Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Student Profile: Nikole Hidalgo McGregor

Nikole Hidalgo

We enjoyed Integrated Media student Nikole’s energy and passion while she worked here at the Learning Zone for the last two years. This energy and passion also extended into her artwork that can be viewed on her Vimeo channel.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the art you create.

I am Nikole Hildago McGregor, I come from Peru. I am a feminist and a Mestizo woman. I make video work that is connected with both my identity and my political views, views that are also related with social change.

How long have you been interested in art? How long have you known that this is something that you wanted to pursue as a career?

When I was growing up I was really good at math and sciences. I really like to do crafts but I never saw that as something I wanted to do for a living and dedicate myself to. I studied biology for 5 years but I honestly did not like it. So, moving to Canada was an opportunity to take over a different route with something that I would actually enjoy and do not hate every single second. I took a design certificate program and worked with a team designing a logo for a minor hockey team. I really like designing and doing art direction but wanted more creative freedom. So, I look for a place where I could do this thing that I was craving, that was art and developing my skills. I learnt of the Integrated Media program at OCAD U, that offered me the opportunity to work with computers, animation, film and design, a program that brings art and technology together.

Where does your inspiration come from?

As I mentioned, I am feminist and Mestizo Latino woman from Peru, which is still a chauvinist country with older views about the roles of women in society, and still dealing with issues like ownership of the female body – as if it’s not her own. These kind of themes are really important to me.

My work always turns the eyes towards the current situation in Peru, but that is also present in the first world, like the United States, were Planned Parenthood centers are being closed because of how politics move in order to control women. I find that most of my work tries to make reference to what inspires me the most. When I work on in a project I want to communicate my ideas and feelings. I avoid using narration because I speak Spanish and English, but I want my pieces to be understood by everyone. I try to make points about the feelings and insecurities and the internal struggles that women face.

Which two art supplies could you not live without?

I love paper.  Even with my stop motion animation, I made the whole wardrove and custom designs are made out of paper. I adore the different weights and textures. Also, for my own creative process, I can’t live without clay, it is a substrate of my craft, and I consider it enriches my creative process

When you came to OCAD you knew that you were going to be involved with film/video making, but did you always have a love for animation or was that something that developed later?

It developed afterwards. I did not have any kind of artistic instruction previously. I did not know how to grab a pen or pencil for drawing, it was so weird. You need to at least know a little bit about drawing for animation. When I applied to Integrated Media, I said yes I can design in a different way, like for making film because you follow the same principles of design, colour, repetition within the screen,  so obviously I started taking more film courses. But little by little I realized that I like the power of creating everything by yourself. You need a team for making a film but for animation there is a certain flexibility about it and you can do it by yourself.  Of course, it will take all of the time in the world! It was quite a discovery, and I learned to carve, to paint, to draw, because of animation. I am really keen on aesthetics, so I would spend weeks learning the skills before getting into the animation process. Animation is a great tool for talking about really difficult and painful subject matters. You can be really symbolic about it without having blood and death directly full on your face.  You can be subtle and say deep, sad stuff in a really beautiful way and that’s a power that I wanted to be able to wield.

What did you enjoy the most about Integrated Media program?

I find that Integrated Media allowed me to discover myself in a way that other programs would not have been able to—it gave me so many options to strengthen the skills that I already had, and it also opened doors for discovering new ways of making art. All the instructors that I had were amazing, inspiring artists, great professionals, practicing artists. I don’t know if I was lucky but everything about the program allowed me the possibility to call myself an artist today. I find it such a complex word, what does it even mean to be an artist?, to me its the ability to grab different tools and create something that is meaningful to today’s society.

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

When I talk about myself, I say that I’m a filmmaker and animator, and I know that there are a lot of nuances on those two terms. My practice is media based but what I present on the screen is informed by all the tools I find around me. An artist should not be limited, and if you have the opportunity to really explore other substrate then why not, it will just enrich the final practice. Communication is also important to me, so I try to portrait the subject matter in meaningful, lingering ways making use of the visuals. I believe I am capable of highlighting important issues with the art direction of a short.

Is there any artist from the past or present that you appreciate a lot?

