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Alumni Profiles

Matt Danko

Matt Danko

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Year of Graduation: 2008
Program: Bachelor of Illustration

Matt Danko is the Communications & Media Supervisor for Alcohol Countermeasure Systems (International) Inc. The company makes award-winning breathalyzer and alcohol-detection equipment for markets worldwide. Matt's career path evolved from journalism toward illustration and now art and creative direction. His past experience includes stints at the Ontario Energy Board and Ontario Science Centre where he developed public promotional materials, including branding and identity design for the Anatomia exhibit, accompanying the world-famous Body Worlds installation in 2009 and 2010. He also created Medical Illustrations for the Anatomia Exhibit. Follow him: @dankosaurus and mattdanko.ca.

What led you to pursue a career in the arts and design field?

A lifelong obsession with visual arts, nerdy attraction to fonts and typography, and of course, the absolute need to feed the creative monster within myself. As long as I can remember, I’ve sought to bridge the gaps between realms (such as art and science) to effectively convey concepts and information, as well as have fun, educate, solve problems and enjoy what I do.

How do artists fit their creativity into today’s corporate world?

The work of creative thinkers will always overflow and expand beyond the boundaries of a job description, because the latter is simply a structure and the former is organic. Some companies become comfortable with routine and boundaries or become too busy looking after details to see the forest for the trees, but the business world can offer great opportunities for those with talent and innovative ideas. The tricky part is finding these opportunities, and working to ensure that those in charge are receptive to you, your new ideas, methods, concepts, and (sometimes) technologies.

Why did you choose Sheridan?

As far as creativity and talent go, it’s pretty hard to trump Sheridan’s international reputation.

What were the most important lessons you learned at Sheridan?

You MUST distance yourself from your work, and not think of projects as your children. A project is not your baby – it is your work. Second, the importance of networking, and the unequivocal value of creative social cooperation. For me, nothing compares to a positive, social, creative environment where like-minded individuals share ideas and constructive criticism. It’s really the best way to shape a solution.

What advice would you give a Sheridan student or new graduate?

Ambition is incredibly useful and important, but no one is an island. NETWORK, critique, brainstorm, question, share, absorb, collaborate, evolve and never stop learning. Always remember to take a step back and look at things objectively: everyone’s got a bias, and there is no ‘right way’ to do something.