U of T Drizzy: the elusive artist opens up about the Contact Festival, @champagnepapi and more

photo of an Instagram @UofT Drizzy image
(image courtesy @U of T Drizzy)

Even Drake follows the University of Toronto student artist known as @uoftDrizzy.

Called “pure gold” by Huffington Post, reimagined through an interactive U of T Scarborough campus tour by CBC Arts and picked up by news media around the globe, the @uoftdrizzy Instagram account became insta-famous this year and has more than 17,000 fans – including Drake – who follow, like and comment on the parody account. 

The U of T Scarborough mastermind behind the account isn’t just into Drake and Photoshop – this Instagrammer runs a youth basketball program, has counselled women and children living in abusive environments. A passion for creativity drives the student's projects, which include volunteering to create graphic layouts for a fashion magazine and taking on work-study positions at UTSC.

One rule? No U of T Drizzy work on the weekend; that time is spent disconnected to the online world and connected to family, friends and Sunday meal prep.

Six U of T Drizzy posters were mounted in the Environmental Science and Chemistry Building and Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre during Doors Open Toronto and visitors were invited to take a photo with one and be entered to win a UTSC & Drake-themed Summer of 6-teen Starter Pack.

Below, U of T Scarborough writer Holly Fraser talks with @UofTDrizzy about what it's like to be featured in the prestigious Contact Photography Festival and more. Drake lyrics used by @uoftdrizzy within this article appear in italics.

We’re so happy to have U of T Drizzy at UTSC to talk summer plans. You’ve already been busy this spring – tell us what you’ve been up to lately.

Drizzy doesn’t take semesters off. I’m currently taking a class downtown but back at UTSC for the second-half of the summer. I’m in the Contact Photography Festival through May because I just wanna be… I just wanna be successful. You’ll have to bear with me, it’s been a moment since I’ve done some public speaking, I find nowadays it’s just best to keep quiet. But uh, sometimes you just gotta let it out. This weekend I’m popping over to UTSC for Doors Open Toronto to check out the Environmental Science and Chemistry Building, a local author will be there and you can see the earth tubes, some pretty dope stuff. So, now the doors open and we all goin’.

Speaking of the Environmental Science and Chemistry Building, we saw a photo of you sitting on top of it. What was that all about?

Man, I was on top of the world that day. I’m ballin’ outta control, keep on receiving the scholarships. And you should really see the VIEWS from that building.

So what’s going on for summer?

The weather is looking up so you can spot me in the Valley or picking up a bike from the bike-share to cruise around ’cuz my mother embarrassed to pull my Phantom out. We need to figure out something though, a bike won’t cut it from downtown when I come to UTSC because I take Eglinton to 401 East and exit at Markham Road in the east end. Did you know you can rent garden space or check out the bees on the rooftop here? Man, I got love for this city. What else… hmm… I guess just a couple days on the beach, then its adios. And you know I’m always doing work, work, work, work, work, work.

You were recently at UTSC’s Doris McCarthy Gallery – what was happening there?

The Scarborough Film Festival kicks off June 2 and free student screenings are at UTSC June 8. The DMG (use the short-form, fam) hosted students to network with the team and some dope English and film profs. Plus, I got car money, fresh start money, I want Saudi money, I want art money.

You know convocation is coming up, so what advice would you give students who are graduating from UTSC on June 2?

Wanted to tell you, accept yourself—you don’t have to prove [expletive] to no one except yourself and if you end up needing some extra help, then I can help.

Speaking of convocation, when will you graduate?

I’m taking my time to experience UTSC, I got love for this city. Did you know there’s 150 student clubs at UTSC? Have you tried the food in Scarborough? Yo, it’s delicious. And bruh, TPASC is so big I get lost there every time I go play ball. I mean, I’m too busy. Born a perfectionist, guess that makes me a bit obsessive. And you know I got a thing for words so when it comes to writing essays, paperwork takin’ too long and I think that my profs, well, maybe they don’t understand me

You brought your mom to campus a few weeks ago, what did you take her to see? Is there anything you want to say to her?

Well I’ve been watching the Toronto Raptors lately and haven’t made time for mom. I took her to Mother’s Day brunch at Miller Lash House and then we had a stroll around campus. Mom, You and The 6 raised me right. I’m always being true to what you taught me.

That’s sweet. 

I spilled all my emotions tonight, I'm sorry.

Don’t be sorry! Speaking of emotions, people around here are asking if you’re single.

Call me Heartbreak Drake, I’m the hardest one to tame. As a man, I’m just honest; as an artist, I’m a king. But for real, I don’t kiss and tell. And I’m on my grind—I have a show on Fusion Radio and represent SCSU. And I wouldn’t change a thing if you paid me. I took my wildest dreams and then mapped ’em out.

The artist behind U of T Drizzy stresses the importance of self-care and plans to continue U of T Drizzy as long as it’s entertaining.

“For me, doing well in school is very important. So when you’re trying to do that with work and school and maintain relationships with friends and family, it’s important to find time to just chill out and take care of yourself,” says the artist. “I put a lot of love into U of T Drizzy and I feel I get a lot of love back.”


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