Events
  • Joint Venture

    Dec 10| Exhibition
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    Joint Venture is a group exhibition of collaborative projects by artists from ECF’s Inglewood Art Center and students from Otis College's Creative Action class, Uniquely Abled, taught by Michele Jaquis and mentored by Marlena Donohue.

     

    December 8, 2016 - January 6, 2017

    Gallery Hours M - F 11am - 3:30pm

     

  • LA Portfolio Day

    Jan 15| Special Event
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    Otis College of Art and Design is pleased to host the Los Angeles Portfolio Day on January 15, 2017 from 12-4pm!

    Bring your portfolio for an informal review by representatives from art and design schools, and learn about their programs of study. Portfolio Day events are held across the country, high school students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors and college transfer students are encouraged to attend.

  • James Hannaham

    Jan 25| Lectures
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    James Hannaham is the author of the novels Delicious Foods, which won the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award, and God Says No, a Stonewall Honor Book and a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

  • Tuning the Room

    Jan 28| Exhibition
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    Anna Craycroft: Tuning the Room

    January 28 - April 16, 2017

    Ben Maltz Gallery

  • Opening Reception

    Jan 28| Special Event
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    In acoustical engineering, “tuning the room” is a technique for measuring the specific sound properties of an enclosed space and then adapting the environment to improve its acoustic reflections. New York-based artist Anna Craycroft applies this technique both literally and metaphorically to the Ben Maltz Gallery for her exhibition Tuning the Room. Craycroft’s exhibition asks that we consider how the specific characteristics of an environment shape our experience within it, and how we become attuned in return.

  • Robin Coste Lewis won the National Book Award for Voyage of the Sable Venus. Her writing has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition: Women in Literary Arts, VIDA, Phantom Limb, and Lambda Literary Review. She has taught at Wheaton, Hunter, Hampshire, and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Lewis is a fellow of Cave Canem and of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, as well as a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at USC.

  • Solmaz Sharif

    Mar 01| Lectures
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    Solmaz Sharif’s first collection, Look, was recently published by Graywolf Press and is a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Her poetry has appeared in the New Republic, Granta, Poetry, and other journals. Her first collection, Look, was recently published by Graywolf Press. A former Stegner Fellow, she is currently a lecturer at Stanford University and lives in the Bay Area.

O-Tube

Nourishing Craft

Aug 25, 2013
Tanya Aguiñiga, Product Design faculty member
Spotlight Category: Faculty
By Mimi Zeiger

 

Editor’s Note: 

Aguiñiga is one of five designers featured in the current PBS series “Craft in America: A Journey to the Artists, Origins, and Techniques of American Craft” 

Tanya Aguiñiga, Product Design faculty member, is an acclaimed textile artist, a craft activist, a sculptor, and a self-described “maker.” Her Atwater Village studio overflows with skeins of wool, yards of rope, and fabric remnants—the materials she uses to make her handcrafted accessories and furniture. Aguiñiga’s dyed rope necklaces are museum and design store staples, and the colorful, animal-like chairs and benches recently exhibited at JF Chen’s gallery charmed the crowds. She is not content to simply produce readily consumed objects, however; at the root of her work is a larger goal—the desire to build community and activism around craft. Her hope is to transform the perception of craft from a solo domestic art to a means of public engagement.

To do this, Aguiñiga weaves her own personal narrative into the history of craft. Born in Tijuana, she grew up taking a bus across the border every day to go to school in San Diego. As an undergraduate, she studied furniture design at San Diego State University, and received her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. In 1997 she became a member of the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo (BAW/TAF), a binational collective dedicated to bringing attention to the U.S/Mexico border through arts-based programming. 

“My time with BAW/TAF was the foundation for who I am today as an artist,” says Aguiñiga, reflecting on the six years she spent actively involved with the organization. “It taught me how to use tools for the first time, how to work as a collaborative, how to engage with communities, how to create work that is both personal and political, and how to produce installation and performance art. As clichéd as it sounds, BAW/TAF changed my life.”

For Aguiñiga, BAW/TAF’s influence led her to work with marginalized communities and encouraged her to consider craft a radical practice. It taught her to be both an activist and a mentor, values she instills in her students at Otis. “It’s my job to preserve this history through making something personal,” says Aguiñiga. 

To illustrate her point, she selects a heavy leather strap from a basket brimming with colors and textures. The piece is a backstrap weaving belt, worn smooth in places from use—the kind of loom used by women artisans in Chiapas, Mexico. The leather belt wraps around the weaver’s waist and is used to create tension in the loom, which is then attached to a fixed object. 

Last summer, Aguiñiga used the belt to stage an outdoor weaving performance in Beverly Hills. Dressed in traditional Mexican garments, she attached the belt first to a parking meter and then, when asked by police to move, to a tree in front of the sign reading “Welcome to Beverly Hills.” Aguiñiga’s street performance of weaving brightly colored yarn was educational and political, publicly exposing the often unseen physical labor, artistry, and technique that is required to create textiles in one of the world’s richest zip codes. “Craft has been malnourished,” she says. “The origins of the materials need to be told.”

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