Alumni Asked & Answered: Brenda Draney, '00 BA, '06 BFA

    Award-Winning Local Artist, '00 BA; '06 BFA, on lessons learned in and out of class.

    By Daniel Lee on October 1, 2014

    Who: Brenda Draney

    Degree: ’00 BA; '06 BA

    Current Occupation Award-inning Local Artist

    Bio: Brenda Draney studied painting at Emily Carr University in Vancouver before she won the RBC Canadian Painting Competition in 2009 and was long-listed for the 2013 Sobey Art Award.  She is the recent winner of the Eldon and Anne Foote Edmonton Visual Arts Prize.  Draney’s practice is based on her experiences and the relationships formed between her current hometown of Edmonton and the northern community of Slave Lake, Alberta, where she was raised.

    What do you miss most about being a U of A student? I took the best of it with me; there is no need to be sentimental.

    Favourite campus memory? Going for drinks at the Powerplant.  This was an important part of my education.   There was a surprising amount of discussion about painting, art and music.  It was also a bit of an anchor.  Many of us stayed on campus and continued to work and were encouraged by our classmates also staying later and working. 

    What’s the one piece of advice you’d give a current U of A student? Don’t smoke. 

    Best procrastination activity? Going for coffee.

    Favourite course/professor? Professor and poet E. D. Blodgett taught Comparative Literature.  He made such an impact on me, that I would take classes I knew he was teaching.  In my last year of my English Literature degree, he urged me towards a studio art practice.   He gave me advice I still remember:  “As you get older, your life will become more complicated, not less.  If you do not try, you risk being irritated with yourself when you are older.  And that irritation may never completely go away.”  This advice has served me well.  I just discovered we share a birthday!  The honour is mine.

    If you got one university do-over, what would it be? I would spend less time trying to conceal my own lack of knowledge, and more time just trying to lea

    Favourite secret makeout/study spot? I never makeout. I went to the Med. Sci. Library to study. 

    What did you do to help you stay sane during exam time? Smoke, drink, and eat.  I had no coping skills.

    What impact has the U of A had on your life?  After two degrees from the U of A, I am probably fully institutionalized and I couldn’t even tell you. 

    What should all new grads know? This was never supposed to be a prescription for a job.  It was supposed to make your world a bit bigger.  There is value in such an endeavour.