Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Degree: Interactive Multimedia
Year of graduation: 1996
Mavis Penney's art explores landscape and the environment by combining digital imagery and traditional painting methods. Mavis has run her own visual arts and design consultation studio for over 30 years. Currently, she is working on contract as an Acting Curator with the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial museum system. She also holds a BA in English from Memorial University and a BFA in Visual Arts from Concordia University.
Mavis’ work is represented in public collections in Newfoundland and Labrador and in private Canadian and international collections.
What brought you to Sheridan well after establishing your career as a visual artist?
It’s more like Sheridan chose me. In the early 1990s when the Internet was beginning to grow, I was teaching visual design for heritage crafts at our regional college (Labrador College). I was looking for a way to develop my skills in computer graphics and the then-new Interactive Multimedia program was the perfect fit. Sheridan helped me roll my teaching skills and my digital business ideas together and change the focus of my career.
What is one of your most memorable job experiences?
I was invited by the Newfoundland and Labrador college to instruct in its new Multimedia Internet Development program. I taught in the classroom, online and by teleconference, and with international exchange programs in Barbados and Jordan. People ask “how could you go from teaching heritage crafts to teaching computer graphics?” And I say it doesn’t matter if you are using a sewing needle or a computer, the objective is the same – it’s all visual communication.
What continues to inspire you after over three decades as an artist?
What inspires me is how the visual design of what I'm seeing fits everything together. I love to look at a scene and isolate how the colours focus my attention or how the texture of a surface can make me want to reach out and touch it, for example. Then taking what I have observed and putting it onto a two-dimensional surface - that's the puzzle - and then the joy of getting it to work - solving the puzzle - that's what keeps me coming back.
What advice you would you give a Sheridan student or new graduate?
Take the time while you are preparing yourself for your career to explore and enjoy the side-roads you will find along the way. Of course, have your goals and work towards them, but keep your eyes open for opportunities to expand your experiences and your skills. Spend time with people you may never encounter when you are working. Look for content outside your own area of expertise. Ask yourself: “how can I make this – whatever it is – relevant to what I want to do?”