Jan Švankmajer. He works with film and animation. He makes gigantic puppets, sometimes he does puppetry, stop motion animation, and he works with clay and wood. He writes a lot and I like the way he describes his work—he does not make objects come to life but he listens to the objects telling the stories that the objects want to tell. It’s so rich. I find his work inspiring and connects a lot with my art practice.

What are your plans when you graduate?

I would love to keep doing what I do. I have had the incredible honour to show my pieces around the world. I’ve been showing in Europe, South America and here in Canada. I have been invited to the La Truca Film Festival in Colombia in the middle of the year because they have a special panel with female empowered filmmakers, and my film is also showing in that festival.

Is there anything else you want to share with us, any final thoughts?

If you are a student, take advantage of that because you can create pieces that are really important and meaningful to you, and you have the opportunity to have the feedback from your instructors and that feedback is invaluable.

15

06 2018

Relax, read a zine

Relax, read a zine poster

We always get excited when a new zine display is installed in the Learning Zone, especially when created by one of the LZ Student Monitors.

Hi Nikole,

LZ: What’s your relationship with zines?

N: I used to love reading books and also spend hours looking at illustrations. With zines I can enjoy those two worlds together!

Relax, read a zine display, 2017

Tell us why you selected these zines for the Relax, read a zine display.

Just like with books, I trust in great opening lines, lines that capture your attention and invite you to keep reading. I also selected entertaining zines, that can take you away from worries for some minutes of pure fun.

With the zines that I selected, I found Study Buddy by Chu/Michy and Coffee Hunters by Bill Bedard very funny relatable — most of the people that I know are addicted to coffee.

I love illustrations so when I opened Frequently asked questions about threesome by Hyein Lee, the illustrations were so cute and unexpected. For me the most daring illustrations were in A Jest of Nature by Marcel Ruijters but overall, all of the illustrations from the zines that I selected were beautiful.

All of the zines have interesting stories and comics, they keep you hooked and have a very happy tone.

Thanks Nikole, for sharing some of your favourite zines with us.

Zines on display:

Coffee Hunters: Book One: The Hunt by Bill Bedard

Study Buddy by Chu & Michy

A Jest of Nature by Marcel Ruijters

Boredom Pays #6 by Jason Bradshaw

Obviously Quo-tes Ontario

Coordinates by Beth Hyland

Papercutter #4

Frequently asked question about threesome by Hyein Lee

Pope Hats No. 1 by Ethan Rilly

13

06 2017

Summer in the Learning Zone = zines, books & fun

OCAD Zine Library

Summer in the city of Toronto can warm up very nicely with a host of cultural and diverse events and festivals. It’s also a great time for students to catch a breeze, relax and read. Which inspired me to ask the Learning Zone team a few summery questions.

Dylan North, Faculty of Design: Illustration.

Dylan North. Breeze, 2016

In recognition of International Zine month, what’s your favourite zine from the OCAD Zine Library?

I’ve read many of the zines in the collection…so I’ll just choose a personal classic; College Type Funnies by Chris Kuzma and Patrick Kyle.

What else has been on your summer reading list?

I haven’t been reading any books recently but I always love to kick back with a design annual from the 80s or 90s; Society of Illustrators, Graphis Poster, Graphic Design in Japan, JCA Annual and American Illustration to name a few.

Where’s your favourite place to cool down around or near campus?

The ROM on Tuesdays but the Learning Zone always has the air conditioner on blast.

Khadija Aziz, Cross-Disciplinary Art: Life Studies.

Khadija Aziz. Untitled, 2016.In recognition of International Zine Month, what’s your favourite zine from the OCAD Zine Library?

The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade.

I like this zine because Adam Gnade gives his readers a pep talk to overcome feelings of sadness and anxiety. He uses light, humourous, and real-talk language to address issues like how to deal with critics and haters in person or online, self-doubt, and positive and toxic friendships, to name a few—all of which students especially art students are very vulnerable too.

What else has been on your summer reading list?

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor.

Achor emphasizes the importance of focusing and acknowledging positive psychology, which means to invest our time and resources in understanding what makes humans happy, and then asking ourselves how we can make ourselves happier.

One exercise Achor mentions is to note three good things of each day at the end of that day. Write them in a notebook, your phone, or best yet—do this with a friend to hold each other accountable for being happier. This keeps us constantly and consciously looking out for the positive parts of our days. We become actively engaged with our positive energy and wake up wondering what will be on our list tonight.

