Friday, July 31, 2009

Update: 100 Flashes of Memory

Oh where to start... my pet project merging my photography with a type of poetry, conceptual art, and music has been very interesting and a bit frustrating for me so far. A lot of thinking, talking, and writing has gone into it, without many results. Many experiments, but no real results; and many rants to my dear friends about this lack of results...

While I am writing this, I have another set of "experiment" blocks (I think this is the third set sacrificed) on the table in the other room, waiting for the next step. This fabled next step that will turn them from mere assemblage into art. This is the final step that has been going awry in all my experiments so far. As I write this I am feeling a bit more hopeful, that perhaps I have learned a few things in the past few weeks and that I am streamlining my process and that tonight might be the night. Truthfully, I am a bit scared to take the next step as I don't want to be proved wrong and go back to square one again.

I also know that this project is becoming a metaphor for my life. I am at a crossroads, I have the concepts but I am not sure of the next step. I find myself feeling a bit back at square one. I am a little scared and a little excited.With the recent gallery closure, and an overflowing inventory, I do wonder sometimes about the gallery system and if it can sustain me. I enjoy promoting my work, and I like having a certain amount of control in that process. I have seen many younger artists really maximizing use of the Internet so that they do not only rely solely on the gallery system. I have tried a bit of that route as well, as you know. Anyway, without getting too specific, I feel like I have many options that are available to me, that perhaps I have pushed away, because I was tied up in galleries or I assumed the gallery would take care of that for me. Don't get me wrong I am not knocking any galleries that represent me and my work. I am just saying that I have dropped the ball a little bit here and there and because of this, sometimes my art career has felt like it veered off the road. However, I keep correcting and keep on the path.

It is all a big experiment. I do not know the answers. I try some things on the path and learn a long the way. Perhaps I have gotten a bit complacent, or afraid to try and take much needed risks as they might have yielded only failure. Or not even failure but the experience of just trying something new. It is that feeling of not knowing what the hell I am doing that is so uncomfortable but yet is also so worthwhile. It is so easy to become stuck in a rut, producing the same work day in and out, just because you know how. At the same time you may not be challenging yourself enough to keep motivated, to keep learning. It is hard to find that balance.

Anyway, by working on these blocks I have been learning all sorts of things about the project and about myself as well. I forget how second nature making my kind of paintings has become and while that doesn't make them less than, it does keep me locked into a type of comfort zone. My safe abstract world, of color, texture, shape and form.

Today, I was in the studio planning on just being around my things and not working. I looked at one of my abandoned paintings on the easel and it just opened up before me and told me what color it needed and where it needed it. This was something that took me only twenty or thirty minutes, but the feeling I had while listening to that painting was so reassuring. It wasn't about fighting against the tide, it was about just being there, listening and following. It felt so good. I didn't finish the piece and I didn't push on, I just listened for those few minutes and felt the pleasure and relief of painting.

I am not sure if I would have had that experience, if I hadn't been fighting against these blocks. They have been challenging me in different ways, so that when the painting called I could relax into it and go with the flow. Then tonight when I got home, the blocks also seemed to open up just a tiny bit and tell me where to go next with them.

I have tried many things with the blocks of 100 flashes of memory, copper and silver leaf, distressing the leaf, printing photographs on opaque photo paper and gluing them on top of the leaf, printing the photographs on self adhesive transparency paper, covering the blocks with epoxy resin, wax, glue, and now the leaf has changed to silver spray paint, and I am about to build a mold of sorts and plan to try the epoxy resin yet again. I have written on them, have rub off letters for them, and now an inky pen is seeming better to write certain words or fragments around the edges....this has all included many trips to art supply store, and asking people for advice.

I still have not done the crucial last step, (the coating of the blocks) but I am feeling hopeful. I have to remind myself the end result isn't always the goal, but the process of working, just having my hands moving, my mind thinking, just my headphones on and flowing is really the best success.

I am learning this slowly. I will forget it again as well.
But for today, I remembered.

I dedicate this post to you, on the days you remember and on the days you forget.

Pictured above
selections in progress from
100 flashes of memory
before the final step
© 2009 Megan Chapman

Friday, July 24, 2009

And the winner is...

