Friday, December 25, 2009

2009: My year in review

I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas, and that 2009 is winding down nicely for you. I wish you well for 2010 as we enter a new decade.. Really already?

This post is mostly for me, as it helps me see what I have accomplished because I can't stand back or get enough space to see what all is happening. Plus to be honest in real life I am pretty horrible at not giving myself credit, always focusing on what I didn't do or what I could have done better. This is the proof I need to silence those voices. I encourage you to write up your own year in review- I bet you will be amazed at what all you have done in the past 12 months, or you will see where you want to make changes in the new year.

I started off the year completing twenty new paintings for my exhibition, Fire and Noise, that opened in Little Rock, Arkansas at the River Market ArtSpace. I enjoyed the color red as it made a strong showing in this body of work as well as being inspired by the Nick Cave song,"Do you love me." I had not worked with one song as a thematic device for a collection of paintings and enjoyed the experience, although I think it strayed a bit from the initial concept. I am happy to report that seven of the twenty paintings sold from this body of work.

After weathering a massive ice storm, and once the power came back on, I was strongly encouraged by a dear friend to join Blipfoto in February. I did as I was told and haven't been the same since. I am now obsessed with taking at least one photo a day and have really enjoyed getting to know several of the other blippers on the site. Three of my blips have now been used commercially, 2 in the inside of a CD package, and one will be a future book cover. Not to mention that many of my blips have been used in a recent project of my own, but I am trying to be chronological, so we have to wait for that.

My next show "Selective Evidence" opened soon after in March at the ddp gallery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This was a fun exhibition as the gallery owner, Dede Peters requested that my studio be recreated in the gallery. At first I wasn't sure about this idea, but people seemed to really enjoy it. They loved seeing my paint encrusted easel as well as the fifteen paintings never before shown in the region. I sold 8 paintings in 2.5 weeks ( it was short show) with several pieces being bought while still wet, fresh off the easel.

In April, my work became available in Austin, Texas. I shipped 5 paintings to a lovely boutique called Wear Art Thou. Sadly, these paintings did not fly off the shelves, but I was happy to have my work out of state on exhibition. One of my blog readers even made a special trip to the shop to view the work and took a photograph of the work on display. You can see her post about it here.

At the end of April I excitedly moved into my new studio space outside my home!!! I signed the lease on a studio in the Fayetteville Underground. This has been an amazing experience, learning how to balance painting with managerial skills, not to mention just working around other artists and having my studio open to the public once a month on First Thursday. I am proud of all the work I have done with the Fayetteville Underground organization, and pleased we were voted best commercial gallery in our local Citiscapes magazine. We work hard and play hard at the Fayetteville Underground, and the artists and the studios make it a special place. I am excited about our upcoming 2010 schedule of exhibitions and of course continuing to work in my studio.

In late May I took a road trip to Atlanta to see my niece graduate from High School but I also made time to see some great art in the galleries and museums. I was blown away by the George Long exhibition I saw at the Marcia Wood gallery. This body of work and trip to Atlanta was very inspirational and influenced my flashes of memory/secret blocks that would come later.

This same month I had several paintings in a group show at the ddp gallery called Now and Again.

In June, it was off on another road trip this time to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in Kansas City. The show was amazing, but also quality art viewing was squeezed in yet again, going to the museums and galleries and being inspired. Seeing good art and hearing good music inspires me more than anything, so I am proud that I was able to fit that into 2009.

In July, I gave an artist talk to the Artists of Northwest Arkansas group about my art and process- which was my first paid speaking gig. I remember being excited and nervous, and so proud of myself for this talk, and thinking I want to do more public speaking. I also remember I had a horrible barking cough during this talk and was sucking on cough drops the whole time.

During that same 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. So, another gallery closed- three galleries that represented my work were lost to closure since the recession started.

During all of this I was busy painting these new works in my new studio and developing my concept of the 100 flashes of memory or what is currently known as secret blocks.

What I did this summer from Megan Chapman on Vimeo.

August was a blur, working at The Underground on policies and procedures, maintaining The Underground blog, painting, photography and secret block experiments. I was also painting small works on paper and restocking my etsy shop, ArtMaven several times; always thrilled with the sales there. I really believe in the power of original art and believe that everyone should be able to afford it.

In September, I lead an intuitive drawing workshop in an upper level Architecture course at the University. It was a 3 hour course, and I had never offered a workshop of that nature and was honored to be asked by my friend and fellow artist Laura Terry who is an associate professor of Architecture at the University of Arkansas. It was a very interesting experience. It really left me feeling inspired and again wishing I did more public speaking or workshops.

This photograph I took of artist Maggie Ivy sums up September for me as well. Again, I keep exploring photography. It helps when you have an expert painting by Wyeth for inspiration as well as a stellar friend and model such as Maggie.
Maggie's World ©2009 Megan Chapman

October and November was another blur, with first Thursday open studio events at The Underground, painting, photography. Also painting charity pieces for the Blue Moon Gallery's CASA benefit, and DDP gallery's Project Feed Local. Also working hard on the secret blocks.

During this time, a very cool project was born! I painted a small work on paper and mailed it to UK painter and friend, Steven Heaton where he then documents it and will paint over it and return the painting to me. When I receive it, I will document what he has done and paint over it again only to return it. We will do this several times, and show the painting in our respective studios as well as document it on a special blog as this one painting morphs and changes; getting battered and tattered on its repeat transatlantic journey. Something to look forward to in 2010.

At the beginning of December I received word that four of my paintings had been selected by the Aaron Gallery in Washington D.C. to be a part of their 20th annual small and miniature exhibition. I was beyond happy to ship off some of my new paintings for this special exhibition.

