The Language of Creativity Podcast

The Colors of Life – Wendy Vanguard (Conceptual Artist) Ep. 9

September 25, 2019

In this very special episode, Steven Leavitt is joined by his first boss, Wendy Vanguard.  This becomes a touchstone for a very intriguing conversation that goes into mentorship, design, physics, energy, illustration, the emotional effect of color, the world of art in Los Angeles in the 70’s (the LA Women’s Building, AIDS, Roe v. Wade), parenting, and the dawn of computer-generated animation.

Wendy is a Los Angeles-based artist whose professional career has spanned work as an illustrator, an art director, broadcast designer and award winning corporate image designer.  Although she was awarded a Masters Grant from Art Center to pursue her painting, the hard-hitting reality of life in LA without a job lead her to abandon the grant and find employment.  Wendy quickly found she had constant work: from illustrating storyboards for advertising commercials and small films to exhibit design projects, and then began designing titles for television shows such as The Rockford Files, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Planet of the Apes.  She was a part of the creative design and production team for the Charles and Ray Eames Office and the creation of the film Powers of Ten.  Later, she worked as an Art Director for Universal Television supervising special effects projects (BattleStar Galactica) gave her a taste of working an industry job and this led to becoming a design director for renowned ground-breaking broadcast designer Harry Marks.  Wanting to work independently again, Wendy formed California Film, a broadcast design firm, choosing her own team of artists and designers to collaborate with and designing one of the earliest open plan office spaces. As it’s founder and Creative Director she led them in creating award winning image campaigns and corporate design packages for CBS Entertainment, CBS News, HBO, The Walt Disney Company, the Disney-owned Flagship station California 9 (KCAL), ABC Prime Time Live, National Geographic, TBN, The Movie Channel, and more. Wendy and colleagues created (fake) computer imagery for LucasFilm’s, “Return of the Jedi.”   At the same time she met and married photographer Mitch Dobrowner, who soon became part of her company, leading it in new technologies and production methods. 

After experiencing a devastating social experience, Wendy struggled through what she coined “the dark decade,” and discusses how she managed to work through this time in her life and find new joy by shifting her focus to her family, personal creative projects, and giving back to her community through mentorship. Throughout a lifetime of unexpected turns, struggles, and successes, Wendy rediscovered an inner resilience as a woman and artist that carries her along her path.

Guest: Wendy Vanguard Dobrowner 

Host: Steven Leavitt



See for featured works.


Blue Sphere Horizon


Master’s Thesis


Her Master’s Thesis would foreshadow her future work in design for what would become the future of 3D Animation, along-side filmmakers, computer scientists, and animators.


Watercolor Woman


Girl In Room (Watercolor)



“Podcast Long Chords” by Jason Dobrowner (guitar)

“The Crash” by Joshua Dobrowner (guitar)

“Mom Podcast” by Jason Dobrowner (guitar)

Additional scoring by Steven Leavitt

“Nothing Wrong” by Lobate Scarp 

Spirals and Portals EP out now!




Mitch Dobrowner

Landscape Photographer


Andy Hann


Jason Dobrowner

Composer, physicist, software engineer


Asia Forbes

Artist branding and events


Josephine Bakery


Art Center College of Design


Lorser Feitelson


Helen Lundeberg


Charles + Ray Eames office


Powers of Ten Film


Jo Perry


Tom Perry


Otis College of Art and Design


Art Center, Otis, motion graphics, hard edge painting, broadcast design, PDI, Rhythm and Hues, Blue Sphere Horizon, Charles Eames, Powers of Ten, physics, subatomic, Helen Lundeberg, Lorser Feitelson, California Film, image design, branding, Eames Office, mac, desktop publishing, easel, stylus, deadlines, emotion color, colour, energy, the future of work, creative problem solving, mentorship, empath, narcissist, The Sociopath Next Door, being used, cults, religion, working mother, Tao Te Ching, feminism, abortion, watercolor, oil painting, rediscovering your personal art, Damien Rice, PTSD, purpose



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