Alumni Profiles

Breanna Shanahan

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"The Art and Art History program was a transformative and affirming experience for me as an artist and educator. I found that the community and foundation that was established in this program has lasted long after my graduation. Instructors became part of an artistic network, and my peers have taken on steering roles within the arts community, which has allowed for incredible opportunities. The people make the place, and it will forever be my recommendation that young artists interested in taking on careers in artistic creation consider this incredible program."

Breanna is currently teaching Drawing and Sculpture courses at Mt. Allison University in Sackville, NB. She received her MFA from Concordia University in 2019 and has taught Fine Arts studio courses there along with working as a Technician and as the Coordinator for Student Skills and Development for the office of the Dean. She is represented by La Chapelle Atelier et Galerie in Bromont, QC and is part of the Topological Media Artist Cluster at Concordia.

Colt Nicastro

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Colt is the founder and curator of I.C. Contemporary, which currently hosts virtual reality art exhibitions. His curatorial practice also includes the installation of art exhibitions at a local cafe. These exhibits aim to showcase local and emerging talent in an accessible space for artists. Colt also works as a Special Projects Associate at Oakville Galleries. Colt credits his Art & Art History professors for helping fuel his fine arts career and launching his interest in teaching and curatorial studies.

John Spagnolo

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"The Art & Art History program gave me the foundation to help understand the path I wanted my career to take. By offering classes in the basic disciplines, it helped highlighting skills I excelled in and skills that I needed to strengthen. The support from some amazing professors, who keep in contact post graduation, further shaped my projected career path. The balance of hands on experience at Sheridan and the academic structure of UTM gave an unique learning environment that has prepared so many graduates in their extremely varied career choices."

John started at TCG Toys in 2013 as a Junior Graphic Designer. Since then has become the Creative Services Manager & Lead Designer, leading a team of designers and mock-up artists. The team works on packaging design and marketing materials for puzzles, games and various toy lines. These lines can be found across North America and Internationally and in major retailers, including Walmart, Five Below and Sam’s Club.

Farah Shubbar

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"The interdisciplinary approach to VCC studies and the overall quality of the academic environment in UofT/UTM is incredibly valuable. One of the formative ways it shapes students is by giving us the opportunity to understand and engage with the world we live in through a critical lens. It also gives us the freedom to explore a uniquely diverse range of disciplines for us to forge our path, whether that is in visual arts, digital media, critical theory studies, or creative design."

Farah is a media and communications professional currently pursuing a MSc degree in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. After graduation, Farah spent time working in public relations and community engagement in the arts/culture and development industries in the Middle East. 

Anni Zhu

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Anni Zhu, Song Art Museum, Beijing

"The Art and Art History Program taught me how to observe, analyze, and critique art. The stimulating professors and overall academic environment at UTM  were formative, and I am now pursuing a career in the arts. In my current position as Business Operations Manager at the Song Art Museum, I focus on public art education and work as a commercial art consultant, providing art suggestions for projects under construction. I cherish what I do and am committed to gaining more specialized knowledge, so I am currently applying to a graduate program in Arts Administration and Policy. "

Anni graduated from the Art & Art History Program in 2016

Avril Loreti

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"The Art and Art History program, its faculty, and the time I spent with fellow students all really helped shape the way I create artwork and the way I engage with it in everyday life. From making art to visiting galleries to looking at food packaging at the grocery store to critiquing Instagram posts and all the images we see everyday, A&AH opened my eyes to seeing all the artistic choices and messages I process in my day to day life which makes me a better artist. The studio classes and art history classes alike broadened my mind and sharpened my creative process. I am a more critical artist and better designer for having done my Bachelors through this program."

Avril Loreti graduated from the Art and Art History program in 2007 and works as a designer and illustrator. She runs her own business, Avril Loreti | Modern Home and is known for her textile designs.

Johnson Ngo

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The Art and Art History (A&AH) program is a masterfully crafted hybrid of amazing studios and critical academic courses. The professors are exceptional, experts and practicing professional artists in their own field; they passionately foster a learning environment that is unlike any other.

Through the relationships with the faculty and peers, I developed my artistic voice and practice, the skills to think and write critically, and connections beyond the classroom within the local arts communities.
It is with this invaluable education that I am now working at the Art Gallery of Ontario within the Public Programming & Learning Division.

Photo credit: Jennifer Rowsom

Lilian Crum

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"UTM provided a rigorous, well-rounded education that prepared me to be creatively and professionally nimble."

Lilian Crum is a Detroit-based educator, designer and visual artist. She is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Graphic Design and Interaction Design academic programs in the Department of Art and Design at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield and Detroit, Michigan.

She is also partner at Unsold Studio, a collaborative design studio that focuses on creative culture and the public good. Clients include Cranbrook Art Museum, CultureLab Detroit and Dlectricity. The studio has recently exhibited Cornell College in Iowa and Pratt Institute in New York City.

