Jody Hewgill wins Society of Illustrators gold

Before Midnight by Jody Hewgill
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 5:00am

Assistant Professor in Illustration Jody Hewgill has recently been awarded a Society of Illustrators gold award for her work Before Midnight. The award was given in the editorial category of the Society’s 57th Annual Exhibition.

The painting was commissioned by Entertainment Weekly creative director Kory Kennedy for a review of the film by the same name by director Richard Linklater for the magazine’s top ten issue. The painting will be exhibited at New York’s Museum of American Illustration opening gala and award presentation on February 6, 2015.

“This is an extraordinary honour in the Illustration profession and a feather in the cap of OCAD’s Faculty of Design,” said Illustration Chair Paul Dallas. The exhibition is considered the premier showcase for illustrators.


Ashley Mackenzie at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Ashley Mackenzie's project, Dangerous Ideas. Image by Ashley Mackenzie.

Ashley Mackenzie’s medal award-winning project, Dangerous Ideas, is a work that investigates our reaction to science and thinking. Here’s how she describes it:

My thesis was called Dangerous Ideas which explored controversial concepts proposed by various scientists and intellectuals, using visual metaphors to investigate how these ideas can make us so uncomfortable and encourage people to think about them.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I had read The Best American Non-Required Reading 2007 over the summer and there was a chapter dedicated to a series of responses to the question “What is your dangerous idea?” Apparently does one of these every year and everything is archived online so I went through and found common themes and ideas and continued doing research to find the concepts that I thought were the most intriguing or relevant.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I definitely learned the most from going through the actual ideation process. The concepts I’d chosen were very challenging since in many ways they were rather abstract and it was difficult to find a way to visualize them clearly in a unique way without relying too heavily on cliche.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

Those times when I finally managed to nail down the sketch matched the idea. It was certainly the part of the process that I spent the most time on and while it was the most stressful part it was also the most satisfying.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was really surprised! I was there the morning just before the judging touching up my display and looking at everyone’s work I couldn’t help but be amazed. Everyone put in so much work, it was such a strong year and I was incredibly honoured to have won.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I really liked working on the Wallspace since I never really spent much time working in the actual school outside of class time. It was nice running into people who recognized my work and also just have people drop by to say hi. I’ve also never painted anything on that scale before so it was both exciting and terrifying but I think it went pretty well. I’ll definitely miss the critiques since it’s so hard to find such easy access to the wealth of visual knowledge and help you get from your peers and professors once you leave, and I think it’s certainly one of those things you take for granted when you’re in school.

What are you planning to do next? 

I’m hoping to start freelancing, trying to get some editorial jobs and maybe publishing. I’d like to work on some personal projects, get back to drawing and sketching since school’s kept me too busy to really indulge my sketchbooks.

Find out more about Ashley Mackenzie:




Hudson Christie. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Illustration from Work Life Balance by Hudson Christie.

Hudson Christie’s medal award-winning project Work-Life Balance depicts people who must juggle their incompatible jobs and hobbies, sometimes in a disturbing juxtaposition. Here’s how he describes it:

My project was called Work-Life Balance, and it depicted ten people resorting to multi-tasking in order to make room for their hobbies.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I was attracted to hobbies as a subject in my thesis because they have a really great earnest candor surrounding them. The notion of taking hobbies, which are this really harmless thing, and putting them into situations that actually make them harmful was really funny to me.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

The sculpture/photography approach I used for my thesis is something I’ve only been developing for over a year now, so there was obviously a lot of growing to do in my technique. A big difference is how many corners I can cut now. I work a lot more efficiently today than I did in September.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

I am happy that I was able to make ten pictures that actually make sense to people 95 per cent of the time. It was always so frustrating when I would work for hours on an illustration but it would be totally illegible, just because I lacked the know-how to make images “readable.”

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was very excited. I remember shouting and hi-fiving the wall, and then calling my mom.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

The immersion in peers and professors that you get at OCAD U is a very unique thing that I will really miss. It becomes a lot harder to get that constant artist-to-artist contact once you’re done, especially with such a variety of people.

What are you planning to do next?

There are some installation opportunities opening up for me that I’m currently working on, during which time I’ll be developing my next photography series and hopefully picking up more illustration or animation jobs, which are really fun.



Yana Vorontsov named finalist in Adobe Design Achievement Awards

A truck drives away from the forest with a segment of trees in its cargo.
Monday, September 15, 2014 - 8:45pm

2014 Illustration graduate Yana Vorontsov has been named a finalist in the prestigious Adobe Design Achievement Awards for her work Subtraction. The ADAA recognize international achievement in student design. She has been selected from among more than 4400 entries from 1500 colleges and universities located in 70 countries.

