Creative Arts and Design

Presenting

Nominees in the category of Creative Arts and Design

Seneca Polytechnic

Joseph Osei Bonsu

Co-Founder, Illustrator, Heroes of the World

3D Animation, 2006

Digital Media Arts, 2005

Visual artist Joseph Osei Bonsu's work promotes diversity and equality in a way that captivates young people and teaches them to treat others with respect. He is co-founder of Heroes of the World, a superhero cartoon series featuring 1,200 characters from different countries. He also collaborated with Olympic champion sprinter Andre DeGrasse on an illustrated book called Race With Me! In 2022, he was commissioned by Spoken Soul TO and the City of Toronto to create superheroes for the Scarborough Heroes Exhibit for Black History Month. He has also lent his talents to the CBC, CIBC, TD Canada Trust and ArtXperiential.

Humber College

Matthew Burnett

Music Producer, Self-Employed
Bachelor of Music, 2014

Matthew Burnett has become a sought-after global producer in the music industry, highly regarded for his Grammy-nominated and Juno-nominated (and winning) work. One of his earliest achievements was his production of "Not Afraid," the lead single on rapper Eminem's seventh studio album, Recovery, and the 16th song in Billboard Top 100 history to debut at No. 1. The co-founder of independent record label Golden Child Recordings, Burnett has enriched the Canadian music scene and cultivated the rise of artists such as R&B superstar Daniel Caesar. He’s produced for world-renowned artists like Drake and Lil’ Wayne, all before turning 25.

Fleming College

Rochelle Byrne

Executive Director, A Greener Future
Ecosystem Management Technology, 2012

Rochelle Byrne, the executive director of A Greener Future, takes centre stage in the powerful environmental documentary, Shoreline: The Paddle Against Plastic. As producer, Byrne embarked on a remarkable 430 km paddle journey across Lake Ontario, using her passion to raise awareness about the detrimental impact of plastic on the environment. Amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic that hindered public cleanups, her determination shined as she paddled 18 days along the shores of Lake Ontario. Shoreline showcases the profound connection between recreation and environmental stewardship, inspiring individuals to join the effort in creating a greener environment for future generations.

Algonquin College

Eric Chan (eepmon)

Founder and Digital Artist, EEPMON Inc.

Interactive Multimedia and Design, 2008

Computer Engineering Technology, 2003

Eric Chan (eepmon) is a world-renowned digital/NFT artist and consultant whose work sits at the intersection of fine arts, design and technology. His fusion of art and computer code and the traditional and the modern – as well as the artistic and the commercial – demonstrates his unique ability to create in the ever-changing landscape of modern, contemporary society. He is nomadic, adventurous and embraces uncertainty. His digital artistry engages the world and enriches his life with new perspectives and discovery. His works have been seen in fashion, comics, museums and exhibitions worldwide.

George Brown College

Lesley Hampton

Founder, Fashion Designer, and Creative Director, Lesley Hampton
Fashion Techniques and Design, 2017

Lesley Hampton is the owner, fashion designer and creative director of the Lesley Hampton fashion company. She is an Anishinaabe artist, model and speaker who is passionate about increasing Indigenous representation in the world of fashion and changing stereotypical beauty standards and body types. That passion led her to be one of six Indigenous Canadian designers invited to represent Canada at 2023 Milan Fashion Week. Hampton cites her college education as being instrumental in facilitating her success in the fashion industry. Through her design work, she continues to be a voice for Indigenous representation and body positivity in fashion.

St. Clair College

Dan Janisse

Staff Photographer, Windsor Star (Postmedia)
Journalism, 1989

Dan Janisse is an award-winning photojournalist for the Windsor Star. Using photos to tell and illustrate stories, Janisse has worked for 25 years to illuminate the communities of Chatham, Windsor and Essex County. He believes photography and photojournalism can share powerful stories about individuals and systems in the community.

Sheridan College

Sharron Matthews

Actor, Self-Employed
Theatre Arts Performance, 1989
Sharron Matthews’ versatile, accomplished performance career spans theatre, television and blockbuster films. On stage, she has appeared in Showboat, Les Misérables and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Her film credits include roles in Mean Girls, Cinderella Man and Hairspray. She portrayed spunky coroner’s assistant Flo Chackowitz on TV in all four seasons of the award-winning Frankie Drake Mysteries. Her other TV credits include Murdoch Mysteries and Apple TV’s Five Days at Memorial. She is also a trailblazing cabaret performer who has toured worldwide, earning rave reviews for her performances and who now serves as a mentor to many other cabaret performers.

Fanshawe College

Haviah Mighty

Artist, Entrepreneur, Founder and Owner, Mighty Gang Inc.

Music Industry Arts, 2013

Award-winning vocalist, songwriter and hip hop/rap artist Haviah Mighty has secured many firsts in the Canadian music industry: first hip hop artist and first Black woman to win the esteemed Polaris Music Prize, first female artist to win a Juno Award within the Rap Album/EP of the Year category, and only Canadian to be nominated for the BET Hip Hop Award for Best International Flow in 2022.

A role model and supporter of young Black entrepreneurs, Mighty in 2022 gave her $10,000 in Prism Grand Prize winnings and one-on-one time to support 10 different Black business owners.

Conestoga College

Angela Onuora

Founder and Chief Creative Officer, This Naija Girl Studios
Broadcast Performance and Digital Media, 2019

Angela Onuora is a women’s champion for equity and the founder and chief creative officer of This Naija Girl Studios. A first-generation Canadian immigrant from Nigeria, she attended college to gain the training, network and confidence to tell African and women’s stories through the lens of her new Canadian reality. Her award-winning documentary film, Operation Lights Out, was created as a result of her college projects. She used the campus venture lab to jump start Studio D-20, a women-in-filmmaking collective, and The RISE Class, a social enterprise for aspiring filmmakers. Onuora’s creative work is being showcased and recognized around the world.

