Alumni profiles: 1950s

Douglas Ball (AOCA, Industrial Design, 1958)

Montreal-based designer Douglas Ball specializes in office furniture systems and seating. His past work also includes research and development of transportation aids for the disabled as well as exhibition and showroom design. His most noteworthy projects include the design of the Race System for Sunar in 1980, the design and fabrication of a bed and wheelchair specially built for the Queen Mother of the Sultanate of Oman in 1993, and in 1994 the Clipper CS-1, a capsule design computer workstation which became part of the permanent collection of the Design Museum in London, UK. In 1978, Ball made a clean sweep at the IBD / Contract Product Design Competition Awards in New York City: four gold and one silver award besides "best of competition". In May 2006, Ball was featured in Report on Business magazine for his much-anticipated new cubicle concept, manufactured by Herman Miller Inc.

Graham Coughtry (AOCA, Drawing & Painting, 1953)

Coughtry (1931–1999) studied at OCAD U (then OCA) from 1949 to 1953. His first exhibition was with Michael Snow (see below) at Hart House, University of Toronto, in 1955, and his first one-man show was held the following year at Avrom Isaacs's Greenwich Gallery in Toronto. He became, along with Snow, Joyce Wieland, Dennis Burton, Gordon Rayner, John Meredith and others, part of the "Isaacs Group," artists joined by the radicalism of their art and by their interests in Dadaism and jazz. Coughtry became a member of the Artists' Jazz Band formed in about 1962. Coughtry's work was almost exclusively concerned with the abstracted human figure and was characterized by rich colour and powerful impasto surfaces. Through his teaching at OCAD U, the New School of Art and York University, and by the example of his work, he had a substantial influence on a younger generation of painters in Toronto.

Jim Donoahue (AOCA, Communication & Design, 1957)

Donoahue began his career in the late 1950s with a brief stint at the National Film Board of Canada. In the early 1960s, he became assistant to Allan Fleming at Cooper & Beatty Ltd., and then moved to a design position for TDF Artists Ltd. He also spent some time as art director and copywriter at MacLaren Advertising. In 1969, he returned to C&B assuming the position of Creative Director, where he produced identities for Global Television and the Eaton Centre, among others. He was a partner in the design firm Burns, Cooper, Donoahue, Fleming and Company, and in 1978 opened his own design studio. His logos and symbols, posters and brochures are seen across the country: TSN, Investors Group and Vintner's Quality Alliance are just some of the many marks he has created. Donoahue is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts. In 1993, he received the prestigious Les Usherwood Award for lifetime achievement from The Advertising and Design Club of Canada.

Ken Rodmell (AOCA, Communication & Design, 1957)

After graduation Rodmell worked at Cooper & Beatty Ltd., Canada's high-end advertising typographers, where he was privileged to work for and learn from Allan Fleming. Later, he moved on to Imperial Oil, where he designed the Imperial Oil Review. Lured away by Gene Aliman to the newly-formed Canadian magazine, Rodmell met many of Canada's best editors, writers, photographers and artists. Later, author and broadcaster Peter Gzowski persuaded Ken to move to Toronto Life, where he formed his long-term association with Michael de Pencier. Ken designed and/or art directed Toronto Life, Toronto Life Fashion, Canadian Business, Quill & Quire, among many others. As part of his duties at Key Publishers, Rodmell also created many logos, and wrote and designed hundreds of promotional pieces. Ken played a pivotal role in the development of the editorial design program at OCAD U, where he taught graphic design and magazine design for twenty-six years. He has received the Les Usherwood Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Advertising & Design Club of Canada, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Magazine Awards, The Queen's Jubilee Medal, and has been elected to the Royal Canadian Academy.

Terry Ryan (AOCA, Drawing & Painting, 1954)

The Kinngait print shop in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, celebrated its 50th anniversary at Nunatta Sunakutaangit Museum in Iqaluit in 2009. The oldest continuously running print shop in Canada enjoys worldwide renown and provides the community’s residents with a $20 million (annual) industry, sharing the iconic imagery of Canada’s northern people with the rest of the world. At the heart of its success is Ryan, who took over the management of the Co-op in 1960 and is now the director of Dorset Fine Arts, the wholesale marketing division of the studios. Ryan is also an OCAD U Honorary Fellow and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Michael Snow (AOCA, Environmental Design, 1952)

Snow is an internationally renowned artist in painting, sculpture, print, music, film, video installation, photography and holography. Moving to New York in 1962, he spent the next ten years establishing himself as what New York Times art critic Peter Schjeldahl termed the “avantgardist’s avant-gardist”. Snow’s “Walking Woman” works of 1961-1967 are widely recognized as singular accomplishments in the history of Canadian art. His public art commissions include “Flight Stop” at Toronto’s Eaton Centre, “The Audience” at Sky Dome and “Reflections” at Washington’s Canadian Embassy. In 1976 he was the first Canadian artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2007 he was awarded the inaugural MOCCA Award in Contemporary Art, worth $10,000. In 2011, he won the 2011 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), a $40,000 prize.

Ralph Tibbles (AOCA, Communication & Design, 1957)

As a student, Tibbles intended to become an illustrator, but was influenced by instructor Allan Fleming to move into graphic design. Tibbles joined MacLaren Advertising for four years beginning in 1957, and worked at Maclean's magazine under Gene Aliman and Fleming; he then followed Fleming to MacLaren again in 1965, creating drawings, comprehensive designs, and advertising. In the 1970s, Tibbles had another design stint at Maclean's magazine for editor Peter Gzowski, and then at Saturday Night with editor Robert Fulford. He has left his mark on numerous publications, books and promotional materials.

Don Watt (AOCA, Industrial Design, 1957)

Watt (1936 – 2009) was considered the master of the retail design solution. He was founder of Watt International, one of the largest strategic planning design firms, and the creator of some of the world's best-known and most successful retail brands including Loblaw’s President's Choice, Home Depot, Wal-Mart's Sam's Choice, Great Value and Equate brands. He served on the board of organizations such as Cott Corporation, Menu Pet Foods, The Forzani Group, Aastra Telecom and PetSmart Charities of Canada. Watt was recognized by the Harvard Business School for developing a firm that created unconventional solutions to classic profit improvement problems, using strategic design to effect change in consumer response.

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