CEDAR FALLS — Bright red blooms bring a dollop of color to the illustration of a charming Arts & Crafts-influenced bungalow that Megan Hannam drew as a thank-you to its owners.
An interior designer, Hannam sketches renderings and technical drawings to illustrate projects for her clients and contractors. As an artist, she uses those skills and her eye for design to create whimsical drawings. Not merely architecturally accurate drawings, Hannam infuses her artwork with affection for these places she has known or remembered from childhood growing up in Waterloo.
“The bungalow was my original drawing, the one that really got me started. I worked on the home as an interior designer, helping the owners remodeled their kitchen, and I became good friends with them. It was super fun to draw, and I gave it to them as a gift,” Hannam says.
It is among 14 watercolor pencil-and-ink drawings on display through mid-March at Sidecar Coffee Shop at 2215 College St. She calls it her “Whimsical Rendering Collection.”
“When I was growing up I wanted to be a writer or illustrator. Drawing is something I’ve always done, but I’ve always kept my art private. It’s been something I do for relaxation, to unwind. Doing this is very ‘out there’ for me,” Hannam says, smiling.
Once she’d committed to the public exhibit, Hannam says, “I had to have a goal to reach that satisfies my Type A personality. I said I’d do 12, but ended up with 14.”
Although she enjoys drawing en plein air, Hannam also sketches from memory and historical reference. Her work is a mix of old buildings, such as the original Grout Museum stacked-stone entrance and the 1966 Waterloo Arts & Recreation Center, to new locations like Waterloo’s Sportsplex.
Other pieces include several private homes she admires, the Washington Park shelter in Waterloo, the Surf Ballroom and fire station in Clear Lake, Iowa Falls’ Princess Café and the Waterloo Public Library. All of the work, except the bungalow, is for sale.
Hannam took a class in watercolor pencil at the Waterloo Center for the Arts and chose it as her primary medium for the drawings. Her husband framed the artwork from Hannam’s design which adds importance and heft to the pieces.
She also wrote short poems, thoughts and descriptions to accompany each artwork displayed on Sidecar’s wall. For example, for her drawing of Three Pines Farm, she wrote: “A place to Go, a place to Be, a place to get lost in a creative Me … .”
Hannam, 32, is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, where she played basketball for Tony DiCecco. She’s used her interior design degree and talents at several local design firms and recently launched Megan Hannam Design and Construction. Hannam is an active volunteer in the community and was named as one of the Courier’s “20 Under 40” honorees.
The designer confesses to feeling a deep sense of joy in connecting to memories of the community where she grew up. Her art, she says, is just one way of expressing it.
“I feel like God has given me this gift, and it’s a path I’m willing to go down. I did these drawings mostly for myself, but I love sharing them. I want to express my gift with a lot of passion,” she adds.