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OCAD U offers new Experimental Animation program this fall

A digital graphic of a pond with lily pads and three animated characters.

Image: Still from the animation Heart (2021) by Belinda Zhang, a 2021 graduate of OCAD U's Digital Painting and Expanded Animation program. Watch the full animated video here.

OCAD U offers new Experimental Animation program this fall

OCAD University has a long history of graduating successful animators in art and film. Just this fall art director and graduate Karen DeJong released Ron’s Gone Wrong, a computer-animated feature that has generated over $60 million in box office sales since its premiere in the United Kingdom.  

And now beginning in September 2022, the University will welcome its first cohort of undergraduate students in its new Experimental Animation program where they will have opportunities to develop the technical and conceptual skills to thrive in a range of creative industries. 

“OCAD University is the ultimate launchpad to explore innovative ideas, get exposed to diverse creative practices, find a community and develop a fulfilling career,” notes President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano. 

Unique in Canada, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree will focus on animation as an artistic practice, offering students an exciting alternative to programs in the country that are primarily industry focused. 

“This program is about exploring creativity and curiosity. Students will develop their personal vision and push the boundaries of the art form,” says Philippe Blanchard, who contributed to the program’s vision while in his former role as Chair of Integrated Media and Digital Painting and Expanded Animation. 

“As faculty members we are interested in animation as a focus of critical inquiry as well as a medium that can tackle today's big topics through innovative storytelling in new and powerful ways,” he continues. 

With courses taught by experts in the field, including co-chairs, Associate Professor Wrik Mead and Assistant Professor Veronika Szkudlarek, students will learn to mix traditional and digital animation styles while learning all that is required to develop an animation project from concept to realization. 
“Experimental animation is a powerful contemporary medium. It sits so comfortably within the spirit of our times. It’s a pastiche of playful possibilities - from painting and drawing to movement and sound, to innovative technology and cross-disciplinary collaboration,” notes Szkudlarek.  

Those enrolled in the four-year program will be encouraged to explore a range of techniques and to discover the form of animation they are most passionate about. Whether it’s 2D or 3D animation, stop-motion, game development, augmented or virtual reality, graphic novels, installation art or a combination of approaches, students will be limited only by their imaginations. 

“The question, "what is experimental animation?" is an open-ended one that students will help to answer through their studies and work,” Blanchard says. 

Students will develop strong studio skills, critical thinking and be exposed to a wide range of artistic influences that will position them for careers as filmmakers, game designers, creative entrepreneurs and independent artists.  
Visit OCAD University’s website to find out more about the program and how to apply.