[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
61°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 22
1932 - Larry Thornton, Hart High band director 1969-89, born in Kern County [story]


CalArts’ program in Graphic Design has a long history of documenting Institute-wide events through custom screen-printed posters. Typically produced in editions of 50 or less, it has become a badge of honor among students to have their work taken off campus walls by classmates with sticky fingers–a clear indication that the work is valued for more than its information.

In 1994, Graphic Design faculty members Shelley Stepp and Kary Arimoto-Mercer created a physical archive for the posters as a way to preserve students’ work. From their initial efforts, the physical archive has grown exponentially, requiring that the posters be stored in various corners of offices across the Graphic Design program.

Without a central location or means to access the physical poster archive, Graphic Design faculty Michael Worthington devised a plan to consolidate the work into a digital space, a platform that could be made available online to alumni and current students, as well as to CalArts and design communities at large.

“I realized about two years ago that our collection of posters was, in fact, a rich, visual historical timeline of design at CalArts, and a cultural timeline of the Institute, too,” Worthington said.

“Enough time had passed that the collection was now an archive,” he said.

We asked him about how he and his team of students finally brought the physical archive into the digital age, and about the upcoming book release and REDCAT exhibition that will celebrate the legacy of the Graphic Design poster tradition at CalArts.

24700: The physical archive has been in the works for about two decades. What made this moment the right time to create a digital extension of that collection?

MW: We had never had any funding for the archive, but two years ago the Graphic Design program received a share of the profits from the online Coursera courses the design faculty had taught, and we used that money to buy lights and a camera and hire students, so that we could start to document and archive the posters.

We cleaned out a storage closet and turned it into a photo studio. I built a white box and had someone build a portable poster-mover, so we could transport posters between the archive and the shooting space. When we had enough images I worked with two MFA students on the website UI/UX, identity and structure — Tracy Tran and Guanyan Wu — and we hired faculty Roman Jaster and Yay Brigade to program the site for us.

Since then we’ve been gradually adding to the site, and now have more than 1,000 posters uploaded, and another 1,000 or so still to shoot…

Can you talk a bit about the book of posters you are working on?

We plan on publishing a book of a selection of the posters. One of the starting points for this project was the 10-year Poster book that CalArts printed in 1980, to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. My idea was to create a publication that filled the gap between 1980 and now. I commissioned about 12 pieces of writing and interviews that chronologically line up across that time span to try and get a feel for the changes and history of nearly 40 years.

The book will also be funded by the Graphic Design program’s Coursera profits, and we are hoping to release it at the same time as the show at REDCAT in October. I’m editing the publication and will work closely with two MFA students on the design. We don’t know yet if we will self-publish or find a publisher or distributor, but either way, it’ll be for sale through the website, and available to CalArts students, faculty and alumni.

There will also be a REDCAT poster exhibition in the fall. Can you give us a preview of what that is going to look like?

So far, the organizing structure and curatorial decisions haven’t been made, but it’ll definitely cover the whole time span since the 10-year poster book. We had to get the digital archive up and running before we could commission writers for the book, and select the work for the exhibition: the archive had to be made visible before we could really see what we had, let alone start to work with it. The show will be a smaller selection of curated posters than the online archive, which will eventually include every poster in the physical archive.

There are still a lot of uncredited posters on the archive. Who should students or alumni contact if they want to help identify the designers for those mystery prints?

You can click on the “?” on the website to submit missing information. One of the goals of the site was to crowdsource missing info, for some posters, especially the earlier ones, we don’t even know its year, let alone the designer! We’ve already had more than 350 missing pieces of information supplied by alumni, as well as several offers to donate posters. When someone submits an email about missing info, it automatically flows into a Google spreadsheet, cross-referenced against other comments, and we update them as soon as we can.

What’s the best part about seeing this project come to fruition?

