Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
I am a bit boring. My full name is 27 letters long (same as my age, huh). I currently live in Wilmington, NC.
Describe your creative process(how, when, materials, etc.).
In the past 2 years, I've had to take a crash course in creative organization. I own about seven mini notebooks, they are my little zip drives. Everything from new series ideas to grocery lists live in them( I misplace them perpetually). My studio is makeshift at best right now. I was working in my shed until a nocturnal creature nested in a Teletubby suit and ate through some canvas pieces I needed...so I have been exiled to paint in a spare bathtub.
The routine hasn't really changed much regardless of location.
- bic lead pencil (with black eraser) for sketching/drafting/comfort...
-music (typically mix tapes/cds)
-brushes, liquitex acrylics, assorted cans of rust-o, and pilot precise V5 pens.
-candles or another lowlight source
-I work every night. 2 hours without a project due...7+ hours when a project is due...work is fun those weeks. To this day, I can’t believe that I can sit still that long. Large pieces have taken up to 160 hours logged, my fun pieces on vinyl, take five percent of that time. Slow and steady wins the race…
My last show was a hodgepodge of canvas, scrap wood, and old vinyl records (which I wheat pasted) . The vinyl has become a trademark kind of deal, it shows up every time, sometimes the song title on a scratched old record matches perfectly with my ideas…and I have a bunch laying around so …why not? The records ALWAYS have lyrics or quotes that are jammed in my head.
If you were forced to suddenly switch to a medium you never used before, what do you think it would be?
Hmm…If forced to change I’d hope it wouldn’t be metal or marble sculpture. I daydream about learning those and glass work, but fear serious injury. Klutz factor. Paint, pen, pencil, clay, paper arts, book binding, and photos are my current playmates. I scored a vintage Brownie 8mm movie camera with film recently…I’d say film, but my cousin Adam (Ahlbrandt) has that skill in the family. I am in the process of building a daybed I designed…some branch of functional art would be great. Boatbuilding has interested me since moving to the beach.
Apart from creating art, what do you do?
I am a full-time kennel tech at a 48 run boarding facility. Working with animals has been very rewarding, but it’s also a physically demanding job. Scrubbing runs in 90+ degrees is like jogging in a sauna. Muscles you never knew you had get sore.Playing with dogs is a fun and filthy business; it beats a cubicle hands down.
I am applying to the 2+2 engineering program at UNCW …Calculus and differential equations are my current courses…nobody else finds those enthralling, personally, I find the solution process of equations to be quite lovely.
Aside from projects/school/work: cooking, hiking, reading, roadtrips,foraging, beach-bumming, mountain biking, entertaining my “at home animal kingdom” (Zora+ Signal- kitties and Foxy- dog), farmer’s markets,cryptoquips,gardening, and visiting local vineyards/breweries(surprisingly, there are a TON here).
Has the move to North Carolina made an impact on your style?
Wilmington has been an eye opening experience. I was accustomed to a pretty tight knit group of friends back home, so it’s a lot different. It's the first place I have ever lived solo. That in itself brings a lot of honesty to what you do, no matter what it is. When you are alone, you have to try to balance the darkness with the light. No wingman. No censor. You have to raise the bar a bit, compete with your own weaknesses.
I had my first show at my apartment here…the StarNews "Get Framed" contest made my work public... ArtFuel Inc. gave me the opportunity to show my work on countless occasions... Encore Magazine (especially Doug Pendergrass) gave me a bird’s eye view of what I am doing…3 charity auctions a year here..invitee to show at Paul Newman’s “Hole in the Wall Gang Camp” charity in CT. as a result of local charity buzz. It’s surreal, very whirlwind at times, but I think I needed that. Without a doubt, Wilmington has helped boost my drive exponentially. It has certainly helped me grow, as a person and as an artist.
Honestly, I can’t really put a finger on what my “style” is, or was…it changes every step of the way. The Port City is on the Forbes “top 10 small art towns”, I feel lucky just to be in the game here.
When you think of your hometown, what usually comes to mind?
Anywhere you live for 18 years has its ups and downs, for sure. I try and let the downs fade into the past.
I grew up in Nanticoke, PA and until kindergarten I didn’t meet any kids… at all. My neighbors were all retired and I used to play in their yards, climb their trees, and “help” in their gardens. My grandparents lived a block away with my bisnonna next door, I liked hanging out with the “older” crowd.
