Posts Tagged ‘student profile’

Catching up with 4th year Graphic Design student Samiya Karim

Samiya Karim, 2020

Samiya Karim is a recent graduate of the Graphic Design program and after four years in the program she is happy to be able to call herself a Professional Graphic Designer.

We came to know Samiya from her time working with us in the LZ. When Samiya was not on the job, she could be found in the LZ working on multiple class projects. Last May, she co-curated an exhibition for the Learning Zone Gallery called House of Oriental: Northern Style: An Exhibition of Works Exploring Pan-Asian Canadian Foods. Also, a fun fact about Samiya is that she knows a lot of weird trivia about internet culture as well as pop culture.

We caught up (virtually) with Samiya recentyly to talk about her thesis project and more.

LZ: What influenced your decision to major in Graphic Design?

SK: I really want to say something witty and enlightened but truth-fully I really enjoyed making memes and making peoples’ days brighter

What did you enjoy most about the program?

Graphic Design is a program that really allows you to be a jack of all trades, you can explore illustration, motion, packaging, and really make the degree your own.

Reviving Bloordale, Samiya Karim 2020

Can you tell us a bit about your thesis idea and how you decided on it?

My thesis idea revolves around recognizing the role of small businesses in the make-up of the neighbourhood. Toronto as a rapidly growing city is experiencing gentrification faster than ever, and those being most affected are Toronto’s BIPOC community. Bloordale in particular is a place that is close to my heart as my family had established their first roots there when we arrived in Canada. It is particularly sad to see these immigrants’ businesses disappear that often would give us access to a piece of our motherland in a foreign country. This project is intended to preserve that history and the memories of Bloordale’s diverse neighbourhood.

 During this time of physical distancing, do you feel that social media is more important to your work, and in what ways?

I feel it is both important as well as hindering. I feel that a huge part of my work is missing an essential part of human interaction as it is dealing with place, however I recognize that social media has the power of spreading my work much faster.

What do you do to relax?

I find building houses in the Sims is a great way to be relaxing. It’s something that I find great as a way to get rid of any creative blocks as well as distress. If I am looking to relax in short term, I often find myself meditating.

What are your next steps after graduating?

Honestly, my first step is finding a job that pays well so I can support my family. My second plan was to take a vacation to New York or LA but I’m afraid that would not be happening soon.

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

There are a lot of things that are happening in the world right now, but all the new changes will hopefully be for the better!

Samiya Karim postcards, 2020

 

08

06 2020

Student Profile: Mia Đặng

Mia Dang, Illustration student 2020

Mia Đặng aka Miapear will be graduating this June from OCAD U’s Illustration program, with hopes to complete her minor in photography soon. Mia joined the LZ team two years ago and during that time we had the opportunity to collaborate with her on poster designs and other LZ activities, it was great to see her dedication and fun approach towards creativity shining through.

Art has always been my hobby as I painted cast figures every weekend as a child until grade 5

For Mia, studying art did not become a career consideration until the age of 18 after she was encouraged by her oil painting teacher to apply to the design program. Studying Illustration was a natural fit for Mia. Since the age of five Mia found ways to be creative by drawing, doodling, painting cast figures or working on art projects with her friends for fun.

Last month we sat down (remotely) with Mia and asked her a few questions:

LZ: What influenced your decision to major in Illustration?

MD: I initially applied for graphic design; however, my portfolio seems to fit into the Illustration program better. I found myself having fun with turning quotes and ideas into imagery and drawing, which led me into switching my application decision.

LZ: What do you enjoy the most about the program?

 MD: I enjoy the endless support from the Faculty and the community we have in Illustration. Everyone is very nice and helpful when it comes to critique and giving feedback. Another aspect which I like is the wide scope of Illustration field information we have access to in 4th-year courses.

Where are you most productive? Tell us a bit about your creative space.

I find myself working very productively all by myself in my studio. My working/creative space consists of books and art prints for inspiration, chill music, coffee or tea, a very neat table and tons of art supplies.

