Artist Spotlight: Collin McCanna ’11

Andrew LaCombe

Senior Collin McCanna is one of 12 studio art majors with artwork on display in the upcoming 2011 Senior Art Exhibition in the Wriston Art Galleries. McCanna is presenting a series of woodblock prints on drumheads with a print of each finger from his left hand. They will be arranged in the shape of his hand to signify the impression that he leaves on the walls of Wriston, McCanna said.

“The drumheads come from the music aspect of my life — keeping time, creating a groove,” he explained. “The drumheads and fingers collaborate in order to create this project. The work basically embodies how I want to leave a positive impression on this institution for all that it’s given me.”

The opening reception for the exhibition is Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.

McCannaalso has some prints up in “The Rabbit Gallery.” This student-run “pop-up” gallery opened earlier this week in the gift shop of the former Conkey’s Bookstore on College Ave.

Although McCanna concentrates on printmaking, he enjoys creating other forms of artwork as well. After spending time abroad, he set up and installed his own show, titled “Pieces of Rome,” in the Mudd Gallery.

“There were paintings and a lot of photos,” he recalled. “It culminated my experiences abroad.”

McCanna, who will also graduate with a music minor, has played in many ensembles in the conservatory, including symphonic band, jazz small groups, Sambistas and other percussion ensembles. He enjoys putting together his own hip-hop compositions, and was a part of a number of rock bands on campus, including The Chairs, Sturdy Beggars and Dharma Bums.

“I learned to play drums and piano at a young age, and that instilled a love for music in me,” he said. “I’ve always liked drawing. I always had a thing for comic books and cartoons. I really started taking art seriously when I was in high school and I developed a real love for it. I came to Lawrence wanting to do music, but it was a better fit for me to do art.”

The Appleton native is very involved in other groups on campus. He spent this year as senior class president and captain of the swim team, and he also served on the executive board for his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.

McCannawill spend the summer working on campus in the communications department before heading to either Chicago or the Twin Cities to pursue work in marking and advertising. In five to 10 years, he hopes to be working as an art director for a magazine like “GQ” or “Esquire.”

“The modern artwork in those magazines has always been very inspiring to me,” he said. “I’ve always had an attraction to graphic design and advertising, and that seems to have a profound effect on the visual art that I create.”

Take some time to check out McCanna and the other students’ artwork in Wriston and at “The Rabbit Gallery” before you leave Appleton for the summer!