One of my best friends still lives in the area. He blames me for messing up his SR year in high school, I was in college then, and made him skip (at least) 3 days a week. Secretly, I think we learned more on those adventures than in school. Maybe not. Adam has a degree though...it's all good.
Later in life, I added friends that became my extended family. We are all busy being “adults” now and what not…I always try to catch up.
Has any film or book inspired a painting?
I have read every book written by Haruki Murakami, I took a summer off and delved into this crazy world he created in his books. He decided to write one day at a baseball game, out of the blue...I’m not sure how it transcribes itself into my work, but I am certain that it does.
Any musical influences?
Always. Right now my playlists include : Iron &Wine, Matt Pond PA, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Mars Volta, Ceu, Ravi Shankar, Bellafea, soundtracks to Wes Anderson films, An Albatross, Of Montreal, Balanescu Quartet, Miles Davis, Otis Redding, Elvis Costello, Guy Beck, Emiliana Torres, mixtapes from friends, and the Omar Rodriguez Lopez quartet.
I don’t think I can live a day without music.
Mix tapes from friends are my favorites. They always seem like a letter or a cryptoquip that calls for interpretation or decoding. I am a sucker for nostalgia.
Whats your earliest childhood memory of drawing?
I had to have been like three years old, I guess.I went to Busch Gardens or some such thing when I visited my great-grandmother in Florida. There was this parrot that painted abstract art in poster paint with his beak, needless to say, I was awestruck. We ended up taking one home as a souvenier. I’ve been told that I was supposed to be taking a nap, but proceeded to spit on the named work of art to make my own mural. As I remember it, nobody was too thrilled with my interpretation of a family portrait on Nana’s bedroom wall. I had to scrub it off the wall with a toothbrush and a mouthful of soap.
Scholastically, are there any particular teachers or Professors who intrigued you the most or helped shaped your eye in a real direct way?
In high school, I was dual enrolled in college. I attended classes all year round and worked in my Uncle Mark’s OCT research lab on summer break. I don’t think anyone was hoping for me to become an artist. High hopes for a science geek, I think, which I am. Doodling was a spare time affair only.
Friends had more of an impact in that way. I still have super old black books and notebooks from the 90s that we all doodled in, a sculpture made of play clay my friend Pinkus made for my 19th bday, postcards, notes, letters, and random flyers . Until the art party, no one knew that I did this, aside from Todd and yourself. I thought my stuff, in comparison to everyone else’s, was sub-par. Friends can be the best teachers and motivators, all in the same breath.
What kind of stuff/themes are you currently working on right now.
Currently, I have a lot to keep my hands busy. The two month run of the show I did at Artfuel Inc, ends in a few days. Two weeks from now, I have 2 large pieces due. I kept them both in a similar vein as the painting you have, from the “highbrow catfights” series, with the chemical wash background and women subjects, hybridized with my other work that has been becoming a bit fuller and more dimensional. One is headed to the “Wilmington Literacy Council” auction in March.Next, comes the illustration. I submitted character designs (copyright mumbo jumbo) for a children’s book that will be a handbound, limited edition, hardcover press of 100. Luckily, I am only responsible for binding, soft goods (stuffed animals), and illustrating…writing isn’t my forte. John Ponton III is the author. Using gouache for dream sequences and clay for “live” action sequences adds a really fun twist to this particular story. The backgrounds range from paintings to “dioramas” in nature, photographed. My first soft goods piece of the lead character (a little platypus), was approved in December. The challenge is mounting now, it’s time for layout, editing, sculpting a billion different expressions, and all of the “redos”. I am aiming to have the first ten available by this Christmas. After that I have a novel to do plates for…but that’s another story… a bit down the line .
I have a series in the works titled, “we are made of dreams and bones”, based completely on daydreams and nightmares, kind of bizarre. It has run off on its own. Originally, it began as a 3 piece series in acrylic, but it never stopped. It’s up to 9 pieces, mediums are changing all over the place, and it’s still going. There is no apparent linear theme, separately… woman melds into a doe, another face is half skull/ half flesh, a girl holding an object in her teeth ties into a side canvas of a skeletal hand and sinew (the object), a laughing face has a subtle raven creeping out …it sounds dark, it looks light, and it really does all make a story in the end… The only series so far that is really personal. I just hope my family doesn’t think I need therapy after it’s finished, ha.
Are you planning to travel anywhere soon?
In March, I will be disappearing into the Smokies for a bit. If tax returns are kind, I’d like to make it up to PA for a weekend. I am a bit homesick.
Thanks for your time, Megan. You can contact Megan via email at email@example.com.