While she is best known for her original digital collages, Canadian artist Erin McGean was originally drawn to drawing and painting as a child, something she thinks has to do with her trying to find ways to entertain herself as an only child for most of her childhood. Erin, who is endlessly talented, started out painting traditional themes, such as Canadian landscapes, and has since reinvented herself as an artist in the age of Instagram.
“I joined Instagram in 2011, and I saw all this amazing digitally created art and photo editing. I downloaded Instagram by accident while looking for an editing app and posted something when I didn’t even know what a post was. When I went back on the Instagram app, I had multiple photo likes and thus began my social media identity. I really got inspired and did more photography, then digital collage with my own photos of my kids or of nature—my recurring theme. The digital collage really consumed me for five years, and then I realized I had missed the messiness and the studio environment and the tactile nature of creating traditional art. I started doing cut and paste, old school style analogue collage. I now combine the two. I might start a piece as cut and paste, then add more to the piece digitally. People really communicated in the early days of Instagram and it really broadened my audience.”
In addition to having her work appear in group exhibits in Canada, New York, and most recently, Colorado, Erin, who puts all of her energy into her artistic endeavors, has also been commissioned by Elle Magazine Canada, where she just made a full-page digital collage on the importance of a celebrity stylist. She has also made her mark with a massive mural, which you can find at the downtown Toronto hotspot Pastiche. This ever-evolving artist was even featured in this year’s Fashion Art Toronto Festival, which combines art and design.
If you’d like to see some of her handmade collages in person, Erin also recently contributed to the Brooklyn Sketchbook Library in New York, with two recent sketchbook projects featuring Erin’s women and nature-inspired collages.
Since following her creative calling, Erin has never looked back, and she is already looking towards featuring her work in new exhibits. She even has a new series of collages that focus on women’s relationship to nature as well as how women are compared to nature. Her collages use traditional collage techniques along with digital technology to repurpose found imagery. Erin’s artistic drive, derived from her connection to nature and being a strong woman and mother, has resulted in some very thought-provoking and profound works.