Friday, August 28, 2009

Shake me skyscraper...

all that is left behind © 2009 Megan Chapman

I am awake at 4am to bring you the Friday Studio Blog. I was pulled here by the strong winds of my dream, another Tornado dream (I have always had tornado dreams). Thanks to everyone who commented last week and joined the conversation about the "job" of an artist and the mystery of the world. I really appreciated the response and it always gives me new hope for this blog.

Today's entry will be a little more free flowing, with less of a theme. Perhaps some pictures of my studio in a truer state than you have ever seen; an homage to the hopes of Fall, or to the talented soul of Paul Banks who always seems to plug into my head in the most perfect way to shake me up in all the right ways... Let's see what happens.

1. Studio.
As some of you know, I moved into a studio outside of my house and downtown this past May. This idea thrilled me to no end. Thoughts of being free of the clutter and personal traps of home, being around other artists, being a bit more professional with a "real" studio to meet potential patrons, and a steady downtown presence for my work along with the ddp gallery (across the street gallery that represents me). However, I am going to just admit that I have a love/hate relationship with my new studio. I have painted and rearranged it twice, bought more and more lights for it, a new flash studio stereo (we know how I am about my music). Anything to make it better, brighter, and more enticing.

The main problem is the way I started to create a little over a year ago, and that was at 3am. I loved waking up at 3am like a bolt ( there are so many of my old posts that allude to the power of 3am) and stumbling up my steep stairs to my attic studio to paint. Something so appealing about being up at the wrong time, watching the dawn come to life slowly and seeing the lights come on in houses, and knowing I had already worked. I can't talk to people and then work, I can't think about business and then work, I can't worry about you and then work (well, maybe some of you). Anyway- my creative brain just won't stand for any interference from outside sources. It will, but the results never feel as good or strike as hot and fast as they do when I am undisturbed. I use this serene dream/wake time to really let go on the canvas, or even the time spent with my camera. Speaking of my camera, at least I have that- and I do take the majority of my photographs first thing in the morning and this practice has relieved some of the loss I feel from not painting in the wee hours. Maybe someday I will be comfortable enough to roll out of bed and drive to the studio in my pajamas to listen to blaring music, sing and paint at 3am.

Successful art making for me comes right from the edge of sleep, with loud music, singing and dancing. I miss those 3am days. I am determined to make it work somehow... I would love to know where your successful art making comes from? Do you have a set of variables that come together to help you dive into that creative magic time?

2. The Fall.
The Fall is fast approaching, and it is to me the most inspiring, melancholic, and hopeful time of the year. I find it very transporting. A couple years ago I wrote a post about Fall before anyone really read this blog... I think some of my feelings about the Fall and how much it means to me are still valid and worth a revisit. Click here to go back in time. Feel free to share your season of inspiration and passion.

3. Paul Banks (aka Julian Plenti).
If you have been reading this blog long enough or if you know me, you know I love the band Interpol, as they have been a constant source of inspiration for my work for the last 4 or more years. Their three albums, assorted b sides and bonus tracks, videos, and the 4 times I saw them live woke me up from a dull sleep. They got me interested in music again, and in going to see live music again. Music has always been one of the most important things in my life, and it has always taken me away to new places and provided the atmosphere and soundtrack to my life, dreams, and art. Anyway, Paul Bank's is the lead singer of Interpol, and he just released a solo album under the name "Julian Plenti" earlier this month, and I am so excited and inspired! I had been waiting for Interpol to release their 4th album, and I will continue to wait as the 4 of them together create my soul's music, but having a new offering by Mr. Julian Plenti will certainly tide me over in the meantime. As I type, one of his songs is on repeat and I am caught in between the lush wall of noise and his melodic voice. I can't tell you how excited I am to paint, photograph, write, do anything to this album. I have the wind in my sails again. When I discovered his new album, I was shaking as I gave it the first listen through. Oh yes. Julian Plenti...Is Skyscraper will be the soundtrack of my fall. Do you have bands or musicians that have such a strong effect on you?

