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...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Meditations on Work...

shadow of myself in front of work in progress

Here is a journal entry from the past. Probably written about 2 or more years ago. I remember I took my composition book and favorite pen to the coffee shop and gave myself different topics and allowed 15minutes for a written purge on each subject. This one was on work. A subject that has always confused and troubled me.

WORK- it is what you are supposed to do. You go somewhere away from your home and you do something for 4-8 hours a day and you get paid every 2-4 weeks. Payday is good. Sometimes you don't always like it and sometimes you work with people you don't like. You go to meetings and trainings and you do the best job you can while you are there or at least in the beginning. Eventually, you relax a little and allow yourself to take some short cuts. Some days it is hard to sit still at the job and the idea of going to your job may even bring tears to your eyes and when you are in that workspace you can feel the walls closing in on you and you are like a fish out of water. The Clash lyric floats into your head "Who gives you work, why should you do it..." You think of all the skills you have that you aren't using because you never choose a job that would really challenge you. You think there must be a better way.

Then perhaps you think about your art. You can paint and you know it, but can it be work, can it pay the rent? Are you disciplined enough? A lot of pressure will be added to the process of creating if you are going to try and make money at this. Can you be sure that as an "artist" you are not just another unemployed person hiding from the world that makes you so uncomfortable?

Who do you think you are?

Friday, December 11, 2009

and even more small works...

This is a small works kind of December...

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have updated my Etsy shop, ArtMaven with fifteen new small works on paper. Currently through Sunday there are no shipping charges to anywhere in the world. I enjoy creating these small works because they keep me moving in between larger bodies of work and projects. Also, I really believe in the value of living with original art, and with my small works on paper, almost anyone can afford them. It is a fun way to build a collection. These works are one of a kind, original paintings on 140lb Arches paper. Once matted and framed they make a lovely addition to any collection, and at $25-40 they are a steal..If you have any questions about these small works on paper please let me know in the comments. Enjoy. They are on bright white paper, and many times the photographs do not do them justice.

Buy Handmade

I also hope you will enjoy this video I made of my secret blocks currently on display the month of December only at the ddp gallery. All of these shown in the video are $150.00. Three of the smaller wall mounted blocks have sold currently. Each block has it's own secret either on the back if they are wall mounted or on its base if they are the larger sculptural blocks.

And last but not least, again if you are in the Washington D.C. area please visit the Aaron Gallery and see the 4 small works of mine that are a part of their small and miniature exhibition the month of December. These works of mine range in price from $275-$375

So those are my special December offerings. Thanks so much for checking out my blog and my art and for your support and encouragement. For more information about my paintings and the galleries that represent me, please visit my website.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Megan Chapman: Small works (redux)

** This post was originally posted last Friday November 27th. It has been edited.

Since tonight is Friday December 4th and is the opening reception of the small and miniature works show at the Aaron Gallery, I have decided to leave this post up this week. I will let you know how it goes.
Also, last night was the opening of the small works show at the ddp gallery, and I am happy to report I sold two blocks and received a lot of great feedback, people really seemed to enjoy them. They will be up the whole month of December. Check the bottom of this post for some new images of the blocks. Thank you! I will resume regular blogging next week.

I am very excited to announce that I will have four paintings in the 20th annual exhibition of small and miniature work by selected artists at Aaron Gallery in Washington D.C. this December! I hope everyone in the D.C. area will visit the Aaron Gallery and Dupont Circle Galleries for First Friday Gallery Walk on December 4th from 6-8pm. I am thrilled to have my work selected for this group exhibition. I thought you might enjoy a preview of the selected works.

You came with fire
mixed media on canvas, 10x10" $275

© 2009 Megan Chapman

Behind the Whispers
mixed media on canvas, 20x16" $375
© 2009 Megan Chapman

mixed media on canvas, 20x16" $375
© 2009 Megan Chapman

All things fall to the side
mixed media on canvas, 10x10" $275
© 2009 Megan Chapman

In other exciting news, I will be debuting an entirely new body of work at the DDP gallery in Fayetteville Arkansas, during the first Thursday art walk December 3rd from 5-8pm. I am putting the finishing touches on these works, that combine my love of photography and written word. These blocks are a precursor to my 100 flashes of memory series, and I am very excited to share them with the public. Additional photographs will be posted here soon so watch this space for updates as the week progresses. This new project has been a labor of love and a challenge, and very inspiring for me.

This is a wonderful and productive time in my art career and I am glad to share it with you. If you need any additional information about these works or galleries please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

pictured directly above : a collection of secrets © 2009 Megan Chapman
only at the ddp gallery. $150/block.

Friday, November 20, 2009

When ART becomes a joke..

I enjoy it when people can poke a little fun at the art world...

Would you enter a reality show competition to benefit your art career? I also enjoyed this spoof entry for the school of Saatchi show.

Oh yes, and the next time some one asks you what you think about a painting or work of art just go here, type in a few numbers, and you too can speak eloquently and with meaning each time.

For example:
I find this work menacing because of the way the optical suggestions of the negative space endangers the devious simplicity of the eloquence of this piece.

Same as it ever was...(and I wouldn't change a thing)

Next week some bigger news...

Friday, November 13, 2009

The work of Gregory Crewdson

Untitled ©2006 Gregory Crewdson
from the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City.

Explore and discuss.
One my favorite photographers.
To see his work in person is a whole new experience.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

When you buy my art...

When you even consider buying my art; when you study it in the light.
When you move it around and touch it and think about it on the walls of your home.
When the colors make you remember things you have forgotten.
When the titles entice you, when you smile, hug me and get excited when we talk of the final transaction.

I come alive. I have hope again.

When you discover my work for the very first time and tell me it reminds you of things you were thinking about earlier, of the visions in your head.
When you can't even wait for it to be finished, it is perfect as it is.
When you have been studying my work for years and are happy to finally talk with me.
When we talk easily like old friends and you can see the music in my paintings and you understand me and make the connections.

It is more than color, texture, form, words, paint, canvas, or photographs.

I come alive. I have hope again.
When you buy my art or even consider it...

glorious © 2009
Megan Chapman

Friday, October 30, 2009

Art Brain. Art Gene.

The more artists I know and talk with, the more artists I read about and meet, all seem to have a very strong set of characteristics and qualities; similarities in how they view and interact with the world..

What do you think? Is there an Art Brain or an Art Gene?
Talk amongst yourselves...

and here is a video while you are thinking about it and basically writing my blog this week...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Comic Sans...NSFW


How is everyone doing out there? Tell me about your upcoming exhibitions, projects, or any ups and downs in your art world you would like to share in the comments...

Friday, October 16, 2009

You and whose army...

This is a long overdue post.

Here is the deal. I feel I have a large supportive army behind me and I don't thank them as often as I would like. These people talk to me, write me, laugh and cry with me. These people inspire me, support me (sometimes with their purchases), but more often with their advice, time, attention, energy and love. I can't thank you all specifically, as I imagine some of my army would like to remain somewhat anonymous. I hope this post will still carry as much weight without a list of names and reciprocating web and blog links. I hope you can feel it in your heart what you mean to me and that you will know I am talking to you.

Thank you to everyone who has ever emailed or told me you saw my work, whether online, in a publication, or in the flesh and told me that it moved or inspired you. Thank you to everyone who reads and comments on my blog, blip, myspace, and facebook pages. Thank you to anyone who has made it a point to come up and talk to me at a gallery opening, or in my studio about my art. I feed off your positive energy. Thanks to all my teachers, good and bad who had a hand in shaping my artistic voice, you pushed me hard either way. I loved to work hard to impress you, learn more, and grow. I worked just as hard to prove you wrong about me if you ever had any doubts. Thanks to my best friends, who share their music, movie and book selections with me and keep feeding my soul when it gets empty. Without you I wouldn't keep playing this game. Thanks to all the artists that have come before me and left their beautiful, flawed lives behind in their art and stories. Thanks for all the living artists who give advice away freely and inspire and encourage. Thanks for all the people in my life who know I struggle at times, thanks for the ones who worry and let me vent and say ridiculous things when I need to. Thanks to my family for encouraging me on this path, even though sometimes it is clear it has not always been the easiest or healthiest choice. I have the most amazing friends from all over the world, and that is because of my art, and if that is all my art ever really gets me then that is good enough and I am very fortunate.

I do really think about you, my wonderful army of supporters, friends, family, and peers and I do use your strengths when I am feeling less than stellar; when I am unsure, when I am tired and low. I call on you and you always seem to come and pull me up and through.

Please know I am in your army too, and I've got your back.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Let the rains come...

Last night the tornado sirens went off for a long time while I was in my basement studio of the Underground and I was not worried. I listened to the thunder, lightning, and sideways rain.

I had spent the day driving a sharp pencil line through the heavy pulp of paper and paint. Just making dark scratches and hard edged lines while painting over them again and again. I could not get the pencil lead black enough or get the lines to make any sense. I will probably make more lines today- a guttural gesture across the paper, over and over again. This is the only thing that feels good right now.

music by Fever Ray, the song is entitled, "now's the only time I know."
all photographs ©2009 Megan Chapman

Thank you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How I spent my summer...

I hope you will enjoy my latest paintings that were created in my studio in the Fayetteville Underground over the past 3 and a half months. I am so pleased to have these documented so I can share them with you, but also so I can share them with myself. This enables me to step back and re-examine with fresh eyes, and also serves as proof to myself that I have been working. It is easy for an artist to downplay any success we may have and to discredit ourselves. I encourage you to gather up all the evidence of your creative life and allow yourself to feel good about it. Keep fighting and never give in. I know I have said this countless times, but every day we paint is a victory.

Thanks to the locals for another amazing first Thursday. It was wonderful to see you all and talk with you about art. Keep coming back.

On a side note I was asked this week to submit 7 of my favorite songs and write a short essay for each one as part of the Ozarks Unbound Song Book. A new song is released each day. Click here to check it out.

*the music in my video above is by Moby, the track is Ghost Return off his latest release Wait for me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pocketful of inspiration

Dear Readers,

It has been a while since I just posted some things that are inspiring me at the moment. So here goes.

Thank you for checking in here, discovering this place, linking to it, telling your friends, and most of all, for your comments. I really appreciate any time you decide to spend with me, my art and words. Have a wonderful weekend. See you next week with a real story.

xx- Megan

Oh and here is an impromptu video I made of my studio...Enjoy!

My paintings are for sale. My work ranges in price from $275 to $2,200 and small original works on paper in my etsy shop are available from $25-$40. I will be adding more works there soon. Also I am always looking for additional gallery representation and exhibition opportunities. Thank you.

Find my paintings at these galleries and websites:

Friday, September 18, 2009

In the minds of strangers

To Dream and Swim © 2009 Megan Chapman

Unnamed and waiting in the loading dock...
©2009 Megan Chapman

This week has gone by so amazingly fast; a blur of studio meetings at the Underground, a flurry of paintings being started and finished. Words, ideas, and art communicated over great distances. I started on Monday believing I was going to accomplish some serious art production and I am not sure what happened or what that even means. So many ideas, concepts and flashes cluttered my brain and I couldn't get to the place I needed, to accomplish what I wanted; at the same time, things were accomplished. I am talking around the edges of things.

I was hoping to have all my new summer works documented so I could show them all to you. I am a painter and this blog has turned into more of a photo blog of late, which was never my intention. Photography is such an immediate and easy share. There is such instant gratification in the process and the results. I love this, but I do fear that it is eclipsing my paintings currently.

Balance has always been a struggle for me and that is apparent in my creative life as well. I gave away this week in more ways than one; it turned into an offering of sorts.

Are you giving away your days and weeks? Your energy and time? Are you getting back what you put in? What am I talking about? Just the edges of things and the minds of strangers and the creative spark that has to be protected.

This week I had a thousand conversations and everyone seems to be on the verge of either epiphany or total collapse. I am exhausted yet entranced...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Only if you run...

Maggie's World © 2009 Megan Chapman

Oh what to discuss today...
This week in the life of an artist:

I participated in a couple of interviews this week regarding the Fayetteville Underground, where my studio is housed, as more and more people are becoming interested in what we are doing in the basement downtown. I also watched the galleries for a couple of hours this week and showed patrons around the facilities and my studio.

On Tuesday 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 a professor of Architecture at the University of Arkansas. It was a very interesting experience, first going over some of my paintings via my website projected on a screen before the class. I also passed around some of my Etsy paintings, so they could see those small works in person and as they contain more drawing and marks they seemed more appropriate for the class. I lead them in a relaxation exercise and then we listened to music and got to it. Intuitively painting and drawing; we asked and answered questions all the while. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. It is interesting to think about the marks I make and the questions I ask myself while I work, but then to vocalize those to the students and get them to think intuitively while solving the problems that come up within their own work, was a unique experience. I left the class with a better understanding that art making is comprised of a backlog of skills learned, along with the intuition to know how to put those skills to use. I also learned that for many people intuition is this mysterious force that they have not yet tapped into. I can't imagine. I left feeling confident that I had stepped out of my comfort zone and did a good job. I have given two art talks this year, and I have really enjoyed each opportunity I have had to speak with people about art. I think speaking about art is becoming one of my favorite things.

Then on Wednesday, I went on a photo shoot with my friend and fellow underground artist Maggie Ivy. There is a wonderful piece of land nearby that I like to photograph and I had envisioned it as a great place to attempt to recreate Andrew Wyeth's famous painting "Christina's world". I knew that Maggie would be the perfect model, so off we went to the land in the morning, out in the rain and mud but we got the shot! I am so pleased with the results that you can see at the top of the post. I felt elated all day over that photograph. I wasn't sure if I could pull it off and then I did. I guess the same thing goes with the drawing class- perhaps that is why this week has been such a good one. Challenges arose that I managed to pull off, I exceeded my expectations; I managed to do that by not having any expectations in the first place. I wish all my weeks were like this.

What happened on Thursday? Nothing much to be honest, I talked about art and life with friends and it was a long and good day, still pleased with the happenings of early in the week. I kind of took a pass on the day. I listened to music, went for a walk, took a photo. I will admit I was a bit crippled as I knew yesterday's photo wasn't going to be as special, but it didn't need to be. Today, I will take another photograph and I have no idea what it will be. Oh yeah, painting and 100 flashes of memory; I will be returning to those soon as well.

All I know today:
I am happy to be an artist.
I am happy to listen to the music, read the books, enjoy the films and art that I do.
I am happy to enjoy photography on a daily basis.
I am happy when I take risks and I am rewarded.
I am happy and grateful to be part of a global arts community that feeds my soul.

What do you know today?

Friday, September 4, 2009

4 a.m. and I was there...

After last week's blog I was inspired to attempt to work in my studio, early in the morning just like the old days. I am very happy to report that I did and it was great! It was a cool, dark morning as I drove through the sleepy town streets and then entered the massive old bank building that houses my studio at the Fayetteville Underground. I thought I might get creeped out being in such a large space alone, but I really wasn't. I made some tea, turned up my music loud, shut the door and I was off. I was so happy, I was jumping up and down in victory, singing and having fun. I started two new paintings that I am pleased with and took pictures of my studio again (see slide show above). I don't know how many pictures I now have of my studio. I guess it is a sort of proof that it exists and of course a record for the future. Sometimes it feels like a set and I just go there to play artist, but then when I look around at all the paintings and look at my blocks project on the table and everything else I am working on that is art related, I know I am not playing anything. This is my life and I am fully engaged in being an artist. I have proof all around me and in photographs, for when I lose my way, and I will lose my way...

Did I ever get back to my studio at 3 or 4am the rest of the week? No, I did not. Did I work on the paintings I had started that wonderful morning? No, I did not. Did I get angry and down on myself? Yes, I did. But I am still celebrating the day I worked and the day I triumphed at 4a.m.

Everyday we paint is a victory. Everyday that we dream, think, read, and write about art creates the important background noise that make those victories possible and they count just the same.

Here is a sneak peak of one of the new works in progress.
Thanks for reading my blog, for commenting, for thinking and dreaming with me. Onwards and upwards...

PS. Last night was First Thursday art walk on the Fayetteville Square from 5-8pm. I just want to say it was another wonderful event; what my town has done in a few short months to create a cohesive and powerful art scene is nothing short of amazing and inspires me no end. I enjoyed talking with all the folks that came to the Underground as well as walked through my studio. Thank you to ddp gallery, The Fayetteville Underground, Mayor Lioneld Jordan and the city of Fayetteville for making this all come together. Thanks to all the wonderful patrons of the arts that come to enjoy, encourage, and support the artists working in the community. We are grateful.

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.

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