You said that you are interested in becoming a children’s book illustrator. What lead you in that direction?

I have always enjoyed babysitting my cousin’s kids since the age of 7-8. I love kids so much that when I found out that I could become a children’s book illustrator and read those books to them, I couldn’t think of anything else. Besides, I have a little brother who just turned two, so I can’t wait to make books and read to him.

Mia Dang, Spring Things

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I do read for pleasure in my free time. I love romantic poetry and novels. Adolescence-centred graphic novels are also my favourite. Some of my favourite graphic novelists are Lucy Knisley, Jillian Tamaki, and Eleanor Davis. I also read self-help books to motivate myself to work and not to give up. I highly recommend The Pursuit of Dreams by Dr. Dragos Bratasanu. It’s a great read.

Who are your favourite photographers?

I have a few female Vietnamese portrait photographers that I love which are Dạ Miêu and Linh Bay Bong. You can easily look for them on Instagram. They are excellent at capturing women’s essence and intimacy.

How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affecting your routine?

I have always stayed an introvert and I spend most of my time at home. So, the quarantine doesn’t have too much negativity on my daily routine. The only things that affects me are getting art supplies, shipping out orders for my shop and getting groceries. But these tasks are not frequent so I don’t find it hard to adapt.

During this time of physical distancing, do you feel that social media is more important to your work, and in what ways?

Due to the virus, shows and fairs have been cancelled which decrease my exposure to the public. So social media has been a lifesaver these days for my works to be appreciated and showcased. People use Instagram a lot more these days which gives me more chances to sell and promote my works.

Does your work have a specific message or theme?

I want to spread the message of staying a child and look at things through a child’s perspective, which is why my works are bold and vibrant in colours with many character designs based on things we see every day like animals, fruits, nature…

Can you tell us a little bit about your thesis project and why it was important to you?

Like I mentioned, I love working with kids and children’s materials. So I came up with a thesis topic regarding children’s psychology during the summer of 2019. I also got to spend sometime with my grandmother back home in Vietnam and noticed that she was having mild symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

With the art direction of my thesis professor, my project Inverse Retrogenesis came to life; it explores the similarities of early childhood psychology and Alzheimer’s disease symptoms to subvert the perception towards aging process. This project is so dear to my heart since it shows how much love I pour out for kids and the elderly. Growing up as a Vietnamese in Asia, I’ve encountered how careful adults and children treat their elderly; however, I don’t see that so much in the Western culture. I feel like if I grow old here in the West, I’m just gonna end up in the long-term care home. As a result, through the thesis project, I want to affect how people think about aging and perhaps make people think twice about how they treat their elderly. Getting old is as similar as growing up. We love kids and emphasize with them so much, why not the elderly?

Mia Dang, Habit 2020

What are your next steps after graduating?

I want to find a full-time job in a publishing company. Ideally, the position of a book cover illustrator as the starting point would be great. Then, I’ll work my way to get my books published. Along with the stable job, I will also grow my Etsy store and make that the second source of income.

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

Yes. I want to give advice to my fellow OCAD students. Don’t ever think that your art is not great or tell yourself that you’re small. Just put yourself out there. Start creating something for yourself first. We always have to start somewhere so start right now and you are more than enough.

I’d like to thank Heather Evelyn for giving this opportunity to share my love of art. I appreciate this so much.

You can see more of Mia’s work on her Instagram and YouTube channel @ Miapear.

 

 

04

06 2020

Student Profile: Tom Colleran

Tom Colleran, 2016

Those who have visited the Learning Zone would have met Tom Colleran, one of our many talented LZ Student Monitors who have provided valuable services for us. Tom will be graduating from the Drawing & Painting program this summer. Tom’s main focus with his artwork has been portraiture and figurative paintings and drawings. Coming to OCAD U was a natural fit for Tom as he grew up drawing.

