Owen took on the role of Executive Director in 2008. He has been enthusiastically developing the school’s programs and faculty. He is honoured to have so many talented and dedicated professionals share their knowledge and skills with the students at EDAC.
Owen Brierley is a Digital Media Producer based in Edmonton, Alberta for over 15 years. Owen has been pursuing media production projects that explore the forefront of blending arts and technology. Working on projects like the Citadel Theatre’s production of “Make Mine Love,” projection mapping events like Make Something Edmonton’s “Sound, Light & Vision,” or creating gigantic projected murals for La Cite Francophone’s Flying Canoe Festival, are all part of the continual pursuit of merging technology and arts into a seamless, engaging whole. Owen has worked with Alberta Education, NAIT, U of A, MacEwan University, Athabasca University, the Banff Centre, CityTV, Global Visions Film Festival, YESS, Startup Edmonton, and many others in the Edmonton community.
Owen’s roles typically involve leadership, creative facilitation, strategy, forecasting, analysis and design, and user experience design. Owen is an active speaker and champion of the digital media industry in Alberta.
Tami Ambury – Student Experience Coordinator
With a BA in Political Science and an MA in Middle Eastern History at Simon Fraser University, and five additional certifications under her belt – from Teaching English as a Second Language to Yoga for Children and Teens to Bio-Energy Medicine – Tami is the epitome of a lifelong learner. Having spent the last ten years as a holistic health practitioner, while doing social media and event coordination on the side, Tami brings an array of skills to EDAC as our Student Experience Coordinator. In this newly established position, she hopes to make the lifecycle of student – from recruit, to student, to graduate looking for gainful employ – as stress free as possible.
Matayla St. Jean – Campus Assistant
Matayla is passionate about health and wellness. She recently joined the EDAC team to support Owen & Tami as well as be the person who welcomes you to the college. Matayla is a keen explorer of holistic health practices and brings an organized focus to the team.
Heiko Ryll (www.heikoryll.com)
Born a creative soul, Heiko Ryll is a 12 year veteran of digital media production and education. Heiko has augmented scope of teaching topics by becoming a nationally certified snowboard instructor. Underneath his numerous tattoos Heiko is a passionate learner who is continuously cultivating his understanding of what makes great educational experiences. Heiko seeks to make every learning opportunity a memorable event that connects with his students.
Jeremy Pudlowski (www.jeremydan.com)
Jeremy joined Guru in the spring of 2012 to take up the charge on the Digitial Design (aka Digital Media Production) program. He eagerly brought his previous experiences having worked on a variety of design projects. He is actively involved in his band “Death by Robot” and was nominated recently for an EMA for the music video he created for his song “No Need for Alarm.”
Owen Murray (www.ommphoto.ca)
Canadian photographer specializing in Architecture, Archaeology & Conservation Photography. Fascinated by anthropology, influenced by photojournalism and comfortable wearing a number of different visual hats. Graduate of ACAD’s visual communications B.Design program. Check out Owen’s portfolio at http://portfolio.
Lee Nielsen (www.humanate.com)
Lee is a core instructor in both the Digital Illustration & Sequential Art program as well as the Digital Media Production program. He brings the rigor and discipline needed to help our students develop the necessary skills to survive in the creative professional industries. Lee’s range of experience coupled with an innate understanding of teaching makes him a powerful mentor.
Lee Nielsen is an interdisciplinary artist from Calgary. In 2008 he received a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from ACAD. He has exhibited locally and nationally and has work in private collections in Canada and the United States. In addition to painting and drawing he is the sole proprietor of Humanate Enterprises, a business that deals with art, illustration, design and related projects. Other art practices involve experiments with photographs and sound/musical compositions.
Tom Rhodes (www.tomrhodes.ca)
Tom is an illustrator and designer originally from Calgary, Alberta. Since graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design, Tom has spent most of his career as a concept artist at Bioware in Edmonton, working on all three Dragon Age titles. His other pursuits include freelance work, which he’s done for clients such as Bungie, Scholastic, Darkhorse, Fox ADHD and others. He’s now found a new calling as a teacher at Edmonton Digital Arts College and hopes to help guide young artists towards reaching their own artistic goals, both professional and personal.