Lilian’s personal work is exhibited nationally and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions. She is represented by Alison Milne Gallery in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario Sales Gallery in Toronto, and James Robertson Art Consultants in Toronto, Ontario and London, England.

She received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and previously received her HBA in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College.

Jennifer Chan

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“UTM helped me form a critical perspective on media culture that allowed me to easily enter online/academic art criticism, curatorial practice, digital humanities research, gallery administration and web content production.”

Jennifer is a freelance web developer in Chicago. She organizes the Chicago chapter of Dorkbot, a multi-city series of DIY art and tech talks. She also volunteers with Girl Develop It Chicago, a female-oriented initiative to teach women how to code. 

Her writing and artwork has been featured on Rhizome, ArtFCity, Dazed Digital and Furtherfield and She’s also had solo exhibitions at LTD (Los Angeles), Future Gallery (Berlin), the Marshall McLuhan Salon in the Canadian Embassy at Transmediale (Berlin), and Images Festival (Toronto). She is currently preparing for a paid residency in the fall at Umea in Sweden. After UTM she received her MFA at Syracuse University in Video Art and has since become focused in web design/development. Last year she published a provocation essay in "You Are Here: Art After the Internet" edited by Omar Kholeif.  She continues to collaborate on events with new media art communities.

Priyanka Chowdhury

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"The application portion of Visual Communication and Culture prepared me to easily adapt to different software and technologies specific to a business domain meanwhile the theoretical aspect taught me to be creative/innovative at approaching any idea (ex., a business process). I studied my hobby and now feel well equipped to get a job in any industry that I desire to be a part of."

Priyanka is currently a Project Specialist, Bell Grad Leadership Program. This program gives recent grads the opportunity to explore different management positions at Bell to find and obtain a position that they are passionate about.

Matthew Filipowich

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"Art and Art History helped me to look at the world in a new and different way. The studio professors were excellent mentors who fostered a teaching environment that was always positive and allowed for free thinking and debate. I was encouraged to question or critique whatever I looked at, leading me to develop a keen critical eye, and a confidence in myself that has let me thrive in both creative and business aspects of my career."

Matthew is currently the lead photographer at Ganz, a multinational giftware wholesaler. He is responsible for the photography of all products. He shoots catalogs and print advertisements. He leads a team of photographers, art directing and styling all photography. He also has his own business, Oh Boy Photography and shoots campaigns for Panera Breads, Loblaws, and others.

Lisa Jayne Irvine

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"The Art and Art History program provided me with the foundation and skills to pursue both a career in Education as well as to continue my own studio practice as a painter and sculptor."

Lisa is a sculptor and mixed media artist. She currently teaches Visual Arts for the Peel District School Board at John Fraser Secondary School. She exhibits her work extensively including at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Living Arts Centre, AWOL Gallery, the Canadian Sculpture Centre, Hart House and John B. Aird Gallery, to name a few. Lisaʼs work has also appeared in several private and public art collections including Queenʼs University, Kingston. In 2000, she was the recipient of the Emerging artist of the year from the Mississauga Arts Council. In 2013, Lisa received the Emerging Artists grant from the Ontario Arts Council. Lisa has sat on the Board of Directors of both the Art Gallery of Mississauga
(2003-2005), and more recently Visual Arts Mississauga (2011-14) where she is the past Chairperson.

Mariam Karim

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"VCC gave me the space to see, interpret, and experience the world in multifaceted ways. I am able to use the same passion for the arts that I discovered in my time at DVS as the driving force to all communication and team building. I thank the faculty and staff for their encouragement and support."

Since graduating from the DVS Visual Culture and Communication Specialist program, Mariam continued on to complete an M.A in Culture Studies and Critical Theory at McMaster and a graduate certificate in Business Communications at Harvard University.

Mariam worked as a campaign manager at Artsmarketing Services, focusing on securing patron support for leading non-profit arts organizations. She is currently the Operations Manager for the Entrepreneurship Hatchery at U of T, promoting entrepreneurial spirit through resources and mentorship to help students turn their ideas into successful startups. 

Alison S.M Kobayashi

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Alison is an award-winning artist working in video, performance, installation and drawing. She is now based in Brooklyn where she is the Director of Special Projects at UnionDocs, a Center for Documentary Art.

Her short videos have been exhibited and screened widely in Canada, the United States and overseas. She was a guest artist at the 2008 Flaherty Film Seminar and her body of work was a Spotlight Presentation at Video Out, Jakarta International Film Festival, Indonesia. In 2012, she was commissioned by Les Subsistances in Lyon, France to produce her first live performance, Defense Mechanism. She is currently developing her second live performance.