Where’s your favourite place to cool down around or near campus?

My absolute favourite place to cool down near campus, even in the winter, is by the lake near Harbourfront, and my favourite way to get there is through Simcoe St.

Tetyana Herch, Cross-Displinary Art: Publications and 2016 Publications Medal recipient.

Tetyana Herych. Collage, 2016

In recognition of International Zine Month, what’s your favourite zine from the OCAD Zine Library?

My favourite zine from the zine library right now is 3 Minute Girlfriend by Zeesy Powers, made in 2007. She put out a Craigslist ad, advertising that she will be your girlfriend for three minutes at xpace, on a specific date, between 1 to 6pm. The rest of the zine is various responses that she has received from users. It’s kind of really entertaining to read the amount of responses she generated just by including a cute picture of herself.

What else has been on your summer reading list?

I keep on bouncing from book to book but right now I’m enjoying The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick. It’s a lot better than The Book on Information by James Maiangowi.

Where’s your favourite place to cool down around or near campus?

My favourite place to cool down around campus is the library!

Tom Colleran, Faculty of Art: Drawing and Painting.

Tom Colleran, Self-Portrait, 2016In recognition of International Zine Month, what’s your favourite zine from the OCAD Zine Library?

I like the zine Feels Like Lavender by Madison van Riijn. Madison was part of my social group when I lived in Guelph. I enjoy reading stories written by people that I know and to see what kind of work they do. I like her style of linework used in this zine.

What else has been on your summer reading list?

I’m in between books right now. I’ve finished two Tom Robbins books, Half-A-Sleep in Frog Pyjamas and Skinny Legs and All. He has a good ability to mix his crazy theories into story lines a nice mixture of comedy and thought provoking ideas. I also enjoy looking through the American Illustrators and American Photography design annuals.

Where’s your favourite place to cool down around or near campus?

The Learning Zone, it’s pretty cool but I also enjoy just sitting on my front porch.

OCAD U Library Services: Learning Zone

Looking for a cool space to escape from the heat? Our summer hours are Monday to Fridays, 10 am to 6 pm until August 17th. The OCAD Zine Library is open to the public during these hours so, drop by and discover your favourite zine.

 

 

25

07 2016

Student Profile: Aicha Niazy

Aicha Niazy

LZ: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? And the art you create?

AN: My name is Aicha Niazy, I am from Egypt and this is my first year at OCAD, I’m transferring from UTM, University of Toronto Mississauga. My program is Graphic Design; and so far it’s very interesting.

What influenced your decision to major in Graphic Design?

It’s really weird to be honest. When I was in grade 11 and 12, I was not thinking about graphic design at all, it didn’t even cross my mind. I was going to go into economics and then changed my mind to anthropology, criminology, or marine biology and then I kept on going through lists of programs. I was also interested in psychology. But in my last year, grade 12, I decided that I really wanted to be a designer. It’s because I look around me and find some awful designs and then I would find the urge to fix them but then I also wanted to know how people design all these things because when I think about it graphic design is in every single aspect of our lives. Everyone needs a graphics designer, be it firms and corporations, schools, doctors’ offices and hospitals and the list goes on, this is when I decided to major in graphic design.

What is your creative process?

Observing, I really like to observe, and see a lot of details around me, it’s what informs me

Where are you most productive, tell us about your creative space?

During the summer, I would say the beach or the sea when I’m floating on the water. Otherwise it would be in my room or when showering. When I get an idea, I try to develop it to a certain extent before I Google it because I want to see where my thinking will take me and without being influenced by the Internet.

What two graphic design tools could you not live without?

Sketchbook and a pencil, to write down my thoughts or illustrate them in some way also Adobe software programs like Illustrator, Photoshop and inDesign, these are the programs I mostly use at this point.

Is there another medium you would like to work in?

I would like to experiment with painting, I’m not a painter myself, I’ve never painted but lately I’ve been feeling the urge to paint. So, I would like to experiment and see what I get, just practice and do some sketches.

I’ve noticed on your online portfolio, Format, you were working in photography was that something that you were always interested in or have worked on?

Photography has always been interesting as an approach where I can capture things. For example if you have seen my series City Lights? It’s of water bottles with lights reflected on them, this is something that I would not see without the lens of the camera, with the camera lens zoomed in, it makes the lights really stand out, that’s the one thing I would like to experiment with, see what the camera captures what you don’t see with your eyes.

