A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to chat with NSCAD student and visual communicator Sebastian Tory-Pratt (@yellinglouder). Sebastian is a Toronto native who moved to Halifax two years ago for a four year program at NSCAD.
In this interview, Sebastian and I talk about NSCAD and and how its recent financial woes have (or have not) affected his experience. Sebastian is also “one of those” who is a Haligonian by fall, and Torontonian by summer. I ask Sebastian about his experiences in Halifax, and how it compares with that of the big city.
Listen to the interview, but also read on to find out about some of his work, and also read some notable quotables from the interview.
Listen to the interview:
Sebastian is quite a talented graphics artist. One thing I learned about visual communicators, though, is that it’s not just about graphics design, but also about understanding the project. For example, Sebastian showed me one project that he worked on that looked to address the fact that many women feel uncomfortable carrying condoms. To address this, Sebastian and a friend of his mocked up a condom packaging design that is discrete (there is an unmarked cardboard holder for each individual condom, which doesn’t make that telltale crinkling sound) and tastefully designed.
Here’s what the mock up looks like (from his website):
I encourage you to check out the rest of his portfolio, too.
Here are some notable quotables from our interview:
On how NSCAD’s financial situation has affected the school:
“It’s affected me less than some of my friends. I have some friends who were looking to go into industrial design, and the industrial design program at NSCAD, at least for now, is completely non-existent. There is one second-year course and that’s it, whereas before there were a few. I mean, obviously NSCAD is a school that emphasizes fine arts over design, which is fine, and the industrial design program was never very large, but at least you could study it, which is now no longer the case.”
Some silver lining:
“It’s motivated me to go out and learn outside of school, which may in fact end up being more valuable to me than school itself, because it’s meant that I’m going out and talking to professionals in the industry and getting them to look at the stuff that I’m doing, as opposed to just sitting back and being complacent.”
About whether he would have chosen NSCAD knowing that the school would be cutting programs:
“I think I probably still would have. NSCAD was, I think, the best option for me in terms of the schools that were available in Canada. The interdisciplinary thing is really what appealed to me about NSCAD, and that hasn’t changed, regardless of the financial situation.”
On why he goes back to Toronto over the summer, rather than stay in Halifax:
“A lot of it has to do with economics. I have contacts back home that I know I can get a job with, and also it’s a lot cheaper for me to live at home than it is to live out here. I’m not entirely sure what Halifax would have to do to encourage me to be here more, simply because I’m not really sure what it’s like here during the summer, to be honest, because my decision to go back isn’t so much based on Halifax not being ‘good enough’, it’s more on exterior factors.”
One thing Sebastian loves about Halifax:
“I love that I can walk everywhere within the downtown core, or that I can get wherever I need to go on my bike, and I don’t have to worry about a car, or really extended travel times. Partly that’s due to the whole student life sphere, which is a very contracted, sort of centralized part of the entirety of the HRM and Nova Scotia in general, but I still find that’s the case, that you can find everything that you need in a fairly small environment.”
And one thing that he hates:
“I hate that there’s not more diversity. That’s one thing that I really, kind of, feel the lack of. When you’re walking, or when you’re on the bus in Toronto, I’ll walk into people, like, speaking Spanish, and I’ll start having a conversation with them. Or like, walking in Chinatown … I miss having a Chinatown. Or a little Portugal. I mean, obviously the sizes of the cities are different, but even just encountering a little bit more diversity when I’m walking, or in the people that you meet.”
On what he calls a culture of insularity in Halifax:
“It’s a little bit more accepted that you don’t think wider.”
Listen to other Halifax InView interviews I’ve done here.