Floria Sigismondi on the power of creativity

Floria Sigismondi
Fiona Sigismondi

Floria Sigismondi, an OCAD University alum, is a world-renowned creator of film, music videos and art.

Among her many accolades, Sigismondi has won the Video of the Year at the MTV Music Video Awards for “Mirrors”, by Justin Timberlake, and the MTV European Awards for “Untitled #1”, by Sigur Ros. On top of that, she’s directed influential videos for a who’s-who of A-list artists, including Pink’s “Try”, Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter”, Katy Perry’s “E.T.”, Sheryl Crow’s “Anything But Down”, The White Stripes’ “Blue Orchid” and Leonard Cohen’s “My Secret Life”.


What was your “aha” moment — when you decided, “Yup, I’m going to make a go of it as an artist”?

I knew I wanted to be an artist from a very young age. I remember the moment when I truly connected to the power of creativity and thought this is where I need to be. At the time, I hadn’t had much success at bringing the vision in my head to fruition, but when I was approached by Marilyn Mason to direct the music video for “The Beautiful People”, I was inspired and my mind was flooded with ideas. I filled a whole sketchbook with specific ideas and looks I wanted to achieve. There was a moment on set where I felt true magic was happening before my eyes. I had drawn this image and now it was coming to life. I felt like I was plugged into something mysterious and larger than myself. I was hooked!



You directed the critically acclaimed film The Runaways, and it’s been announced you’ll direct The Delivery Man based on the novel by Joe Mcginniss Jr. and Alejandro Jodorosky’s Bouncer. Is it getting easier for female directors? Why haven’t you directed more features?

I’ve spent time developing projects and reading a ton of scripts, trying to find the right projects to make. It just takes time. I feel filmmaking moves by a different clock: “hurry and wait.” I am also busy preparing my next photo book and painting. 



You’ve directed so many award-winning music videos with amazing artists. Do you come up with the concepts or are they the results of collaborations with the artists?

Normally, I'm given the song and I'll listen to it hundreds of times until images come. Sometimes, it’s the lyrics that inspire me, and sometimes it’s the melody. I work best when I am free. I do ask the artist where a song came from, if it was personal. Sometimes that will lead me in a creative direction.



Your videos for Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People” and Sigur Ros’ “Untitled #1” were influential and showed that music videos were a real art form. What do you think of the current state of mainstream music videos? 

Thank you. I think music videos as an art form go up and down. There is some really interesting work that's being done right now. We did have a lull where mainstream music videos were shoved down our throats, but I feel there are now so many different outlets that really interesting ideas and films can be created and seen. The music industry isn’t really spending money on music videos any more, so it makes it difficult to create — but challenges sometimes take you in surprising directions.



The world was shocked when David Bowie recently passed away. You directed several of his videos, such as “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” and “The Next Day”. What memory sticks out most of your frequent collaborator and friend? 

My collaboration with David began in 1997 with “Little Wonder” and “Deadman Walking”, which I shot in Toronto. The fondest memory I have was our first meeting, which lasted five hours. We spent it talking about art, and that's how we bonded. He was super respectful and let me take the films where I saw them going creatively. He truly respected the creative process of the artist.

He really changed my life. He taught me that I could spend my life being creative. All I had to do was look at his life, which he dedicated to music and art and spent as a fearless innovator. He taught me to listen to myself. 



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Admissions Segment: 

Environmental Design - CIDA Accreditation Open House

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 4:00pm

For the past four years Colleen Reid, Asscoiate Dean, Faculty of Design has been working with the Environmental Design Chair and Faculty to get accreditation for Interior design. The CIDA team will be here to do the review on February 20 to 23, 2016.

We wish to thank Colleen Reid, the Design Office staff, the Environmental Design Faculty and intern Roxana Jakubowska for all the support, long hours and hard work. Most importantly, we would like to thank all the Environmental design students for loaning us your great work!

We will be having an OPEN HOUSE to show the student work on February 23rd from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm -- Please drop by Room 550.




From Industrial Design to Oprah’s kitchen

Jake Rosenberg launched website The Coveteur six months after graduating from OCAD U. Five years later, the site has become one of the world’s top luxury, lifestyle destinations focusing on fashion, beauty and health. Jake is co-founder, creative director and photographer.

“I wanted to be a filmmaker and photographer, but during first year I was drawn to Industrial Design so I reapplied for that program,” says Jake. “What I took to heart was branding and creating experiences. I still apply industrial design principles for every client I work with.” He’s featured the world’s top style-makers including Oprah.

Here are the three biggest lessons Jake’s learned along the way:


You can’t do everything yourself

The Coveteur Website

You have to learn to work with an amazing team and with people who do certain things better than you. I met my Coveteur co-founder on a job the day before we started the site. You have to find people who share your vision and take a risk.


Set your goals really high

Jake Rosenberg in front of the Coveteur logo

We started the Coveteur with ambitious stories in order to set a precedent for quality right from the start. Before we launched the site we put together creative concepts and pitch decks and sent non-stop emails. A lot of people didn’t get back to us and, in some cases, it took people a couple years to get back to us. But, once we photographed one person, they told their friends and word of mouth helped us.