The competition consists of ten categories across three media segments: Interactive Experience Media, Video and Motion Media, and Traditional Media. A winner will be selected from each category, who will receive a 1-year membership to Adobe Creative Cloud, $2,000 USD, a trophy and a 1-year mentorship with a design professional. Three grand prize winners will be announced at the Adobe Design Achievement Awards Grand Prize Screening and Reception, to be held in conjunction with Adobe MAX on October 5, 2014. The grand prize winners will each receive an additional $3,000 USD.

ULTIMA: Nicholas Di Genova

Image: Boreas, Guardian God of the Northern Tundra, ink and watercolour on paper, 24"x34", 2014
Friday, September 5, 2014 - 4:00am to Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 4:00am

An exhibition by OCAD U alumnus Nicholas Di Genova

LE Gallery is pleased to announce the return of Toronto based artist Nicholas Di Genova. On the heels of exhibitions in New York City and Paris, Di Genova returns with ULTIMA, a new focus, and the addition of sculptural elements to his exploration of the chimera. Ultima will feature the first three dimensional manifestation of one of Di Genova’s city states. At 1:87 scale, Di Genova turns his unique brand of splicing and mutation from his drawings and paintings, to form a capsule of life in a day of his grotesque menagerie. The sculpture will be accompanied by the inclusion of his signature, ultra detailed manga meets Nat Geo drawings, detailing the taxonomies of species included. The urban area is large enough to include separate ethnic regions, such as the Homo-Avian Quarter, wherein the landscape, architecture, and local businesses have evolved to accommodate a type of resident who possesses both human and bird-like anatomy and habits.

In the early 2000's Di Genova shot to prominence as one of Canada's first artists working at a time when the influence of illustration, comic arts and graffiti were beginning to find their way into contemporary art practice. His unique ability to draw a menagerie of evolved creatures with unique skill and ability helped capture the attention of not only comic nerds and Japanese toy freaks but also devotees to Bosch and the study of Biology. ULTIMA brings together a long term dream to build out a province from his menagerie, utilizing many techniques learned through artists and experts, but also informed by childhood model making and Warhammer strategy.

Nicholas Di Genova has garnered many levels of press, featuring reviews in Artforum, Canadian Art Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and The National Post. Nicholas Di Genova is represented in Toronto by LE Gallery, in New York by Fredericks +Freiser Gallery, and Galerie Dukan in Paris. Di Genova is included in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Works by Di Genova have been and included in exhibitions and reviewed in New York, Singapore, London and Berlin.

Venue & Address: 
LE Gallery 1183 Dundas St. W. Toronto, Ontario 416-532-8467
<p><a href=""></a></p>

Brandon Celi wins New York’s Society of Illustrators scholarship

Brandon Celi's scholarship winning work, Cold Storage.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 4:15pm

Fourth-year Illustration student Brandon Celi has been selected to receive the “The Illest of Illustration” $200 scholarship for his work Cold Storage. Celi was shortlisted in February from more than 8700 entries submitted by professors of university students from around the world.

Celi will receive his award during the Society’s awards ceremony on Friday, May 9.

Big wins, international publishing debuts by Illustration students and grads

Monday, June 16, 2014 - 3:45pm

It’s been a very successful month for OCAD U’s Illustration program, with students and recent graduates being named as semi-finalists and winners north and south of the border, in some of North America’s most preeminent competitions and publications.

The Adobe Design Achievement Awards named its first round of 2014 Semifinalists. The Illustration category includes:

  • Rosena Fung for "Self Love" and "Make Up"
  • Jw Pang for "Metropolis," "Study" and "Restart"
  • Michael Pitropov for "Lucid Light Dream Erosion" and "Coma Shutdown"
  • Jason Stamatyades for "Life At The Periphery"
  • Avery Kua for "Sentinel"

The ADAA website also highlights works submitted by contestants, including "First Period" by Rosena Fung; "Circadian Rhythm Reset" and "They're Made Out of Meat" by Michael Pitropov; "Madarin Princess" by Kristy de Guzman and "Old Man Minotaur" by Michael Fazal.

The New York based journal of art and design Creative Quarterly 36 has named several OCAD U students as winners and runners up:


  • Hudson Christie (this year’s Illustration medal winner)
  • Kayla Free
  • Yana Voronstov
  • Eileen Yoon

Runners Up:

  • Jungwon Yoo
  • Natalie V. Bochenska
  • Meghan Dearlove
  • Janet Park

At the National Magazine Awards Gala held earlier this month, OCAD U alumni received top accolades:

  • Gold Illustration: Selena Wong for “Old Wounds” published in Maisonneuve
  • Gold Spot and Silver Spot Illustration: Gracia Lam for “The Elite Yellow Peril” and “The Tar-Sands Trap,” respectively, published in Maisonneuve

Third-year student Caitlyn Murphy will be featured in CMYK’s Top 100 New Creatives 57 for her work "Dream Car." In addition to the usual print publication, this year’s edition will be released as an app, which will also feature work by 2013 graduate Stephanie Singleton. Both the publication and the app are scheduled for release in September.

