‘Drawing since I could hold a crayon’

A UCalgary security worker by day, Sean Agnew’s other passion goes on display at South Health Campus

For Sean Agnew, a passion for safety, wellness and helping others guides his day-to-day security work. While his hobby may surprise you, it’s grounded in those same principles.

Agnew has been a security services worker at the University of Calgary’s Foothills campus for more than 14 years. In that time he’s helped countless employees and visitors with a range of questions and concerns.

Agnew spends much of his spare time exploring another passion; being the best artist he can be. He’s had an interest in art since he could hold a crayon, with a particular knack for creating whimsical cartoon characters.

“The payoff is seeing smiling faces,” says Agnew, a 50-year-old mostly self-taught graphic artist who goes by Doodle Dragon online. “I’ve come to realize that is something I enjoy contributing to the world.”

Agnew’s latest creation — his largest and most visible project to date — was unveiled last week. He designed a display welcoming visitors to the pediatric emergency care space at the South Health Campus. Agnew attended the official opening of the space on Thursday.

“I am incredibly proud to be part of this,” he says. “I hope my work helps kids and families feel safe during their stay. And I hope it is something positive that they remember.”

He began the project in March, using Procreate software for the first time in his career. Agnew worked closely with the Alberta Health Services project manager, Beverly Wilson, to refine the design before handing it off to the manufacturer to build and install. 

Cartoon animals within the welcome sign align with the eight theme rooms in the pediatric space. Focused mostly on smaller projects like goalie masks recently, Agnew says it was always a dream to do something on this scale, and he’d love to do more.

“I tried to ensure it contributed to a friendly atmosphere. My hope is for many years my art can help bring kids a feeling that they are in a safe and comforting space, no matter what brings them there.”

Sean Agnew

Artwork by Sean Agnew