Friday, December 31, 2010

Out of the darkness and into the fire...

Well here we are on the last day of 2010....
Standing on the precipice or maybe just another day about to roll into the next.

Thanks to everyone who read or even skimmed my post last week. I am so glad to be able to share my world with you. So for this week I was thinking I should write up a plan for the new year and post it here. This would serve as place for me to keep my goals at the ready. A list of resolutions for my art in 2011.

Then I decided only a fool would do that! Most importantly for 2011, I want to work. I want to be paid for my work. I want to be appreciated for my work. I want to expand and explore new directions in my work. I want to be inspired by my work. I want to learn things about myself and the world. I want to shine a light on some dark corner whether for myself or for others. I want to make the unseen real and concrete.

I just want to work. Whether that involves painting, photography or writing. Where ever the muse takes me, I want to be there. I want to give myself over to it fully and then I want to share it with all of you. That is my plan for 2011. Nicely vague, somewhat hopeful, and a bit inspired.

Oh and I should probably add some stuff about setting boundaries and taking supreme care of myself. Yes, that sounds good now.

See you next year.
You know what to do...

Friday, December 24, 2010

2010: My year in review

old roses and my painting when I close my eyes from the white series in my studio

Here we go, it is that time of year again where I cull my mind and past blog posts and remind myself what all happened in my art world over the past year. I think it is important to have a snap shot remembrance of what all was done before I trod of into the New Year. As I have said in the past I am always working and it is very easy to forget what all I have managed to do as I get caught up in the day to day.

I remember not having a plan for 2010. I started the year knowing I just wanted to focus on my work, whatever that meant.

In 2010, I curated and facilitated a number of exhibitions for the Fayetteville Underground. This was a challenging and exhilarating experience. The first of those exhibitions being Pedigree from Hot Springs, Arkansas. I loved that show so much. I remember spending a ton of time in the Revolver gallery the whole month of January just looking at Michael Shaeffer and Christopher Baber's work. I will always look back at that time fondly and with a sense of pride. I hope the artists will as well.

2010 also found me immersed in photography as well as painting, and I had the thrill of two of my photographs being used for the inside cover of Wade Ogle's CD,
Lovers and Fighters. I am also excited to have had my photography used for the cover of Melanie McDonald's upcoming novel, Eromenos to be released in March 2011.

I had four pieces in a small and miniature works show that was held over until the end of January 2010 at the Aaron gallery in Washington D.C. The show was reviewed in a D.C. art blog, and I was thrilled when my work was mentioned in the write up. I recall how pleased I was that my work was sought after by the gallery and it was my first showing in Washington D.C.

In January of 2010 the white series was born as well. This will possibly prove to be one of the most exciting developments of 2010.

There were several public speaking gigs in 2010 either about my art, the Fayetteville Underground, the shows I curated, or marketing art in general.
I gave a lecture to the Boston Mountain Potters Association, on ways to successfully market ones art. I also gave the talk Art Collecting 101: The Thrill of Original Art at the Revolver gallery. I also gave a 2 hour lecture/tour for students of The Osher Institute . The course was called Artful Spaces: A visit to the Fayetteville Underground. It was a large group of very receptive students, many of which just happened to be my teachers from elementary and junior high school. I remember feeling nervous about the role reversal and I remember how good I felt after I gave the tour. In July I gave an art talk about Institute du Loop's exhibition and in August I spoke about the photography of Christian Demare. In September I lead another lecture/tour for the students of the Osher Institute. In November I gave an informal lecture about my work to a group of university students studying with artist Cindy Wiseman. Speaking about art is something I really enjoy doing, and I hope I have many more opportunities to give these talks in the future.

I mailed off a small work on paper from my Etsy shop to Finland. I had never sent anything to Finland before, so that was a thrill.
Thanks to my etsy shop ArtMaven, my work has been collected in Canada, England, The Netherlands, Australia, France, and Scotland as well as all across the United States.
2010 also saw less Etsy work created and sold, simply due to the fact that I was so busy with the white series and all the other work I was doing.

By the end of January, I previewed the first three paintings in the new white series on my blog and the feedback there and on facebook was off the charts- I am so happy I took that perceived risk (there is a lesson in this somewhere). By the second week of February I debuted the first eight pages of the ten page
Manual for Living and started to solidify the concepts behind this book of stills. I remember being very inspired and working full tilt as I dove into the white series and didn't hold back. I completed The Manual by the third week of February and finish two more new white series paintings as well. This was a very exciting time for me as an artist.

Sometimes © 2010 Megan Chapman

By the end of February/beginning of March, I paint
Sometimes, which for me, is a break through painting in the series. I remember being concerned that I could have pushed it further, but I held back and I am so glad I did. Sometimes, still receives many comments when it is viewed. I will always remember jumping up in down in front of my easel as it was completed as well as the initial feedback this painting received from my studio mates near and far.

By the first week in March there were seven paintings in the new white series and I was still jelling the ideas behind the Manual for Living. Going to the studio everyday was a thrill and I hadn't felt that inspired since art school. During all this time, there was much Underground work being done, as well as showing and selling of my colored paintings. There were a few times while working on the white series that I got temporarily sidetracked or had to take a break to refuel before I could continue. Part of the refueling, was a trip to Picher, Oklahoma to take photographs of this lead poisoned ghost town. It was an experience I will never forget.

In April, the Fayetteville Underground celebrated their one year anniversary and it was great to be able to step back and see what we had all accomplished as a group. By the beginning of April, I had completed ten new white series pieces. The second week of April was spectacular. That week I sold nine of my paintings to a brand new collector. I was so happy to work with this young collector as she bravely selected painting after painting for her collection. I was giddy with excitement and still can't believe it unfolded the way it did. I have been to her house to see the collection and they all look so beautifully hung in her home. I am grateful to her for her support. Her patronage changed the course of my year drastically and for the better in all ways. I will never forget this or her.

Also in April three of my photographs were accepted into a juried exhibition entitled Crafting Place: Interpretations of Natural and Constructed Environments from the Kitchen to the Forest. The Juror was Kenneth Trapp former curator-in charge of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibition was held in Bentonville, Arkansas at the Sugar gallery. The selected photographs were from the Picher, Oklahoma trip. I was very pleased to be able to share them. This marks one of the few times I had shown my photography in a gallery setting. All the while this is happening, I continue with the white series, steadily building the collection.

White Series debut, Back Vault Gallery, May 2010

In May, with encouragement, I decided to test out the waters with the New White series and I hang three pieces in the back Vault gallery at the underground. I was thrilled when two out of the three sold! At the same time the white series is featured in a couple of fellow artists' blogs and I keep selling my color series works as well. Several new paintings are born in the white series, the painting,
Somehow we find ourselves on the same continent is a standout for me from this time period and in fact ends up on another continent, in late 2010. I am spending long hours in the studio at this point, sometimes up to ten hours just painting, I am happy. More paintings are being created I am finding my stride again.

Suddenly we find ourselves on the same continent ©2010 Megan Chapman Sold

By June there are fifteen paintings in the new white series. By mid June I sell another three of the new white series, to a wonderful pair of patrons. I remember the experience of staring at the works with the patron in the gallery. We both just got absorbed into the work for a while, just standing there in silence. I loved that moment. I also loved the experience of going to their home to deliver the work and seeing how well it fit into their space. I love this part of the art world, these connections.

institute du loop: a place to drown from Megan Chapman on Vimeo.

After this experience, I slow down a bit in the studio again, thinking about the upcoming exhibitions I planned to curate in the summer at the Underground. In July, I curated The Institute du Loop's
A Place to Drown in the Hive Gallery. This was an enormous task. There were countless emails, chats, diagrams, photographs, writings, ideas, and questions sent back and forth from Taipei to Fayetteville and vice-versa in preparation for this exhibition. It was a very interesting experience to work with another artist in such a way. Clear evidence of how our world has changed, how much technology allows such amazing and inspiring things to happen. I received the exhibition via Fed Ex on two thumb drives with a Chinese stamp in order to sign the work. I also received the artist's composed soundtrack for the exhibition electronically as well. After a lot of hard work by myself and Henry Turner the exhibition was printed and installed and looked wonderful. We were all pleased, and the institute du loop seemed very thrilled. I will always be proud of the work we did together on this.

Even though I was exhausted and busy taking care of the institute du loop's exhibition, I am inspired and complete three more paintings in the new white series bringing the total to eighteen. By the middle of July I also return my focus to the
Manual for living, putting into words the concepts behind the works. This was a thrilling experience. Thanks to artists' Stewart Bremner, Jennifer Libby Fay and to my brother, writer Sean Chapman for helping me to edit the words for the statement for the Manual for Living.

a manual for living: a ten page guide from Megan Chapman on Vimeo.

Things Fall Away (as we go under) ©2010 Megan Chapman

At this time I was also able to regain focus and pour myself into a new large painting in the white series, Things fall away (as we go under). I can remember the soundtrack to this painting vividly and walking to my studio smiling. This was a happy time.

Christian Demare in the Hive Gallery August 2010

In August, I curated another exhibition at the Fayetteville Underground, this time the work was by French photographer, Christian Demare. The exhibition is titled
Ghosts in the Landscape #2 and contains forty-six images all in the square format. I have long be an admirer of Christian's dark and dreamy worlds and I am thrilled to be able to present his work to my local community. Again, I am thankful that the Internet makes this global arts community possible.

Upon Waking © 2010 Megan Chapman Sold

By mid August, I was the lucky recipient of two large 36x48" canvases from a lovely patron, and then later she brought me an even larger canvas! I found the size an inspiring challenge and produced one of my most favorite paintings called
Upon Waking, which got snapped up by a lovely patron in Washington D.C. before it ever left my studio. The other 36x48" painting I create gets traded for a masterpiece by artist Matthew Lyman. Thanks all around.

Delay Before Abandon © 2010 Megan Chapman & Steven Heaton

Also in August, I got word that a collaborative paper painting that my dear friend and fellow artist Steven Heaton and I have been working on,
"Delay before Abandon" is going to be in the Chaosmos 2010 exhibition as part of the Liverpool Independents Biennial, in Liverpool England. I have been friends with Steven for over four years now, and we were both very pleased to be in an exhibition together. I was very excited about this opportunity, as I have my work in many private international collections, but had never been a part of an exhibition overseas. This is a highlight of my career.

Thomas Petillo © 2010

Also in August a big sale comes through for me.
A two panel (diptych) 40x60" painting called Stamina and Refrain from the 2007 Evidence of the Disappearance series finds a good home. By late August another painting is created in the white series, as I prepare to host photographer and friend Thomas Petillo for his solo exhibition, North, West, East, South. September comes on strong, with some major life transitions. Thomas' brilliant exhibition debuted in the Hive and I was so happy that I got to spend some time with him while he was here for the opening of the exhibition, again I am so fortunate to be a part of this art community that stretches around the country and the world. I have the best friends.

This same month I was interviewed about my responsibilities at the Fayetteville Underground by Christopher Spencer at Ozarks Unbound and it is nice to be recognized for what all I am doing at the Underground. I also received the most lovely letter, left on my studio desk after that first Thursday from a high school student. I remember reading it and tears welled up in my eyes, I was so moved. During this time, I was also finding a bit of press online for the work in the Liverpool independents biennial. I was very excited by all of this.

I managed to break away for a day for a quick trip to Kansas City to the see The Pixies. It was an amazing show, and I come back inspired. Reminding myself again the importance of stopping every once and a while to experience art and different places, that these things are so important to my creative brain. I continually struggle with balance and music is often the answer. By the end of September, I work on one last painting before my exhibition. This begins the cycle I currently in, where I have not been painting.

In October, I kept working on the last painting, while Julie Wait Designs sold five paintings from my colored paintings to a new corporate client, a regional bank. One white series painting travels to Seattle to be a part of the Underground's group show, 13 Underground at the Shift gallery. I also start preparing for my exhibition Falling into Sound to be held in November. I update my website and have business cards and postcards created and devise a way to display the Manual for Living that makes the works on paper presentable but doesn't detract from the art. By mid October the final painting is complete, and I decide it is too different to include in the exhibition, and it is the painting I end up trading with artist, Matthew Lyman- which turned out to be a perfect solution.

Falling into Sound: Hive Gallery from Megan Chapman on Vimeo.

Falling into Sound debuted in November, and I was truly overwhelmed by the way the work looked together in the gallery. Tears came to my eyes often when I talked about the work to my studio mates and at times I still can't believe that I painted the work. It was such a unique experience and what I consider my finest work to date. I will always remember 2010 as the year of the white series and the manual for living. I learned a lot about myself, opened up and was richly rewarded for doing so. The emotional response I received from this body of work was unmatched and will always be treasured. By the exhibition date there were twenty one official white series paintings completed and eleven of those paintings are now sold.

Also in November, I was interviewed about the monthly offerings at the Fayetteville Underground on our National Public Radio station, KUAF. This is now scheduled to be a regular monthly segment. I really enjoy being able to give a voice to The Underground and spread the word about all the exciting exhibitions we have planned.

In November, I also start mentoring a young art student as he builds his portfolio, this is the same art student who so thoughtfully left me the note in my studio in September. We have only met a few times, but his work has already exploded and this has been a thrill for me to watch and I am happy to help.

As the year closes, two of the white series paintings are in Philadelphia in
the first annual Snow Flake Invitational exhibition at 110 Church gallery and at Art @t Bridge Club of Center City in Philadelphia. I am very pleased to have been asked to participate. Always a thrill to have my work reach a new audience.

I have also just been asked to do a large 5.5x 7ft commission, and I have a feeling this where my mind will be for the beginning of the new year. I really look forward to sinking my teeth into such a large painting. I also concluded the year with five more sales from my colored series from the Art for the Holidays exhibition at the Fayetteville Underground. I am extremely grateful for the patronage and support. One last, but not least highlight of my year was delivering a painting to a Doctor's office for their Christmas party. The Doctor's thoughtful staff had chipped in to get him a painting of mine and I was there to surprise and present the painting to him. I will never forget this moment- I had such a smile on my face, and I think he was very happy with his gift.

Besides all this, there were additional group exhibitions, meetings, special events, studio mates to enjoy, music to listen to, tons of art to see and new frontiers in living. I wrote several little short stories and took a photograph everyday. 2010 was an amazingly busy year, and I can look back with pride for what I accomplished in my art career, at the Fayetteville Underground, and in my life.

So, how was your year? Did you start a new body of work? Did you get into a show you weren't expecting to? Did you come up with a new concept that you are just beginning to explore and expand upon? I hope you had a great year!

I hope you know that you are a part of all of this, my friends, my family, my patrons, my underground family, and all the artists that I have had the pleasure of working with. None of this happens without you. You are central to my success as an artist. I do not create this work alone. I require support, validation, and understanding and you all do a wonderful job of giving it to me and this enables me to keep fighting and pushing forward to create new works. Thank you. I am inspired by so much in this world and I am so happy to share it with you. Thanks for a fantastic 2010! May 2011 be just as bright or even brighter for all of us.

And as always, keep fighting! The world needs your art!

My studio in a pristine state... goal: keep it messy in 2011

Friday, December 17, 2010

so far away yet so close...

blank but not for long... © 2010 Megan Chapman

Here we are again...because it is Friday!

I can't wait until things really get cooking again in the studio, it will make this blog writing so much easier and more fun. I am waiting to start a large commission, and as soon as I get the canvas my world will be taken up with the exciting challenge of painting a 5.5x 7 foot painting. I really can't wait to get started and work on such a grand scale. That process will be documented here to some degree. In another week or so I plan to look back and do a year end review of 2010. It has been an amazing year for me personally and professionally. I think perhaps one of my best. I look forward to examining it and sharing it with you all. I have a lot of things going on currently and as you know I am frustrated I am not painting regularly at this time, but I know this is just a phase and I will rise above it soon enough. Who knows what my art brain has in store for us all.

Now, just in case the locals of Northwest Arkansas don't know where to find my work (and the work of many talented others) for your holiday gift giving or just for yourself.... We now go to a public service announcement courtesy of KUAF our NPR station.

In Hot Springs, Arkansas you can find my paintings at the Blue Moon Gallery, and some of them are specially priced for the season as well. Click on the image below for more information.

You can also find two pieces of mine at the first annual Snow Flake Invitational exhibition at 110 Church gallery and at Art @t Bridge Club of Center City in Philadelphia. I am very pleased to have been asked to participate, and have two paintings from the white series currently on display, one at each gallery. This is a cash and carry show, and 100% of the sale price of the work goes to the artists. To learn more click on the image below.

I hope you enjoy browsing the links, and if you are in Northwest Arkansas, Hot Springs, or the Philadelphia area, please check out my work in person.

Next week, the year in review...

For your listening pleasure : Please check out this video directed by my friend and fellow artist Thomas Petillo. This is a song off Hammock's newest E.P. The Longest Year.

Hammock - Longest Year from Hammock Music on Vimeo.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I really wish...

I really wish I could tell you a story about art, maybe even some type of fiction. I would like you to feel what I feel when I paint. How it feels when the brush hits the canvas. How the music, the weather, my dreams, my stories all wrap upon themselves and slide into the lines. I would like to expand on all the words written on my studio wall and allow them tell the whole story.

There is a grey sky outside my window as I am caught in this vortex of thought and feeling, perhaps willing something to come forth. How I am trying to feel something and how I am trying to get you to feel something as the words, music and art all collapse on themselves. I am a blank slate, tabula rasa.

I am at the edge of something but don't worry I will take you along for the ride. Things are about to get interesting.

I can feel it under my skin...

Random thoughts: (if the above wasn't random enough)

The way Maya Deren talks about time and space in this video, is something I can very much relate to and her work has inspired me. I have never attempted to emulate her, but I think if I may be so bold sometimes my work (especially my photography) comes from the same place as she is describing, yet I would never describe it in her terms. The music in the video is beautiful as well.

Please support local artists this season, you can find my work at the following places.

Thank you &
Keep fighting...

Friday, December 3, 2010

December: Original art at your fingertips...

my studio will get back to this state... (next month)

Yesterday was first Thursday at the Fayetteville Underground, and it was another mad crush of art lovers. I am very pleased that three pieces of mine sold so far during our art for the holidays group exhibition. You can learn more about the exhibition by clicking on the image below. The show will be up all month and there are deals to be had!

Underground gallery hours are W-F 12-7 and Saturday 10-5. Some of my older works are marked down just for this month- so go grab them!

Tonight is first Friday Gallery walk in Hot Springs Arkansas from 5-9pm. You can find my paintings at the Blue Moon Gallery, and some of them are specially priced for the season as well. Click on the image below for more information.

Tonight from 5-8pm is also the first Friday Preview for the first annual Snow Flake Invitational exhibition at 110 Church gallery in Philadelphia. I am very pleased to have been asked to participate, and have two paintings from the white series currently on display. This is also a cash and carry show, and 100% of the sale price of the work goes to the artists. To learn more click on the image below.

I hope you enjoy browsing the links, and if you are in Northwest Arkansas, Hot Springs, or the Philadelphia area, please check out my work in person.

I am still not painting but I have been working with a high school student on building his art portfolio. So far we've only met twice, but it is very exciting to watch his work change and grow so quickly and dramatically. I really enjoy this process and am happy to give some of my time away in this manner. I've been reading some books, listening to tons of music of course, writing some and taking photographs. So, I am always doing something creative while waiting for the next series to evolve and come forward. It was last January when A Manual for Living exploded out of me and the new white series came soon after. So, I have a feeling I am on schedule.

Thank you always for dropping by and reading my blog and for supporting me in my work. I appreciate this more than you know.

As always, keep fighting!