Sound Bites - Issue #20 - April 2015
Community Education's Premiere Online Magazine
In This Issue:
- Summer Session Early Bird Discount in May
- What's New: Insights from Our Latest Art Exhibit
- Irwin Thall: Saving Pets' Lives
- Up Close: A. Moret – Digital Online Editor
Summer Session Early Bird Discount in May
Career & Contract Ed.
I'm excited to unveil a great lineup of classes, workshops and tours we have for our upcoming Summer Session. As an added bonus, we are bringing back our Early Bird Discount – for the entire month of May, get 10% off on all Health & Fitness and Kids & Teens classes!
Online registration is available now, and the Summer Session begins June 22. In all, we are offering 120 courses, workshops and tours.
One of our most noticeable additions this summer is the increased number of day tours we're offering – and some are downright unusual. For example, our Newport Harbor Champagne Brunch Cruise isn't on just any boat, it's on John Wayne's yacht. And what better way to go to the elegant Del Mar racetrack than by train?
This is just a small sample of the many enrichment and professional classes we will be offering this summer. Please download and peruse our online catalog to see which courses, workshops and/or tours are right for you. You can also order a free hard copy of the class schedule.
Director of Career & Contract Education
What's New: Insights from Our Latest Art Exhibit
Community & Contract Education
A year ago, we cleaned out the dark, dust-filled display case in the lobby of the Bundy Building and turned it into a brightly lit mini-gallery for showcasing student artwork. I was happy then – as I am now – that SMC students and employees, as well as visitors to our building, are noticing how talented our art students are.
Twelve months later, we have installed our third exhibit, and I believe this display has messages beyond the visual stimulation provided by the pieces in the case. This time we added Artist's Statements that provide insight as to why arts classes can be so meaningful.
In her Artist's Statement, Barbara Adler, who created amazing mosaic shoes, talks about what inspires her and how she begins with a sketch but then "the work meanders and takes on a life of its own."
It struck me when reading this that she's so intensely involved in the process that it actually relaxes her. I believe that doing any art form – visual, music, writing – is a form of therapy. In this day and age, when we're so stressed out and bombarded by so many messages, an art form becomes even more important. At Community Ed, we want our community to find that missing part that will help them lead more wholesome lives. And it doesn't matter your level of talent.
We've also included in this exhibit some Sumi-e paintings, which are Japanese ink drawings. The instructor of that class, Sherry Davis, notes that Sumi-e, with its absence of color, emphasizes line, shading and tone.
Sumi-e provides, for Westerners, a different way of perceiving art – and we at Community Ed are interested in presenting new perspectives. We also want to be more global and to reflect our community, which is likely the most diverse in the nation.
And so, I invite all of you to look at the wonderful pieces in our newest exhibit, but also read the artist's statements and see that art can be more than just pretty pictures and objects.
Irwin Thall: Saving Pets' Lives
Irwin Thall knows that our furry friends can be lifesavers – they love us unconditionally, they cheer us up, and studies have shown they can even lower our blood pressure and boost our physical health.
So it comes as no surprise that he wants to return the lifesaving favor – first by being trained in pet emergency care and then certified as an instructor in Pet Tech™ CPR, First Aid and Pet Care.
He will teach a 7-hour PetSaver Community Ed workshop on Saturday, May 30.
Thall graduated college with a teaching degree but soon started his own business and gradually moved into sales for 30 years.
"I did a lot of speaking over the years and realized that I still liked teaching, and with my owning pets and working as a pet care professional it was natural a year ago to become a Pet Tech instructor," he says. "This gives me a chance to help pet parents and professionals learn what they can do for their pets in case of an emergency."
Appropriately, with April being National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, we asked Thall a few questions.
What do you like about teaching?
Watching people learn something new or accomplish a skill gets me excited to continue sharing knowledge, particularly when it can help someone help a pet in an emergency, which is particularly important because there is no 911 for pets.
Tell us about pets you have had in the past and present.