Well, it’s far from done – we are only halfway through the digital archive, and then, once we are caught up the site will have to be updated every year with the new posters. We are also working on creating a physical space on campus, to store the hard copies. Once we have all the information in the digital archive, it will allow us to properly label and organize the analog posters by year in flat files, which will be a mammoth task in itself. Then, we have to finish the book and the exhibition… It’s a three-year project from start to finish, and we are about 18 months into it.

But the best part so far is making such a large volume of work visible that was previously hidden, and being able to easily search through it and filter it. It’s wonderful when you find a fantastic design from the past that you didn’t see at the time. Actually, not just the designs, but also the events. Seeing which artists were visiting here in the ’80s and ’90s is amazing. In a lot of ways, the posters are like time capsules. They are evidence of the past and of past events at CalArts. They are visual triggers for memories, and transport alumni back to the time that they were students. That’s the real magic of the poster archive.

Discover more in CalArts Online Poster Archive.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT LINKS
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
The ARTree still has openings for next week's Junior Arts Sampler and "I Made That!" pastel classes.
Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
Glenn Frankel and Keri Walsh have been named 2018 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
CalArts alumna and faculty member Brigette Barrager (BFA Film/Video 07) was awarded the Christopher Award for Distinguished Achievement for her illustration of "Pocket Full of Colors."
Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
"Window Lace," the first exhibit by CalArts students to be presented at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall, is now open on the mall's first floor across from H&M and will be on display through the end of summer 2018.
Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that Jennifer Todd has won the runoff election for the open Producers Branch seat on the 2018–19 Board of Governors.
Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1932 - Larry Thornton, Hart High band director 1969-89, born in Kern County [story]
The ARTree still has openings for next week's Junior Arts Sampler and "I Made That!" pastel classes.
ARTree Summer Classes Still Available
The Santa Clarita Arts Commission will hold a study session, Monday, June 25, at 6:30 p.m.
June 25: Arts Commission Study Session
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a teleconference meeting, Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
June 28: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday, June 26, at 5:30 p.m.
June 26: Santa Clarita City Council Special Meeting
Firefighters are battling a brush fire at the Sunshine Canyon Landfill that started around 3:00 p.m. Thursday.
Firefighters Battling 1-2 Acre Fire Near Newhall Pass
Glenn Frankel and Keri Walsh have been named 2018 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Academy Honors 2018 Film Scholars
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and Sweat Box Sauna Bar as they celebrate the opening of their new location.
June 27: Grand Opening Celebration Sweat Box Sauna Bar
Fresh Mustang connections to Major League Baseball didn't end with the draft earlier this month. Master's graduate David Sheaffer, who transferred before his final collegiate season to pursue an international MBA program, signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Mariners on June 10.
TMU Alum Signs with Seattle Mariners
There are spots still available on the Saugus Spartans Football program for kids between the ages of 6-8 years old.
Spots Still Open on Saugus Spartans Football Program
An already extremely tight inventory bumped into rising interest rates to further complicate home sales during May in the Santa Clarita Valley, which saw drops in home and condominium closed escrows compared to a year ago, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
SCV Home, Condo Sales Drop Amid Tight Inventory, Rising Interest Rates
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station are looking for a male suspect who stole a tip jar from a local coffee shop. Details below are from the Facebook page of the SCV Sheriff's Station:
Detectives Seek Public’s Help in Nabbing Tip Jar Thief
Adoption is a meaningful way for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting. There are approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California.
July 28: Children’s Bureau Foster Care, Adoption Information Meeting
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Friday, June 22, in the city of Santa Clarita in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.
LASD to Conduct Specialized Motorcycle Safety Operation
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy for all individuals in Santa Clarita Valley and for sensitive individuals in East San Gabriel Valley area tomorrow, Friday, June 22.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
1941 - Ernie Hickson buys out Trem Carr's interest in their Monogram movie ranch, renames it "Placeritos" (later called Melody). [story]
