Jay Wilson

Studio Art (Design, Sculpture, Painting, Video)
visual artist, designer (A.O.C.A. Ontario College of Art, B.Sc. University of Guelph, M.F.A. York University)

Outline of Research

As a designer and an artist I follow my train of thought to it’s logical conclusion through spontaneity and gesture. My process-based practice uses convenience, play, mistakes, logic and intuition, pattern, colour and juxtaposition. The work is complex in arrangement, involves changes in composition, scope and tempo of process. It is both highly structured and developmentally random.


Jay Wilson has his degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Guelph and graduated from OCAD in Environmental Design. He worked as a senior designer at Overdrive Design Ltd. and freelance designer with clients including The CONTACT Photography Festival, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Yolles Architects, PleasureDome, 7a*11d and Mercer Union.

Wilson has shown locally at KWT Contemporary, MADE, Katharine Mulherin Projeccts, A. K. Collings Gallery, Port Hope, Xpace, Red Bull Projects, Archive, Cambridge Galleries, YYZ Artists Outlet, The Blackwood Gallery and the Lonsdale Gallery. Internationally, Wilson has participated in the Havanna Biennial (Cuba), Selling In & Buying Out (Shanghai, China) and Dubuffet e l’arte dei graffitisti (Brescia, Italy). Wilson was one of ten Canadian artists selected to participate in a North American survey called Officina America at the Galeria d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (Bologna, Italy) in 2002.

Wilson was a board member and president at Mercer Union, Centre for Contemporary Art (1999-2002) and was a board member at Oakville Galleries. Wilson was the inaugural recipient of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Emerging Artist Award. He has been awarded Ontario Association of Art Gallery design awards, numerous Toronto and Ontario Arts Council as well as Canada Council for the Arts. His work is in the collections of Corus Entertainment, Osler Hoskins and Harcourt and was the Sarick Prize recipient at York University (2008).

Approach to Teaching

I teach like I learn, by experiencing and motivation. My courses are filled with as much variety as I can pack in. I mix up the length of the projects, the method, the discussion period and the way things are marked. My overall learning strategy is cumulative but within that momentum are lots of spaces, segues, switchbacks and tangents. I try and keep it interesting.

I foster a competitive but very supportive classroom environment. And though I teach in a classroom setting, I like to think I teach like the class is a studio. I inject my teaching with real world applications, contests and personal scenarios. At the end of the day, I stress conceptual understanding of the subject matter and I encourage individuality and development of student’s own personal aesthetics. My mantra is… pay attention to what you pay attention to.

The critique is an important part of the learning environment. I am honest and even tough when I need to be, but never without explanation. Even so, the critique itself is informal, unpredictable and fun. I encourage input from students that leads to provocative discussions, constructive criticism and mature difference of opinion.

Teaching is compelling for me because it’s never boring or repetitive. It suits my fickle and spontaneous disposition. I find it to be hugely challenging, terrifying, elusive and rewarding all at the same time.

For more on Jay Wilson's activities see: http://jaywilsonart.com