Has your creativity been sheltering in place for the last several
months (or more)? Well there’s no time like the present to pull it out of
the garage, dust it off, and take it for a spin. Join Pash as he takes
you and thousands of other designers through a series of fun, interactive
creative exercises designed to get those wheels turning and remind your brain
what it means to think like a designer. OK so there won’t be thousands of
people–but there will be enough for you to strut your stuff and impress
them…and hopefully yourself too along the way. Make sure you bring a pad
of paper and a favorite pen or pencil. And your brain—even if it feels a
Pash is a design strategist, author, and educator with 30 years of experience in the field of design. He has designed the official logo for Miles Davis, brand extensions for Playboy, products for John Varvatos, retail product strategy for Motown Records, and advertising for Perrier. For the last 10 years he has been focused in the entertainment industry.
Pash’s work has appeared in hundreds of
magazines, journals, and books. It has sat on shelves on six continents,
it resides in the Smithsonian Institution, it hangs on a wall in Oprah’s
office. It has taught children, revitalized brands, secured funding, clothed
celebrities, trained executives, developed platforms, modernized legacies, and
of course, sold products.
From 2002 to 2004 Pash served as President
of the Los Angeles chapter of AIGA. In addition to UCLA Extension (where
he has taught since 2001) he frequently guest lectures at other art
schools. He is also a popular speaker and is (used to be) on the road a
few times each year to speak to creative professionals around the country.
Pash’s book, Inspirability, was
published in 2005 and features personal interviews with 40 of the world’s most
prominent and interesting graphic designers.
Pash lives in Los Angeles with his wife,
Jessica and his daughters, Mirabelle and Juliette.
Unity is, in many ways, the future; people think it’s only for games, but with Unity you can build apps, movies, augmented reality experiences, and even VR simulations. People are using it in the health industry, for interior design, and more; it’s an incredibly powerful tool, with room for every type of designer. You can get inspired by what’s possible here.
Why does it require a 3-course sequence?
You could say that what we’re learning to do in the Unity classes really combines every aspect of design; in these courses we learn to build rich interactive experiences, and with that comes the need for creativity, design sense, technical know-how, UX expertise, and so much more. Music? Check. Architecture? Check. Physics? Definitely check! Whatever you’re into, there’s a way to apply it to these projects, so although we cover a lot of ground in each class, it would be impossible to get through everything Unity has to offer in just one quarter!
How will this skill set translate to the “real world” workplace?
Interactive media and games is now the biggest entertainment industry today; bigger than movies, bigger than sports, bigger than music. Maybe that interests you, or maybe you’re just curious to see what it’s about; but either way, part of what you get in the Unity sequence is a strong foundation in programming, and every year this becomes more and more valuable, in every industry. Even if you think you have zero interest in being a programmer, knowing how to “talk the talk” so to speak can give you an edge in a great many careers today.
What’s a game jam? Good question!
A game jam is an event where teams or individuals get together and each try to make a small game around a specific theme, within a specific time limit. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do!
Theme: Ghosts, Goblins, Monsters
You can make any kind of game you want, but it has to include ghosts and/or goblins and/or monsters in some meaningful way! If you’re looking for suggestions, see below!
Project Suggestions: A game where you have to find and defeat ghosts in a scary forest An app where you use the UI system to create an interactive ghost story A game where you play as a goblin and try to drive away those pesky humans! Literally just Pac-Man A movie that plays out automatically, telling a story—if you go this route, make sure to use Cinemachine, animation, and potentially Unity’s Timeline system (see lecture 7 for more info) Anything else that you can think of (as long as you can actually build it before the deadline!)
Instructor Michelle Constantine tells us more about this dynamic course, which you can enroll in today:
In this new iteration of Mixed Media, now Media Experimentation, we’ll include digital tools. The old version of the course focused heavily on analog tools and experimentation. We’ll cover some collage tools in Photoshop and there will be a few projects that allow students to work both digitally and analog. Students will have more freedom to move between digital and analog work with support from the instructor.