CalArts alumna and faculty member Brigette Barrager (BFA Film/Video 07) was awarded the Christopher Award for Distinguished Achievement for her illustration of "Pocket Full of Colors."
CalArts Faculty Brigette Barrager Wins Christopher Award
"Window Lace," the first exhibit by CalArts students to be presented at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall, is now open on the mall's first floor across from H&M and will be on display through the end of summer 2018.
CalArts Opens its First Art Exhibit at Westfield Valencia Mall
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that Jennifer Todd has won the runoff election for the open Producers Branch seat on the 2018–19 Board of Governors.
Producer Jennifer Todd Voted to Academy Board of Governors
California's median home price reached a new high in May, while home sales retreated both on a monthly and annual basis, wiping out most of the gains posted for the year, the California Association of Realtors said Tuesday.
California Median Home Price Hits Record High, Sales Drop in May
In an effort to transform California’s relationship to energy markets in the western region of the country, lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a bill that would merge California into a regional energy market.
California’s Controversial Energy-Grid Bill Advances
Santa Clarita-based SOS Entertainment has been named the 38th Assembly District’s Business of the Year, Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) announced Wednesday.
SOS Entertainment Named 38th Assembly District Business of the Year
Tickets are now on sale for “A Doll’s House,” “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Harold and Maude,” three theater productions to be presented in June and July at The Main in Old Town Newhall.
Tickets on Sale for 3 New Theater Productions at The Main
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan announced on Wednesday the fifth ballot counting update for the Statewide Direct Primary Election.
Fifth Election Results Update for June 5 Primary Election
Los Angeles County has engaged information technology leader IBM Security Services to conduct an independent review and evaluation of the systems and procedures used in the production and printing of voter rosters for the June 5 Statewide Direct Primary Election.
L.A. County Selects IBM Security Services to Review Voter Roster Error
The Assembly Committee on Public Safety unanimously passed Senate Bill 1024, the Animal Cruelty & Violence Intervention Act of 2018, introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, to change the way California handles animal abuse offenders, Wilk announced Wednesday.
Wilk Animal Offender Bill Passes Assembly Public Safety Committee
Separate bills authored by California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, to improve management of sex offenders and to streamline cultivation of industrial hemp have cleared the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, Wilk announced Wednesday.
Wilk Sex Offender, Industrial Hemp Bills Clear Assembly Committee
World-traveled rock-R&B-funk band Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps returns to headline the free Valencia Jazz & Blues concert on the street outside the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Friday, June 22 starting at 7 p.m.
June 22: Teresa James & Rhythm Tramps at Valencia Jazz & Blues
The California Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee voted Tuesday to pass legislation turning California into a giant Western power trading casino that puts ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog said in condemning the vote for AB 813.
Consumer Watchdog Condemns California Senate Energy Committee Vote for Power Trading
The JetHawks' Roberto Ramos won the pregame Home Run Derby, but the North Division took down the South, 8-1, in the California League All-Star Game at The Hangar in Lancaster Tuesday night.
Ramos Wins Home Run Derby, But South Drops All-Star Game
The Assembly Committee on Higher Education unanimously approved Senate Bill 1356 introduced by California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, to provide state funding for a California Institute for Aerospace in the Antelope Valley.
Wilk Aerospace Institute Bill Soars Through Legislature
Nine Northeast and West Coast states including California Wednesday reaffirmed their strong commitment to a clean, low-carbon transportation sector with the release of a new Multi-State Zero Emission Vehicle Action Plan for 2018-2021 to support the successful implementation of the states’ ZEV programs.
California Lauds Multi-State Zero-Emissions Vehicle Plan
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man and woman from Long Beach on various charges including suspected identity theft and possession of counterfeit cash in Saugus Monday afternoon.
Long Beach Couple Arrested for Suspected ID Theft, Bogus Bills
2002 - "Legacy: Santa Clarita's Living History" series debuts on SCVTV with "Placerita Gold" episode [watch]
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for June 20 -22:
June 20-22: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
NORTHRIDGE- CSUN Athletics is mourning the passing of former women's golf coach Bonnie Murphy who lost her five-year battle with cancer on Saturday, June 17.
Matadors Mourn Loss of Former Women’s Golf Coach