Also, I was thrilled to debut 13 of my secret blocks at the DDP gallery's small works show the same month. I also made a video of that installation that I was quite proud of, so here it is again. This marked the first time I had exhibited my photographs rather than paintings in a gallery setting. I was quite nervous, but people seemed to respond to them well and enjoyed the tactile quality as well as the secret aspect of them.

Megan Chapman: Secret Blocks: ddp gallery from Megan Chapman on Vimeo.

So that is it, that is my year in review.. I am exhausted, and if you actually read all of that, I bet you are too!

And of course I wasted time on the Internet like the rest of the world, ate too much crap food, didn't exercise enough, and probably drank a little too much as well. I didn't read as much as I would like, and should have called my family and friends more often and I had my share of personal problems. Why am I writing this part? I am writing this, because when I first read blogs, I thought everyone was just so amazing- that their lives were super human and I envied that. My life is out of balance many days of the year, there are days I just sit and do nothing and get depressed, but then there are the days where I can accomplish a weeks worth of business in a couple of hours.

All I know is this, I am an artist and most days I am glad to be alive. I feel fortunate to have the friends, family, and support that I have in my life. I am fortunate that sometimes people buy my art and I am grateful for that, because without their financial support I can't live. I know that I am inspired by so much that I see, hear, read and receive from people just like you. Thank you for 2009..

Onwards and upwards and always keep fighting...


  1. Not exhausted at all, this is really great to read through and interesting. Megan you've done a alot of tremedous work this year, holy cats! It's funny cause even though I've been virtualy observing and enjoying your creations right along, to see all you've done grouped together this year is totally inspiring, it was a pretty cool tour lady:) Also you know what else I apprectiate the honesty from you just as inspiring and beautiful. Thanks for sharing your world and for your friendship, onto 2010 here we go xoxo

  2. And of course I wasted time on the Internet like the rest of the world, ate too much crap food, didn't exercise enough, and probably drank a SHIT LOAD as well...
    Mmmm Familiar :-} Have a great new year Mate. This really needs to be in the 3rd person.. Megan did, Megan Said...

  3. "I am an artist and most days I am glad to be alive" - i doubt i will write my own year in review, but you've pretty much summed it up with that one statement. thank you, megan. for writing, for painting, for taking pictures, for sending me emails. thank you for being a friend. i really admire artists like you. somebody asked me once why i took pictures, and my response was simply, because i have to. for some strange reason i remembered that when reading your review. um, anyway. that's all. thanks again. -thomas

  4. Sounds like a pretty good year.

    The eating, drinking and interneting bit just makes it all a bit like the rest of us.

    Have a good 2010

  5. The next time you think you haven't done anything, Megan, re-read this blog post. Everyone should have the option of sitting around, now and again, and doing absolutely nothing. Also, people who eat perfectly are the first ones to not be able to handle major changes, such as the ones experienced in world travel, as one example. Your work is great. Of course you will doubt yourself from time to time. Everyone does, lest they be a narcissistic, intolerable d-bag. So, all is in order, even with the diagonal element of chaos built in. Such is the nature of all good art and such is the nature of the universe (according to Hawking). Congratulations on all your work, success, and accordance with the natural flow of the universe, our ever-spiraling, ever-breathing friend. Your friend, James.

  6. A tip o' the hat -- it's good to see someone doing it right :) --sj

  7. Yes...we are fortunate to live in such bountiful times, to which you certainly add more than most. Hope you have a healthy, happy, and prosperous New year...Jan

  8. "wasted time" was a shared it turns out. i guess it is important that you identified it. i'm sure you will not waste any more time in the future as you now understand what it is and what it looks and sounds like. good for you, megan.

  9. I enjoyed your year in review, I think it's a great idea and may even write one too, if I can manage it before the year is up. I think that's why I keep a blog sometimes, just so I can read what's in my own a...hmmm...diary?

    Life goes by so fast, let's anchor it in text and paint!

  10. Megan, this is a wonderful list of accomplishments, both professional and personal. You've inspired me to begin this practice -- if for no other reason than to remind myself that I accomplish more than I think I do.

    Thanks, too, for sharing that your life is not all roses. I have my own set of insecurities about the ebullient, always creative, impossibly (at least to me) positive tone of so many of the blogs I read.

    Happy new year. May 2010 bring you many blessings.


  11. What a great read. I'm so pleased you wrote this, a top idea and a wonderful summary of a highly productive year with some refreshing honesty thrown in for good measure.

    Hope the next year is full of good health, happiness, opportunity and ideas...

  12. Wow.... OMG. I am EXTREMELY impressed by your photography!
    As a life-long photo artist, I see you dancing on the visual art bridge that spans the gap between painting and photography. Glad to see you taking up the brush that a camera can be. Your extremely artistic eye in painting makes your photography almost reveal secrets of the "master" artist. Just enough is left "secret" to interest.
    The next year WILL be full of opportunity. We must focus on the good like your review did. BRAVO

  13. Thank you all very much for your comments.
    I really was shocked at the number of folks who read this entry and commented. You all are a wonderful bunch.Thanks always for your support.
    I hope 2010 is a good year for all of us.

  14. Really enjoyed reading this - just sorry it took me so long to get to read it!

    All you have accomplished and all that you perceive you haven't is a fabulous artist's life. I know I always seem so upbeat and confident, but I can tell you I've been paralysed at times, and felt despondent and ready to jack it all in. But the light always burns in me as an artist, however dim, and its that which keeps me going.
    Its been a lovely year knowing you, my friend.
    Debs x