Otis College of Art and Design held its 2018 Commencement Ceremony in the Marsee Auditorium on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Remarks by college president Bruce W. Ferguson, honorary degree recipients Mark Bradford and Rosemary Brantley, as well as valedictorian Jinny Song all urged the new graduates to hold fast to the power of their individual artistic voice and to find strength in their community.
"There are going to be times when you have doubt, and there are going to be times when you hear “no,” said artist Mark Bradford as he addressed the Class of 2018. "You are going to be in that room again with doubt, in front of a computer or starting with a canvas and you are going to have to hold onto something, the something that’s always been there, and you have to believe in that, be fearless in that." Bradford is the founder of Art + Practice (A+P), a private operating 501(c)3 foundation based in Leimert Park, Los Angeles and his artistic practice engages in the use of found and scavenged materials, often from the streets of his native South LA to create collages and installations that reflect the impromptu and complex networks present within a city space.
“I never left Otis, because I never stopped learning,” said Rosemary Brantley, fashion designer and Chair Emeritus of the Fashion Design Department of Otis College of Art and Design, who also received an honorary degree. She emphasized, "...the significance of your family, faculty, and friends, passing along the transformative power of believing in you so that you will always have the confidence to believe in yourself.”
“You and only you can live a life that tells the story you are meant to tell, so never stop believing in yourself. Because the only way to produce great work is to do what you love because you love it," encouraged valedictorian Jinny Song ('18 Fashion Design). The Valedictorian award is bestowed annually on the member of the senior class whose work represents the pinnacle of academic excellence. Jinny was chosen for her consistently stellar academic performance throughout her Otis College career and the exceptional quality of her work, which harnesses the history, language, and attributes of Art, while disrupting expectations in surface treatment, symmetry, and material and complimenting the body.
“We understand that the world can be made differently, it doesn’t have to be so deeply wounded. And if it is made differently, it will be made by those that talk, and write, and visually image, and act differently," said Otis College president Bruce W. Ferguson in his remarks.
President Ferguson recognized Teaching Excellence Award recipients Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, Richard Lundquist, and Kim De Marco and provost Randall Lavender recognized the Academic Excellence Award recipients, a student from each program department chosen based on their academic achievement, quality of work, and personal character.
This year's graduates received a special tassel, with the years 1918-2018 engraved on a commemorative charm, to celebrate the College's first 100 years of educating creatives. The official year-long Centennial celebration will begin in September 2018 on the anniversary of the college's opening.
See highlights from the event below.
Photos by Grad Images.