Nat Cann

digital/analogue images; March 2018

Nat Cann
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada


Collage is both a simplistic format to lazily fashion expression and to precisely dissect aesthetics. It is in these two ideas that I find conflict. To rein this conflict to heel, I’ve  restricted my daily practice to a format. On one hand, I deal with the ancient study of the Enso, a form of zen originating from Edo period Japan which involves the drawing of ink circles to empty one’s mind of thoughts in favour of crude aesthetics expression. Zen painters would form these circles on a daily basis similar to the raking of rock gardens. Some would even burn these circles upon completion so as to completely remove any notion of appeal.

On the other hand, we come to collage both digital and analogue. As I admitted earlier, I find collage to be a rather lazy process as it essentially allows the creator to use pre-established images, works or ideas to expand upon or repurpose the original content with minimal effort. That in mind, I’ve forced myself to challenge this simplicity by making collage works within strict frames. Meditation akin to that of the Enso, yet holding no duress to zen aesthetics, context or minimalism, are fully explored on the same sedative and structure in which the Enso is painted. What results is the act of cooking an ever evolving pallet of collage aesthetics and context mined from the internet, magazines, or novellas.


Nathan Cann is a Canadian, Maritime-born artist who, after finishing his undergrad and winning the BMO Art First contest representing New Brunswick, left the province in 2014 to witness the rest of Canada’s priceless bounty. In that time, his artistic endeavours came to a complete and utter halt due a lack of meaningful practice. Nathan once believed in baking over cooking, aka, using precise ingredients in precise methods to fashion large creations. Such an ideology doesn’t really do a whole lot of good when hiking in the Rocky Mountains, drowning in British Columbia’s beauty, driving across bluffs of southern Alberta, or enduring the cold ice of Nunavut. He has since come to enjoy the practice of cooking, aka, mashing things together in hopes of finding something tasty. In this case, such cooking has resulted in a dense inspection of digital collage on a daily unwavering discipline.


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