2016 Recipients

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Distinguished Alumni Award

Geoffrey Roche

Geoffrey Roche

Geoffrey Roche was born and raised in Toronto, where he attended OCAD University and won the George A. Reid Scholarship. Using this award, Roche, in his words, “bought a Volkswagen,” and plunged into an artistic career as a paste-up artist and then an artist’s representative. As the story goes, he eventually sold the VW and went on to become a Zippo lighter salesman and, later, a typesetting(!) salesman before “talking his way into a job” with Alan Gee as a Jr Art Director at Glowinsky & Gee.

In 1978 Roche took a job at Lord Geller Federico Einstein in New York. He also worked for Chiat Day and Olgivy and Mather before setting off to Seattle (working for Chiat Day) and then to San Francisco (for Hal Riney & Partners). While out west, Roche won numerous One Show Silvers, Bronzes, and a couple of prestigious Kelly awards. In 1985 Roche left the U.S. to be closer to family as his father wasn’t well. He took a job as creative director of FCB Toronto and then again at Chiat Day as creative director. After two years, Roche decided to start his own advertising agency.

Roche envisioned an agency with a more streamlined model, refocused account people, and a flat structure for results-oriented advertising. In 1991, Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners was launched with its first account: the ROM. Within eight months the agency won the coveted IKEA business. Named Agency of the Year more times than any other agency in the country barring one, and having never missed the top 10, it was no surprise when Lowe Roche was named Agency of the Decade and Advertising Age International Agency of the Year in 2000. The agency has been represented in Communication Arts, Adweek, Applied Arts, The New York Times; on CTV, CBC and Japan's Wall St. Journal, and Roche remains a regular contributor on CP24. In 2006, the agency swept the Digital Marketing awards, proof that the investment it made in online in 2000 was paying off. Roche himself and the agency won more than 2,000 awards from Cannes Gold Lions, One Show golds; hundreds of Marketing awards and a German Effie. In 2010, Roche was inducted into The Marketing Hall of Legends and also received the Les Usherwood Lifetime Achievement award from the ADCC.

Roche’s responsibilities have taken on a broader context over time, as he developed a profound need to give back to the community. Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners began doing pro bono work from day one for the ROM, the Gardiner Museum, the Textile Museum of Canada, Operation Go Home, the Toronto Zoo, ALS, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Sick Kids Hospital, NABS, and David Miller’s Campaign for Toronto Mayor. Roche co-chaired NABS twice and he also co-chaired the “Night of the Unboring” for OCAD U, convincing many agencies into supporting the institution through donations.

After 20 years and a lot of success — helping both clients and young people looking to get their first job in the business, Roche sold the second half of the agency. In 2007, together with his eldest son, Roche started an application on Facebook called Dogbook and Catbook. It took off and, with more than three million downloads worldwide along with a companion iPhone app, was featured in countless news stories — from ABC to The New York Times and The Wall St Journal. Now called 3MillionDogs.com, it has more than two million monthly users and more than 650,000 Facebook likes. Roche and his son have delved further into the world of apps and started WearToday, a daily fashion app that launched in 2013; and RealTalk, an app that enables video chat with people around the world. He has also recently partnered with Jack Harding on 500under500.com a healthy eating blog/app, and a new online buy-and-sell site/app called BreadBox, for which they’re in beta testing. Lastly, Roche has dipped his foot back into the “advertising” business with a campaign launching shortly for Heart and Stroke.

Website: http://www.poolhouse.ca/

Read Geoffrey's interview on InStudio

Distinguished Educator Award

Paul Dallas

Paul Dallas

Born and raised in Toronto, Paul Dallas was awarded a scholarship from the Art Gallery of Ontario in high school. Dallas started his illustration career while a second-year OCA student with freelance commissions from Canadian and international publishers, and continued his education at The Royal College of Art in London. Having exhibited in New York, London, Paris and Toronto, Dallas’s range includes editorial, advertising, merchandise, packaging, cultural, and institutional illustration, animation and fine art. Among his clients are the New York Times, Time, BusinessWeek, Spin magazine, Vibe magazine, Polygram Records, Stroh Brewery International, MTV, Canada Post Corporation, and countless others. His illustration, animation and typography works have won him more than 130 international awards; and 16 of his illustrations (each honoured by the Art & Design Club of Canada) are housed in the Royal Ontario Museum’s permanent collection.