I spent a lot of my childhood on a farm, a farmhouse and we did not really have cable or internet, we had very slow internet. We would spend most of our time drawing. My grandfather would have a lot of photocopied articles and the backside were always blank so we would get big stacks of paper that we could draw on. My grandpa, when he saw me draw he would be pulling me aside to show me the great masters. I got more interested in pursuing it more seriously later on.

Salfie

LZ: What 2 art supplies could you not live without?

TC: A good supply of Willow charcoal and a good kneading eraser.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

One of my favourite authors is Kurt Vonnegut. I like his blend of humour, satire, history and science fiction.

Goldfish. Tom Colleran, 2015

What do you do to relax?

I play a lot of guitar. I am in a band with my sister.

Do you have a favourite contemporary artist who you appreciate a lot?

The one artist that got me excited was Eric Fischl. He also works from photographs. Fischl was part of the Neo-expressionism movement that popularized working with the figure again in the late 60s. His paintings have some dark and perverted imagery—and he does some really nice portraits too.

David

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

Take your time at school. When I started I was really concerned with getting through everything and taking as many classes as possible then I slowed down. Give your self enough time to do things. Having less projects gets you excited by the projects you do have and that is a big help. That is one of my many experiences from OCAD that I will transfer to my art practice.

Subway scene

14

08 2018

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

Student Profile: Aicha Niazy

Aicha Niazy

In April, we had a chance to speak with 4th year Graphic Design student Aicha Niazy who was busy putting final touches on her thesis project.

Aicha’s personal style has been very much influenced by her culture, religion and background stemming from her wanting to know more about these things

I would not say art school is what influenced my style but it’s other factors that influenced my artwork and graphic design style, like my culture, my religion, my background. I wanted to know more about these things about my culture and my background and questions in life in general so looking into these things has in a way suddenly or indirectly directed the type of work I do. For example, if you look at my thesis it’s all related to that, my culture, background and history.

LZ: Hi Aicha, it’s nice to meet with you again. Our last interview was in 2015, you were in your first year at OCAD University. This year you are graduating from the university with a BDes in Graphic Design.

AN: Yes, I am, hopefully

What did you enjoy most about studying graphic design at OCAD University?

I enjoyed some of the approaches that some of my profs had. Some of the courses were very interesting because I probably had a different expectation of what the course was going to look like, but then it was very different from what I was thinking. It was something new so, I enjoyed that although I can’t say it for all the courses. When I look back from first year to now, I see the progress and even those profs also see my progress.

 Is there another medium you would like to work with?

Yes, textiles. I think in my first interview I mentioned that small business that my mom, my sister and I started. That is what I want to focus on when I graduate. It’s mostly in textiles but I also have to do a lot of graphic design in branding and corporate identity work related to that but it’s very nice to merge the two together. I like creating pattern design, this is something I’m interested in, and surface design whether it’s for textiles, wall paper, or it could be for anything really.

Have you seen an evolution of your design practice from first year at OCAD U to present?

I feel like there is definitely, like I said before from first year to now, I have learned so much but even say that not just since the first year at OCAD but the first year at UTM. I went in not knowing how to use any of the software but that is what I learned and when I came into OCAD, it was even further into the practice itself, it was learning more about graphic design, but it was not like oh here this how you have to design something—it goes here and goes there—no it was not like any of this so it was a very good exploration and direction from the profs so you end up developing your own style in your work that is different from someone else but you are both learning but everyone ends up doing something—the style differs based on a lot of other things—everyone has their own influences—things whether they are aware of or not influence their work the way they are thinking so I absolutely do see a progression first year to now.

You have an assuredness in what you are doing and are very confident, you are open to learn more…

Absolutely, I’m open to learn more, always, forever—also that confidence comes after the very, very end after I’ve done my research, I begin with lots of questions, lots of confusion, lots of, I don’t know where I’m going a lot of my projects are hugely very open at the beginning, very broad, where do I  even begin, then slowly when I’m done, not done, its not ever done when I do a lot research and look into everything, then I’m okay, I know what I’m doing.

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

I enjoyed my time at OCAD!

 

12

06 2018


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