Illustration Program Speakers Series: Martin Wittfooth

Friday, January 27, 2017 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Martin Wittfooth was born in Canada in 1981. He earned his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2008. Wittfooth's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, with solo exhibitions in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Montreal. 

His paintings have also appeared in numerous publications, including cover features in New American Paintings, Hi-Fructose, and American Artist, to name a few. He has lectured at various art institutions, including Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Ontario College of art and Design in Toronto, and The Museum of American Illustration in New York City.


Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Street. Central Hall, Room 230
Martin Wittfooth

Barry Blitt on illustrating the story of the year

Image of New Yorker cover
Image of New Yorker cover
Image of New Yorker cover
Image of New Yorker cover
Image of New Yorker cover
Photo of illustrator Barry Blitt

One of America’s foremost illustrators (and OCAD University alum), Barry Blitt is perhaps best known for his political New Yorker magazine covers. He’s illustrated over 80 covers along with doing work for The New York Times, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone. Barry has also illustrated a series of children’s books.

We caught up with Barry to ask him about illustrating Time’s person of the year, Donald Trump.

Bad Reception

Miss Congeniality


As someone who’s been living the US presidential election campaign pretty closely for the past year and a half, how do you feel now that it’s over?

You'd think I'd be happy it's finally over, but the result was so disappointing to me. It was sort of giddy fun during the early months, but as it wore on - in those last few weeks of the campaign -  it became harder and harder to filter out the ugliness of the whole thing.


Grand Illusion

Significant Others


Will you draw Donald Trump differently now that he’s been elected president?

I don't know - I haven't been able to bring myself to draw him since. Though I expect it's inevitable, unless I go into another line of work. Orthodonture or ditch-digging are suddenly looking tempting in comparison.


Anything But That


What’s your creative process? How do you come up with your New Yorker cover ideas?

I try and keep a sketchbook around all the time and scribble wry thoughts as they occur, with as little self-editing as possible. Then, I redraw the least objectionable ideas as quick sketches, and submit them to the magazine. If something gets chosen I begin the process of sucking all joy and life out of the drawing for the final art.


Illustrator Barry Blitt

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Happy Holidays!

2016 OCAD U Illustration grad Kaitlinn Martin has expressed it better than we ever could. Please enjoy yourselves this festive season, and view more of Kaitlinn's work online.


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Salt Cure, a solo exhibition by Toko Hosoya

Saturday, December 10, 2016 - 12:00am to Sunday, January 1, 2017 - 4:00am

Join Toko Hosoya, a second year OCADU Illustration student in this Solo Show at Mark Christopher Gallery in Toronto. 

About the artist:

Toko Hosoya is a Japanese-born Canadian illustrator whose youth belies her talent to put on paper her imagined worlds in a technically stunning and rigorously detailed manner. Not to mention her capacity for humor. Toko’s fantastic worlds are as inviting as the things we are told to stay away from as children are alluring. They are curious expanses of wilderness and fun but not without the possibility of hurt, of real danger. Be it the encroachment of a seemingly benevolent mushroom on a human face, or an angry moth man chasing moth children, Toko’s illustrations, some of them as small as 15” x 7”, are like distillations of a well-thumbed childhood favorite. As with such picture books visited years later, Toko’s illustrations make what must have been once obvious obscure and the frightening playful.

About Salt Cure:

Toko works in a variety of different mediums, ranging from sculpture to illustration, using materials such as felt, ink, and truth. Often in her work, a powerful tool of manipulation becomes a site of honesty, where she communicates her innermost thoughts and feelings. A ceramic deity, or a fantastical story become ways through which she can explore truth, and challenge its many perceptions. By fantasizing the mundane, and fusing the past and present with fantastical narratives, the images invite the viewer to consider the extent to which the unreal is woven into their reality. In doing this, Toko hopes to better understand her place in the world and to encourage others to take a look at the absolutes in their lives - with a grain of salt.

Through Salt Cure, I am continuing my examination of the idea that truth and reality are things we choose. It seems to me that facts don’t have much power in the way of beliefs, and the intangible plays a powerful role in the world as we know it. The namesake of the exhibition refers to two things. Consuming salt triggers the release of dopamine in the brain and the addictive, primal satisfaction it brings can be seen as a salt “cure”. On the other hand, curing salts are used in preservation to prevent or slow decomposition by bacteria or fungus. During my period of salt addiction, I was essentially salting and suspending myself in a state of stagnation. Choosing the easier narrative to simply put my mind at rest ultimately resulted in something more like poison than a cure.