Dallas’s scope goes beyond creating. His strong emphasis on participating in the world of design has led him to serve on juries for the Juno Music Awards, Creative Quarterly, Applied Arts, the Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators and many others. Dallas began his educational career at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in 1994. He then went on to be OCAD University’s Acting Assistant Dean of Advertising, Graphic Design and Illustration for 2005/06, while still maintaining an Illustration program Chair position (since 2004) and teaching as a tenured professor (since 2007). His insight and acuity on the standards and development of the illustration industry, combined with his dedication to pedagogy and mentorship, has made OCADU’s Illustration program consistently innovative, acclaimed, and exciting for its students.

Dallas has added to program curriculum course offerings in concept art, animation, motion graphics, activism, entrepreneurship, business and other competencies transferable to related professions. His design of an innovative curriculum culminating in a unique entrepreneurial thesis — the first of its kind at an undergraduate level — has been described as "among the best ideas in illustration education," resulting in "the top tier of undergraduate illustration programs in North America," which "depends on the remarkable leadership of an extraordinarily capable Chair." (IQAP external reviewer Alice A. Carter, San Jose State University, 2013). Given the introduction of several extra-curricular events and initiatives promoting program and student excellence, including an annual Internal Contest Screening that has led to students winning 400 industry awards in the past 10 years, it is no wonder that according to reports, Dallas’s student success rate is as high as it is — with approximately 70% of illustration graduates finding employment within a year with reputable and international companies. In 2012, New York’s prestigious 3x3 Magazine named Paul Dallas "Artist | Educator of the Year” for his contribution to the Illustration community and his development of OCAD University’s Illustration program. 3X3 selected him for the honour from a pool of candidates representing 17 countries.

In addition to his outstanding work as program Chair, Dallas continually gives back to the community. Among his many contributions are; pro-bono illustration work for PEN Canada calling for the release of detained journalists and writers abroad; annual reports for the Canadian HIV/ AIDS Legal Network; the “Peace Week” campaign for the YMCA; and Christmas cards for Sunnybrook Hospital. He has also created an international award-winning print and animated TV campaign for Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which was featured as the cover story of Adweek.

Website: http://www.pauldallas.com/

Read Paul's interview on InStudio

Worldbuilder Award

Dany Pen

Dany Pen

Dany Pen received her BFA from OCAD University in Sculpture & Installation, graduating with the Faculty and Volunteerism awards; she also received an Early Childhood Education Certificate from the Hanen Program in Toronto. She grew up within Canada’s largest social housing provider, The Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Pen’s family came as Cambodian refugees to Canada during the Khmer Rouge, and her family and culture’s history became a jumping-off point for her highly personal and politicized work. After saving her school lunch money for a year and teaching herself the basics of operating a manual camera, Pen applied to two private high schools specialized in the arts, both of which rejected her. These subsidized neighbourhoods were not only physical barriers from the city core, but also economic ones, and Pen’s experiences with them fuel her community work and her work in the arts. To this day, she credits a group of generous artists working in the projects with giving her an entrée into the art world.

Dany Pen’s photo installations and new media work have been shown in museums, national galleries and international biennials across the Americas, and published in various international publications. She has given presentations at OCAD University, (2012) and at the Bermuda College (2011-2015). She has also developed art curriculum for various International organizations such as the Alexia Foundation, U.S.A and the Bermuda National Gallery; trained teachers in the Ministry of Education in Bermuda; and supervised practicums for Bermuda College students. Finally, to promote art education, Pen has collaborated with various institutions and organizations in private and publics sectors in Canada, Bermuda and U.S.A.

