1 in 2000: Erin McCain ’17


Christina Dai

Erin McCain’s ’17 talent and passion for art stemmed out of childhood. From a young age, others recognized the aptitude she had for drawing, and that’s how she got where she is  now.

“I basically drew my whole life. I was with my friends, and we used to draw a lot. Everybody always said I was good at it. So, then, I was at a friend’s house one day and she’s like, ‘Oh, my mom found these art lessons at Hart School of Art, and we should totally take them.’ I thought it sounded cool,” McCain said.

Now out of private lessons, McCain takes art classes here at West High. For inspiration, she looks to her emotions and is able to release them through drawing.

“It’s kinda tacky, but mental illness comes up a lot in my art because I deal with it. So, it’s kind of like a moment where I can just put whatever I’m feeling into it. It’s personal, but it can also be friends that are having a bad day. That could be something that could make me draw – to see if I can understand what they’re going through,” McCain said.

McCain is also influenced by her father, who takes an interest in art and culture. She trusts him to review her works and offer advice.

“He didn’t take lessons or anything, but he’s still good at giving me critiques. He kinda helps me figure out how to make people see what I see,” McCain said.

Through these inspirations, McCain is able to make a statement through her pieces.

“I’m not afraid to draw things that people would find offensive, or find scary, or find wrong. I’m not afraid to do that because it’s my art and my way of putting what I want out into the world,” McCain said.

As for artists, a variety of people inspire McCain. From Renaissance artists to her friends, she draws influence from many.

“My peers inspire my art a lot. They’re perfectionists and their art is amazing. I [also] like impressionism, and Raphael and art from the Renaissance. Everything was perfect then and I’m jealous. [Also,] I really like Van Gogh, and how vibrant his work is,” McCain said.

Overall, McCain looks forward to her future and continuing into all aspects of her craft.

In order to improve her work, McCain immerses herself into the art world. McCain also creates works as gifts to family, friends, and anyone she wants to share her skill with.

“I meet other people who are interested art, I share my art, and I’m trying to start an Etsy,” McCain said.

McCain creates these works using a variety mediums, and about a variety of subjects.

“I prefer pencil to things like watercolor, because it’s really easy to work with. I tried to work with acrylic because I really like how it turns out and how bold it is, but I’m not very good with it,” McCain said.

As for advice, McCain has two important pieces of input that she offers to fellow student artists.

“Listen to your teachers,” McCain said. “And learn from your mistakes.”

Overall, McCain looks forward to her future and continuing into all aspects of her craft.

“I’m not sure [about a career in art],” McCain said. “But I really like art history so I’m kinda thinking about going into that, or I could do it is a side hobby.”

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Compiled by Eleanor Ho, Olivia Read, and Christina Dai