Currently we have a dog and cat, and both are great companions. We have lost pets over the years but have been lucky to have most of them live long lives. Our experience with our own pets crosses over into my presentations and helps make the topics more real for the students.
Describe a time you helped a pet in distress.
Our neighbors came knocking on our door late at night to get help for their dog that was having a seizure. Because of my training, I was able to help them keep calm, relax their dog and get her to the pet emergency clinic. Seizures in pets, dogs mostly, are frightening and knowing how to handle the situation is something pet parents should learn.
Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
That I am a cancer survivor who continues to fight it and will succeed.
What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
Some things can't be told, but I did "streak" in college, for those of you who can remember when "streaking" was a thing.
Why are pets important?
Pets love us unconditionally and are always glad when we come home, so even if we have a rotten day, seeing your furry kid can make everything right. It is well known that sitting and petting your pet, cat or dog, can lower blood pressure.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting and reading book with a cat or dog curled up next to me.
Up Close: A. Moret – Digital Online Editor
SMC Community Ed attracts many students with extraordinary accomplishments. Case in point: A. Moret, who took Greg Van Zuyen's Photoshop & Illustrator class last fall. Moret is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Santa Monica-based Installation Media & Magazine, the first all-digital contemporary art magazine designed for the iPad, iPhone and online.
A. Moret photos by Garet Field Sells and Gary Heck.
The venture has wed her two passions – art and writing, which she studied as an undergraduate at USC, majoring in Art History and Mass Communication Theory, and later pursued as a career. Before founding Installation Magazine, she worked for three years as an editorial assistant for Los Angeles Times Magazine, writing articles on art, fashion, music, travel and lifestyle. As a freelancer, she has been a contributing writer for leading national publications, including Huffington Post, Flaunt, ARTINFO, Art Scene, Art Ltd. and more.
"She's brilliant and well-read and one of my favorite people," Van Zuyen said.
You founded Installation Magazine in 2010. Why? Tell us briefly what the magazine is about.
Installation Magazine was realized after a creative collaboration between myself and Garet Field-Sells, a photographer and creative director. In 2009 we developed a concept that we called One Mile Radius, an exploration of the role that the environment plays in defining an artist's practice. We selected 10 editorial features that I had written and published and then traveled the city on the weekends, photographing within one mile of the artist's studio.
We made the decision not to include any of the artist's artwork, rather let Garet's original photography of the surrounding neighborhood and my words illuminate the work and inspire readers to learn more about the artists. After the completion of the project we realized the power of our creative efforts and co-founded Installation Magazine, a publication committed to the curiosity that lives within the artist's studio, and the stories that a collection can tell. We created our debut issue while I was still working for the Los Angeles Times and then one year later we had our own office in the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport.
What is special about the magazine?
Installation Magazine was first conceived as a quarterly printed publication. Only a limited number of issues ever went into circulation and many of them were sent to the contributing artists, collectors and subscribers, I have two copies that were proofs that I regard among my most valuable possessions as it represents a turning point in my career.
While I love printed matter, the impact of Installation Magazine was lost because it became another printed publication lost in a sea of titles on the newsstand. In examining the Apple Store Newsstand at the time, we discovered that there was no contemporary art publication made specifically for the iPad. While there were many art titles, they were not taking advantage of the features native to the iPad experience – chief among them the interactivity of the text and images through sound, video, and gestures. The debut issue California was completely re-imagined from a printed publication to a digital version and the result was astounding. Within a few weeks of launching, Installation was featured on the landing page of the App Store, listed on the top 10 of the "New and Noteworthy" section, and named as the "Editor's Pick." In a very short period of time the magazine gained 30,000 subscribers nationally and worldwide and the numbers continue to rise. The convergence of art and technology gave me the editorial freedom to feature artworks across all disciplines from photography to painting, performances to immersive installations or sound design that transcend the inherent borders of a printed page. The retina display of the iPad made it possible to present artwork in great detail, inviting exploration of the work and a more visceral reading experience. The ethos of Installation Magazine is that art should be a source of conversation, not intimidation. The presentation of the content in a digital format transformed the content into a visceral and inspiring experience and invited a new audience to enjoy an art publication that they may have never purchased if it existed on a traditional newsstand.
