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Alumni Blog

Connor McCall ’07: A Pair Of Pliers And A Little Baling Wire

02_AlumBlog_Bowman-TownsendFor the last several weeks, students in the AP Art classes have spent Mondays with ‘07 alum, Connor McCall. After studying sculpture at the College of Santa Fe, Connor returned to Austin and works locally at Slight of Hand Metalworks, building metal furniture, architectural elements, and art.
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Was there a teacher or subject that you experienced at St. Andrew’s that influenced the path you follow today?

“I think the most important thing I received at St. Andrew’s was the freedom to find my calling.

When I came to the Upper School, I had nothing “artistic” to my name except a bunch of scribblings. I couldn’t wrap my head around perspective or shading to save my life, but I had notebooks littered with illegible comics, doodles and schematics. Ms. Reed’s freshman art class was a breath of fresh air. It was an art program that didn’t feel like an add-on or a hobby, but rather a real subject that merited study.”

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“It was a chance encounter with a roll of armature wire, a PVC tube and some broken jewelry that set me on the path to becoming a sculptor. Ms. Reed’s bottomless “junk” drawers quickly became fuel for an unending slew of sculpture, all made from wire and detritus. I started experimenting in every direction by dissecting electronics, scavenging natural materials, and using tools I’d never heard of before. The only thing I never bothered with was paint. I stayed late after school at every opportunity, often working alone while playing music in the background. By the time I reached my senior year, I had sculptures displayed all across the library. When a college recruiter visited the Upper School, and I was the only attendee to his demonstration, I ended up taking him on a tour of the library–which he photographed and forwarded to the head of the sculpture department.

I was never once discouraged while I was at St. Andrew’s; nobody told me to stop. Okay, there was one time, but that was after I’d been working on a piece for a month and Ms. Reed had to stop me and declare ‘Connor! It’s finished already! Start the next one!’ I wouldn’t be where I am today without her help.”

What is your favorite tool?

That is like picking your favorite child. I do have a pair of locking pliers I found in a parking lot, though, and it’s usually the first thing I reach for. Second place goes to a “roll of baling wire.”

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Pictured above are some of Connor’s pieces from his time at St. Andrew’s. The installation on the right is the Crusader which graces the Hobby Commons at the Upper School. The sculpture was Connor’s Senior Project and has stood guard over the campus since 2007.

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