Humans are seemingly inclined to see narratives where there are none. Oftentimes, a way for me to feel that I have control over the world is by fitting things into a narrative that’s easier to accept. Humans have been telling the same stories for millennia, perhaps because stories allow people to find patterns where there is chaos. I feel that this dependency on narratives is more pronounced in children. They have the benefit of not knowing what is not possible, so they can live in a more fluid world where the impossible happens. Even in adulthood, this mindset can still manifest in many of the things that we do. While the illustrative scenes seem to be out of a fairytale, a darker undercurrents imply that what was playful in youth can turn much more deadly in adulthood. 


via Mark Christopher Gallery
poster via 

Venue & Address: 
Mark Christopher Gallery, 825 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON
Salt Cure

An illustrator explores the Internet of Things

Internet of Things by Meghan Dearlove

INSTUDIO asked 2016 Illustration grad Meg Dearlove for her take on the Internet of Things. View more of Meg’s work online.

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Your brain on books

To mark another amazing book awards season (see here, here and here) INSTUDIO asked 2016 Illustration grad Daria Domnikova to chart the inner landscape of a reader, with stunning results. You can join Daria any time in celebrating the joy of reading or view more of her work online.



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Auguries and Dreams, paintings and drawings by Christina Sealey

Suspension, 2016. Oil on Canvas, 30 x 24 inches
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 10:30pm to Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 1:30am

The Red Head Gallery will present the exhibition Auguries and Dreams by artist and OCAD U Illustration, Assistant Professor Christina Sealey.


From The Red Head Gallery:

Christina Sealey’s practice is based primarily in drawing, painting, and sound. Through her work she has been examining the relationship between identity and environment: the intimate connections between people and the places they inhabit. Auguries and dreams is a collection of new paintings that explore the intangible and mysterious qualities of "night" or "darkness”, a dominant theme in Christina's recent work. These paintings play with the symbolism associated with “night” – in particular the association with the unconscious, transformation, and absence / presence. She is particularly interested in how these ideas influence and intersect with the physical experience of night and darkness. Moments of tension, indecision, transition, and mystery are recurring themes. The play between representation and abstraction emphasizes the themes of mystery and ambiguity, blurring the distinction between the real and the imaginary.  

Christina Sealey is an artist and musician based in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds an MFA in Drawing and Painting from the Edinburgh College of Art. Christina has exhibited throughout Canada and the UK in public and commercial galleries, and she has performed her music in many countries around the world. Her work is represented in private, corporate, and public collections. She has been awarded grants for her painting and audio work from both the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts and from private foundations including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. Christina is an assistant professor at OCAD University.


Venue & Address: 
The Red Head Gallery 401 Richmond Street, Toronto, ON
Suspension, 2016. Oil on Canvas, 30 x 24 inches

Anson Liaw's work featured at COW International Design Festival

A sample of Anson Law's work
Friday, October 28, 2016 - 5:00pm

Illustration, Sessional Instructor Anson Liaw's work has been selected for print and online exhibition for the COW International Design Festival ILLUSTRATION 2016, alongside the works from illustrators from Argentina, Austria, Brasil, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Canada, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, USA, Taiwan, Turkey and Ukraine.

The COW International Design Festival ILLUSTRATION 2016 exhibition & event runs from Friday, October 28 to Tuesday, November 8, 2016 in Dnipro, Ukraine at the Dniprovska Central Library.  [Voskresenska str, 23, Dnipro, Ukraine].

You can review the Top 10 best collections of illustration images selected by the judges here.


Fourth Year Illustration student Wenting Li's work published in The New York Times

Illustratin of young woman and hands
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 6:45pm

This work was commissioned by Jim Datz, Art Director at The New York Times.

In a brief interview Wenting shared a little bit of what this experience was like:

"I had twenty minutes to accept the job and then about seven hours to do sketches, make revisions, and deliver the final piece. It was a super quick turn-around, which I've heard is often the case with the Op-Ed"




You can see her work here


OCADU Illustration Podcast, Season 2

Greg and Sauchie at Home
Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 6:45pm

For the second season of the series, OCAD U Assistant Professor Greg Mably graciously invited us over to his home studio in Toronto's Design District. He is an illustrator with great experience in client-based work and digital illustration. 

Click here to listen to this episode!

Check out more pictures of the studio and links to Greg's work on the blog.