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Alum Matthew Evans on being a designer and a donor

The best part of studying at OCAD U for Matthew Evans (Industrial Design, 2002), was working on projects in the shops and studios. That’s why after graduating and landing a job at a multinational company in Italy, he decided to follow his own path. He moved back to Toronto to start a design-build company. As the sole proprietor of a private general contracting firm, he designs and renovates spaces for select clients. He recently completed a design-build of a five-storey building in downtown Toronto, and built a rooftop patio in the Distillery District.

“I didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day,” Evans says. “In Italy I worked for a company that produced products for film and photography, but I was marketing and managing. It wasn’t creative. I started my company so I could design and work directly with clients.”

The essential approach Evans learned while at OCAD U is to investigate what a client needs. “I intentionally don’t have a specific aesthetic because I don’t want to design for me,” Evans says.

“When a client comes to me I ask them what they like and do an intense exercise of how they want to use a space and what their lifestyle is like to figure out the best solution.”

Evans originally attended OCAD U after working as a junior photographer. He planned to pursue photography, but did the foundation year and decided industrial design was a good fit for him. “I would never trade in my industrial design training,” Evans says. “It’s [about] problem solving, and with that you can do anything. It’s the toolset you need to figure anything out.”

As an art collector, Evans often attends GradEx and buys artworks from new artists. Three years ago he approached OCAD U to see how he could do more to help students pursue their art careers. That discussion resulted in The Evans Award, a fund he began with Michael McClelland that provides annual support to a promising art grad. “It’s so important to help young artists bridge the gap between studying and working as an artist, and help them enrich people’s lives through their work,” Evans says. “If you’re considering donating, I would absolutely say go for it. Providing assistance at a grassroots level in a way that will directly benefit a student is so important.”




The best part of studying at OCAD U for Matthew Evans (Industrial Design, 2002), was working on projects in the shops and studios. That’s why after graduating and landing a job at a multinational company in Italy, he decided to follow his own path. He moved back to Toronto to start a design-build company. As the sole proprietor of a private general contracting firm, he designs and renovates spaces for select clients. He recently completed a design-build of a five-storey building in downtown Toronto, and built a rooftop patio in the Distillery District.

“I didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day,” Evans says. “In Italy I worked for a company that produced products for film and photography, but I was marketing and managing. It wasn’t creative. I started my company so I could design and work directly with clients.”

The essential approach Evans learned while at OCAD U is to investigate what a client needs. “I intentionally don’t have a specific aesthetic because I don’t want to design for me,” Evans says.

“When a client comes to me I ask them what they like and do an intense exercise of how they want to use a space and what their lifestyle is like to figure out the best solution.”

Evans originally attended OCAD U after working as a junior photographer. He planned to pursue photography, but did the foundation year and decided industrial design was a good fit for him. “I would never trade in my industrial design training,” Evans says. “It’s [about] problem solving, and with that you can do anything. It’s the toolset you need to figure anything out.”

As an art collector, Evans often attends GradEx and buys artworks from new artists. Three years ago he approached OCAD U to see how he could do more to help students pursue their art careers. That discussion resulted in The Evans Award, a fund he began with Michael McClelland that provides annual support to a promising art grad. “It’s so important to help young artists bridge the gap between studying and working as an artist, and help them enrich people’s lives through their work,” Evans says. “If you’re considering donating, I would absolutely say go for it. Providing assistance at a grassroots level in a way that will directly benefit a student is so important.”

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