This article features TAV College digital media instructor Jonathan Wilansky. Jonathan’s interests extend far beyond the classroom. When he is not teaching at TAV, he can be found in other classrooms, learning! As well as adventuring outdoors, on the musical stage, working on something creative, or behind a computer attempting to help save the world.
Before working at TAV, Jonathan earned a Bachelor of Computer Science at Concordia, and a Master of Arts in Music Technology at McGill. His thesis combined elements of music, electronics, data visualization and software development.
Music was Jonathan’s first truly artistic passion. He’s been active musically since high school and continues playing in a band today! He first started as the band’s drummer, but after injuring his wrist in 2016, he stopped playing and established a new role as the band manager. He has since returned to playing as a rhythm guitarist.
However, art wasn’t always a part of his life. His childhood and teenage years were saturated with sports, and it was only until his interests in graphic design and animated movies that led him to the Computation Arts program at Concordia University. The program was a double major through Fine Arts and Computer Science, and that’s where he discovered a whole new dimension to art that he was never even aware of. Now, he enjoys using his spare time to be creative; however that may be. He’s always working on a creative project, from handmade to computer art, and even 3D printing! He considers it a hobby, for fun; mental stimulation and as a creative outlet. His favourite (and most random) is a functional, giant Nintendo controller that requires two people to operate
Currently he is working on a recycled art project he calls “CDnimals”, where he takes unwanted CDs, breaks them to pieces, and crafts them into miniature animal-like figures. “I was never a natural at creating things from scratch, like drawing or painting, but I was very good at breaking things” he jokes. He believes this CD project hits on something relevant to society today, commenting on the “endless amount of outdated technology that have no means to be recycled”. This project shows people that ‘trash’ can be reused and made into something beautiful, but more importantly, helps to spread the message of responsibility to protect our environment.
“I was never a natural at creating things from scratch, like drawing or painting, but I was very good at breaking things”
If you’ve ever had a class with Jonathan, then you know he cares about the environment! It’s been an important subject to him ever since his days studying Natural Science in Cegep. What could make this teacher particularly unique at TAV College is that he is also a student! On top of teaching at TAV, Jonathan recently started pursuing another Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Concordia University. He stressed that he, and other people he knows, from Canada’s west coast, all the way to Africa, have begun to experience the negative impacts of climate change. These are first hand–things he learned about theoretically many years back. This has motivated him to return to school in an effort to incite change.
In an effort to inspire people, he claims that our love and admiration for the natural world is inherently human, but our lifestyles have been constructed to alienate ourselves from it. Jonathan put it well in that when you see a beautiful sunset, or when you reach the peak of the mountain, anyone will naturally look at the view and feel a sense of euphoria; No matter who you are. It is moments like these that are important to have as human beings, yet increasingly difficult to fit into our modern lives.
People such as Jonathan have decided to spread awareness about the reality of climate change. When discussing environmental issues, Jonathan stated that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but not to be discouraged because more and more people care about the state of the planet, and more and more people want to live sustainably–not only to avoid problems, but because they see the deeper value and benefit it adds to our lives. He believes awareness is key, and it’s only a matter of time before people are ready to embrace sustainability and that technology permits it.
This teacher is an outstanding role model who is not only showing people that it is never too late to return to school, but also he is taking action on issues that he covers and discusses in his own classroom. It is easy to talk the talk, but it is not so easy to walk the walk, however, Mr. W is certainly doing just that. Jonathan welcomes any students or faculty members who wish to collaborate with him on creative projects, or even just to say hi and share your thoughts.