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.