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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Design makes smart of art

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

The current exhibition, “Design” at City College’s Kondos Gallery, features functional art pieces of four designers. Each piece displayed through Feb. 27 shows off the possibilities of stylized design in the home.

Gallery namesake Gregory Kondos, who recently turned 90 and has taught at City College for 30 years, attended the exhibit’s gallery reception Jan. 30, describing each work as “a piece of life in its simplest form.”

The exhibit was inspired by City College professors Mike Stevens’ and Suzanne Adan’s 2-D design classes, ART 320. According to Stevens, “Design” is a marriage of nature and architecture.

Attending the reception gave ART 320 students a chance to meet the designers and to hear them talk about their creations. Students also learned the designers are locally based artists with workshops in the Sacramento area.

Cosumnes River College adjunct art professor Matthew Lechowick, one of the featured four artists in “Design,” explained how his large wooden “reveal clocks” tell the time without hands. According to Lechowick, each clock has 72 motors—one for every minute and hour, shown on a regular clock—which raise and lower blocks to display the time.

The exhibit also shows Lechowich’s modular home entertainment furniture that hides components such as stereos and DVRs behind a mesh screen.

Lechowich described his design methods as “taking a line of thought, figuring out what you can do, and then distilling your idea down to a minimum element.”

Artist Rob Zinn teaches design strategy at University of California, Davis Extension, and is the owner of the design company Blankblank. Zinn brought a black walnut table to display during the exhibit—a table so heavy Zinn said five people were necessary to move it into Kondos Gallery. Made of wood cut to support itself on one side, the table has two bronze legs holding up the other.

According to Zinn, he installed similar tables by Blankblank at Masullo Pizza in Land Park and Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates in midtown Sacramento.

Blankblank products are made of valuable wood sustainably salvaged from trees that have died of natural causes rather than harvested from living trees. Zinn said Blankblank pieces retail for $15-$18,000 in the Los Angeles market. He said he finds furniture design to be less consumer-oriented and more artistic than product design.

“If something resonates, [one should] really pursue it,” said Zinn.

Featured art from Cpopp Workshop is made of metal entirely cast, welded, and powder coated in the company’s workshop, according to owner Curtis Popp. Popp said his company also uses wood and glass in its furniture.

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According to Popp, Cpopp Workshop makes a variety of other notable custom pieces for homes and offices. In fact, Popp said an article published by Sacramento Magazine titled “Sublime Design” featured a home entirely remodeled and furnished by his company.

Popp reminded students at the “Design” reception that success does not come easily.

“You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to love what you do,” said Popp. “The rewards are great, but it’s work, just like anything else. It’s fun, but it’s a hard racket.”

Brian Schmitt is an artist best known for his stylized clocks, displaying a few examples for the duration of “Design” from his extensive collection.

In addition to clocks, Schmitt’s company, Schmitt Design, makes lighting and candles of geometric design that allow for interesting light effects, as well as colorful and carefully balanced metal mobiles that, according to Schmitt, “catch the air currents” to rotate in the wind. The company is making an effort to create art from sustainable materials, working with bamboo and recycled materials and packaging.

Schmitt too offered advice to students who attended the reception.

“Be persistent,” said Schmitt. “If you are doing good work that you are passionate about, you will find an audience or a market. And be ready for a slow climb.”

Jennifer Griffin, an instructional assistant who manages Kondos Gallery, is hopeful the exhibit leaves a lasting impression on the students who attend.

“Everything in the world has been designed by someone,” said Griffin. “I hope some of our students will come in and see it and think, ‘Oh, this is why I’m taking design.’”

Kondos Gallery exhibit “Design” is open Monday-Thursday noon-4 p.m. and Friday, noon-3 p.m. through Feb. 27.

Find additional information on “Design” at

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