Canadian Magazine Industry News
22 June 2009,     TORONTO
Illustrator and painter Jerzy Kolacz dies at 70

Illustrator Jerzy Kolacz, who died of cancer on June 15 at the age of 70, contributed to various Canadian publications such as Canadian Business, Homemakers, Masthead and the now-defunct Elm Street,  over the course of his career, but the Polish-Canadian artist was equally renowned for his work as a painter and teacher.

Jerzy Kolacz with one of his paintings.
Former Canadian Business art director Donna Braggins worked with Kolacz for more than a decade. She describes Kolacz as someone who knew how to find the balance between fine art and illustration. “Jerzy was the ultimate professional,” says Braggins, who now teaches design at Sheridan College. "At the same time, he also always brought a certain humour to all the projects.” 

A graduate of the Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw, Poland in 1962, Kolacz came to Canada in 1978 and resided in Toronto. He garnered several accolades for his work in magazines, including four honourable mentions at the National Magazine Awards, twice for his drawings in Canadian Business.

American magazine Communication World once named Kolacz one of the world's ten most successful humourous illustrators.

Kolacz paintings have been exhibited throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. A former instructor at OCAD, Kolacz was also inducted to the Royal Canadian Academy of Fine Arts. Braggins says, “He brought an outsider sensibility to Canadian art. He was an important part of the broader movement to bring alternative voices.”

He is survived by his wife Eva Kolacz, son Peter and stepdaughter Patty. 

Funeral services will take place on Tuesday, June 23 at 5:30 p.m., at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish (4260 Cawthra Road, Mississauga, Ont.)

— Christal Gardiola
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