We have a winner in last week's paper painting give away! Congratulations goes to Bookgirl! Please contact me and let me know where to send your paper painting. I am grateful to everyone who read and or commented last week. You really gave me a boost of interest in this blog as well as filling me with inspiring ideas of things you would like to read about in the future. Thanks for all your positive comments.

My studio is overflowing with all my work I recently brought back from the newly closed gallery in Little Rock. I updated my website to reflect the closing and to show where all my work is represented now. You can visit my available paintings here. At some point I took the podcast section down on the site and I do plan to put it back up in the near future along with some new podcasts. For those of you new to my work and interested in my process or learning more about the nuts and bolts of what inspires me to create my paintings, there is an interview on my website that I did a while ago that gives a lot of good basic information about me and my art that you might enjoy.

Since my studio is over flowing with inventory currently, I decided to have a sale for the next month on a small selection of my larger works.I created a slide show that features 9 paintings from an older body of work from 2006-2007. Almost all of the these are my largest sized works (40x30") that usually retail for $1,200 but now they are on sale through the DDP gallery for only $975. There is also one medium sized work in the mix (30x24") that usually retails for $725 but is now only $650.The ddp gallery takes credit cards and makes payment plans! I hope you can benefit from this sale that will last until August 20th. Contact Dede Peters of the DDP gallery for more information or let me know if you have any additional questions about these paintings or this special sale.

This week has been a bit slow, just getting back into the swing of things by looking at all my work, taking stock, trying to find places for it all and figuring out where to go next. Next week I plan to really focus on 100 Flashes of Memory. Hopefully having some good solid results by the end of the week. Thank you again to everyone who has ever read, commented on, encouraged and inspired these posts and my work as an artist. Your time is valuable and that you choose to spend some of it with me, reading my words is very special to me.

Keep fighting- onwards and upwards.

I just want to leave you with a few music videos of songs that have been on heavy rotation in my world lately.

Photograph posted above
© 2009 Megan Chapman
all rights reserved

Friday, July 17, 2009

Golden ladders to nowhere: The Past and Present

The artist's life is never dull; packed with ups and downs, triumphs and lulls. I just have to keep on going but sometimes I have to look back as well. It helps to put everything in perspective. We are so busy living this chaotic life that we don't remember where we've been, and when that happens we can lose our way on the path so easily.

In orange text is an update to an old post...I hope you will find this interesting and not obnoxious.

Originally posted Friday, January 18, 2008

It has been another exciting and busy week! First of all, thank you for all your comments about last week's post. It was great to hear from so many of you and of your personal experiences with rejection in the art world. I was very happy that I had my studio blog so I could channel my energy and feelings about that subject into something positive and useful. I am very fortunate that I have this forum to share my experiences in this business with you. I do feel your support and encouragement, and I appreciate it.

This past week, four of my pieces were placed in the Arkansas World Trade Center in Rogers, Arkansas. My work will be showing along with the work of Kathy Thompson and Helen Phillips for the next three months. The DDP gallery in Fayetteville managed the selection and placement of the works, and the paintings will be for sale through the gallery as well. I am excited to have my work in this facility. I will let you know when they have updated their website to include my work.

In other gallery news, I am now represented by the fabulous River Market Art Space located in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas! I am very pleased to join their stable of talented artists, and look forward to participating in the 2nd Friday art nights as often as I can. I think my work will be a good fit for the gallery, and I am excited to be in the heart of Little Rock River Market area. So, if you are in Little Rock or plan to visit, look for my work there starting late January or early February. I will update you when I have a presence on the River Market Art Space's website as well. I am no longer represented by the M2 gallery in West Little Rock. I had a wonderful year with the M2 gallery and the wonderful artists represented there.

This week, I received a shocking email that River Market ArtSpace in Little Rock was closing its doors after eleven years of business. I remember being so excited about this venue for my work. It was a very popular gallery in the State of Arkansas in a wonderful bustling downtown area. My exhibition Fire and Noise found it's home in this gallery as did so many of my other paintings. I enjoyed showing and selling my work in this grand space for the year and half that I did. I am really sorry to see this gallery close. I will be heading down there soon to pick up the remainder of my work. They still have a lot of it! Little orphaned paintings now, I will be trying to find representation in Little Rock again in the near future.