In 2012, Dany Pen developed the Art & Early Years programme for the Bermuda National Gallery, making it the first national museum sart program. The primary objective for the Early Years program, which reaches more than 2,000 pre-school students, is to encourage the development of motor, cognitive, social and literacy skills through art. In 2013, Pen founded Words from the Streets, a blog narrating the everyday experiences of growing up in the inner city projects of Regent Park, Canada. Through this blog, she collaborated with various organizations across the G.T.A., such as UforChange, Yonge Street Mission, June Callwood Centre and Artheart, to promote social services, youth experiences and opportunities. In 2014, via a collaboration with UforChange, Words from the Streets was able to send youths from Regent Park to Corus Entertainment Canada to learn about media and broadcasting. In 2014, Pen was awarded the Charman Prize by the Museum of Masterworks, Bermuda for ‘Best Source of Inspiration” for her artwork Formalities, which speaks to issues of colonialism and cultural oppression. And in 2015, she led the first Art Education Advocacy community march in the country of Bermuda in 2015, with a call to action for an increase in the financial budget for the arts in the education system.

Pen was recently appointed as a commissioner on the Bermuda Human Rights Commission; is the Education & Communication Officer at the Bermuda Fine Art Trust; Curator at Bermudian Artists Rise Up (BARU) Arts Collective; and Editor-in-Chief for the online publication Words from the Streets. Pen has also been invited to serve as an advisory board member on the Social Enterprise Program in Canada. She is currently completing her Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology at Walden University.

Website: http://artistdanypen.webs.com/

Read Dany's interview on InStudio

Trailblazer Award

Sky Goodden

Sky Goodden

Sky Goodden graduated in 2010 from OCADU’s MFA program in Criticism & Curatorial Practice and directly became Canadian Art’s Editorial Resident. Her work as the inaugural editor of the website BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada (2011-2014), and now as the Founder and Editor of the online publication Momus (founded October 2014), not only raised the level of dialogue about art in Canada, but also placed Canadian artists and writers in conversation with their international peers. Momus is an international online art publication that promotes art writing and journalism, and stresses “a return to art criticism.“

Goodden’s resolve to pay her writers above industry-standard rates and to make all content freely available online is a testament both to her ethics and ingenuity. Momus’s content-sharing partnership with artnet News and Tate Etc. speaks to the quality of, and demand for its output. In just over a year, Momus has garnered international notice and acclaim, with mentions in Frieze, e-flux, The New Inquiry, LA Times, and the College Art Association, among many others, and notes of endorsement from renowned writers and artists including Frances Stark, Ydessa Hendeles, Chris Kraus, and Douglas Coupland. Readership has grown steadily and the site has received more than 500,000 readers since its launch.

In addition to her work on Momus, Goodden is an active member of the arts community, organizing and participating regularly in panels and round-table discussions. She has conducted workshops and lectures at the Alberta College of Art and Design, Esker Foundation, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and University of Ottawa. She also writes regularly for Modern Painters, Art + Auction, Canadian Art, The National Post, Art21, artnet News, and C Magazine. Goodden’s main media partnership with Feature Art Fair (2015-16) in Toronto helped to build bridges between the commercial and critical fields, which are vital to growing markets and educating collectors. She is an eager mentor of younger writers and new voices; among them, Joseph Henry, Benjamin Bruneau, Alex Bowron, and Kimberlee Córdova. Goodden has also given voice and visibility to many OCADU students and alumni.

Momus has a diverse and esteemed group of writers that includes such notable critics and authors as Amy Zion, Ben Eastham, Saelan Twerdy, Orit Gat, Andrew Berardini, David Balzer, Sheila Heti, RM Vaughan, Dave Hickey, Simon Grant, Catherine Wagley, Liz Park, Chloe Wyma and Ben Davis. Without a doubt, Goodden is among the most influential art critics and editors working in Canada today. Her approach to online publishing is shaping the field, especially by creating a space for long-form critique and journalism at a time when such content is typically delivered in short and shallow forms. Goodden’s entrepreneurial nature has not only moved her to actually affect the conversation about contemporary art in Canada and beyond; she has been moved to provide opportunity to others.