Understanding how to make things analog is important and can open up worlds for students. Learning how to bounce from analog to digital can be helpful for students who want to push their work further.
The course focuses on mastering Media Experimentation tools and techniques; we’ll collage and explore creating with analog and digital tools.
Hailing from Ashville, North Carolina, please welcome new online instructor, Eric Pieper!
What brought you into this field?
It took me really struggling to embrace the start of my college career as a business major. Thankfully I trusted that something was not feeling right, took a little bit of time off, and realized that art and design had always been a part of my life…even if I had not really noticed it. I grew up heavily into skateboarding, and was always making shirts, stickers, posters and ‘zines with my friends. Realizing that it could be the perfect career, I shifted my focus to a design degree, and quickly evolved and thrived as an A+ student. Soon thereafter, I cold-called a great little design agency in my town and weaseled my way into an internship. Now coming up on almost 20 years later – I’m still very happy doing this kind of work because I can always find ways to keep it fresh, different and exciting.
Tell us about an especially rewarding project you worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
I am in the middle of a project right now that is directly influencing my local neighborhood: Beacham’s Curve. I live in a quickly growing city called Asheville, NC that has always taken pride in its weird and unique identity. As any city starts to grow up, I think the local creative class has an important job to help shape the visual identity of their city. After all, we are the ones that design the logos, signs, menus and murals that visually express the city’s vibe. With that in mind, we befriended a local developer who is drastically changing a big major corner a block away from my house, and thankfully, he’s a developer with heart and soul. We are now working together to make sure this corner is embraced by the locals and becomes an attribute to the community – instead of just a simple, under-thought eyesore. Our work will extend through logo and branding, community events, walls for public art, special hidden little moments, and overall an appreciation of the history that existed here in the past. It’s fulfilling not only because it directly impacts our lives, but also because there is just a lot of creative freedom that is not necessarily tied to the computer. Lots of site visits, exploring signage options, etc… I could go on and on (because it’s kind of a dream project)!
Why is your course, Design IV: Capstone, important for my design education?
As a class, I want the social cause that we tackle together to show students how rewarding it is to use the power of design and communication to bring important issues to light. Sometimes it’s hard to ‘make up reasons’ for a new brand that doesn’t really have a strong back-story. I face that challenge in my career all the time. But being able to leverage the unique and special story behind social issues in the civic realm, and bring them to life through words and images, provides a surge of inspiration that yields amazing results.
As an instructor, I bring a well-seasoned and unique creative perspective to class. I have worked in multiple aspects of the design world over the course of my career thus far: fresh intern, jr. designer at small creative studios, in-house sr. designer at TOMS Shoes (as they grew exponentially), busy freelance designer, art director at a big ad agency, and now as the owner of my own design and branding studio called Homestead. There are so many directions to take a design career (or even just a project for that matter) – and I can help expose students to just how wide and wonderful this world of creativity and design can be! I’m beyond passionate about design and creativity, and hope that students leave very inspired by my enthusiasm.
Do you have a sample assignment?
One of our class assignments will be to discuss and explore ways to create hand-made elements, and then bring those assets into the digital realm for use on the bigger project. Since the overall design and branding project will be for a real-world social cause, this will be a great chance to learn how (even very tiny) human elements can really bring an issue or cause to life, and connect with the public on an emotional level.
Why is this material important for my design education?
Having solid, hands-on experience with web development gives designers a true understanding of how to bring a project to life. Not only will you be familiar with the core technologies and the development process, you will also be able to build rapid prototypes during the design phase. This is a powerful skill set that will help you test, prove and share your creative vision whether you are building a project yourself or handing it off to a development team.
Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?
Throughout the course we’ll work on a variety of fast-paced projects, each building on skills learned in the previous weeks. A fun project we’ll work on towards the end of the course is to design and build an interactive infographic complete with animation and live data.