2014 medal winner Hudson Christie’s work is featured in the New York Times Book Review. Another 2014 graduate, Cornelia Li, has work featured in the New York Times Travel section.

Illustration grads bring their talents to John Street – Toronto’s Red Carpet

Rosena Fung working on her chairs. Photo: Christine Crosbie.
Michael Pitropov paints his chair designs. Photo: Christine Crosbie.
Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 3:30pm

OCAD University partnered with the Toronto Entertainment District BIA (TOED BIA) to bring greater access to the John Street Cultural Corridor with the John Street Pedestrian Initiative (JSPI). For six months a lane will be closed to vehicles and become a pedestrian-friendly space. Rosena Fung and Michael Pitropov, recent OCAD U graduates, re-interpreted 20 red Muskoka chairs with their illustrations. The chairs will remain in place through the fall for pedestrians to lounge in. 

“John Street presents a unique opportunity for the city to allow the public to experience part of our civic realm in a whole new way,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, president of OCAD U. “The Entertainment District is going through extraordinary growth and John Street will provide this community with a unique destination not unlike many great cities around the world. We are pleased to be the first to play a role in bringing art to this transformative public space.” The students’ collective efforts, referred to as John StreetToronto’s Red Carpet will remain on display along the John Street Cultural Corridor until October 12, 2014.

The John Street Pedestrian Initiative’s project area places a focus on the east side of John Street, between Queen and Adelaide Streets, because it has the narrowest sidewalks and the largest number of patios in the corridor. The east curb lane traffic closure positively influences how pedestrians experience and use the street by providing them with a safe, wide pedestrian realm. The separation of the roadway and expanded pedestrian zone will be delineated by new pavement traffic markings, signage, planters and armour stones. In addition, tables, chairs and umbrellas enhance and contribute to the vibrancy of the surrounding area.

The long-term vision for the John Street transformation includes wider sidewalks, continuous double row of trees on the west side and flexible curbs resulting in calmer traffic and greater programming opportunities.

The detailed design is underway and will be completed in 2015. A Class Environmental Assessment Study of John Street was completed in 2012. Programmable lighting, convenient access to electrical conduits and coordinated paving treatments will be some of the many elements under consideration.

The vision for the street is to create a grand promenade connecting visually and physically the key cultural destinations across the corridor. “The long-term vision for the transformation of the street to a beautiful cultural corridor will be kick-started with the launch of the art project in partnership with OCAD U,” said Janice Solomon, Executive Director, Toronto Entertainment District BIA.

The City Staff report on the John Street corridor project can be found here.

The John Street Cultural Corridor, from north Queen Street West to south of Front Street West, is recognized as a route of civic and cultural importance in the City, encompassing major facilities and institutions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, OCAD U, Bell Media, the National Film Board of Canada, the CBC Broadcast Centre, the Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra Theatres, the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Air Canada Centre, Steam Whistle Brewing and the National Rail Museum at Roundhouse Park. City Council, in considering plans and studies of this area at various times over a number of years, has designated or identified John Street as a “Cultural Corridor,” an “Avenue of the Arts” and a “Pedestrian Priority Route.”

OCAD Faculty of Design presents talk by Gary Panter

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 5:00am

(Toronto — March 9, 2010) The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) Faculty of Design presents a talk by illustrator Gary Panter on Thursday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Brooklyn-based illustrator, painter, designer and part-time musician Gary Panter is the mind behind the elaborate, quirky, Emmy Award winning set designs for the kid’s TV show Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Possibly the most influential graphic artist of his generation, Panter’s creative influence extends far beyond the realms of illustration. His work has been described as era-defining, earning him the monikers “King of Punk Art” and “King of the Preposterous.” He is described by Chris Bor of ARTINFO as, “A creator whose work comfortably straddles the worlds of painting, commercial art, illustration, cartoons, underground comix, and music,” and who, “tackles all of his projects with visionary punk panache.”

Panter’s artwork has appeared on record covers for Frank Zappa and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He created the children’s playroom inside the Philippe Starck-designed Paramount Hotel in New York, and his animation series Pink Donkey and the Fly are featured on the Cartoon Network’s website. He is the creator of Jimbo, a “post-nuclear punk-rock cartoon character” whose adventures were first chronicled as a comic strip in the ’70s Los Angeles hardcore-punk paper Slash, and later in RAW magazine. Jimbo has also been published by Zongo Comics, founded by Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening.

In 2000, Panter received the Chrysler Design Award recognizing his wide-reaching influence and mainstream success. From 2005 to 2007 his work was featured in the touring exhibition Masters of American Comics alongside that of such comic luminaries as Elzie Segar (Popeye), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), Charles Schultz (Peanuts), Jack Kirby (Captain America), Harvey Kurtzman (founding editor of MAD magazine), Art Spiegelman (Maus) and others. His 2-volume monograph Gary Panter was published by Picturebox in 2008.

