Saturday, December 29, 2012

Year in review! (already!?!)

Last day in Edinburgh May 2012. Soon to return!!
Dear Readers,

This is that post that comes at the end of every year where I keep track of all the things worth remembering. This post is usually a monster and mostly meant for me so that I have a snap shot record of the year, before it slips into the next. As always if you read this you deserve a medal. There have been some very exciting developments with my project and I will mention them, but at the end of the recap.

Thankfully, I have already written a six month review in July so I won't need to repeat any of that, if you missed it, go here. This post will cover the second half of the year and include a summary...

Here goes nothing!

As you may recall in July of 2012 Stewart Bremner and my exhibition, A place called home opened at the Art Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, Arkansas. The exhibition was well received and I am pleased to say that only three of the fifteen paintings that Stewart and I created this summer remain available. Ten out of the fifteen works were sold to patrons and Stewart and I decided to allow ourselves the luxury of keeping two of our favorites for our own collections. This is something that I am beginning to do again, allowing myself to keep one or two pieces from important bodies of work, perhaps not forever but at least for now. I think there is a tendency for artists to be driven to sell off all our work but sometimes it feels equally successful to be able to keep a few as a record or simply because you need to hold onto them for a little longer and get to know them better.

Also in July, my work was picked up for representation by Boswell-Mourot Fine Art in Little Rock. They continue to represent my work at their beautiful gallery and I am looking forward to deepening my relationship with them in the coming year.

In July and August I had a solo exhibition of my paintings at the Fayetteville Public Library in the reading room on the second floor. The exhibition was entitled Hush and the work seemed to fit the setting perfectly. I enjoyed this two month engagement and the reception in the community room.

Stewart Bremner and I were interviewed for a feature in the Free Weekly about our exhibition, A place called home, around this time as well, however the article didn't get published until after our exhibition was down. It was a lovely piece of writing by Evan Barber. You can read it here if you missed it.

During this time I was also a member of a network of artists that met online weekly as an action team to encourage and promote our work and our goals. A network is a good thing. I hope to start that back up in the new year as I think it was beneficial for all. Think tank will rise again!

In August after seven months of being in each others constant company, Stewart Bremner returned to Scotland. Admittedly that threw me for a loop for a bit but then it was time to get back on track and I did so by getting back into my studio. It felt good to touch all of my things and take stock of my inventory. I ordered fifteen more panels from Perrodin Supply Co. and ordered some vintage maps of America and Scotland and found a wonderful World Atlas from 1947 for my upcoming series. I also started a new small series of nineteen works on 6x6" mdf panel, the absence of words. I listed these in my Etsy shop and posted them on facebook and I am pleased that only 7 of them remain.

I also worked on a project that went nowhere but served as a way to express somethings, however mostly it just gave me a bad back! It was a large work on paper called The trial years, scroll number one. It was fun to experiment and make art just for arts sake. Sometimes exploration is just as important as production. During this same period of time I was still adjusting to being back in my home studio and feeling a bit isolated from everything. Not exactly a happy time but with a little help from my friends I got through it. Also during this time my beloved cat Rufus died and watching that process and being with him during his final week and during his death was heartbreaking. I still miss him terribly and thinking about him still brings tears to my eyes. I love you Rufus.

After a short grieving period, I started brainstorming and creating my funding proposal for my project with United States Artists. Ghosts of the past exposed, a project designed to create connections in Scotland through a series of new works that combine genealogy, poetry and painting. This proposal took a lot of work and planning and with the help of Stewart and Jennifer and the artist's Think Tank, I got it done. During this time I also had an impromptu studio sale or YART sale. Linda Sheets also sold some books and totes at the sale as well. It was a just a way to connect with the community and do something fun with the potential to earn some money I desperately needed at the time. I am grateful to the patrons who attended the sale and purchased work on site and online. It was an emotional boost that was as needed as much as the money.

After this, I was inspired to put the maps and the panels I had purchased in August to good use in October. It was a relief to make art a priority once again in my life and create the space and rituals I needed to be a happier person in my life and art. This series of fifteen works, the lines that connect was the first large scale work (however still relatively small at 12x12") that I created this year. The premise of this series is a line in each painting will connect with another line in a different painting so that when they are separated in homes and collections they will still have that line reaching out and they will still connect over the distance. Always there and reaching out. I believe you can see why this idea would appeal to me.

At the end of the October my project Ghosts of the past exposed became live on the United States Artists Projects website. It was exciting, scary and nerve wracking all at once. My self critical voice ran amok at times. "Who does she think she is asking for money for an overseas art project" chimed in at regular intervals. It was an emotional time but I am proud of myself for stepping out once again of my comfort zone. This seemed to be a theme of the year.

Suddenly, I had another solo exhibition Silently and Still, through the month of November at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Again, I really enjoyed the opportunity to show my work in a public space. It was the year of public spaces, community colleges, libraries and churches. As always I just love the way art transforms the space and am always thankful for the opportunity to share my work.

During this time the presidential elections was heating up and I volunteered for the Obama campaign and tried to do what I could to help him get re-elected and I was very pleased with the results. I can't imagine my mood writing this blog tonight if the other one had won. 

My project got off to a good start thanks to my donors and was eligible for matching funds from an Artists2Artists fund. I was excited and spent a lot of time promoting my project. Thanks to all my patrons and supporters who patiently received my emails, updates, tweets and facebook posts about my project's progress.

My studio was featured in Hyperallergic's column, A view from the easel. From their site, "Hyperallergic is a forum for serious, playful and radical thinking about art in the world today. Founded in 2009, Hyperallergic is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York." I really like their site and I enjoy the a view from the easel column especially. This was a quiet thrill for me. Stewart's studio had been featured in a previous article.

On the local front, I was asked to participate in the Community Creative Center's Holiday Bazaar. I wrote in my blog that I would have all my small affordable original works on paper and panel as well as some of my limited edition prints for sale and perhaps some surprise new pieces; some surprise new pieces!?! Try sixty three new small works for the holiday sales! These works sold like hot cakes on facebook, etsy, as well as at the Holiday Bazaar. I am grateful that I was asked to participate in this event or I never would have made all of those works. I was so pleased that people responded to them so emphatically and grateful again for the money. The economy was hard on my larger painting sales, so the small paper works were my bread and butter money and sometimes the only money from art coming in for months.

At the same time things were heating up for East Prospect Exhibition II: Art for the holidays. Stewart and I were quite busy doing a lot of the behind the scenes work to make it all happen. It was a beautiful exhibition over two days. Cubemusic stole the show and much art was bought and taken home, with over 80% of the artists selling work. I plan to do these events quarterly as long as I am in town. Thanks to all the artists that participated and make East Prospect the unique exhibition it always is and to all the patrons who came out to buy art and experience it all with us.

This year, I was also thrilled to be asked to participate in the the snowflake salon : biennial winter invitational 2012 again. Two of my small works traveled to Philadelphia to be in this group show that just happened to include work by Stewart Bremner and Jennifer Libby Fay as well. I was very pleased when I read a tweet from the exhibition that my two pieces had sold on opening night! I sent them two more pieces to the exhibition the following week. I love participating in group shows with great artists from all over. I like getting to know their works that I would not have otherwise. There are 41 artists in the Snowflake Salon.

While all of this was going on, I also got a part time job in an office. It was a crazy time, going to training sessions in between installing east prospect, raising funds for my project and creating new small works for the holiday bazaar and shipping works to the east coast. Let's just say I have been hard at it for a long time now and that necessity is the mother of invention and that I love Earl Grey tea like never before. With all of this going on, I still haven't completed the 15 lines that connect pieces that are so close to being finished, but I am not worried. I know I will return to them early in the new year.

So that almost wraps it up... except for one of the most exciting bits of news, if you haven't already heard online somewhere else. MY PROJECT GOT FUNDED!!!! Yes, I just yelled that at you. With my goal revised and the extra time allowed, my project got funded yesterday morning! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who donated and shared my project. Thanks to your generosity 2013 looks like it will be another comfort zone expanding year full of art and travel and of course more hard work. Thank you all very much! If you haven't given yet but would still like to be part of this special project you can still give on their site until midnight December 31st. No amount is too small and all additional funding will help me broaden the scope of the project as I had to significantly reduce my budget in order to get it funded within the deadline. Again, I am so grateful and will most likely return to Scotland in mid march and stay through mid September if all goes according to plan. I will keep you posted every step of the way.

In 2012, I spent 4 months overseas and turned 40 in Scotland. I created 126 individual pieces of art, worked on 15 collaborative pieces of art with Stewart Bremner and have a series of 15 pieces in progress. That means I have had my hand in 156 new pieces of art this year. My work has been in 5 solo/featured exhibitions as well as in 6 group shows. One solo exhibition was international as was one of the group shows. My work was featured in several articles online and in print. I was asked by USA projects to create a funding proposal for a project that was successfully funded. I helped curate and install two successful group exhibitions. I dealt with a long distance relationship, losing a cherished pet, being completely broke and anxious and then rising to the challenge and getting a job.

This is life; messy, wonderful, full of art, passion, questions, unknowns and hardships. A life filled with moments of unparallelled brilliance that sadly I can't always feel until I have written it down to read. About myself I know this; I am not going to stop making art, sharing it with those I love or encouraging others to stay on the path. Everything else is unknown. Isn't that exciting?

Until next year, you know what to do...



Saturday, December 22, 2012

I am still here... (busy III)

with ice in our glasses mixed media on paper 5x7"
© 2012 Megan Chapman
Dear Readers,

I am so sorry I didn't check in here last week! I just got so busy adapting to the workaday office cubicle world that my art world slipped a bit and every time I remembered I needed to write, some other appointment would come up. After eleven years of mostly doing things on my own schedule and my studio blog, every Friday being a priority, things just went all topsy turvy! I am so glad to be back here, where I belong. You can count on me continuing to make this blog a priority as we go forward.