What will I take away from this course?
● A solid understanding of modern HTML & CSS
● Working knowledge of responsive frameworks and how to use them
● Modern web design and development workflow and process
This winter, instructor Mayee Futterman will be teaching Chinese Brush Painting at our Westwood center. Mayee brings years of experience and artistic inspiration to the classroom. We chatted with her about the history of this art form, and how you can get started creating unique and beautiful works of your own.
Can you describe your history with Chinese Brush Painting and how you got started?
I have been an artist all my life. As a young girl, I loved to draw. I became an architect and discovered the power of design, materials, and structure. Then, the birth of our son rocked my world. It rearranged my life, career, and mindset. “Mayee, Interrupted.” Motherhood taught me three things: to go with the flow, to know the beauty of the female body, and to love unconditionally. But before I knew it, I was no longer the sun of my son’s universe. Again, time came for change. “Mom, you have vision. Now execute.”
The Chinese characters for měi 美 meaning “beauty” and yí 怡 meaning “ease” represent my name. To me, they convey the essence of the art I love: the joyful expression of sublime beauty, with the natural ease of a dancing brush. Graceful yet bold, deliberate yet free, Chinese Brush Painting bridges my duality—the bold austerity of the architect with the sensuous grace of motherhood.
My mother’s first household purchase as a newlywed was not a bed, pots and pans, or any practical necessities. With her small savings, she bought an exquisite Chinese blue and white porcelain jar with images of Phoenix, Dragon, and Peony. My childhood was deeply infused with Chinese and Philippine influences that inspired my aesthetic sensibilities. I too began my love affair with Chinese Brush Painting the year I was married.
Chinese Brush Painting is the foundation of all oriental brush arts and has strongly influenced Western painting. An extension of Chinese calligraphy or brush writing, no other art form emphasizes the mastery of brushwork. My art and teaching are strongly founded on classical Chinese Brush Painting skills, techniques, philosophy, and subject matter. I teach a range of approaches from traditional to contemporary. I draw influences from my multi-cultural experience and bring a rigor and aesthetic sensibility from my architecture and urban design background. My approach is suitable for beginning through advanced students.
Like UCLA Extension students, my first exploration into Chinese Brush Painting was through continuing education. For over two decades, I studied and apprenticed under professor and master artist, Dr. Ning Yeh. I serve as teaching assistant and co-authored five of his instructional art books including “108 Flowers: Brush Painting Lessons Volumes 1-4” and “Landscape Lessons.” I have a Master of Architecture II from UCLA and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Cum Laude from the University of the Philippines. My work is in various corporate and private collections throughout the U.S. and abroad. I have traveled to China numerous times to study and paint.
I am excited to teach at UCLA Extension because my own life changes and transformative experiences are aligned with their vision to “engage education to transform lives” and “to create extraordinary learning experiences for adults of all ages.” In brush painting (as in life), the first stroke is a “happening.” The rest are a series of adjustments building upon previous ones. Whether one is undergoing a career change, enhancing skills, or engaged in lifelong learning, Chinese Brush Painting is an enlightening practice in embracing change.
Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
My first art commission was to produce a large wall mural for the lobby of a new medical facility. Unfortunately, oversized handmade rice paper is no longer produced. My teacher offered, “This paper was my father’s. I’ve been saving it—for when I get better.” The sheets were a treasure. The master himself considered them too precious to use. “There are only 20 sheets. You take 10.” I was stunned. How could I possibly paint on these?
The paper had aged to a fine perfection, every stroke a sensual delight. When I tell this story, people inevitably ask, “How many sheets did it take to get it right?” I respond, “Was there any room for error?”
The giant mural and over 30 of my works are permanently displayed at the Los Angeles Center for Women’s Health (Women’s Center), a comprehensive, state-of-the-art facility in downtown Los Angeles dedicated to providing high quality, compassionate care for the health and well being of women through all life stages.
Shortly after the center opened, I got calls for additional paintings. “Some patients come in with severe emotional and physical distress. Many are facing terminal conditions. Seeing your art brings them ease and comfort.” I too have worn a patient’s gown and sat in the waiting room with other patients—and with my art. I have often contemplated the value and purpose of art in human lives.
The Women’s Center project was my awakening to the positive and life-affirming influence of my art. It gave me the confidence and conviction to share the beauty, joy, inspiration, and knowledge of Chinese Brush Painting with others. That single sheet of rice paper was a defining moment in my life. I have 9 sheets left—for when I get better.
Why is it important to you to teach this art form?
What makes Chinese Brush Painting unique? “The Four Treasures”—brush, ink stick, ink stone, and rice paper—have defined this art form for thousands of years. The Chinese brush is graceful, supple, and bounces to a lively point. When in tune with the artist’s spirit, it dances to the rhythm of the universe. Rice paper is sensitive, honest, and responsive. It absorbs every move, thought, and emotion. Once a stroke is delivered, it cannot be changed or covered up. The ink stone is the playground where ink meets water. The play of ink and water is the yin and yang of brush painting—the harmonious integration of contrasting elements resulting in a sense of equilibrium and tranquility. Together, the lively interaction of brush, ink, water, and rice paper is a transformative and enlightening experience.
Xiěyì寫意, the spontaneous style of Chinese Brush Painting, means “to depict an idea.” Executed in a lively, simple, and speedy manner, one expresses the spirit and essence of a subject rather than its realistic detail. The artist is at one with the subject, and the painting is a medium for self-expression and self-discovery.
As a student of Chinese Brush Painting, I am on a never-ending journey of learning. Sharing the knowledge with others is the most inspiring and energizing way to learn. Why is it important to me to teach this art form?
It is a way of life. The theory of Chinese Brush Painting is also the philosophy of life. It gives meaning and connection to the world beyond one’s self. It is life-affirming and life-changing for both the artist and the viewer.
We live a multi-cultural life with valuable and meaningful influences. I have a deep appreciation, understanding, and passion for this medium. Teaching others preserves the tradition and advances the art.
It deepens the artist’s skill set and broadens their perspective. Chinese Brush Painting is an important genre in the history and development of art. Mastery of the brush empowers artists of any medium.
It is fun. The sensation of stroking the Chinese brush to rice paper is like no other. It awakens all the senses. The whole person—mind, heart, body, and spirit—engages in this process. It is one’s “happy place.”
The creative process is regenerative and rejuvenating. In Chinese Brush Painting, every sheet of rice paper is a fresh beginning. Every brush stroke is loaded with joyful anticipation. One is in a state of eternal spring.
What can students expect from your class?
In this class, students will unlock the treasures, experience the beauty, discover the essence, and share the joy of Chinese Brush Painting.
They will learn the basics of Chinese Brush Painting through hands-on instruction, complete compositions, handouts, and discussion including:
Gain an overview of the history, philosophy, and aesthetic concepts.
Understand the proper selection, care, preparation, and use of traditional materials.
Perform the basic skills and techniques for brush strokes including line work, texture, shading, and washes on floral, creatures, and landscape subjects.
Engage in a dialog about the principles of design and composition and methods of critique.
After taking this class, students can enjoy the following outcomes:
Demonstrate general knowledge, preparation, and proper use of brushes, paper, ink, and colors.
Demonstrate beginning skills to deliver brush strokes with fluidity and dexterity.
Demonstrate basic skills to apply Chinese Brush Painting techniques to produce finished paintings.
Apply key elements of design and composition to produce original images.
In the budding stage, the sunflower faces the sun and follows it’s movement across the sky. As it matures, it settles into a fixed position. My teacher says, “The desire to learn keeps one’s mind in the budding stage.” Indeed, Chinese Brush Painting has something to offer for everyone. No prior experience needed. Paint with me this summer and take the lifelong journey into Chinese Brush Painting.
This summer we’re looking forward to working once again with Brenda Williams to offer Contemporary Los Angeles Art. Brenda is a local art adviser and independent curator specializing in emerging contemporary artists. Her class will meet over six Saturdays, and explore areas in the Los Angeles art world not usually accessible to the public. Visits will focus on private home collections, artists’ studios, and curator-led gallery tours. Each six-hour meeting will include multiple location visits.
Class meets from 11am – 4pm on: June 29, July 13, July 27, August 10, August 24, September 7
To read more about the class, and register for summer, click here.
We spoke with Brenda about her background, and what artists she’s watching now.
How did you get interested in art collecting, and what were your first experiences in the art world?
I moved to Italy and worked for Marilena Bonomo. She and her daughter honed my taste for contemporary art. When I returned to the states however, I became more interested in African Art and textiles. I fell in love with the masks from the different tribes in Africa. The textiles by makers from around the world were so amazing (ikat, tie dye and embroidery), I couldn’t resist their beauty.
What artists or galleries are you excited about right now?
June Edmonds is an artist I’m following right now. She’s been making beautiful work in LA for many years and she’s finally getting due notice. Arthur Jafa winner of The Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale for best artist in the central exhibition is one of my new, old favorites. His films are outstanding. Finally, I visited the Bowers Museum and saw a magnificent exhibition by fashion designer Guo Pei. It’s not to be missed. What she can do with fabric is incredible.
What do you feel is something unique Los Angeles has to offer art lovers?
The unique thing LA has to offer art lovers right now is an overwhelming amount of resources to find new, emerging and established artists, at new galleries and museums. The very important thing is that in Los Angeles you can begin collecting art from the bottom to the top of the market. The city has exploded in art work over the past 5 years and you can see work from local and world renown artists in under a 25 mile radius. I suggest everyone begin thinking about collecting, whether posters, small works or emerging artists, begin supporting the culture in LA.
Which collections or works are you looking forward to sharing with your students?
The California African American Museum (CAAM) has a very special exhibition by an artist named Adia Millet called Breaking Patterns. It’s gorgeous. There is also a retrospective of work by artist Ernie Barnes one of the premier African American artists of the 20th century. His work is very recognizable though you may not have known his name. Finally in collaboration with LACMA, CAAM is showing Plumbline: Charles White and the Contemporary.
For those who are interested in learning more about the art world in Los Angeles, how would you recommend getting started?
Visit as many museums and galleries as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Read art based publications like CARLA and Artillery. And if that leaves you wanting more, take my class Contemporary Los Angeles Art this summer.
We’re delighted that our award-winning instructor, Masaki Koike, sat down with us to share more about his design life. His answers to our questions and a gallery of his work are below, but first, his official bio:
Masaki Koike is the principal of Phyx Design founded in 2007. His work in the music industry has earned him a Grammy Award and multiple Grammy nominations – this year for The Grateful Dead – Get Shown the Light box set! His work has been published in various design books and magazines. Over the last decade Masaki has worked at various companies such as Rhino Records, Smog Design, Nokia Design Center and Saatchi&Saatchi. He is a native to Los Angeles and currently works and lives in the beautiful city of Pasadena. He also teaches at UCLA Extension’s DCA program.
What brought you to the field of design?
As a kid, I enjoyed making things so working in the creative field should’ve been obvious. My focus in college was initially Psychology ’cause it seemed more legitimate as a major. I came to the realization that it wasn’t what I wanted to do so I dropped it with 2 classes left to fulfill my degree. I switched my major to art and never looked back!
Please tell us about an especially rewarding project you have worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
I think the enjoyment of what I do IS the reward. It sounds idealistic but I hope that everything I work on is rewarding in some way. It can be creatively or financially rewarding and it rarely goes hand in hand!
