into a lyric of a song, how to be subtle, how to work hard under pressure and how to take care of myself as a performer.

T: Why did you choose performing arts and then sound design as academic areas to pursue?

GL: I chose performing arts, obviously, because I love to sing, and I wanted to have as much practice and opportunity to stay active in the arts as possible. After I graduated, I realized that I wanted to record and make music. What better place to learn how to manipulate sound than at SCAD? I’ve had a lot of time to figure out my sound as a recording artist.

T: Anything else you'd like to share or for the SCAD community to know?

GL: Be as much of an individual as possible. As performance artists we try so hard to please and to fit in, when the things that make us so special are our differences and our singularity. The main thing is to believe in your dreams so much that people around you can't help but to believe with you. Then, in time, watch it become reality.

Thanks, George. It’s a pleasure watching your reality unfold.

Kimberly Lopez is the executive director of Career and Alumni Success at Savannah College of Art and Design. Her passion is helping students land their creative careers.

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Alfredo Jaar live from Savannah College of Art and Design
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