Diplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation Saturday

Diplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayDiplomas and Bananas at Art Center Graduation SaturdayArt Center College of Design Valedictorian James Tucker-Robbins is seen here with Film director, Tarsem Singh, who is an alumnus of Art Center, at the screening of Tucker-Robbins\' 3D film, \

EDDIE RIVERA | Photography by JOHN DLUGOLECKI

4:29 am | April 22, 2014


Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design graduated 192 new graduates Saturday, April 19 in the sculpture garden at the art school’s hillside campus.

The ceremony included the very first graduating class for the Graduate Environmental Design and Graduate Transportation Design Programs, with a record number 36 students accepting graduate level degrees on Saturday.

Twenty-five percent of the graduating class also attended one or more of Art Center’s Public Programs, either Art Center at Night, or Saturday High.

Industrial designer/educator and winner of Art Center’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award Gordon Bruce delivered the commencement address, telling the young graduates, once, while teaching a class of designers at Samsung, he pulled out a bunch of bananas. Now, once again pulling out a bunch at the commencement address, he said, “ They say, “Bananas? What does that have to do with design?”

“Mother Nature is the best designer,” Bruce explained. “It comes in a bunch. You can buy as many as you want, right? It’s customizable. It’s convenient. It fits in your pocket!,” he said, placing a banana in his own pocket.

“It’s ergonomic. It’s intuitive. I know you don’t eat a banana this way,” he said, pretending to eat the banana like corn on the cob.

“Sanitation!” he explained, pointing to the peel. “It protects the inside. “Biodegradable,” he said, now peeling the fruit.

Potassium,” he said, taking a bite.
“Delicious!” he exclaimed, as the graduates laughed.

“Easily manufactured,” he continued. “It’s the biggest market in the world: everybody loves bananas!”

As Bruce explained, “So I said to my fellow designers, ‘Imagine if you could design a product that uses these same principles. It’s not the things you see, it’s what makes the thing you see.’”

“So they said, ‘You mean, we design a cell phone that looks like a banana?’ So I realized I had a long way to go,” he sighed.

Closing his address, Bruce said, “I’d like to use one more sample of nature,” he said, revealing an apple.

“Beautiful form. Just like a banana, the color has meaning. Color will tell you what it will taste like,” he explained. “Color will show you where there’s damage. For Mother Nature, color has a function, just like an apple.

“But the beauty of an apple,” he continued, chewing the apple, “is that it’s delicious. To make this, you need the core,” he said. “You need the seed. This is what you have to nurture within yourself. Maintain truth to your core and you will be beautiful and create beautiful things in your future.”

Art Center graduation week also featured a Graduation Show Preview, where industry leaders, employers, corporate partners, donors and alumni got their first look at the Spring term’s graduating artists and designers at the invitation-only Graduation Show Preview.

The event, hosted by Alumni Relations, gave graduating students an opportunity to network with potential employers and fellow alumni. The show featured student projects from major fields of study at Art Center, including Advertising, Entertainment Design, Environmental Design, Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography and Imaging, Product Design, Transportation Design, Graduate Environmental Design, Graduate Film, Graduate Industrial Design, Graduate Media Design Practices and Graduate Transportation Design.