Johanna Linsley is writing on Kobayashi’s work in relation to eavesdropping in the soon to be published Voice(s): Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience (Routledg 

Jenny Matotek

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"The Art and Art History program at UTM provided me with valuable critical thinking skills. The degree put me in a great position after graduation, in terms of keeping the door open to a number of graduate study options, as well as career options. It was the most valuable formal education I've received."

Jenny is the Director/Curator of the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina. Jennifer Matotek has held curatorial and administrative positions at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. She has curated numerous exhibitions for galleries and artist-run centres across Canada and is a practicing video artist whose work has been shown internationally. Her writing has been published by YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Gallery 44, Vtape and Magenta, among other publications.

Megan Morgan

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The rigors of the Art History Program and the practices of the Studio Art Program exposed me to the value of the art world and its history, which I continuously utilize in my day to day work both in the office and in my practice as an independent artist. ”

Megan currently works as a Merchandise Manager for a creative, design and retail company called Lumens in Northern California. At Lumens she works with Luxury, Custom and Artisanal/Studio lines to bring them to the greater public market for their mutual success. In her private practice she focuses on photography and participates in group and solo shows throughout North America.

Richard Nalli-Petta

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"I use the skills I developed as an undergrad in Visual Studies every day. I am a graphic designer, producing strategy-based brand communications that help businesses communicate with audiences through words and pictures (think logos, advertisements, magazines and websites). The four years I spent studying Art History trained me to read the subtle message behind any visual construction — whether it be the bust of a painting of Napoleon or a bicycle wheel screwed into a wooden stool. Today I create visuals that are judged not only on their aesthetics, but on the subtle messages they carry. I never would have guessed at the time that what I was writing essays on for all those years would turn out to be the core of the industry I work in and the primary concern of the clients I work for. Visual studies at the university level is virtually compulsory for anyone looking to competitively pursue any career related to design, marketing, or business."  

Richard is an Intermediate Graphic Designer with Parcel Design.

Farrukh Rafiq

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The professors at UofT provided me with the best tools possible to succeed in graduate studies at both the masters and doctoral level.

Farrukh is currently completing his PhD in Art History at Queen’s University.

Carolyn Tripp

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“The Art & Art History Program has incredible faculty and staff. Even in its formative years, they were a team of highly dedicated individuals who took extra time and care to see the student population thrive. I particularly valued the design, history and curation elements of the curriculum which continue to inform my current artistic practice.”

Carolyn does Visual Art and Creative Consultation.

Dori Vanderheyden

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“Being able to experience a variety of art disciplines at UTM showed me the possibilities. The possibility of becoming both an artist and a teacher became a reality for me.”

Dori is the curriculum leader of the art centre at Central Technical School, housed in its own specialized studio building on campus. It is a specialized art program for high school students who can apply from Grade 8 with a portfolio.

She also runs an adult art day program which requires a portfolio to apply. Dori is a member of the Propeller Gallery and shows new works consistently.

David Vivian

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David is currently the Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine arts at Brock University.

Following his studies at UTM David completed his MFA at the University of British Columbia and then studied Scenography at the National Theatre School in Montreal. David worked in both anglo and francophone theatre and cinema while teaching at Concordia University and Cegep de Saint-Hyacinthe. Now situated in Niagara he was Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture before accepting his current position.

Nikki White

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“My studies at UTM and the Art and Art History program helped me by teaching me about different art movements and helping me to think critically about them.  I think the most important aspect of the program was having studio classes which are integral to really learn what area of the arts you are interested in.”

Nikki is currently working as a graphic designer at Corus Entertainment (one of Canada's largest media companies with a focus on children's television production).  She has been exhibiting her art since 2010. It is a mix of her photography, illustrations and painting work. 

Andrew Wright

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Andrew is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Visual Art at the University of Ottawa.

“The UTM/Sheridan program provided me with a creative, productive and vigorous environment that allowed me to explore my burgeoning practice without limits. The support offered by the outstanding artists and academics was instrumental in forming the artist and person that I am today."

He is a practicing professional artist with an active and busy exhibiting career. In August of 2014, Wright’s work was shown alongside work by Michael Snow, Iain Baxter, Wanda Koop, Ed Burtynsky, Rebecca Belmore, Robert Youds, Isabelle Hayeur and others at the Xi’an Art Museum in central China. The exhibition travels to Beijing in January 2015.

Wright is the recipient of numerous awards. He has received critical acclaim for his work in publications such as Canadian Art, Border Crossings, The Globe & Mail, the Toronto Star and Maclean's Magazine.

Wright has been nominated six times for the Sobey Art Award, and in 2007 he was named a semi-finalist for the award. He was also nominated for the prestigious Karsh Award in Photography in 2010, 2012, and 2014. In 2011 he won the inaugural BMW Exhibition Award at Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto.