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  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring John Houck, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Jesse Benson (b. 1978) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Benson's complex practice is driven by the perversion of roles and representation that characterize his generational moment. In obsessively "skillful" objects like the Bureau Paintings, Catalog Page Paintings, Future Sculptures, and Repaintings, Benson constantly questions the authenticity of the document, the function of style, and the value of both art and artist. Benson is equally committed to a curatorial/organizational practice that openly overlaps and inspires his object production.

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at OTIS College of Art and Design is pleased to announce a lecture by Nick SeierupPrincipal | Design Director of Perkins+Will, Los Angeles, on Thursday, December 3, 2015.


  • Marisa Silver is the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling novel Mary Coin. Her other books include the novels No Direction Home and The God of War (a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize), as well as two story collections, Babe in Paradise and Alone with You. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and been included in many anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Silver lives in Los Angeles.

  • Jesse Lerner is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.  His short films Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling), T.S.H. (2004) and Magnavoz (2006) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999) The American Egypt (2001), Atomic Sublime (2010) and The Absent Stone (2013, with Sandra Rozental) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan.

  • Otis faculty member Dana Berman Duff will present a program of short 16mm and digital films in her "Catalogue" series.

  • Performing the Grid is an exhibition that brings together an intergenerational group of artists and cultural producers that utilize the grid as a performative strategy to examine, challenge and position philosophical, political, social, domestic, corporeal, and mythical perspectives. Rosalind Kraus famously wrote that the grid “functions to declare the modernity of modern art” in her 1979 essay, Grids.


Daniel Phillips and Kim Karlsrud, Common Studio

Dec 16, 2013
Guerilla Gardening
Spotlight Category: Alumni

Daniel Phillips (’08 Architecture/Landscape/Interiors) and Kim Karlsrud (’07 Product Design)
 of COMMONstudio

Daniel and Kim created Greenaid, a Los Angeles-based social enterprise that makes guerilla gardening efforts easier and more accessible to the general public.  Seedbombs are the weapon of choice -  small nuggets of clay, compost, and native seeds that are thrown (and grown) in otherwise neglected corners of the urban landscape.  The Greenaid vending machine offers the public instant and affordable access to seedbombs at over 100 locations (and counting) worldwide, and Greenaid seedbombs are hand-rolled in Culver City using local materials, sustainable packaging, and socially responsible labor.  Working in partnership with Chrysalis, a local non-profit, Greenaid offers employment opportunities and a living wage to formerly homeless or economically disadvantaged men and women.

It happened organically and a little accidentally – it didn’t start off as a entrepreneurial ambition, but a means of realizing a design idea in the face of a recession. After experiencing the frustration and lack of opportunities within our fields we tried to stay proactive and engaged through collaborating (together and otherwise) on projects we found interesting. We’ve found that when you start with local issues and needs, rather than clients, the projects are way more relevant, meaningful, impact-oriented and fun. Sure the economy is bad right now, but that means there’s huge opportunities for new types of creative and responsible industries to emerge – and if you’re willing to take a risk for something you believe in, there’s always a way to make it happen.

What we soon realized was that it’s relatively easy to do one copy of something, and it’s a whole new ball game when you suddenly have to think about doing more.  Our breakthrough moment was when we were introduced to the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.com. We raised $10,000 through Kickstarter which enabled us to establish an initial presence in L.A. To date, we’ve over 100 Greenaid dispensers across the U.S. Mexico, Canada, and Europe.  We estimate that we’ve distributed about 75 million native seeds into the world using seedbombs.

Otis provided a curriculum that was rigorous without being too rigid.  It was flexible enough and small enough to nurture the passions and unique approaches of the individual.  There was a lot of room to find your own way.  No school can completely prepare you for what everyone faces after graduation, but it was at Otis that we learned to combine our creative instincts with the ability to act upon them in strategic ways, and that’s made the difference for us.


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