I'm just enjoying the freedom of being able to try.
Name, Age, Location, Professional Title, Employer
Meggan Joy, 30, Seattle, Artist, myself!
What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
About a year ago I was surprised with a rare opportunity to join a community garden, just a few mins walk from my apartment. So for the first time in my adult life, I have an area to garden in.
The best part about that space is that, not only do I have unlimited flowers (and bugs) to photograph for my collages, but I also have access to an environment that is safe to experiment within. This growing season I have a few ideas that I am playing around with and even if they don't pan out, I'm just enjoying the freedom of being able to try.
Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
My personal work and my professional work are so intertwined that I couldn't keep them apart if I tried. I've been fortunate that what people are interested in seeing from me is usually what I am interested in making for myself.
That said, I do have a (neglected) series that I'm selfish with; it's titled "Commoditize" - which mixes motifs from art history with current politics in America.
I decided to not sell prints of this work* so that I could be free to make the visuals that hold my opinion without any temptation for self-censorship. And also, I didn't want someone to look at the work and gloss over it because they assumed I was just "jumping on the trend" of political art, so I consciously decided to remove that criticism. (Which was a bit rough because the two images I have made so far have been expensive to make.)
I recently released the latest image and instantly had a ton of feedback -- some great, some awful, but either way, people were responding to the work and having enough of a response that they needed to have a direct conversation with me.
*I have had requests to buy the artwork to use, like in protests or whatever; so I may eventually make something like affordable postcards available - something that can be sent to our representatives (or relatives)...I'm still thinking that through.
What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
Long story: When my partner and I first married, he was an Army Ranger which means while he was deployed - if I would hear from him at all, it would be around 3 am my time for like, ten mins at a time ... if we were lucky.
So I got in the habit of staying up all night waiting for that email or, the holy grail, a phone call.
Many years later, I realized that I accidentally trained my body and my brain to be nocturnal. Because now, I can just sit down around 8 pm and work through the night without thinking about it.
Unfortunately, that means I am currently on the opposite operating schedule as my (now civilian) husband, who I very much want to actually spend time with, so I have been trying to revert back to the typical "up at 6 am" life.
Currently, I still am most productive/creative later in the day and into the evening. Hopefully, in a year or so, I'll be more comfortable living like a normal human.
What are your creative goals for the future?
I have so many! Besides a full sketchbook of collage ideas waiting to complete; I'm preparing a book proposal, designing fabric/wallpaper, daydreaming about potential installations and trying to figure out how to take my digital collage work and translate them into murals.
Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
I have a few ideas I am toying with in the garden; for instance, for the last few years I have been interested in statues from antiquity, specifically how permanent they are—and since a "non-permanent" depiction of humanity is a theme of my work, I was wondering what these statues would look like if they instead only lasted for a few weeks.
From that thought, I'm attempting to use 3D printed molds to shape pumpkins as they grow. It may end up really cool, or it may end up a literal rotten mess. (I'd say it's about 60/40 odds in my favor right now.)
What scares you?
I wasn't there, but I later heard that my brother was aware he was dying as he was in fact dying. That thought has frightened me since - it's often rolling around in my head late at night.
I'm not afraid of death so much as the few moments before death, knowing that is the end, aware that you will soon be missing forever.
Adjusting to my brother's absence has forced me to face how short our time is, and has definitely influenced my work.
What does success mean to you?
I'm pursuing the career I have wanted since I was four years old. Somedays it's not fun, but any day I wake up and get to prioritize making art above like, washing dishes or putting on a bra is a pretty fucking successful day.
Why do you create?
Creativity has been the most comfortable language for me to express my thoughts with since I can remember. It's just in my guts to make things and has been integral to my sense of self since I was just a little kid.
So it had always been my goal to be a professional in a creative field. However, post-high school, I was in a rough place and tried to abandon my artist intentions for something more reliable. That's when I learned I don't have much of a choice in pursuing the arts because I was terrible at being normal.
My last "real job" was in medical records and I was so uncomfortable with it I would vomit every morning because I was nervous about messing up something important.
Fast forward to nearly a decade later, I wake up and can't wait to work. I often go months at a time without a day off, because I enjoy it too much to leave it for even a day.
Anything else you want to add?
I would love to point out that my friend Mya Kerner gave my name to you for this interview, and I want to recognize that in Seattle (and I'm sure elsewhere) we have an art community that is incredibly thoughtful and supportive.
A sense of community is valuable in any career, but it's especially so for artists since we are often isolated within our own practice.
So thank you, Mya and the countless other Seattle artists who have stepped up and helped me over the years, I appreciate your efforts immensely.
To see more of Meggan's inspiring work, head over to her site, www.megganjoy.com