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Alumni Career Pathways Series

This series is a collaboration between the Alumni Relations and Career Development + Work Integrated Learning offices. The first five episodes are below or you can watch the full set as a playlist. If you have any questions regarding the series, please email us.

The artists from Building Your Community are below.

Zandi Dandizette (BMA 2014) is an interdisciplinary New Media installation artist and cultural worker living and practicing in Vancouver, BC who originates from Portland, OR.

Demonstrating unwavering support for nonprofit arts in British Columbia, Zandi is the Founder and Director of the James Black Gallery (2014-2020), a founding member of Vancouver Artists’ Labour Union Co-operative (VALUCO-OP 2019), Arts and Cultural Workers Union (ACWU 2020), previous CARFAC BC & National Employee, previous Board Director for VIVO Media Arts Centre (2018 – 2020), and current President of Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC 2020).

Their curatorial projects have included shows with more than thirty artists from nine different countries, ranging from emerging, local to international. Zandi likens their medium as space whether 2D or 3D. They use colour, queerness,gender, shape, and line to explore discourse around identity, through immersive interactions via the binary, liminality, and fractal existence. They view it as a base code, and every medium that they learn is a tool to explore this identity-centric world building.

Jonny Sopotiuk (BFA 2018) is a visual artist, curator and community organizer living and working on the Unceded Indigenous territories belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̍əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His interdisciplinary studio practice explores compulsion and control through the lenses of production, labour, and work. Jonny is the President of the Arts and Cultural Workers Union (ACWU), IATSE Local B778 and a founding member of both the Vancouver Artists Labour Union Cooperative (VALU CO-OP) and Vancouver Sewing Labour Union Cooperative (VSLU CO-OP). He currently works as a labour union organizer with IATSE.

Annie Canto (MFA 2020) is an artist and educator whose practice spans socially engaged art, illustration, critical race theory, and engaged pedagogy. Working with text, comics and food she explores group work and hosting practices as strategies for community organizing and celebration. She is active in her community as a member of the Vancouver Artist Labour Union Co-operative, a unionized workers co-op with a mission to transform labour practices within the arts and cultural sector. She is currently teaching studio art classes at Emily Carr University of Art and Design as a sessional faculty and Mount Pleasant Elementary as an artist in residence through the AIRS program. Though uninvited as a first generation Pilipina immigrant, her life and work takes place on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̍əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Karen and Peggy Ngan (BFA 2005) are Vancouver based artists. They graduated from Emily Carr University with a major in Visual Arts. The pair have been collaborating since 2002, primarily in performance, drawing, installation and conceptual-based practices. In their work the pair explores the identity of twins. They are also the co-founders of Yactac, an art collective and exhibition space in Vancouver that serves as the jump base for innovative ideas and approaches to penetrate contemporary culture through spontaneous interventions of every size. Since 2007, along with the other pair of twin sister Janice and Justine Cheung, Yactac has curated contemporary art exhibitions, hosted interactive live events, projects, dance parties, craft fairs, and participated in performances, residency, and special projects.

Alia Hijaab (BMA 2018) is a visual artist, story-teller and animator based on the traditional and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish andTsleil-Waututh Nations, also known as Vacouver, BC. She is of mixed Syrian heritage and has spent most of her life living in the Middle East. Alia moved to Canada to pursue her art education and obtained her BMA in Animation from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2018. Her work deals with the questions about belonging, identity, and themes of “homeland.”

She works largely with her animation collective Flavourcel to create space for independent animators in Vancouver to share resources, work collaboratively, and foster community. Mostly recently, Flavourcel working in partnership with VIVO Media Arts and with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, used rear-projection to display the work of local animators in residential windows. Alia is also working with Flavourcel on an installation at the Surrey Art Gallery Urban Screen called “I Spy a City.”

Alia also worked on an animation for the World Health Organization called “Maintain Distance, Maintain Community” addressing themes of safe social distancing during the COVID 19 pandemic, and her graduate film “Al Ghorba” just finished the festival circuit showing in over 15 film festivals worldwide and winning one award.

The following resources were compiled by panelist Jonny Sopotiuk.

Just Seeds
WAGE New York
Meow Wolf
Artist collectives in Oaxaca
Common Field
Cultural Workers Organize

The artists from Curating Your Digital Presence are below.

On the visual journey through Rebecca Chaperon’s (BFA 2002) work we are repeatedly immersed in surreal versions of the world, places that waver just outside of our perception. Hovering crystals, palatial icebergs, secretive caves, and psychedelic gardens are some of the recurring motifs found in each of her painting series. Rebecca’s work shifts between treating the landscape as figurative representation or as highly symbolic spaces that hint at a mysterious narrative. Her work is exhibited and collected internationally and she is a two-time recipient of Canada Council Awards for her Antarticus and Cave Paintings series respectively. She has shown extensively in Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and has been included in exhibitions in Richmond (VA), Chicago (IL), San Fransisco and Los Angeles (CA). Her paintings are held by several private and corporate collections including TD Canada, Senvest and Aritzia.

