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Drawing History

UNLV alumnus Tony Canepa turns his illustration skills toward UNLV's history.

UNLV History  |  Oct 18, 2017  |  By Jason Scavone
man sitting

Tony Canepa's design work often captures a tiki-bar cool vibe.

Like a lot of UNLV grads, Tony Canepa put his blood, sweat, and tears into his degree. It’s just that in Canepa’s case, it was a lot of sweat. 

Canepa, ’03 BA Film Studies, served as Hey Reb! for three years during his UNLV tenure, roasting on the sidelines during football games. 

“I remember them saying on TV it was 120 degrees on the sideline,” he said. “I was in good shape, but it was an endurance test. Leading the football team and the cheerleaders onto the field with that flag was one of the coolest things I got to do at UNLV, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it.”

Canepa also served inside the suit as the Las Vegas 51s’ mascot Cosmo, a position that helped him into a career working for minor league baseball teams in Dallas and Seattle, where he served as a graphic designer and creative director. 

Now as a freelancer living in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Kelly, and dog, Desilu, Canepa’s clients include numerous baseball and hockey teams. He’s picked up dozens of American Advertising Federation awards while creating the branding materials for the 2017 AAA All-Star Game. One of his latest projects was the new Macon Bacon logo.   

He got the chance to reconnect with UNLV on his illustrations for our 60th anniversary coverage. “For each of these pieces, because these were unique stories that many people haven’t necessarily heard, we were trying to find an approach that made sense and that made them feel cohesive. I was trying to capture a feel for these great stories from UNLV history.”

Follow him on Instagram: @thetonycanepa.