When did you take Photoshop and Illustrator at Community Ed? Why? Tell us about your experience with the class and instructor Greg Van Zuyen.
As an Editor-in-Chief I am always connecting words with images, graphics and video elements. While I have done my best to grasp Photoshop and Illustrator it remained a language that I wasn't fluent in and thus kept me from effectively communicating design ideas to my colleagues, web designers and artists. I enrolled in Greg Van Zuyen's course last fall in the hopes of gaining a greater insight into the possibilities of the programs.
For Greg, Photoshop and Illustrator are native languages that he can communicate through effortlessly. His depth of knowledge always amazed me, and his insight and experience were inspiring. With Greg's background working with editors and writers, he demonstrated a respect for images in the same way that I regard words. Throughout the six weeks I did my best to absorb as much information as I could, and in the end Greg's enthusiasm and knowledge truly helped me in my approach to developing creative concepts regarding layout, graphic design and user experience.
What's the best thing and what's the worst thing about being an art journalist?
My calendar changes one week to the next and I never know who I may meet. There is a magic in unpredictability, and meeting curators, gallerists, writers, artists and collectors inspires me to return to my art history text books from college and continue to expand my art collection. The only downside to conducting an interview is that it needs to be transcribed and no matter how many years of practice I have, it always feels like a daunting task.
Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
When I was eight years old I started playing guitar and turned my room into a shrine to the Beatles. At the time my dad was the senior entertainment correspondent for CNN and I went with him to work one day for an interview celebrating the re-release of A Hard Day's Night. An older man walked into the makeup room before the interview and introduced himself as Walter Shenson. I pointed at him and said, "I know who you are… your name is on my Beatles poster." Mr. Shenson produced A Hard Day's Night and Help! Both posters were in my room and I studied them every day. He was utterly surprised that an 8 year old knew who he was. A week later I received an autograph from him and it was just as cool as meeting a Beatle.
You recently curated Visualpilots at SPRING/BREAK in New York. Tell us briefly about that experience.
While traveling in Basel, Switzerland last year to cover the 10th anniversary of the VOLTA art fair, I had the opportunity to meet Christoph Thüer and Simon Haenggi. Together they form the interactive art and design collective Visualpilots. During Art Basel they set up an installation called "Luminessenz," an immersive light and sound installation combining an original soundscape with project mapping. My boyfriend and I were completely amazed by the sophistication of their installation and it remained with us long after returning to the U.S.
Several months later as I was preparing to cover VOLTA in New York City, I learned about a curator-driven art fair called SPRING/BREAK. The theme of the show was "TRANSACTION" and I knew that I wanted to address the interchange and exchange of technology. While I was contemplating which artists to approach on a road trip, my boyfriend had an epiphany in the car and exclaimed, "You have to call Visualpilots!," nearly veering into the next lane. I immediately placed a Skype call to Switzerland, got the green light from Christoph and Simon and then submitted my proposal.
After learning that my proposal had been accepted, I began to prepare for my curatorial debut and began calling vendors in New York City to rent light and sound equipment.
We titled the installation "Luminessenz: Space is Only Noise" and completely transformed an abandoned post office warehouse into an immersive experience that captivated the imagination of children, their parents and even their grandparents. More than 10 thousand visitors stopped by SPRING/BREAK during the Armory Week and it was an absolute thrill to have the privilege of working with tremendously talented artists. It was the first time that Visualpilots had ever shown in the United States, and it was my first time curating a show.
What turns you on most about art?
Art in whatever form transcends time and space, triggers memories and connects us to the past while actively challenging our ideas about the present.
What are you hoping to do in the future, either professionally, personally or both?
I hope to propel Installation Magazine into a new space, curating large-scale installations around the world. There is currently a new app in development and I look forward to developing fresh content and forming new relationships with luminaries in Los Angeles and beyond.