Last night, I was very fortunate to be invited to speak at the Young Emerging Leader's event, Secrets Revealed: The Fine Art of Art & Wine. The event was held in the Ft. Smith Town Club and Remy Fine Art. I was there to discuss my work, process, and what all it entails to be an professional artist as well as the joys of collecting original art. I also tried to dispel some myths in the art world as well. I encouraged the group to ask questions and think for themselves when it comes to buying original art; to let their personal tastes alone and not the fads or trends, guide them in the process. I believe if they do this, they will be satisfied with their art buying experience and the art in their collection will keep giving to them in ways they haven't even imagined. The group members asked some fantastic questions, and seemed very receptive. I was very nervous about my talk, but of course once it started, I was in my element and I had the greatest time. It just solidifies to me that this is my passion, and I am so lucky to be able to do this as a career. So a big thank you to the wonderful Y.E.L. group and a massive thank you to Jeanne Parham at Remy Fine Art. My exhibit at Remy Fine Art closes today, so if you are in the Ft. Smith area and have not seen it yet, please go check it out. The gallery will keep a selection of my work for sale, and will continue to represent my work in the Ft. Smith area. It has been a wonderful exhibit and experience, with 5 of my paintings selling so far.

Lastnight, I gave another talk about my art, this time to the Artists of Northwest Arkansas club at the Northwest Arkansas Community Creative Center. I hadn't given a formal talk about my art since the talk I gave at Remy Fine Art almost a year and a half ago. This time it was a paid speaking position! I was sick again, just like I was before my talk in Ft. Smith (interesting), but I had the same great feelings about giving my talk, showing 5 of my paintings, explaining my processes and materials and answering questions. I really had so much fun, I was completely in my element even while sucking on coughdrops to calm my barking cough. I can say, I really do love public speaking. The idea of it makes me so nervous. I hate waiting to be called up to speak, but once I am up there, it combines everything I enjoy. Part acting and comedy routine merged with my enthusiasm for art and what it means to be an artist. I really need to do that more often. They too, were very receptive and it was such a pleasure to speak with them. On another note. Remy Fine Art where I gave my first talk closed its doors a long while ago as well, another victim of the recession.

Tomorrow, I will be headed back to Ft. Smith to pack up part of my exhibit and then share parts of it and trade out art with the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs and the River Market Art Space in Little Rock, and at the DDP gallery in Fayetteville. In other words all the galleries that represent me in Arkansas will soon have new and exciting work in time for February. I am looking forward to trading out my work, and making everything fresh just in time for Spring. It is never too early to think of Spring!

To top this already busy week off, I have been in the studio working away. My time there has been exciting. I currently have 11 new paintings in progress right now! I think many of these new paintings will go to Gallery Fraga in Bainbridge Island, Washington. A new energy and vigor has taken hold as I am experimenting with new shape ideas, color combinations, and a bit of a new design element. As soon as I get the work photographed I will share it with my blog readers first.

I remember being so excited about this time and having my work in new galleries and creating new work for Gallery Fraga outside of Seattle in Bainbridge Island. I had so many hopes and dreams for this exhibition, According to the Vapors. I sold maybe 5 pieces from Gallery Fraga in the year or so I was represented by them, and yes they too went under in the end. Another gallery gone in this same span of time.

Strange to look back and see all these changes. What has not changed is my work ethic, I am still here thinking, writing, talking, and making art; that will be the one consistent thing in this artist's life. It is the only thing I can control, and it is the only way I can keep moving forward. There will be other galleries, there will be more artist's talks, and many new bodies of work. I may never make a "comfortable" living as an artist, but I will continue to live and work, all the while inching forward towards something...

So, that is a week in the life of this artist, thank you so much for being a part of it.

Yes, thank you for being a part of it. Now and then, in the past and in the present. Your support and readership means a lot to me. And that is why this week I am bringing back something from the past as well; the paper painting give away!

How many of you are still out there? Please leave me a comment and let me know. I don't care if you have already won a painting in the past, and if you don't want to be included in the drawing just comment anyway and say so. Please don't be shy. So leave a comment between now and next Wednesday July 22 at Midnight Central US Time and you will be entered the random drawing to win the painting pictured above. Give me your ideas for future posts, say whatever you need to say. I look forward to hearing from you. Good Luck!

Thank you for everything.

Golden Ladders to Nowhere
mixed media on paper
© Megan Chapman

My work is still available at ddp gallery in Fayetteville, Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs, and Wear Art Thou in Austin Texas. And for my small works on paper visit my shop artmaven on

Friday, July 10, 2009

One Hundred Flashes of Memory...

It's a concept, an inspiration, a hope and maybe even a pipe dream. One hundred flashes of memory is the idea that is keeping me up at night and excited in the studio. It has nothing to do with painting, selling, or anything that I am used to, and this is a wonderful feeling.

As you have become aware if you are still reading this blog, I am enamored with photography and I really want to explore this further. These are some of my ideas of how I will use a selection of my daily blips to create a large body of work and a multimedia experience. It started with the old idea of wanting to invite people into my brain. I think this is a common want among people, to share their unique vision of the world; "If you could just see things like I do." I also think this is an intimate encounter that I want to experience with the viewer, or perhaps I should say I am ready to share with the viewer.

I have started working on 100 3x3" wood blocks, covered in distressed and tarnished copper and silver leaf. My photographs are then mounted atop that, and then wax and resin are applied to make a foggy layer you must see through to find your way back to the image, which usually already has a dreamlike quality. These blocks may also have words or stories written around the sides to shed light on the image or the story behind it.

The small scale of the work is a reaction to/against the sometimes large and overwhelming works found in museums. I envision these blocks hanging in a grid on one wall of a gallery or perhaps lining the perimeter of the gallery as well. The majority of colors for this body of work are shades of black, white, greys and a sickly pale yellow- unlike my richly colored paintings.

The ideas expressed in this work will be about the ability to make ones day or life into a series of stories. There are multiple ways to view life, and many of us use stories to get us through it. There are also multiple versions to each story, especially as the viewer brings their own stories to the work. Some of these stories will be "true" and others fiction- no one will know which are which. Some concepts I plan to explore

inside my brain (an invitation)
broken happy things
waking dreams
strange environments

Stories to explore:
a black and white plastic guitar with red plastic strings singing songs for the dead
crawling under the table to listen to the earth move
white gloved hands motioning in the night
there is a chair with a skeleton sitting attached to the moon and it keeps turning

I also hope to use spoken and recorded words and stories, with music inspired (or fitting) these concepts or blocks. I have been talking with Swedish musician, Af Bellinde about creating certain pieces of music for a block or two or for the blocks as a whole. His music has always inspired me, and I think his sounds would add to the inner dream world imagery that my photography mostly explores. He has agreed to collaborate as his time allows. I am very excited about this potential collaboration. I may have ipod stations set up through out the gallery that would correspond to certain blocks so that the viewer can put on headphones and go deeper into the experience of the isolated block and the sounds inspired or associated with it.

So, this is what I have been thinking and dreaming of, this excites me and reminds me of the past, specifically of my BFA books project. It has been ten years since I have been out of art school and here I am still working, still painting, still growing, still exploring.
This is what is it all about...

One hundred flashes of memory...
I will keep you posted as this progresses.

pictured above Hover ©2009 Megan Chapman

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Works from studio 19

Letters Never Sent
mixed media on canvas
© 2009 Megan Chapman

Stories of her Travels
mixed media on canvas
© 2009 Megan Chapman

Walking in Dream Time
mixed media on canvas
© 2009 Megan Chapman

Duplicity of Stars
mixed media on canvas
© 2009 Megan Chapman

mixed media on canvas
© 2009 Megan Chapman

These works are currently for sale at the ddp gallery.

I've been busy working on new paintings and new projects in studio 19; and while photography may have temporarily stolen my heart, I wanted to share some of my latest paintings. I hope you will enjoy them. Next week, I will tell you all about my newest project one hundred flashes of memory....