3D Modelling & Animation
Cody joined the Guru team in September 2013 to instruct the 3D Animation Production program. He graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (New Media). Since then, he has worked as a 3D artist for local video game companies in Edmonton. Even before beginning his professional career, Cody has always felt a passion for animation. To him, animation is a powerful means of storytelling. It enables us to share a genuine human connection with the audience through believably animated characters. Compelling animation makes us truly empathize with those characters. Cody is a passionate learner always seeking to improve his craft. He is also eager to get involved with animation community.
Video Game Design
A game designer who has worked at BioWare on Dragon Age 1 and 2, plus the Awakening Expansion, and all DLC in between. Mark has released a number of mobile games, and was nominated with his partner for an independent game award for “Foamzilla”, alongside other games like “World of Goo”, “Fez”, and “The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom”. Mark is leading the Video Game Design diploma program at the Edmonton Digital Arts College.
Craig has over thirteen years’ experience with making video games. He has worked as a professional for nine years – first at BioWare and now on my own.
His career in the video game industry started with Neverwinter Nights, where he was an active part of the modding community. At BioWare, he started in Quality Assurance but quickly moved into design where he worked on pretty much every Dragon Age title (major and minor) produced so far, including the recent Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Special Guest Instructors & Mentors
Tori has been teaching yoga and movement related classes since vowing six years ago that she would never work again anywhere that required her to sit for eight hours a day. Tori holds a degree in social work from the University of Calgary along with over 1000 hours of anatomy and yoga related training.
Tori’s Stress Management classes at edac are a combination of physical activity, relaxation, and self-reflection. Students learn a variety of techniques to both prevent and relieve tension; along with how to avoid patterns of thought and behavior that can increase stress and anxiety. The physical reality of our bodies is that they simply weren’t built for technology. In order to maintain our physical and mental health we have to unplug sometimes.
Megan is an entrepreneur and communications professional. She has recently started teaching Business Communications at the college. Her passion is to help learners develop a strong professional practice that complements their skills in their chosen field. Megan is currently the Marketing Manager for Wellness on Whyte.
Megan Bertagnolli (whatfeedsme.tumblr.com)
Megan Bertagnolli is an Edmonton-based writer who completed her Master’s thesis about the convergence of contemporary museum culture and artists whose practices involve collecting this past fall. She has previously written about art in both institutional and freelance positions and has been involved in various curatorial projects. She feels strongly about engaging the different communities in dialogue about visual culture and about fostering open and accessible relationships between art, institutions and the public.
Omar Mouallem (www.omarmouallem.com)
Omar Mouallem is a nonfiction writer who has contributed to The Walrus, Eighteen Bridges, The Globe and Mail and Vice. You can also read his weekly columns in Metro Edmonton. A generalist magazine writer, you will find his byline in virtually any section, from food and travel to business and arts. His essays and features have garnered him recognition from the National Magazine Awards, Professional Writers Association of Canada and the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association. In 2013, he won Edmonton’s Emerging Artist Award and served as the Edmonton Public Library’s writer in residence. He moonlights as rapper A.O.K. and funded his debut album with money earned from writing a book about cats (called “Amazing Cats”). When he’s not pecking at his keyboard, he’s teaching professional communications at the Edmonton Digital Arts College, mentoring children to write and rap, or trying (unsuccessfully) to dress his cats in hoodies. He tweets at @omar_aok.
On top of being a professional communications and personal brand instructor at EDAC, Adam is the head of the digital team at Calder Bateman where he has helped lead a number of clients into worlds they never imagined. His client work has included projects like Plenty of Syph and Sexgerms with Alberta Health Services; and the NoHomophobes project with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the U of A.
In 2007, with a small group of partners, he founded the wildly popular hockey blog OilersNation.com (followed shortly by FlamesNation.ca and CanucksArmy.com). Adam co-hosts and co-produces his own hyper-local podcast — the Unknown Studio — and is the co-founder of Nerd Nite Edmonton and the Edmonton New Media Awards (lovingly called the Yeggies). Adam was named one of Alberta Venture’s Next 10 in 2011, and Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2013. Most recently, he worked as the director of digital advertising and communications on the wildly successful Don Iveson mayoral campaign.