To learn more about Gary Panter, visit

OCAD’s Faculty of Design presents:

Gary Panter
Thursday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Ontario College of Art & Design
Auditorium (Rm 190), 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
416-977-6000 |

All are welcome; admission is free. Limited seating available; guests are advised to arrive early.

Panter’s talk is generously sponsored by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex.

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design ( is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

- 30 -

For more information and images please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

OCAD to confer honorary doctorates on Carole Condé, Karl Beveridge, Anita Kunz and Buffy Sainte-Marie

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 4:00am

(Toronto—June 2, 2010) The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) will present honorary doctorate degrees to artists Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, illustrator Anita Kunz and singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie at the university’s convocation ceremony at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on Friday, June 4.

“Condé and Beveridge, Kunz and Sainte-Marie exemplify OCAD’s commitment to engaging creative skills to allow a deep understanding of the complex world around us,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD President. “It is with great pleasure that we honour their contributions, and welcome them to share their visions for the future as inspiration for this year’s graduating class.”

Called “the social conscience of the Canadian art world” by Canadian Art, Toronto-based Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge are collaborative artists who have been working with trade unions and community organizations in the production of their staged photographic works for more than 30 years. “We feel that it is not only important to articulate the concerns and experience of working and community life, but also that [the work] should be able to stand up to the sophistication of corporate culture and take into account the complexities of cultural representation.” Their work has addressed issues ranging from free trade to health care to anti-globalization, with each project involving intense research and collaboration with grassroots organizations, labour unions and community members. The resulting narratives are constructed within the languages of mass-communication, delivering engaged social messages. Condé and Beveridge’s have exhibited internationally, and they continue to be active in several labour arts initiatives including the Mayworks Festival in Toronto and the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton.

Recently appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, Anita Kunz is an accomplished and acclaimed illustrator contributing to the world’s leading magazines, design firms, book publishers and advertising agencies. Her clients include Time magazine, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, The New York Times, Sony Music, Random House and many others. She has produced cover art for many magazines including Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, the Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times Magazine. She has also illustrated more than fifty book jacket covers. Kunz teaches workshops and lectures at universities and institutions across the globe, and has been honoured with many prestigious awards and medals. Her critically acclaimed paintings and sculptures have appeared in galleries worldwide, including the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts and the Teatrio Cultural Association in Rome. Her works are in the permanent collections at the Library of Congress, the Canadian Archives in Ottawa, the Musée Militaire de France in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome. A number of her Time magazine cover paintings are also in the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Kunz has been named one of the fifty most influential women in Canada by the National Post.

Buffy Sainte-Marie is an award-winning singer-songwriter, musician, composer, artist, educator and activist. Born on the Cree Piapot First Nation in Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Sainte-Marie was adopted and raised in the United States. In the 1960s, she toured North American colleges, reservations and concert halls with her songs of protest and love, encountering myriad misperceptions about Native American culture. Yet her career as a singer/songwriter earned her acclaim at home and internationally, eventually taking her to Europe, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. As a composer, she won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for the song Up Where We Belong, recorded by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. Her work has been covered by such musicians as Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Janis Joplin and Chet Atkins.

An early pioneer in digital art and music, by 1994 Sainte-Marie's huge works were being shown in museums and galleries across North America, including the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Emily Carr Gallery in Vancouver, the Institute for American Indian Art Museum in Santa Fe, Ramscale Gallery in New York and the Tucson Museum of Art. Her works have appeared on the covers of Art Focus and Talking Stick magazines and featured in MS. Magazine, on Yahoo and in USA Today.

As an educator, Sainte-Marie is responsible for the Cradleboard Teaching Project, an educational curriculum devoted to the better understanding of Native Americans. She has taught digital music as an adjunct professor at several colleges. The recipient of many accolades and awards, Sainte-Marie was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1997. She has received two medals from Queen Elizabeth II, and in 1999 received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. She has also received several Juno Awards, her most recent being Aboriginal Album of the Year for her 2009 release Running for the Drum.

OCAD’s 2010 Spring Convocation ceremony will take place on Friday, June 4 at 1:30 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto.

Since 2003, OCAD has conferred honorary doctorates to such luminaries as Margaret Atwood, Charles Pachter, Dan Donovan, Bill Buxton, the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, Karim Rashid, Will Alsop, Daphne Odjig and Claude Gidman. Prior to 2003, OCAD named honorary fellows, including A. J. Casson, Don Watt, Betty Goodwin, Atom Egoyan and Bruce Mau and many others.

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design ( is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

- 30 -

For more information or to request images, contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

Steve Virtue, Director, Marketing & Communications
416.977.6000 Ext. 222