Have fun!

Jake Rosenberg and Oprah Winfrey looking at camera

If you’re not having fun, don’t do it.

Admissions Segment: 

Open Houses, Working Groups to provide input to Rosalie Sharp Pavilion Revitalization Project

Rosalie Sharp Pavilion
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 5:00am

The Rosalie Sharp Pavilion Revitalization Project at 115 McCaul Street will begin a formal community engagement process next week by holding open houses and ongoing working groups.

Open Houses scheduled for February 3 and February 5 and held at Onsite Gallery (230 Richmond Street West) invite all members of the OCAD U community to provide input towards interior and exterior design considerations as well as the sustainability plan for the project. A follow up event will be announced, likely for March, when the architect will present on the feedback from these sessions and how it has contributed to the design evolution of the project.

Additionally, two working groups are being created. An Interior Programming User Group will be led by Faculty of Design Dean Gayle Nicoll and Faculty of Art Acting Dean Peter Sramek and include student representation, as well as members from all faculties. The group will provide input and advice on ensuring that the space is actively programmed within the preliminary vision of creating multi-disciplinary, flexible, and rotational space for experiential learning, studio work and public engagement.  The group will also contribute to articulation of the interior finishes in a way that reflects the programming and design intent.

A Media Wall Development Group will also be created to consider the possible nature and programming of media walls as part of the project. It is likely that both working groups will actively continue beyond the project completion date of autumn 2016.

The revitalization of the Pavilion is one of many steps being taken to meet current and future space needs at OCAD University. While the project will not solve all of OCAD U’s space pressures, it will create exciting new spaces for student, staff and faculty and will address specific student needs for experiential learning and studio space.

Open House: Rosalie Sharp Pavilion Revitalization Project at 115 McCaul

Rosalie Sharp Pavilion
Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

Join members of OCAD University’s leadership team and the project architects for an open house discussing the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion Revitalization Project at 115 McCaul Street. Your input will be used towards interior and exterior design considerations as well as the sustainability plan for the project.

A 45 minute presentation will take place at 5 p.m.

Venue & Address: 
Onsite Gallery 230 Richmond Street West, first floor Toronto ON  

Open House: Rosalie Sharp Pavilion Revitalization Project at 115 McCaul

Rosalie Sharp Pavilion
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm

Join members of OCAD University’s leadership team and the project architects for an open house discussing the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion Revitalization Project at 115 McCaul Street. Your input will be used towards interior and exterior design considerations as well as the sustainability plan for the project.

A 45 minute presentation will take place at 12 noon.

For those who cannot attend at this time, the Open House will also be held on Thursday, February 5 from 2 to 6 p.m., with the presentation taking place at 5 p.m., also in Onsite Gallery at 230 Richmond Street West, first floor.

Venue & Address: 
Onsite Gallery 230 Richmond Street West, first floor Toronto, ON &nbsp;

Grad Open + Info Sessions

Graduate Studies Open House poster with grey and pink text against white background
Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:00pm to Friday, November 21, 2014 - 2:30am

OCAD University attracts curious and creative graduate students who expect something more from their education and are willing to challenge themselves to achieve it. Are you ready to explore, enrich and expand your horizons? If so, join us for an informative evening about our graduate programs.

Our open house and information sessions have been combined into one exciting evening. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. with information sessions starting at 6:00 p.m. Join us before or after the sessions for a tour and to meet and mingle with students and faculty members.


5:00pm – 8:30pm – Graduate Programs Fair

5:30pm/7:45pm/8:00pm – Studio Tours

6:00pm – Graduate Studies Overview Presentation

6:45pm – 7:45pm – Individual Program Information Sessions

5:00pm – 9:30pm – Common Room/Nomadic Resident Exhibition 


More information about OCAD U's graduate programs:

The application deadline for all programs is Monday, January 19, 2015. Learn about our application process.


At OCAD University, we give ideas a place and a space. We are located in Toronto, in the heart of Canada’s most culturally vibrant city. Our ability to offer graduate students a unique experience is solidly rooted in our 138-year history of delivering uncompromising art and design education. Grounded in practice, theory, research and professionalism, with an eye on experimentation and change, we deliver advanced experiential learning. Our graduate students enjoy unrivalled opportunities to practice with expert faculty, in studios, labs and through exceptional internships.

Connect with us on Twitter @OCADUgrad!

Venue & Address: 
205 Richmond Street West, Toronto
416-977-6000 Ext. 423

What is the Imagination Catalyst?

What is the Imagination Catalyst?
Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 8:00pm

Briefing & Open House

Have you always dreamed of being an entrepreneur or commercializing your design? Are you faculty at OCAD U and have been wondering about what the Imagination Catalyst offers? If you have been thinking about either, you will want to attend this information session and open house where you will learn about the Imagination Catalyst, what we offer, meet our entrepreneurs, mentors, and Entrepreneur in Residence, and get a pre-commercialization look at the innovative products and companies that are currently in the process of being launched.

The event is open to all. If you plan to attend, RSVP at http://imaginationcatalystbriefing.eventbrite.com





Venue & Address: 
Imagination Catalyst 49 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario