+5 | Matt Howe

by Alex Beetham on October 7, 2014

Well folks it’s been a long time coming, but we’re back at it with a shiny new instalment of Westside’s +5. This is where we ask industry insiders for 5 essential things that keep them inspired and at the top of their games.

This instalments focus is centred around a collaborator of the highest order. He has that eager enthusiasm of a fresh face in the industry, yet he has been at it for almost 2 decades. Perhaps his positive outlook is because he has lived several lives already, or that keeping outrageously busy is enjoyable to him. Matt Howe has a foot firmly planted in two worlds. By day he works as an art director at MacLaren McCann, and by most other waking hours he is creative director at The Baitshop.  Keeping up with either of these role’s responsibilities would drive many to an early grave, but Matt seems to only excel and thrive in these conditions. Perhaps it’s because he chooses not to see these two worlds as separate, but by drawing from them both equally he allows the creative process to flow amongst them freely.

Or maybe Matt just wants to make cool shit with rad people and enjoy the journey.  There is only one man who knows for sure…

Ladies and gentlemen, Matt Howe.

Matt HoweImage © Dave Delnea

Matt Howe – Art Director @ MacLaren McCann

5 People That Inspire The Hell Outta Me

Like a lot of people, I’m inspired by a ton of things all the time: Designers, Directors, Photographers, Writers, Athletes, Musicians, Painters, Fashion, Skateboarding, and Food. But the biggest inspiration that moves me most is people. The people I meet and become friends with, or the people who are just out there DOING IT.

Ted Wilson
This man’s been my closest friend for years. He’s constantly raising his game in life and in his career – and always with great panache. He’s been a fundamental part of my success and who I am today. He’s a drummer from hell and a vault of nerd information from Metal to Middle Earth. An on air personality you can catch him on the boob tube on the Space Channel’s Inner Space, or Discovery Channel’s Never Ever Do This At Home. Follow Ted on Twitter.

+5, Westside Studio, Matt Howe


Greg Rodriguez
If you’ve ever heard of the Toronto brand and screen printing company The Baitshop, you now know the co-founder. This man has been a great friend and creative partner who believed in me to design clothes, make ads, videos and whatever else we’ve been up to together… and for young skateboarders no less. He gave me my first directing opportunity, and is generally one of the most rad people in Toronto bar non. Greg is also big supporting part of the Toronto skateboarding and art communities a like. TheBaitShop.ca or on Instagram @TheBaitshop

+5, Westside Studio, Matt Howe


Evan Gatica
An LA native I met years ago Evan’s a tower of talent and knowledge in film, music and basketball… and his love of Virgin Mary paraphernalia is exceptionally badass. As a film editor and former underground MC, Evan’s always had my back and helped me on several projects I’ve been involved in. Check some of his work here.

+5, Westside Studio, Matt Howe


Damian Abraham
This gentleman is a Toronto and Global punk rock god, and he would give you a high five on the subway if you said, “What’s up Damian?” Another incredibly hard-working, humble creative tour de force, and the lead singer of Toronto’s very own Fucked Up. I met this dude a few years ago and was moved by his personality, performance and passion. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing him, and seeing a bunch of his live shows both here in Toronto and in Europe.  This is what he’s been up to lately.

+5, Westside Studio, Matt Howe


Pascal Shirley
One of the most undiscovered talented people I have ever met. When you’re riding the subway to work on Monday morning, thinking to yourself, “Ahhh I just wish I loved what I do… Or I wish I were on a road trip… Or sitting in a hot spring,” this mother f%^&*r is likely out there doing just that. And doing it incredibly well, with a smile on his face. Pascal’s photography is some of the best imagery I’ve seen. A camera is really just a camera, but he uses it as an extension of his life. Check out his work on his website.

+5, Westside Studio, Matt Howe

+5, Westside Studio, Matt Howe

Check out some more of Matt on his site.

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    5+ | IAN SCHWEY

    by Tom Nesbitt on February 21, 2014

    Our latest installment of 5+ features industry veteran Creative Director, Ian Schwey.

    I first met Ian when he was over at JWT, and we continued to have the pleasure of seeing layouts come in from him while he was working at ZIG and most recently Doug & Serge. An award-winner (Bessies Gold, ADC Gold, Cannes Silver, One Show Silver, etc.) and one of the funniest guys in the room, Ian is also an amateur magician – who knew!

    Nikki Ormerod and I had the pleasure to hook up with Ian for lunch and a chat at The Burgernator down in Kensington Market for what Ian called “one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten”. So kick back and have a scroll though the 5 things that keep Ian Schwey at the top of his game.

    © Nikki OrmerodIan Schwey © Nikki Ormerod

    There are many things that inspire me. Some are expected, others, not so much. As in, don’t ask, I can’t explain. All I can tell you is that they all do something for me… just not always sure what.

    Things my kids say
    Now I know a lot of parents will say that, as all kids say some very cute things. But one of my kids in particular, Rowen, my middle son, really speaks words that often leaves me speechless. Here are a couple examples:

    © Ian SchwayDaxton (7): Do you think anyone has ever seen God?
    Rowen (5): What’s my sense of God? I think the first person in the world saw God and that’s it. That’s what my sense told me in my quiet vision.

    (Driving, half way between Ottawa and Toronto:)
    Daxton: When will we be home?
    Rowen: We’re already home.
    Daxton: This minivan is our home?!?
    Rowen: This continent is our home!!!

    Ian: Rowen, where do you want to have your 5th Birthday Party? Chuck E Cheese, Laser-Tag?
    Rowen (4): I’d like to have my birthday party in an invisible Hall of Justice inside my mouth.

    Stand-up Comedy
    I love listening to comedians that see things in similar ways to me, confirming that perhaps I’m not totally alone in my bizarre interpretations of the world. And I love performing stand-up as well, though I’m not currently doing it as much as I’d like. Getting that reaction from a crowd is incredible, and again getting approval that I’m not alone with my twisted mind is somewhat reassuring. I think. And my humour that doesn’t make its way into my TV spots, usually ends up in my ‘act’.

    For some inspiring hilarity, I’d recommend Mitch Fatel, Steven Wright, Jeremy Hotz, Mitch Hedberg, and the obvious, Louis CK.

    © Ian Schway

    Films by Neil Labute or Todd Solondz.
    Unsure why I have a thing for dark and disturbing dramas. There’s just something about watching the discomfort, as these well-written films examine the complex dynamics of human relationships in unconventional, unsettling, and sometimes cruel ways. Perhaps after watching them, I’m inspired to be the complete opposite of the films’ characters.

    © Ian Schway

    Flavoured KitKats
    Yes, they inspire me. They demonstrate that in life, there are no boundaries. Why stop at orange when there is kiwi. And pineapple. Passion Fruit? Hells yeah!!! We work in the communications industry where walls need to be broken every day, so why not look to the almighty KitKat chocolate bar for inspiration. In Japan alone they have well over 200 flavours! Here is just a small sample of my personal collection.

    © Ian Schway

    I love discovering random signs posted. I love seeing them in their purest form. Without a strategy that was slaved over for months. No focus groups. Just an individual with a thought, a paper, and a marker.
    This first one I really love.

    © Ian Schway

    Oh sure, we’ve all seen Korean bronze statues go on sale for 60% off, or maybe even 70% once in a blue moon, but when, WHEN I ask you, have you EVER seen Korean bronze statues go on sale for a whopping 85% OFF?!?! This is a sale not to be missed!

    Here’s another one I really enjoy. Not hand-made, but the name of a business:

    © Ian Schway

    Is it a good auto repair? Well… I wouldn’t go so far as to say good… but decent, it’s a decent auto repair. No need to over-promise. I appreciate honest advertising.

    I also once saw a babysitter’s sign, name, phone number, etc, stapled to a wooden pole. I thought that was great. Why not put the lives of your children into the hands of someone that comes highly recommended by a telephone pole!

    If you’re a member of the advertising world, get inspired by things, and want to share them with the world; shoot an e-mail my way and let’s talk. Many thanks to Ian for sharing some of his inspirations with us all!
    Images © Ian Schwey



      by Tom Nesbitt on February 6, 2014

      As an Art Director, John McDougall has been holding down the fort over at Bensimon Byrne for quite some time. We first met way back in 2002 when he contracted Chris Gordaneer to work with him on what became a ton of award winning GMC work. Working with John was always a pleasure.

      You knew right away when one of his layouts came across your desk. They were, well, a sight for sore eyes. No cocktail napkin drawings here my friends. He did all his own rendering and they were drawn to camera as if he was seeing them through the lens. His clean uncomplicated compositions were a real joy to build on. Like a great story teller, he knew what he was after and communicated his ideas clearly. All of this makes sense when you consider that he is moving on from Art Director to just Director! Thats right, John McDougall is gonna be telling the same great stories, just now they are going to be in full HD motion.

      So without further adieu , we resurrect the 5+ with these inspirations from Johnny Mac!

      © Chris Gordaneer

      John McDougall © Chris Gordaneer

      Cameras attached to things that are fast


      David Hockney
      He does not look for beautiful things to paint. He looks for normal things and paints
      them beautifully.


      Shoot days
      Even if it’s just a Ham on a table.


      A trail through the woods


      My dog Leo who spent the last 8 months of his life on wheels. As soon as his wheels were on he would forget that his back legs didn’t work and off he would go.




        by Matt on March 21, 2013

        For quite some time now, two of our post categories have been collecting dust, and it saddens me. In a way I feel like Kate McCallister when she left Kevin at home that first time, wondering how I got so caught up in the madness of life that I could leave my babies behind. It’s been exactly 350 days since we last put 5+ at the start of a post’s title, and much like when Kate met up with Gus ‘Polka King of the Midwest‘ Polinski, I’m really pleased that I can start to feel like a good parent again.

        Before we meet today’s creative mind, I’d like to give a big shout out to all the Art/ Creative Director’s who have taken part in the previous installments of this wonderful means of learning ‘What 5 things inspire you right now?’. Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Marissa Mastenbroek.

        © Vicky Lam - MarissaMarissa © Vicky Lam

        So Marissa, what 5 things inspire you?

        If there is a project on the go with no due date, chances are laundry will trump it.

        Oh Summertime, how lovely your greens when backlit by sunshine.

        Last year while camping, I felt inspired to make something as my son took his epic 3 hour naps. I didn’t have a lot to work with. I cut out some eyes from paper and glued them (with Play Doh) onto things I found at my feet – rocks, pine cones, sticks – then shot them in the forest around me. Those images turned into a series of three story books for Noah. I wanted him to remember the camping trip – and think I am a good mother.


        Foreign flora is inspiring and curious. Only God could think up a Monkey Puzzle.


        Nice Typography
        Look what I found in my in-laws’ garage.


        Some awesome graffiti typography.


        This is a nice tealight font.


        Three Illustrators in Particular on Noah’s Bookshelf
        The detail in Marc Boutavant’s ‘Mouk’ is breathtaking. It looks like a combo of Illustrator and pen to paper. Not sure. Delphine Durand‘s creatures and animated designer furniture in ‘Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood’ are so cool. And, Jon Klassen, in case you’re reading this blog, your images inspire me too. I love your pared back palette.

        Marc Boutavant, Delphine Durand, & Jon Klassen

        Riding My Bike
        Nothing makes me feel more alive than racing along a dirt-packed trail with the smell of pine trees and ripe raspberries in the sunshine.


        (Also, thin black markers and lineless paper. And naps. And macchiatos.)

        Big thanks to Marissa for sharing her 5+!


          5+ | Brendan Watson

          by Caitlin on April 5, 2012

          Happy Thursday Ladies and Gents!

          As we roll into the long weekend, extra long for me as I’m heading to Las Vegas with my BFF’s (OMG), I thought everyone would enjoy a 5+ that’s food worthy. Our friend, Brendan Watson of Twist Image, knows his way around around the kitchen and here’s his proof!

          Thanks to Tyler Gray for the very fitting portrait to go along with it.

          Happy Easter/Passover/Long Weekend Everyone!

          Brendan © Tyler Gray

          As creatives we all seem to have creative outlets other than our professional craft. Some of us are painters, musicians or novelists – I’m a cook. I’m inspired by food and everything that surrounds it.

          There are few foods out there that can match the amazingess that is bacon. Fried up on a Saturday morning, or mixed into a caesar salad – thick sliced smokey bacon inspires me. My infatuation with the magical pork product really blossomed once I started making it myself. For my 30th birthday my wife, in her infinite wisdom, got me a smoker. After a quick pitstop at a local butcher shop I was well on my way to homemade bacon heaven.

          Sunday Dinners
          I’m not Italian, but there’s a Nona inside of me, trying to get out. She loves to make a big meal on Sunday afternoons, invite everyone over and feed them around her dining room table. The beautifully crafted food is surpassed only by the inspiring conversation. Now mangia, mangia – you’re too skinny.

          Farmers Markets
          Some people view grocery shopping as a chore – not me, especially when I can stock up at my local Farmer’s Market. Walking in there is akin to a musician entering their favourite guitar shop. Sure I have an idea about what I want, but I always walk out with more. I’ll chat up the vendors, hear about their farm, be inspired by their passion and then go home and cook something amazing.

          Flavour Thesaurus
          There’s no shortage of cook books in the world. Some are prohibitively expensive, some are edible and some come wrapped in rice bags. While I find most are just brimming with creativity, The Flavour Thesaurus takes it to a whole new level. I’m not one for following recipes all that closely and this book doesn’t contain any. It’s all about food parings, what ingredients go with what. While often times I take recipes and make them my own, this book enables me to create completely from scratch.

          My son is 6 months old and we’ve recently started him on solid foods. I’m envious that he is getting to try everything for the first time ever. Riley is at point in his life whereas he has no preconceived notions about food. He is open minded and willing to shove anything into his mouth. Sure, he spends an inordinate amount of time sucking on his big toe – but that doesn’t take away from the idea that at times I should be a bit more like Riley and look at food with fresh eyes.


            5+ | Oliver Brooks

            by Matt on February 16, 2012

            Happy Thursday!

            This week we’re featuring our friend Oliver Brooks from CP+B. Nikki O had the opportunity to photograph Oliver and we were lucky to have a warm winters day. Having never met before, I think they hit it off wonderfully! A few Bob Dylan references later and we were done!

            Oliver © Nikki Ormerod

            Reading Bukowski is like eating a cheese sandwich, it’s simple, straight and to the point. There’s no bullshit about a cheese sandwich, and I really like cheese sandwiches.

            I grew up in a small town so my childhood was pretty nice and quiet. I usually did stuff off on my own, which was a good thing, because now I can easily entertain myself. Being able to investigate forests or build little forts in trees made me very happy. I guess my independence came out of that ability to just go off and explore on my own. Oh ya, and by small town, I mean like, one thousand people lived there and half were very old.

            Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hats
            They are neat.

            I love Hinterland Who’s Who, but more importantly, I love the theme song from Hinterland Who’s Who.
            But really, I mean, how could one not be inspired by their surroundings when they simply are wonderful.
            And by wonderful, I am talking about the open fields and little creatures found in the country. You also cannot forget about the noises you hear at night when you are trying to sleep, those in themselves are inspiring to the imagination.

            Joy Division
            I tried writing this like a bunch of times now and I keep erasing it, so I thought I would just write down exactly what I just wrote down. I don’t know why I am inspired by Joy Division, but I just am and always have been.


              5+ | Jorgen Stovne

              by Caitlin on February 2, 2012

              Seeing as Parliament Hill just headed back to work this week, we thought we’d get back to 5+!

              We’re hitting the ground running this year with our first installment of 2012 from our lovely friend, Jorgen Stovne. Jorgen has been a client of ours from his early days at DDB and we have many opportunities to work on great projects together.


              Jorgen © Chris Gordaneer

              Norwegian Nature
              My parents took me on my first ski trip when I was three. The following decade was spent in a continuous whine as I complained my way through every hike they made me go on. There was always another mountain to climb, or a forgotten cottage to go to. Not until I grew up did I realise how much I loved hiking. And it wasn’t until I moved to Toronto that I understood how lucky I was to have such gorgeous landscapes on my doorstep. Hiking to me is what reformatting is to a computer; it reorganizes content and makes the brain work faster. Though I’ve tried some trips here in Ontario, I find myself longing for the midnight sun and endless horizons I’ve come to love back home.

              The TTC
              In the absence of proper fjords and unexplored wilderness where I could reformat my brain, I found a great backup: the city’s public transit system. The trek between Kipling and Bloor/Yonge always seems to cleanse my mind, and allows me to distill the problem of most creative challenges. Maybe it’s the lull of the train that puts my brain into the right frame of mind. It’s like being in a really boring lecture in school when your brain suddenly yells: “I feel like being creative. Please start doodling!”

              Film Scores
              Film music is written to create a mood and an atmosphere. With no distracting lyrics, they put you in the right mood for whatever inspiration you need. Losing myself in a score is probably one of my oldest forms of inspiration and it’s a source that keeps growing with every new movie released.

              Tip: Grooveshark is an amazing (and legal) site for listening to music for free. I often make different playlists using different movie soundtracks for different moods. Let me recommend “The Fountain” by Clint Mansell, or the score to “Inception”. My secret listening pleasure right now is actually the track “Test Drive” from “How to Train Your Dragon”. Sure, that probably puts me at the mental level of a 10-year-old. But it’s a very happy 10-year-old!

              Old-Fashioned Games
              Gaming, to me, is almost a way of life. I’ve never been good at video gaming, but playing anything that requires rolling a dice always gets me excited. And if I can somehow pour some creative thinking into the game, I’m sold. As a teenager, I would sit for days constructing elaborate plots for my role-playing group of friends. I would draw the maps, prepare a playlist as the night’s “soundtrack”, rehearse the voices of different characters, calculate the game mechanisms against the group’s strength, consider if the mood of the plot would fit with the composition of the group’s personalities and interests…Yes, I was Norway’s answer to Steve Urkel.

              Comic Books
              Superheroes were never a big hit in Norway. Maybe due to some poorly-translated names. “Batman” was named “The Lightning Wing”, for example. The fact that he was wearing a bat costume was just a sidenote. Instead, we had Franco-Belgian comics and everything in between. These would appear once every two or three years, and thus had a really high quality to them. They were works of art and it always fascinated me how the author and artist worked together to present their story in the best possible way. I feel like I’m learning or noticing something new every time I read one. My all-time favourite must be the Danish comic Valhalla by Peter Madsen. It’s a loose re-telling of Norse mythology, spanning fifteen issues. It took thirty years to complete. Much like my latest advertising campaign.


                5+ | Anne Maureen McKeating

                by Caitlin on December 14, 2011

                Hey All,

                This weeks 5+ is coming at ya from one pretty incredible lady, Anne Maureen McKeating.

                She’s not only a client, but an advocate for great photography and passionate about the industry as a whole. You can always have a good gab with Anne Mo and chew the fat on all things photography and advertising.

                Derek Shapton and I were fortunate to spend a lovely afternoon with Anne Maureen a couple weeks back. She was a bit hesitant about having her photo taken, but after a bite to eat (along with a pint), she was ready for her “close-up”.


                Anne © Derek Shapton

                I like to peek into corners, so I tend to be inspired by folks who create outside of established systems. Here’s a brief list of people/places/experiences that have made me oooh and ahhh over the last year.

                Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA
                Founder David Wilson used to work in film. One day he asked himself why he was dedicating so much time and energy to an industry that ultimately left him dissatisfied? So, he bravely left his previous life behind, acquired an old mortuary and created a museum. Where else could you find out that eating mice on toast cures bedwetting or see strangely haunting tributes to trailer parks and Soviet space dogs? MJT is an amazing, complex collection of beautiful oddities. Wilson is genius.

                Elsewhere Collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina
                For close to 40 years, proprietor Sylvia Gray ran a three-story, 12,000 square foot, thrift store where nothing was for sale! After her death, grandson George Scheer and colleague Stephanie Sherman re-envisioned Sylvia’s vast, unwieldy collection as a living museum, international residency program and creative laboratory. They have turned what might have been “the dark family secret” into an imaginative space where art and life become one and the same. The project is now partially funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation. Sylvia would be proud!

                Creativity Explored in San Francisco and the Creative Growth Center in Oakland
                These non-profit visual arts spaces provide studio and gallery opportunities for adults with developmental differences. The caliber of work coming out of these centers always blows my mind and I inevitably make a purchase (or two). The last time I visited, I purchased a text-based work by John Patrick McKenzie. Many of his works refer 1970’s era television in general and Joyce DeWitt in particular. I also bought a William Scott, whose meticulous paintings attempt to depict an “elusive normal life”.

                The Larry Spring Museum of Common Sense Physics in Fort Bragg California
                Fort Bragg is a beautiful, scrappy, eccentric logging town on the Mendocino coast. My friend Heather Brown and myself are co-crating a storefront museum there, called the Larry Spring Museum of Common Sense Physics. Larry was an explorer of radiant energy. He published and experimented tirelessly to disprove Einstein and to advance his own theories. Larry embraced the DIY aesthetic well into his 90s! All of his experimental works are constructed from found materials and many are solar powered. There is something amazing about walking into the storefront and experiencing his works in motion without Larry’s living presence. Website, blog and Facebook page are in progress.

                larry spring Larry Spring Image © Heather Brown

                Gallery 44 Outreach Program in Toronto, Ontario
                Gallery 44 is a non-profit artist-run centre committed to contemporary photography and related practices. G44 also runs an outreach program that offers photography workshops to youth without access to image making tools. The workshops culminate in the publication of a zine (distributed across Canada), an exhibition of works at the gallery and cash awards to promising young artists so that they may continue their creative exploration. A BIG THANK-YOU to the Toronto photo community who have heeded our call for donations. Your sensitivity and generosity is truly inspiring!!

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                  5+ | Klint Davies

                  by Caitlin on December 1, 2011

                  We’re shakin’ things up a bit on 5+! This week, a WRITER! Klint Davies is a good buddy of Westside’s. Both him and his partner, Brad Van Schaik, work with many folks on our roster and love them for that! But, they’ve also become great friends of ours as well and we love them even more for being so wicked cool!

                  Thanks Klint for taking the time to contribute!

                  Klint © Tyler Gray

                  My Wife’s Belly
                  Well not her actual belly; what it’s carrying. I don’t know if it’s going to be a boy or a girl. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. All I know is that when I look at that perfectly round tummy of hers, it makes me want do the best work I’ve ever done. Because come January 21st, give or take a week or two, I’m not just going to be working for myself (and team and agency, of course), I’m going to be working for my child. If that doesn’t inspire me to do something beautiful or bold or brave, nothing will.

                  Playing Hockey
                  I try to get out twice a week, no matter how crazy the work week gets. I find that nothing clears your head and resets you for a new day or late-night brainstorm better than playing in a good ol’ hockey game. I think some of my best thinking happens around midnight when I’m winding down from a spirited skate. I think it’s because I’m still taking coaches’ advice, and leaving it all – the deadlines, last minute re-briefs and 3 months of overdue timesheets – on the ice.

                  I can’t tell you how many steaks, pork tenderloins and chicken breasts I’ve cooked over the last 10 years, but I can tell you that no matter how specific the recipe says to be with your timing, or grill marks, or application of herb butter or rub, it’s always good to mix it up a little – to approach it from a different angle – just like you would a brief. If I always cooked the same thing, for the same people, the same exact way, they’d get bored of my meat skills (or lack-thereof), go find someone who’s trying new, tastier things and then unfriend me on Facebook.

                  A Bronx Tale
                  This is my favourite movie of all time. It’s just one of those movies that no matter how many times you watch it, you can always find new meaning in it. That’s the key to a great movie (or story in general). That, and it has a scene where a bunch of Mafia guys beat the crap out of a bunch of Hells Angels bikers, while The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ plays on the jukebox. If you’re too busy to watch the entire 121 minute-long movie, watch this.

                  I know this one is a bit expected, but not having it in my top 5 just wouldn’t feel right. I love music. All music. Half of the time, when I’m scouring blogs in the wee hours of the morning, trying to find the next XX single, Bon Iver acoustic set or unreleased Childish Gambino verse, it’s more of an addiction than anything else. The other half of the time – when I’m in a comfy chair with my headphones on and a pen in hand and I’m letting my latest musical discovery whisk my mind away into uncharted creative territories – it’s pure bliss.

                  Honourable Mentions
                  TED Talks, the This American Life podcast, my co-workers, my parents and my dog Bill.

                  Bill © Tom Feiler