The Recording Academy has recognized your outstanding work many times. How does a love of music inform your visual designs?
I’m not sure that it does. Of course it helps if I’m familiar with the artist but doing research is always a good starting point weather I know the artist or not. Every project is different in that the information comes from many sources. Sometimes it’s the title or the concept of the album. Sometimes the band wants me to use a piece of artwork or photo. Some artists, especially an established act, have their own brand assets. Sometimes, it’s a culmination of all these things and I just run with it. When the information comes from data and strategic marketing, it can be very unrewarding!
What will students take away from your course, Design Fundamentals?
Since it’s a beginners’ course, I firmly believe in teaching the prose of design. How to best communicate an idea by distilling the information so that it is concise and direct. How to think, analyze, and problem solve. To heighten your visual awareness. Developing good work habits and understanding the importance of trying, failing, and trying again.
I’ll leave you with a quote from designer Lou Danziger: “Work. Think. Feel. Work: No matter how brilliant, talented, exceptional, and wonderful the student may be, without work there is nothing but potential and talk. Think: Design is a problem-solving activity. Thinking is the application of intelligence to arrive at the appropriate solution to the problem. Feel: Work without feeling, intuition, and spontaneity is devoid of humanity.”
It’s always exciting to offer new elective courses, especially in the burgeoning field of game design and learning. This summer, we’re offering the new 2-unit online course Game-Based Learning. Instructor Randall Fujimoto tell us more about it:
Why is this course important for my design education?
This course is important for design students because of two main reasons: 1) To become familiar with game design in relation to learning, and 2) To understand the design implications of designing for the gameful mindset generation.
With approximately 2.2 billion active gamers worldwide, games are fast becoming the most important media of our time. Therefore, any good design education needs to include the study of game design. Game designers are typically interested in designing all aspects of a game, including gameplay, art and animation, environment design, sound and music, and user interfaces, in order to make games engaging and fun. In this course, we look at the design of games not only as it relates to engagement but also, and more importantly for educators, how it relates to learning.
In the U.S., the average 21-year-old person has played an estimated 10,000 hours of video games. The sheer amount of gameplay hours has undoubtedly had an effect on the way that today’s “gamer generation” thinks and learns. They have developed what we call a “gameful mindset,” which describes the unique ways in which gamers think, learn, and live their lives. Anyone who is designing anything for the gamer generation needs to understand how a gameful mindset affects the way these people learn how to use what they are designing. This course can help future designers become familiar with the characteristics of a gameful mindset and how they relate to learning.
Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?
One assignment will have teams working on designing a lesson plan or learning activity centered around using an existing video game to help students learn. In order to design such a lesson plan or learning activity, teams will have to identify one or more learning outcomes and objectives, conduct research on existing video games that can be used for these outcomes and objectives, and then create a design plan that details the entire learning process. Teams will share their completed design plans with the entire class to get feedback and improvement ideas.
What will I take away from this course?
This course will give you a solid knowledge base about the various aspects of game-based learning and how to design various learning activities that utilize games and game-like thinking. The course will cover video games, educational games, game design projects, gamification of courses, and other topics related to game-based learning, including the intrinsic motivations inherent in game-based learning activities.
We’re highlight three of the outstanding group projects created by students of John Beach’s fall Design IV: Advanced Design Practice course.
Next up: Aviva Family and Children’s Services by Jonas Lin, Yuling Liang, Flora Zhuang.
First John gives us an overview of the course:
Students get the opportunity to choose a real life non-profit organization to rebrand, refresh and reorganize the public’s perception of its value. We start with branding, and through web presence, social media and virtually any other method such as (but not limited to) pop up events, exhibitions, advertising, curated exhibitions (all of which the teams design), we look at ways to build awareness, extend and develop funding possibilities, or change social perceptions. The teams leave with an extraordinary brand/look book for their portfolios that chronicles the process.