A talented, knowledge hungry ID major tells how OCAD brings him culture, hard work, and maybe even his own super power.

Do you fear change or do you welcome it?
I used to fear change, but now I am a lot more used to it. I’m usually excited by change now because everything so far which has been a big change has been super exciting and helped me move forward in life, like moving to Toronto.
What program are you in?
Industrial design. I was drawn to this program because I was into graphic design in high school, and we had a class called ‘Tech-design’, which is like Industrial Design. We learnt how to draft and shit like that. I realized I couldn’t sit at a computer for the rest of my life because I would die sitting at a desk working on Illustrator for the rest of my life so when I found out about Industrial Design, I thought ‘oh shit, this is for me’. And because it is so specific yet broad at the same time, you can do anything you want from graphic design work to photography work. Especially when you are freelancing you can do anything, like if I wanted to make a fucking house, shoes or anything! And that was super exciting for me; I want to be creating things and, for me, being able to tangibly hold the things I am making is way cooler than say looking at Photoshop every day and looking at the same screen over and over again. I also saw a movie called ‘Objectified’ when I was in grade nine. When I saw how they made MacBooks and iPods, I became interested in how it’s made, since I always watched how it’s made while growing up, as a little kid, on Discovery Channel.
What is your background?
My dad’s side is Austrian and German, and my mum’s side is Dutch. I have been to Holland and as we have a house in Austria, we go there often. Now I’m learning about different backgrounds of design, like Japanese and Asian design. There are so many Austrian designers and designers that do really nice minimalist designs, almost Scandinavian designs and Japanese designs put together, which I think is very interesting as I like both of those things.
How did art/design become a part of your life?
When I decided I didn’t want to play hockey or sports. In high school, I made the junior team in Windsor and so I was deciding whether I should move away from my parents and shit… but I didn’t really see it going past that. I didn’t really want to leave everything I had behind and just attempt to do something that I wasn’t really sold on. And then I was going to take a year off and work in Australia or Ireland for a year, but I was accepted to OCAD and I was like ‘okay we good we’re gone fuck this I’m out’ and now we’re here.
I did graphic design stuff in my own time, and in grade six or seven is when I found SAI Paint and I was using that instead of Photoshop, because I couldn’t get it [Photoshop] and I didn’t know how to torrent stuff well. I used to play a game called MapleStory and I used to draw characters and there is a website called Basil market, which is like Deviant Art but for MapleStory, so people would post art on it. And I had a tablet from like grade five. I wanted to do graphic design since grade eight and I wanted to go to the Sheridan program. But I wanted to do more, I wanted to extend my skills and now that I understand how Industrial Design works, you need to be a graphic designer, you need to be a manufacturer, you need to be everything, you need to know everything inside and out, if you want to do as well as you can, and you can replace all those people in your life. You can be an engineer, an architect, a filmer, photographer —you can do all of that and still be an Industrial Designer.
What was your first experience with OCAD?
When I was first walking to the school, to my first class and I was looking around at everybody, I remember feeling like I was in one of those movies…. Have you ever seen the movie where everyone is a superhero and are in a superhero high school in the clouds and everyone has their own special powers? I felt when I was walking in like ‘oh this person is a photographer’, ‘oh this person does graphic design’ or ‘this person only works in metal’, and I felt that everyone was so special, like they all had their own superpower? And I think that’s cool, when you meet someone new, and it’s like ‘yo what do you do?’
Everyone sticks to their own shit and everyone likes their own niche things and what a person wears or is into is all where it stems from. You can see other people’s inspiration through the things they wear, and you can tell when a person is in drawing and painting, or when they’re in design, so I think that’s the coolest thing. And I know it’s not good to judge a book by its cover but you can like just read people.
How do you feel about formal education?
It can be good but I definitely don’t think it is necessary. I didn’t want to go to school but my parents made me. But if you have the drive to do what you want to do, you’ll figure out a way to do it without school. It sucks that a lot of people would spend four years in school to go work in an office, and how often they realize that ‘oh this is not for me’ or that ‘this is stale and boring’ and they want to do something creative and they pay off their debt and they sit there and spend all their time on YouTube and Lynda trying to learn all these skills and the next thing you know he’s got two Netflix shows and he’s editing. So I think you should look elsewhere, especially in 2018 where university degrees are becoming less important. You also have to be careful with where you’re going because even at OCAD where it’s supposed to be one of the world’s renowned art schools, I still often question if I’m getting the best learning experience I could be from my professors. So definitely be skeptical of what you’re being taught… just because someone is being paid to tell you what’s good doesn’t mean it’s helpful or a high level of teaching. You’d be surprised how much I’ve, or anybody’s, learnt from the internet. With the internet right now, you don’t need school. If you want it, you’ll go get it.
Do you think OCAD is benefiting you?
Absolutely; it’s probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me… maybe.
What other creative things are you doing outside of school?
Taking lots of photos, film photos, photos in general. I like photography. I’m also working on possibly getting a coding internship in the summer or at a place like Tokyo Smoke for designing products, and I’m just working on a bunch of freelance shit on the side. Might as well start now rather than waiting till you’re done with school.
What do you aspire to do when you graduate?
I don’t know, wherever it takes me because I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do. Am I going to make furniture? Am I going to do something with clothes? What I want to do is be a stylist for people in music videos and photography, but right now I am just trying to build connections and keep my options open to anything, and see where all this little side freelance work goes.
What do you hope to get out of your education?/What have you gotten out of your education so far?
I just want to be able to draw. I would be okay to be kicked out of school as long as I’ve learnt how to draw and after the first year I was content because I learnt what I needed to learn so I feel pretty content. That was what I was going for but now that I am past that, I feel so capable and so ready for this now with like the manufacturing knowledge etc.
Has OCAD been what you’ve expected so far?
No, it’s so much different. I didn’t know what to expect. It’s so much harder and so much work— it’s not easy —but it’s really cool. I was expecting it to be a 1/10 but it fucking destroyed me; it’s like 20/10. This is real life— you weren’t ready.
Who were you before university? Who have you become?
I was like the super fucking kind of hick chubby white kid that played hockey and now I’ve become myself. I hate using this word, especially to describe myself, as a white person. I hate ‘white people’ now since being in here. So I don’t want to use this word but I’m going to: cultured.
Photography by Charisse Fung