Eagle-Con art exhibit opening reception continues seven-year tradition

Mimi Gramatky gives a tour of the Arts Directors Guild Exhibition Opening Reception to the TVF science fiction class.

Isaac Gutierrez, Digital Editor

With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in mind, and a heavy emphasis on life and exploration through the lens of science and fantasy, the Palmer Wing Walkway exhibited the concept-to-post-production artwork of powerhouse production designer and art director, Rick Carter.

Some of his notable projects are “Star Wars:The Force Awakens,” “Back to the Future Part II” and “Jurassic Park.”

“The Art Director’s Guild is our founding sponsor and they [put] a lot of time, resources and love into this event so that students at Cal State LA have direct contact with some of the top professionals who work in Hollywood,” said Patrick Sharp, faculty director of Eagle-Con. “It’s important for students to be persistent, to get their foot in the door and keep going at it.”

The exhibit also served as an avenue to mix-and-mingle with industry professionals. “The idea that we can actually talk to somebody who worked with James Cameron or Steven Spielberg is really fascinating,” said liberal studies major Luis Garcia. “Getting to pick their brains and to learn how it is to work with directors of that magnitude is cool.”

Mimi Gramatky, the first female president of the Art Director’s Guild, has been sponsoring Eagle-Con for the last five years. Gramatky expressed to the UT how pleased she was with the interactions between the “oldies” and the “newbies” at the event. “We have so much fun together, it’s just delicious,” she said.

When asked about the large turnout and discussions amongst professionals and students, Gramatky said,

“It’s fabulous. This year in particular, we seem to have finally gotten a lot of people to participate. It’s so exciting, I love it… I can’t say enough about it.”

Students, like liberal studies major Ruben Rodriguez, loved the intimacy and amount of access they had when networking.

“It’s a much more personal [experience], unlike anywhere else,” said Rodriguez. “If you have questions, you are more likely to ask them because some conventions are too big and that discourages participation… it makes me want to attend [Eagle-Con] even more.”

Additionally, many saw it as a precursor as what’s to come and expected in Hollywood. “It’s a great opportunity to show what the expectations are in what we’re trying to do as creatives… this [exhibit] is a perfect example and inspiration to us trying to get into the film industry,” said Garcia.

Friday, Eagle-Con’s focus shifts to workshops and panels led by Hollywood veterans, while Saturday the convention will be packed with more activities throughout the day such as comic book drawing exercises, a student film festival and board game competitions.

Sharp explained, “Our big focus is actually getting professionals to campus in greater numbers and try to have more professionalization workshops for our students.”

Eagle-Con continues through Friday and Saturday filled with panels and activities in the University Student Union.