installation at Ontario Crafts Council

In Mason Journal’s interview series with Toronto Design Offsite Festival designers and artists, we speak with an artist who uses light as his medium. Orest Tataryn shares with us his diverse history of experiences which fuel his creative process, and the principal of simplicity that defines his work.

MJ:   How do you describe your craft/discipline/practice?
Orest Tataryn: Basically, I work with neon technique as my preferred medium of expression. I create my own work as well as working with other designers and artists when they need specific lighting elements in their work.

MJ:   Tell us about your experiences and how you have evolved into your current practice. 
OT: Most of my experience comes from professions outside of the art / design world (day jobs which feed my creative process). My practice is determined by the interactions with my contemporaries as well as mentors in different fields (this is my education outside of formal certificates and degrees).
The observation of a myriad of differing disciplines.

MJ:   What are the founding principles or values that define your work?
OT: Reducing designs to their minimum simplicity and bringing them up a notch, whether visually or conceptually. The fit and finish of the presentations are vital to the elegance of the work


colour field - the gladstone hotel

flower diptych - Telephone Booth Gallery
MJ: Are there any fabrication methods, techniques, materials or processes that you can define as your own?  Would you define any of them distinctively Canadian?
OT: A proprietary method of combining venetian style glass blowing with neon production technique is our Canadian contribution. I apply my neon palette as a vehicle to producing neon art in several different directions.

MJ:   How does Toronto Design Offsite benefit you as a designer? 
OT: It helps me straddle two disciplines — the world of art and the design world

MJ:   What impact do you see Toronto Design Offsite having on the local and national design industry?
OT: It helps with the tying together of other groups of design action outside of government non-activity, which is embarrassing and disgraceful.

MJ:   From a local perspective, how do you see the art and design industry shifting over the next few years? 
OT: Local initiative action represents a grass roots style of approach which eventually stimulates a design scene distinctly Canadian

MJ: How do you expect this shift to impact your work?
OT: I hope to revitalize the production of my own work.

MJ:   How can Canada develop a design identity on an international stage?
OT: By mimicking the successful formula used by all of the Scandinavian countries which to me is the best model.

MJ:   How are you contributing to the Toronto Design Offsite Festival this year?
OT: I have a Do Design installation at Campagnolo Restaurant, an outdoor installation for the Gladstone’s 10 year anniversary of Come Up To My Room, and a group show at the Telephone Booth Gallery until the middle of February 2013.

interted signature series - dali lama

camagnolo restaurant

To learn more about Orest, visit his website at

All images courtesy of Orest Tataryn.