DesignTO Puts On York Alumni Exhibition

(Courtesy of Kris Fan)

From Jan. 20 until Feb. 23, DesignTO is hosting the first public gathering of alumni projects of various mediums at the Fireside Lounge in the Centre for Film and Theatre.

DesignTO describe themselves as“a non-profit arts organization that curates exhibitions, presentations and educational programming to increase the public’s knowledge and appreciation of design and its role in creating a sustainable, just and joyful world.”

As the first baccalaureate design program in Ontario, the exhibition will present many graduates who are now top-designers working in Canada and abroad.

Tracy Ma, a 2010 graduate from the York Sheridan Joint Program in Design (YSDN), will be presenting two pieces at DesignTO — a vinyl record packaging design Ma created in 2022 for Frank Ocean’s re-pressing of his 2016 album, Blonde, and a cover for a 2020 publication of the New York Times magazine discussing Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud.

“For both pieces, my experience working in the journalism context for over a decade informed my design process,” says Ma. “The process of making the packaging for Blonde included conversations with Frank Ocean. Under his direction, the end result is a visual synthesis of Ocean’s recounting of the events surrounding the making of Blonde and what it had meant to him after its release. The creation of the New York Times magazine cover included fact-gathering, sifting through a mountain of data, and putting the pieces of information in a specific sequence so that a specific point can be illuminated.”

Marek Okon is a Tokyo-based creative director who’s multidisciplinary approach to design is pulled from “a passion to play the roles of craftsman and inventor in order to visually and conceptually bring ideas to life.”

Okon explains the influences that have impacted their work. “I didn’t know it at the time, but YSDN truly set me up for success in my career,” says Okon. “And I can pinpoint three specific reasons why. The first was the professors, they each were unique in their area of expertise providing a broad range of inspiration and guidance to pull from. The second was my classmates, they were my support system and healthy competition to push each other to do better. The third is the Technology Enhanced Learning building (TEL)  — I admired the architecture and the way natural light flooded the interior. It was the perfect place for creativity to flourish.”

To learn more about where you can see the work of Okon, Ma, and other York design graduates at this free event, click here.

About the Author

By Sydney Ewert

Arts Editor

Sydney is in her third year at York University studying Dance. She loves to travel and explore new places. When Sydney is not editing, working, or studying for her classes, she is likely going for walks or learning new recipes.


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