The flags outside Cheadle Hall will be flying half-staff today in memory of Chris August, a UC Santa Barbara art studio graduate student who died over Spring Break.

A memorial will be held today at noon in the Arts courtyard for August, who passed away March 30 of a heart attack; he was 49. Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, where August took a course on printing in 1999, is preparing a presentation of August’s print work for sometime in the next few weeks. A posthumous presentation of August’s work will also be presented at the Informing Science and Information Technology Joint Conference in Pori, Finland.

August, a UCSB student since 2001, would have completed work for a Masters in Fine Arts this quarter. He specialized in digital media and was working on a documentary of the life of Ishi, a Native American who lived in California, a project for which he traveled extensively, especially in Lassen Volcanic National Park. August taught his first class, an art studio course on digital media in Winter Quarter.

“He probably knew as much about California lands as any environmentalist or historian,” said Lisa Parks, a friend of August and associate professor of film studies. “I can only hope that other students will continue on in the trajectory that Chris initiated by charting paths in and out of the art studio.”

August was born in the San Fernando Valley in 1953, the third youngest of eight children. He attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he majored in photography, but transferred after three years to the California Institute of the Arts, where he graduated in 1974.

During his time at Cal Arts, August became interested in electronic music and synthesizers, both in their infancy. August translated this interest into a magazine, Synapse, which he co-published with composer Doug Linner. August also played bass guitar for the punk band Dred Scott in the 1970s, opening for The Ramones a number of times.

“He was one of the most generous people I knew,” Art Studio Associate Professor and close friend Colin Gardner said. “He hired me for his magazine, Synapse, when I knew nothing [about magazines]. He taught me the ropes and helped me get my start.”