Originally from Vancouver Island, Kirsten Hatfield (BFA 2014) is a graduate of the Fine Arts Diploma program at North Island College as well as a BFA recipient from Emily Carr University. She is heavily involved in the local arts community as a practicing artist, curator, art director and art educator. Her personal practice fluctuates between a wide variety of materials but is always centred around painting and colour theory. Her work has been featured on CBCarts, BBC, Huffpostarts, Seventeen Magazine, New York Magazine and locally in Sad Mag and Discorder Magazine. She currently resides on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations (Vancouver, BC) where she shows locally and internationally.

Cristian Hernandez (BFA 2017) is the co-founder of DDOOGG, a Vancouver-based experimental-comic press. DDOOGG has participated in book fairs and exhibitions in Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Stockholm, Lucerne, Shanghai, and Milan. His personal work explores the aesthetics of abstraction and representation in domains such as biotechnology, genetics, evolutionary biology, cybernetics, and complex systems. Cristian has done web design, illustration, and graphic design work with Garden Don’t Care, Neon Eon Wine, Little Burgundy, 221a, Oxygen Art Centre, Carousel Magazine, As.Iz, Khotin, and OCA. He is currently an MA student in the graduate program in Science and Technology Studies at UBC.

Ethan Barry Murley (BFA 2016) is a visual artist based in Vancouver. His practice explores sexuality, identity, interpersonal relationships, intimacy and the dialogues around them. Working both with figures and text, Murley explores these themes through the mediums of illustration, photography, painting, printmaking and tattooing. His work explores ideas around erotica and breaking down societal norms through the lens of his own experiences both as artist and subject. Documenting the banal and everyday along side the erotic, intimate and explicit Murley builds narratives in his work that welcome viewers to become voyeurs and project their own experiences and desires upon his work.

The artists from Animation are below.

Director Christopher Auchter grew up exploring the beaches and forests of Haida Gwaii, off Canada’s West Coast, and his art is rooted in the land and stories of the Haida people. Auchter’s art practice is fueled by his close connection to the natural environment, his adventures in forestry and commercial fishing, and by the colourful people with whom he has lived and worked. From early on, he recorded his feelings and impressions as images, and today his filmmaking serves the same function.

Auchter studied media arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, graduating class valedictorian (Vancouver, British Columbia) and graduated with honours in computer animation from Sheridan College in Ontario. His goal is to create films that are as engaging and entertaining as the many people and environments that have inspired him, to help facilitate genuine contact between the Haida people and the global community.

His previous projects include writing and directing the award winning NFB film The Mountain of SGaana. Animating on Daniel Janke’s How People Got Fire, Electronic Arts’ NHL Games and Nintendo’s Punch Out! He has illustrated three children’s books, including Jordan Wheeler’s Just a Walk, a comic by Richard Van Camp called Kiss Me Deadly, and a graphic novel by W.L. Liberman entitled The Ruptured Sky: The War of 1812.

Stephanie Blakey is an award-winning storyboard supervisor and animation director with animation training in Vancouver, England, and France. Her last film, “The Butterfly Affect,” made with funding and support from Women in Animation, is currently screening internationally. Her previous film, “The Last Resort”, a stop-motion paper cutout comedy horror, won several awards on its globe-trotting festival run. She is currently working as a storyboard supervisor at Atomic Cartoons in Vancouver while she develops her own ideas for shorts and TV series, while occasionally dabbling in comics and paper cutout artwork.

Ren Budd is a Vancouver born 2D animator working at Atomic Cartoons.  She graduated from Emily Carr University in 2015 with a Bachelors of Media Arts in Animation.  At Atomic Cartoons she’s worked on Cupcake and Dino: General Services, Molly of Denali and is currently an animator on Trolls: TrollsTopia.

Alisha Steinberger is a recent ECU graduate who currently works in vfx as a character/creature animator.

Alisha started her journey as a layout artist at Scanline VFX, moving to the animation department at the same company. She has had the great pleasure of working on films such as Godzilla vs Kong, Black Widow, Freeguy and Suicide Squad.

Creature Animation has always been her passion, so when she got an offer to work on a creatures-only show at Bron Studios, taking the job was a no-brainer.

Outside of professional work, Alisha takes part in independent film and animation projects that reflect her passion for animal rights.

The artists from Film are below.