Centennial College

Jody Porter

CBC News

Journalism - Print, 1993

Jody Porter was an award-winning journalist who dedicated her career to raising awareness of social justice issues that impacted Indigenous people and communities. Following a decades-long career that culminated with her role as a senior reporter with CBC Thunder Bay, she died on July 19, 2022, from ovarian cancer.

In recognition of her extraordinary work and talent, Porter won numerous awards over the years — including being one of the few non-Indigenous journalists to receive the Debwewin Citation from the Anishinabek Nation for excellence in reporting on First Nations issues.

Durham College

Trevane Sanderson

Chef, Self-Employed
Culinary Management, 2015

Tre Sanderson has combined his love of cooking with his passion for his Caribbean heritage. Infusing that combination into every dish he creates, he has made a name for himself as one of Canada's best young chefs.

In 2022, Sanderson appeared as a contestant on the hit TV show Top Chef Canada and became the first Black chef to win the competition. In 2023, he received awards and recognition from Restaurants Canada and Kostuch Media.

He has also given back to his alma mater with a special pop-up dining event, where he mentored the young culinary students studying there.

Georgian College

Ryan Sobkovich

Artist, Self-Employed
Advanced Fine Arts Diploma, 2016
Still in his 20s, Ryan Sobkovich is a full-time award-winning artist who has sold more than 1,300 works -- his first at the age of 12. He hikes, camps, kayaks and portages deep into the Canadian wilderness to create portrayals of its majestic beauty and the critical importance of preserving it. Sobkovich’s stunning landscape oil paintings are sought by national and international private, corporate and public collectors as far afield as Italy, China and Dubai. He's also a passionate entrepreneur – strategically growing the business of his own career and inspiring other artists to do the same.

Niagara College

Mark Suknanan

Drag Queen, Pop Star and Television Personality, Self-Employed
Broadcasting - Radio Television and Film, 2012

As a Canadian TV personality and drag queen, Mark Suknanan knows what it's like to be out front—to pave the way for others. As his alter-ego, Priyanka, he won the premiere season of Canada's Drag Race in 2020. He is also the first Indo-Caribbean to win the title in the worldwide broadcast franchise. Previously, under the moniker of Suki, he worked as a YTV host on The Next Star and The Zone. Determined and optimistic, he's honoured to be a role model as a successful gay, brown man.

Cambrian College

Jennifer Taback

Partner and Thought Leader, Design de Plume

Graphic Design, 2009

Registered graphic designer Jennifer Taback is a partner and thought leader with northern Ontario-based Design de Plume, a women-led, Indigenously-owned, award-winning creative agency that creates inclusive and accessible designs for social good. Under her leadership, the team at Design de Plume has completed significant Indigenous-focused design projects for the federal government, the CBC and John Hopkins University, among others. Taback is an in-demand industry speaker on topics like the decolonization of design. She is also an active member of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers, where she works to facilitate greater participation in the sector by members of marginalized groups.

Confederation College

Amede Thompson

Sous Chef, Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Restaurant, Culinary and Catering Management/Manager, 2012

Electrical Course, 2008

Chef Amede Thompson took a college culinary arts program on a whim and it ignited his career. He has worked with hundreds of chefs in many kitchens across Canada, developing his own style of Canadian Indigenous cuisine and writing a cookbook. Thompson is now living his dream as a sous chef at one of the top hotels in the world: the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Not only is he changing people’s ideas of Indigenous cuisine, he is working towards modernizing the chef profession, putting a larger emphasis on training and mentoring. He has inspired and nurtured dozens of Indigenous and non-Indigenous chefs-in-the-making.

Lambton College

Garrett VanDusen

Film Producer, Johnson Production Group/Timeless Pictures/Cartel Pictures Inc.
Law and Security Administration, 2003
Garrett VanDusen is a film producer with top networks in the industry. Not only has he played a significant role in the production of major films and TV shows, he has also played a starring role in ensuring that minorities are accepted and feel included within the film and television production industry. He is an advocate for LGBTQ and BIPOC communities and has used his success and passion to help carve out a more inclusive space for minority groups working within the arts.

St. Lawrence College

Tim Warnock

Concept Artist and Vice President, North Front Studio

Graphic Design, 1994

Tim Warnock is an illustrator, graphic designer, visual effects and concept artist and entrepreneur, running his own creative design company catering to the television, film and video game industries. His notable achievements include collaborating with Industrial Light & Magic on the visual effects in blockbuster films such as The Avengers, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Pacific Rim. He also co-created the concept art for Amazon Prime’s TV series, The Expanse. Through his company, North Front Studio, he has collaborated with Riot Games on Legends of Runeterra and worked with Riot’s world-building team.

Mohawk College

Melanie Wong

Founder, Olive + Splash Bamboo Apparel
Public Relations and Corporate Communications, 2012
Melanie Wong is the founder of Olive + Splash Bamboo Apparel, a sustainable made-in-Canada clothing company based in Burlington. Wong launched her company in 2015 to provide “adult-style clothes for kids” in gender-neutral colours, using highly sustainable and durable bamboo materials. Parents were soon asking for adult-sized designs. She launched a women’s and men’s line in 2020. Olive + Splash is now available online, at pop-up shops and in boutiques in Ontario, Montreal and Vancouver. The company achieved extensive media attention during the pandemic for launching a drive-through store window and being an early producer of fabric face masks.