Friday, July 20, 2018

I want to be a budget Peggy Guggenheim

Peggy and Calder
Last week I mentioned I was working on a manifesto. That manifesto has now started to morph into a personal vision for what I want more of in my life. Rather than just keep these thoughts and ideas to myself until they are polished and perfect, I decided I would just hash them out in my blog.

Painting is extremely important to me, however, there is another part of the art world that is equally important and that part is currently missing.

You may have gathered that I love promoting and talking about art as much as I love making it. I started this blog eleven years ago to offer my voice and share ideas about art while connecting with other artists and potential patrons. I have created podcasts and video visits in order to connect with others over art through the years. I am not content to wait for others to invite me to show in their galleries or purchase my work. I am not content to paint diligently in my studio in a lonely vacuum.

I am just going to spell it out right here and in a crude way, I want to be a budget Peggy Guggenheim. I want to show and promote art while educating people about the intrinsic value of it in their lives. I want to enable high-quality art to be accessible to more people and I want to help support the work of artists I admire.

I know the value of galleries in the art world and I participate in that system. I deeply appreciate the galleries that have represented my work in the past and that currently do so. I know it is hard work and that gallerists take a huge gamble when they take on artists. I love the gorgeous spaces, white walls, and good lighting. I have never minded splitting the price tag on a painting 50/50 so that the galleries can survive and hopefully thrive. However, I also want to subvert that system in order to offer another option for displaying, viewing, enjoying, and purchasing art. I think there is room for both.

How many art openings have I gone to where I don't know who the other artists are? How many opportunities have been lost for conversations among peers and patrons due to the lack of introductions? How many shows are stodgy and slightly awkward affairs where people are turned away from the art as they drink the free booze and make stilted conversation? How many people never enter a gallery because they feel they lack the knowledge or funds? How many artists give up because they feel lost in the system? In my opinion, too many, and I don't think it has to be this way.

Even with all this, I have fantasized about owning a gallery. One day, one day... and sometimes when the spirit struck, I would create temporary galleries. I had a successful exhibition of my paintings on homemade walls in my backyard in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I showed small works taped in toilet stalls up and down the main drag as part of the Rebel Arts Collective, I created in Fayetteville. I was paid to write online art reviews for a local paper in my column, The Art Zone. I helped to curate exhibitions on a grand scale in the basement of an empty bank in the centre of the city as part of the Fayetteville Underground. I gave art talks, tours, and interviews as a dedicated member of my city's art community. I turned my entire house upside down for the Prospect Exhibitions to host a number of national and international artists and premiered groundbreaking work. This is what I love to do, this is my joy.

Moving to Edinburgh almost four years ago took a lot out of me. This has not been an easy or smooth transition for many reasons. In many ways, I wanted to blend in, assimilate, and quietly figure it all out and just focus on my work. However, I realise something huge is missing from my life.

Research professor and writer Bren√© Brown said that "Unused creativity is not benign" and I must agree with her. Not engaging in this part of my art practice is a form of self-sabotage. I need to stop waiting. I do not need to be a gallery owner to focus on my passion and to actualise it. I simply need to be a facilitator of and a collaborator in this vision so that artists and art lovers can find each other in new and different ways here in Scotland. This is where you come in.

Are you a highly motivated artist that shares a similar vision? Do you think it would be exciting to show quality art in unusual spaces or engage in pop up exhibitions? Would you like to form a collective? What is missing from your art scene? What would you change if you could? Let's get organised and shake things up. We are stronger together.

Leave a comment or send me an email.
Thank you.


  1. Brilliant Megan! I love that quote - thank you. I just wish I was closer so I could join in with you more easily, but if there’s anything I can do here on the other side of the world, let me know.

    1. Thanks, Jan! It is a good quote. I have actually had you and your work in mind for future exhibition once we get the ball rolling. Perhaps we could get a group of abstract artists from all over the world involved in a small works on paper exhibition. Thanks for being enthusiastic!

  2. Yes to everything you wrote! I would be interested in participating in your endeavor. I believe in affordable art and sell my work at a price point that is reasonable and doable. Educating and demystifying the creative process is also something I am passionate about. When I'm giving a class I emphasize it's more about the journey than the final product. Great post!

    1. Thank you for reading and for your supportive comments, Amy! Sounds like you and I share similar beliefs! As things progress in a more concrete way I will certainly keep you in mind. I would be so happy if you participated. Like I said, we are stronger together. Thanks again!

  3. Wow - if anyone can do this Megan then you can! Geography is, I suspect, the stumbling block for many people (including me) from really getting into this with you. I read this online this morning (stay with its more interesting as it unfolds

    This bit I loved

    How has Instagram changed the art world? For better and for worse?Thomollari: I think it's done a great job at making art accessible for most. There is no longer the intimidation factor when confronted with a gallery space. And it's brought talent to all parts of the world. Now someone in Singapore or Uganda can easily access an artist from L.A. Watson: It's so uncomfortable for many people that walk into a gallery and see a $50,000 price tag on the wall to just walk around freely without feeling like they shouldn't be there because they could never afford such artwork. I feel like Instagram took this feeling away. Now you can lay back on your couch, pull your iPhone out, and not worry about anybody snobbing you or trying to sell you something. If you want to buy art nowadays, honestly all you have to really do is just DM the artist. And for the artist sometimes it takes years to get a gallery show; now they can just post some doodles and bam! You got your own solo show.

    Please add me to your supporters network

    Love and admiration xx

    1. Pfft ... Blogger hates me lol I'm not anon tis Elaine at

    2. Thanks so much, Elaine! I appreciate your comment and the link you shared. There are many ways to create and participate in the art world and I am ready to shake it up again. I am sure there are ways for us to all work together near or far. Love and admiration to you too. I will be in touch soon. xx