Lawrence Le Lam is a filmmaker from Richmond, BC with an affinity for music-centric stories that explore underground worlds and subcultures in the Asian diaspora. His final thesis film from Emily Carr University of Art + Design about forbidden rock & roll and long-haired hippies in 1970s Taiwan, The Blue Jet won Best Student Production (Whistler Film Festival / Leo Awards 2016) and Best in Canada at the Toronto International Short Film Festival. His short film about the underground hip hop scene in 1992 post-riot LA, Cypher won Best Period Piece at Hollyshorts Film Festival 2018. In 2017, Lawrence participated in the Toronto International Film Festival Talent Lab. He is currently developing his first feature, coming of age, hip-hopera, and crime drama, The Chinatown Diner.

Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ is a Nehiyaw Isko artist, from Bigstone Cree Nation. She currently resides in Amiskwaciy Waskahikan also known as Edmonton, Alberta. Cheyenne graduated from Emily Carr University with her BFA in Visual Arts in 2019. Her work often explores history, knowledge and traditional practices. Through the use of her body and language, she speaks to the past, present and future. Cheyenne’s work is rooted in the strength to feel, express and heal. Bringing her ancestors with her, she moves through installation, photography, video, sound, and performance art.

Brianne Nord-Stewart is a filmmaker awarded across multiple continents in multiple formats including short films, digital series, commercials, and music videos.

While obtaining her bachelor from Emily Carr University, Brianne discovered her proclivity in exploring taboo. Over the last decade she has continued to refine her voice as a comedy creator and director who does not shy away from tough subjects but embraces them. She excels in building tension of character and of circumstance, then offers reprieve through comedy.

Brianne first gained international recognition with her multi-award-winning short film, TROLLS (2009), which received an honourable mention at the Academy Accredited™ Clermont Ferrand Film Festival. She is an awardee of the Legacy Filmworks Award, the Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award, and the WIFTV Newcommer Spotlight Award. Her most recent work includes the short BOT PROX, and the digital series’ YOUNG & RECKLESS, and THE DANGERS OF ONLINE DATING.

Ivan Li (BMA 2019) is a veteran filmmaker who worked in underground and experimental cinema over the last 3 decades, specializing in computer animation and short films.

Zoran Dragelj is an award-winning Vancouver, Canada based auteur/filmmaker. He also served a two-term Emily Carr University of Art and Design as an Alumni Senator. Zoran is a long time member and a New Media Director of International Press Academy and Satellite Awards in Los Angeles. For four years Zoran taught film theory and directing at Canadian Film and Television Institute.

His latest feature is the critically-acclaimed Friends Like These, which was premiered in Los Angeles in 2019 and won just recently won three major awards in Atlanta Georgia. In 2017, Zoran associate produced, Dark Harvest, a successful independent Canadian feature film starring Cheech Marin along with James Hutson, Tygh Runyan, AC Peterson, and Hugh Dillon. 2005 saw the first major retrospective of Zoran’s short films and videos in Florence, Italy. In addition, his short films and videos have been screened and exhibited in New York, Toronto, Berlin, Stockholm, London, Yangon, Madrid, Venice, Milan, Montréal and Vancouver galleries and art centres.

Zoran’s films and videos are distributed by La Videotheque Nomade Distributionin Brussels, archived with Europeana, the European Union’s virtual library for the preservations of cultural heritage, archived with GAMA (Gateway to Archives of Media Art) network and is featured in TransMediale’s (Berlin) permanent collection.

With a mélange of talent and skills: visual artist, music video director, and film director, Zoran remains dedicated to the world of motion pictures and media arts.

The artists from Illustration are below.

Cole Pauls is a Tahltan comic artist, illustrator and printmaker hailing from Haines Junction (Yukon Territory) with a BFA in Illustration from Emily Carr University. Residing in Vancouver, Pauls focuses on his two comic series, the first being Pizza Punks: a self contained comic strip about punks eating pizza, the other being Dakwäkãda Warriors.

Makoto Chi (he/they) is a tattooer and visual artist currently living in unceded Coast Salish, Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh lands, also known as Vancouver, Canada. Their multidisciplinary tattoo and image-making practices utilize chimaeric figures as stand-ins for personal experiences and nods to contemporary and historical myth-making. Chi’s focus takes interest in power dynamics, borrowing notes from his own mixed-racial heritage and coming into queerness to inform a rich bank of iconic imagery.

Pandora Young is an illustrator living and working in beautiful Vancouver British Columbia Canada. She is a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design with a degree in Illustration. Her favorite food is sushi, and her favorite hobby is the taking of naps.

Jazz Groden-Gilchrist is a Canadian comic artist who was one of the co-founders of Comic Carr, ECU’s comic club. Growing up as an adopted kid and only black person in his family, identity was more of a struggle for him than he realized, but he found he was able to express this through the safe distance of storytelling. He enjoys creating diverse fantasy settings that explore identity, complex familial relations, and responsibility. He is represented by Jennifer Azantian of the Azantian Literary Agency and is currently pitching his graphic novel series You Will Live Forever.

The following resources were compiled by panelist Jazz Groden-Gilchrist.

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