Tracy Keen: A positive outlook by design

Graphic artist Tracy Keen in her studio.  - Jenna Hauck/ Progress
Graphic artist Tracy Keen in her studio.
— image credit: Jenna Hauck/ Progress

We all know people who are forever whining or complaining. They’re like black holes, draining the very life out of us. We can’t seem to run away fast enough. Then there are those who emit such positive energy. They’re a real power source with the ability to attract people. They’re not perfect but have such good souls and their positive outlook helps influence people in a meaningful way. I found Tracy Keen to be such a person.

Tracy was born and for a time raised in the pretty seaside town of Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. It’s a town loaded with history and legends and it is apparently where Bram Stoker wrote his novel, Dracula.

Her father was in the navy and after he left became a captain on cargo ships, giving Tracy and her mother the opportunity to travel the world.

“I lived in Singapore and Brazil for a while and attended American schools then in 1979 we came to Canada. I didn’t like school. It was hard to get close to people because I knew that eventually I would move on,” she admitted.

The family came to Canada as a result of her father taking on a job in Calgary. “It was because of the oil industry and like all good Brits we settled in Victoria and my father commuted between there and Calgary. I don’t think that he realized how far apart the two cities were when he did that. Eventually, the commute became too much and we moved to Calgary,” she explained.

While Tracy disliked school, she did excel in the arts and after graduating from high school, studied commercial art and graphic design for four years at the Alberta College of Art.

“Both of my parents are very artistic. My father is into watercolours and my mom is a florist with a flair for design. However, my father told me that it’s hard to make money as an artist so I decided to go into commercial art instead,” she said.

She graduated from college and promptly started her career with the Calgary Sun where she worked for the next twelve years. “I began building ads and moved my way up to include the printing side. Then, I worked up to supervisor of the deadline shift. This could get very stressful at times. When I first started there, it was pre-computers and everyone talked. Then computers came on the scene and it seemed like everyone became zombies. No one talked anymore,” she laughed.

It was here that Tracy met her future husband, Dwayne. He was kind, giving and generous and she was thrilled when he asked her out. Destiny eventually prevailed and the couple married.

After leaving the Sun, they moved to Cochrane, Alberta and she began working for two of the local papers; the Cochrane Eagle and the Calgary Golfer. Then, she took on a job with the McKelvie Real Estate Group as the marketing manager for Kelly McKelvie.

“I worked there for eight years and I continue to do work for them even today,” she said.

The Keen’s moved to Chilliwack in December 2009 after Dwayne took on a sales position with the HAWK. It was at this point that Tracy, with her years of graphic design experience, decided to launch Tracy Keen Graphic Design.

“I essentially create logos, letterhead, business cards; lay out ads, signs, booths, podiums and that sort of thing. Anything that you would expect from a graphic artist, that’s what I do. There’s nothing too big or too small. At times, I put in some long hours but I love what I do and I like getting things done. I’m certainly not a procrastinator,” she chuckled.

When Tracy has down time, she loves spending time with Dwayne and their 10-year-old son Wes.

“I don’t have a lot of time right now but I do enjoy making jewelry and I love to experience culture. I would like to go to India and Italy and perhaps go back to Singapore and Brazil. Dwayne has also written a couple of children’s books and I have to illustrate them,” she said enthusiastically.

Tracy has real talent, experience; she’s easy to work with and has a positive outlook. She’s also fast, affordable and has the ability to inspire you by her sincere, positive personality. If you’d like to reach her, call her at 845-5562.

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