Website: http://momus.ca/

Read Sky's interview on InStudio

Legacy Award

Jack Bush

Jack Bush

John Hamilton Bush, better known as Jack Bush, was born in Toronto 1909. He began his career in advertising working in his father’s firm, Rapid Electro Type Company in Montreal. Bush was raised in Quebec, where he attended the École des beaux-arts de Montréal. In his early twenties, he moved back to Toronto where, like many artists of his time, he was influenced by the Group of Seven. While continuing to work as a commercial artist, Bush was simultaneously talking night classes at the Ontario College of Art, as it was then known. This strengthened his connection to Canadian art. He was heavily influenced by artist and OCA instructor Charles Comfort, whose work consisted of decorative designs and areas of flat colour. Bush’s first exhibition was in 1936 with the Ontario Society of Artists in Toronto, and consisted mostly of landscapes and figurative work, which he continue tp undertake into the 1940s. Interestingly, Bush sought treatment from a psychotherapist in 1947, who encouraged him to paint more freely; this, along with seeing American Abstract Expressionism in New York City, inspired him to experiment with abstraction in the early 1950s.

The Toronto-based group ‘Painters Eleven, founded by William Ronald in 1953, became Bush’s next step in the art world as well as a driver for new audiences of his abstract painting. Through membership in Painters Eleven, Bush met his soon-to-be advisor and friend Clement Greenberg, the New York City art critic. With Greenberg’s guidance, He was led away from Abstract Expressionism and into simplifying his compositions. His technical experiments with oil consisted of his applying thin layers of paint or gradually staining unprimed canvas, later known as colour field painting. Greenberg included Bush’s work in his Los Angeles Post- Painterly Abstraction exhibition in 1964, which travelled to Minneapolis and Toronto. In 1966, Bush’s switch to water-based acrylics as a precaution against the health hazards that come with oil-based paints resulted in less textured but more vibrantly coloured paintings. When Painters Eleven disbanded in 1960, Bush’s colour-field paintings became his best-known work. 

Bush’s work found great commercial success in New York City after it was chosen to represent Canada together with Jacques Hurtubise in the 1967 São Paulo Biennial. The thriving New York market allowed Bush to retire from commercial illustration in 1968 and paint full time. In 1972, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston hosted the first major museum survey of the artist’s work in the U.S. Four years later, he was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Canada, with the Art Gallery of Ontario subsequently touring a nation-wide retrospective of his work.

As one of Canada’s first artists to achieve international recognition, Jack Bush’s life (1909–1977) is a fascinating story of a mid-century commercial artist turned abstract painter. Bush’s journey into creative independence marks a very important trajectory within the history of Abstract Art. His renowned, colourful paintings, drawings and commercial illustrations are a part of many galleries’ collections; among them,  the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Tate Gallery in London, and Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Bush died at the age of 68 in 1977. In 1979, the National Film Board of Canada released a one-hour documentary film titled, simply, Jack Bush.

The current exhibit Jack Bush: In Studio, running June 4, 2016 – January 8, 2017 at the McMichael, is the first solo exhibition of Jack Bush’s work in a major public gallery in the vicinity of Toronto since the early 1980s.

Website: http://mcmichael.com/event/in-studio-jack-bush/

2016 selection committee

Maggie Broda, (AOCA, 1972), President, Alumni Association and Chair

Rosemary Donegan, Faculty Of Liberal Arts and Science -- Associate Professor (Retired)

Deanne Fisher, Associate Provost, Students & International

Rose Anne McCants, Executive Director, Campaign

Stuart Werle, (AOCA, 1971), Associate Professor, Faculty of Design

Jennie Suddick, (BFA, 2006), Assistant Professor, Faculty of Art

From OCA to OCAD U: Our history

OCAD University was originally established in Toronto in 1876 by the Ontario Society of Artists, as the Ontario School of Art. From 1890 to 1910, it was known as the Central Ontario School of Art and Industrial Design. In 1912, it was incorporated as the Ontario College of Art (OCA), becoming the first school in Canada dedicated exclusively to the education of professional artists in fine and commercial art. In 1996, the name changed to the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), marking the growth of design programs. In 2010, to reflect the institution’s new status as a university, which had been granted in 2002, the school became officially known as OCAD University (OCAD U).  Read more.