Do you have a preference of analogue over digital cameras?

I don’t have preference, yet. I have only been taking pictures for a year. However, I loved analogue in terms of how I get to develop my own film and print out the photographs, it just reminds me of the old times with pictures in albums, and as a kid I would always wonder how it worked, now I know. I’ve worked in darkrooms and also created photograms which was so much fun. And I did my own pinhole and took a few pictures with it. It was cool to experiment with the primary method of how the camera came to be.

Photogram

Would you like to keep the photographic aspect of your work separate from graphic design or would you integrate them together?

If I worked with photography I would integrate into my graphic designs.

You wrote a paper on the comparisons of calligraphy with architecture?

The paper was basically discussing the calligraphy we see inscribed on architecture, and how these are designs (typographic designs), and their beautiful impact on architecture. In Islamic tradition there is no use of images or pictures representing prophets, and calligraphy is used as a form to transmit the words of god, written beautifully, to glorify it.

The most splendid mosques that I have come acrossed are Taj mahal, Hagia Sophia Mosque in Turkey, Sultan Hassan, Al-Refai and Muhammad Ali mosques in Egypt. I learned that there are different calligraphic scripts such as Kufic, Naskhi, and more. They are displayed in square forms, linear and sometimes even combined with designs like floral designs, mosaics, arabesques and of course it depends on the medium.

What do you enjoy most about studying graphic design?

It’s totally up to me to create the design from scratch but also the professors direct you, they give you the basics, even when you ask, they try to navigate you without telling you what to do so, it’s your own creative design.

What do you do to relax?

I read, workout and if the sea is there, I swim.

What is your dream job?

I don’t have a dream job right now. but I have standards for a job; it has to be a space that fosters creativity that ‘s very important to me.

What is your favourite thing about studying in Toronto?

Toronto is full of artists, designers, film festivals, different art related venues and events, and I live downtown so I don’t have to commute.

18

03 2015

Student Profile: Sam Pedicelli

Sam_Portrait001_

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the art that you create?

I’m in 3rd year Drawing & Painting but I don’t do much painting anymore. I focus mostly on embroidered drawings.

How long have you been interested in art? How long have you known that you wanted to pursue art as a career?

My whole life, I knew that I had always wanted a job in the arts. The only time I questioned myself is when family and friends discourage me from pursuing it as a career.

What influenced your decision to major in Drawing & Painting?

I was most exposed to drawing and painting before I enrolled in OCAD but I think I’m better suited to the Sculpture or MAAD programs. My art is very dependent on installation and rarely just stops at painting.

What do you enjoy most about your program?

I like the flexibility, they are very open to other mediums.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by conversations that I have with other people and my daily experiences. For example I recently did an extensive mold series because I had a lot moldy food in my house. I write a lot of notes and to-do lists so I made work about text. I like to include my hectic life into my art.

What is your creative process?

My creative process begins with writing and talking, rarely any sketching is involved.

What is the best art tip you ever received?

I overheard an instructor advising a student to make artwork that you can relate to, don’t make artwork that you have no association to.

What are your favourite tools to work with?

Thread, needles, different fabrics and dyes.

What two art tools could you not live without?

Needle and thread.

How would describe your work?

Very detail oriented and committed, it begins with an end in mind. I have to know where it will end up.

Has attending art school helped you develop your own personal style? If so, how?

Coming to OCAD taught me the importance to have a specific style so that people can recognize your work. It comes through a lot of failed art.

What are your plans when you graduate?

I’m divided between travelling or finding a good job. Maybe, I will pursue an art residency or internship.

What do you do to relax?

Drink wine and watch movies with friends.

What is your favourite thing about studying in Toronto?

The art scene is enormous, everyday it seems like there is a new gallery opening. Diverse neighbourhoods, you can walk one block and it’s like you are in a different city.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing students and artists today?

The massive sea of art, it seems that you come up with a great idea and somebody has already done it. You have to recognize when your idea is verbatim and to adjust it. Know enough about the art you are interested in, who’s done what.

Where is your favourite place to eat around OCAD U?

The Village Idiot and Pita Village.

 

 

 

 

 

30

01 2014


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