So let's see...

The first and most important update I want to tell you is that my project, The Ghosts of the past exposed has been granted an extension and a minimum goal revision!!! I now have 10 more days to reach my new goal of $6,800! The super exciting part is that my generous donors have already raised $6,208! I am feeling confident that we can reach the minimum goal by the deadline now! Anything raised over that minimum $6,800 will help me with some of the things I had to cut from the initial budget. If you have already given, I thank you for getting me to this exciting point. I am grateful for your belief in me and my work. Please consider sharing my project with your friends and other art lovers. To those who haven't given yet, please consider donating any amount. Little amounts add up if enough people give. All donations are tax-deductible. Learn more about my project here.

In other news, last Friday was the opening of the Snowflake Salon : biennial winter invitational. My work was included in this group exhibition along with 40 other artists from around the country and world. The exhibition took place in Philadelphia. This was my second time to participate but the first time that both my pieces sold on opening night! I learned about my sales in a tweet! I was so overjoyed! I just sent the gallery two replacement paintings as the exhibition is up until February 28th. If you are in the area, please pay them a visit! I was so glad to participate and really pleased that Stewart Bremner and Jennifer Libby Fay were also part of the exhibition. It is always great when we get to celebrate these accomplishments together!

I am trying to remember what else happened since I last wrote. The East Prospect Exhibition was a success and we had a brilliant turnout Thursday December 6th and the following Saturday December 8th. Cubemusic stole the show and created the perfect experience to compliment all the art on the walls upstairs. All the artists that participated are stars in my book and the patrons that supported us are too. I heard many lovely comments about all the work and the entire experience of viewing world class art in a house. I am glad that almost all of our artists sold work, made contacts and gained additional exposure. I will continue to host East Prospect Exhibitions as long as the public will come out and support them and as long as the artists I work with enjoy it and find it valuable. I love the transformation of living space into gallery space, the DIY aspect of it all and having the community be part of something unique. Stay tuned for the next exhibition...

After that flurry of small works for the holidays, I haven't been making much art. Truly it is the job, it always shifts my vision of the world greatly when I start working in some non art related way. Let's just say I am not much of a multi-tasker. As many of you know by now, I am very all or nothing and this applies to everything. So when I am art, I am all art and when I am work, I am all work. I wish it didn't have to be that way but it always has been in my experience. It's not forever and I will remember how to divide my attention a little better as I just get used to it all. 

I guess that is about it. I am just busy working at my part time job, getting ready to celebrate the holidays with my family, trying to successfully wrap up my project and getting excited as Stewart Bremner will soon be returning to the states for another visit!

I want to wish you all a very happy holiday and thank you for going along on the ride. Next week's post will be my year end review wrap up! How could it be that time already!?!

Until next week, you know what to do...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Busy part II

my favorite journey
mixed media on paper 5x7"
© 2012 Megan Chapman

I have been making up for lost time in the past month and a week. I painted 63 small works on paper, had a solo exhibition, participated in a two day craft show and organized and installed most of the east prospect exhibition which debuted last night. While all that has been going on I also did something else; something I had hoped I wouldn't have to do again. I decided to take a second job for the first time in eleven years.

I think it is important to make that distinction, I took a second job because I already have a full time career as a professional visual artist. So, now I have a part time second job to supplement my career because as everyone knows times are hard and I was tired of winging it in recent months. The anxiety of not being sure if I could pay my bills and a mounting credit card debt was beginning to take its toll on my mental health and that of course will negatively impact my work so I just went out and took care of it. I am slightly shocked that I made this choice but at the same time it was the obvious choice to make. So, I am working in an office cubicle M-F for 20 hours a week.

I make no promises that I will stay at this job for a terribly long time. I just know that for now I will give it my best shot and do the best job I can for as long as I can and for as long as it is needed to help see me through.

It is an interesting experience going back to that type of work after being out of an office environment for as long as I have. I am viewing it as sort of a performance piece. You know I am going to think of it creatively if I can. I am curious how my art will change, if my motivation will suffer, how soon the novelty will wear off but mostly I am just going along for the ride.

I just wanted to let you all know what was going on with me because dear readers you go along with me for the ride all the time and I am so glad that you do.

So this is me, stepping out so that I can keep fighting the only way I know how. Until next week, you know what to do!

Northwest Arkansas locals, if you are in town, I really hope you will come out tomorrow Saturday December 8th to the East Prospect Exhibition II : Art for the Holidays. 12 artists sharing their brilliant work just for you... Please come and say hello, you will not be disappointed. 11-4pm Learn more here and see more here.

And please don't forget about my project, the ghosts of the past exposed. December 22nd is the fundraising deadline and it is fast approaching. Please give what you can and spread the word. Thanks to all who have already generously given.