Here are some samples from the Talented Mr. Plenti ( his album is available on itunes for less than $8.00 or even cheaper directly from Matador)


"Babe you played my heart, but the way that you played, it was art...
Oh, this is how we learn."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Questions in a world of blue...

I was feeling stumped again for blog material..

Not sure how much longer I can keep this up, I don't want this blog to go away but I don't want to just write filler or waste your time either. Anyway, I asked some friends on facebook for some suggestions for blog topics this week and I received many great ideas. Here is the one I thought I could run with for today's post.

Kelly Price-Colston (fellow Fayetteville Underground Studio mate and talented artist) Asks : In such a consumer market with fast food, one hit wonders and instant gratification- what is the role of the artist now, and in the future... in your opinion?

Painter Francis Bacon said, "The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery."

I have to agree with Bacon's statement. Mystery is what I am looking for in the art I make, view and buy. As Kelly alludes, we are stuck in this fast food world, just spinning our wheels, looking for quick fixes to fill the voids we may carry or to transport us away and numb us. We often go for the quick fix, looking for the next item du jour, and a side of fries with that, while we spin faster down the road towards the next mindless binge and purge. This does not sound very mysterious at all.

So what is the artist's role in this fast and sick world? I think our role is to get people to slow down long enough to feel again. To transport them away deep inside a work of art and perhaps into themselves or even allow them into our mind and get them to see things from our point of view. Perhaps it is a bit like taking a world encased in grey cinder blocks and neon, littered with burger king wrappers, and the hum of bad mass produced pop music and transforming it into a lush place covered in thick red velvet drapes, ambient light, brimming with poppies and the music of Eric Satie.

The artist's job is to provide solace for the soul even if just for a moment. I am not saying all art needs to be sweet and easily digestible, but that it offers some sustenance that the viewer is not finding in the "regular" world. Most art is one of kind and made by human hands and humbly so; just in the way it is made helps to remind the viewer of the value of humanity and the peace that comes from slowing down. Perhaps our job as an artist is also to remind people to live their dreams and that sometimes it is more important to be a bit poor and do what you love, than to be caught up in the rat race of society. Artists bring value, clarity, thought, and beauty into the world while at the same time artists question, push boundaries, and explore the dark places.

I think our job has been constant throughout time and will continue that way in the future, to be a job of sacrifice in order so that the world may awaken, feel and experience great beauty, innovation, pain, and of course a deepening mystery...

What is your opinion? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

Becoming Extinct
© 2009 Megan Chapman
100 flashes of memory

Friday, August 14, 2009

Come inside...

The week flew by.
I've been working on a few paintings.
The blocks of 100 flashes are resting.
The photographs keep coming each day.

Here is a tour of some paintings around my studio, some done and undone. Some are just experiments. Poke around and enjoy your stay.
Until next week.

Edit: My friend and fellow artist, Stephanie just alerted me to a great blog she posted about our first Thursday Art walk here complete with pictures from the ddp gallery that represents my work and the Fayetteville Underground where my studio is. Please check her post out- for even more pictures! Click Here

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Hughes : Some kind of wonderful

Last night, I was busy running around being an artist at another successful first Thursday opening for the Fayetteville Underground and the ddp gallery. Once it all settled down and I was sitting down, I was told the very sad news that director John Hughes had died. I was stunned. Today, this blog is dedicated to the man who helped to make the 1980's a great decade in which to be a teenager.

John Hughes seemed to show a more artful and more interesting side of teenage life. He had the jocks and geeks, parents and teachers but then he also had those unique and off beat characters, and I could see and understand myself just a little better through them.

John Hughes films were a constant in my early teenage years. I am lucky I was alive during his heyday and was able to see them when they came out in the theatres. Being a teenager is hard work, John Hughes made it seem more manageable and even at times glamorous. I would not be the person or artist I am today without the films written, directed, or produced by John Hughes.

Thank you Mr. Hughes.