Christine Lesiak – Creative Process Guest Instructor
Christine Lesiak is a physicist turned performer, and co-founder of the Edmonton-based theatre company Small Matters Productions (www.smallmatters.ca). She has extensive training in modern clown, and writes and performs physical comedy shorts and full-length shows for adult audiences. Christine is passionate about using improvisation, physical impulse work, and personal mythology exploration to unearth the hidden idea and discover one’s personal creative process.
Sarah Jackson – Graphic Design Mentor
Sarah brings a wealth of professional design experience to the Guru team. As a guest instructor, she helps Guru students fine tune their work and helps them analyze their craft the way an art director would.
Nat Jones (www.natjones.com) – Illustration Legend
The creator of our Digital Illustration and Sequential Art program, Nat is an internationally revered comic and graphic novel creator. Guru is thrilled that Nat has come on-board to develop a program that covers the creative professional aspects of illustration and balance that with practical business strategies to allow an artist to survive in today’s world of digital media. Nat’s direct industry experience is a perfect fit for Guru, and as a bonus… he is a ZOMBIE rockstar!
Kevin Barclay – Graphic Design Mentor/Industry Advisor
Kevin is the Executive Creative Director for TAXI in Vancouver. He is helping Guru stay connected to the industry through portfolio reviews, curriculum advice, and industry support.
Josh Holinaty (www.holinaty.com) – Past Illustration Faculty & Current Mentor and Evangelist from “out East”
Josh joined Guru in the summer of 2012 to augment the burgeoning Digital Illustration & Sequential Art program. Josh is a graduate of ACAD and a working editorial illustrator for a variety of publications including Wired, Globe & Mail, and Transworld Snowboarding. Josh previously worked at the Art Gallery of Alberta in their Marketing Department. As an illustrator he is known for his irreverent worldview that celebrates the silly, gross, drippy, grungey, dirty and, of course, the clean.
Jasmine Abbey (www.jasmineabbey.com) – Past Faculty Member & Current Guest Artist
Full of passion and a synchronized swimmer’s endurance, Jasmine joined Guru in 2013 to expand the theoretical and philosophical side of art instruction. She comes with the following warning: “may cause critical thinking” and believes teaching history is all about planting seeds to challenge innocence. With a BA in History of Art, Design and Visual Culture (and unabashed by her Philosophy minor) from the U of A, she can offer new perspectives and is a bringer of context in teaching Art History at Guru. With open eyes and many heartwarming experiences, she always treasures time with people, no matter how fleeting. Outside the classroom, Jasmine is a practicing illustrator and 24-7 explorer. She is also a fervent typography nerd and regularly watches Jeopardy.
Meaghen Hicks – Past Animation Faculty & Current “West coast” Mentor
Edmonton Digital Arts College (EDAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Patrick Finn as the inaugural Chair of Research & Innovation. Dr. Finn is a globally recognized expert in performance and technology with a deep knowledge of transmedia, media arts, and new models of research, teaching, and learning.
EDAC is committed to preparing the creative professionals that define the 21st Century. Dr. Finn shares our values and ideals, and grounds his work in the types of creative and professional practice that resonates with our mission. His experience with arts groups, governmental and nonprofit organizations, and in the private sector, aligns with our belief that the digital arts are the centre of the diversification of Edmonton, Alberta, and the world around us.
Dr. Finn’s work with boards, governmental organizations, and private sector groups in Alberta and abroad support our own multi-sector approach. In particular, we share Finn’s recognition that Albertans currently play a central role in the future of arts, education, and professional practice. His work, which emphasizes the importance of practice relevant to the media forms of the future, is central to EDAC’s faculty, staff, and students.
As an artist, educator, and practitioner with a longstanding knowledge of code, Dr. Patrick Finn’s belief that transmedia serves to unite and inform our collective future is inspiring and aligns with our mission and practice. Dr. Finn understands the leading role of EDAC, its supporters, faculty, and students. He joins our team in recognition both of his work, and of our shared belief in the exploration of the best of research, innovation, and expression across and beyond traditional media forms.
Read more about Patrick Finn at: