Hi - I'm Brenna MacNeil, a graphic designer and photographer who grew up in Inverness, Cape Breton Island. My creative pursuits have been influenced by the rugged western coast of Cape Breton – dramatic sunsets, pounding ocean surf, untouched forests, narrow dirt roads winding past century-old farmhouses, summers at the beach with family and friends. Those experiences have shaped who I am as an adult and as an artist.
Even though I had an imagination and loved creating games, I had no idea I would ever do anything creative. I feel like I was a late bloomer in that regard. After a career in public relations and teaching English as a Second Language in Korea and Halifax, I went back to school at age 29 to study graphic design at Nova Scotia Community College.
My first design project was the branding for Jill's Chocolates. Jill and I worked together as ESL teachers in Halifax, NS. Jill currently creates and sells her chocolates in Iona, Cape Breton Island. They are beautiful and delicious.
In February 2011, I self-published my first book, twentythree, a whimsical coffeetable art book that included a collection of conversation cards, greeting cards, posters and prints. I had a second book launch in my hometown at the Inverness County Centre of the Arts that summer, participated in Lumiere 2011 in Sydney and read at Word on the Street in Halifax that same year.
In 2012, my project 12-28 involved taking photos on the 28th of every month from October 2011 to September 2012. This project was part of Lumiere 2012 in Sydney. Currently, I'm designing and creating pieces for my Love Cape Breton collection which includes apparel, photography, coasters and paper goods. I love creating products so that people can also share their love for the island and connect to people and place.
I've been called missbrenna ever since I was a young girl and in almost every job I've had. It became the name of my little company. I also have an Etsy shop, missbrenna, which is a mix of fun and creative pieces – mostly paper goods.
In my spare time, I enjoy live music, cozy winter evenings watching favourite tv shows, going to the beach (my absolute favourite), road trips, taking photos, pilates/yoga, cooking and discovering great restaurants (I spent many years of my life as a server), visiting, travelling, and enjoying the every day with my family.
I'm a graduate of the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Mount Saint Vincent University and the Graphic Design program at Nova Scotia Community College. I studied "Intro to Screenprinting" in the fall of 2018 with Charley Young at NSCAD - which was an amazing opportunity. I live in Halifax, with my husband and daughter, where I work as a graphic designer at Dalhousie University.