*Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists and today marks the first weekly artist feature on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
The first time I saw Meggan Joy's art - I gasped. And then promptly made it the screensaver on my phone. It was one of her Bloom series, images of flowers seemingly floating in the air, hauntingly stark on a black backdrop. Something about the vivaciousness of the bright flowers against such a monochrome background took my breath away. Throughout the researching of this piece, seeing Meggan's answers and the rest of her work - I've never felt better about an Artist of the Week profile. Cheers to you, Meggan!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Meggan Joy: I've been creative all my life, focusing primarily on the medium of photography from *gasp* the age of four, seriously. However, a huge part of my work is prop building, set design and sewing costumes, which means I have my hands in just about anything that peaks my interest. Just between you and I (and everyone who is reading this) I also have been dabbling with painting directly on my prints but I haven't had the guts to share that work -- yet.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I differ from most photographers in that I rarely have my camera out, in fact, it's usually the last thing I think about. I keep a lot of sketchbooks and notes about what ideas or subjects are interesting and sketch out a plan and build out whatever it is that I'm seeking. Sometimes that means sewing a costume or building a set or in the case of my collages, photographing thousands of objects and saving them in a library to access later.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
I like to think of my work as living in its own world. It has it's own rules and it's own limitations, and ultimately is close enough to our world that we might feel comfortable within it, or we might feel a bit uneasy. To do that I often pull inspiration from the old "rules" and allegories found in art history and contrast them against modern situations. I am a major art history nerd and I love how incompatible and yet still relevant artwork from hundreds of years ago can still be.
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
This might be a cop-out answer - but no. I like/dislike everything I'm working on equally. Usually, when I'm in the middle of refining a collage, I'll hate making collages and wish I was sewing a costume instead. But later when I'm sewing a costume, I'll wish I was making collages. So on and so forth. The trick was learning to work through whatever is bugging me because that is when I find myself making the best stuff.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I made a portrait of my dad on assignment years ago. It's perfect. It's the best portrait I'll probably ever make. Part of me is sad to know that I'll likely never take a better portrait. But part of me is proud to know that any other photographer, no matter how talented they are, could not have done a better job with that subject, at that time and at that place.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
This isn't so much a problem now, but when I was younger I was terrible at communicating with words, whether spoken or written. Especially if I was angry or if the subject was difficult. Images felt more natural and I gravitated towards making my thoughts heard in visuals. This is something I still do, like when I tackled my own guilt in my SHE series. Thanks to some hard work; I have become much better about sharing my voice in all forms and ultimately made a career out of making the visuals. So while that time when I was younger felt isolated and frustrating, ultimately it was setting me up to be an even better visual artist.
If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
Currently, I have work showing at Ghost Gallery until February 5th, 2017. You can, of course, find me on my website, and I also share a lot of behind the scenes tidbits as well as the things that inspire me via my Instagram.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I like to keep busy so I'm working on three series right now, some involve my collages - others more location and portrait based. I'm moving into a more mixed media presentation, which is out of my comfort zone but feels right in my gut so far.
I am also working on a small magazine featuring some of Seattle's best artists, called Magnify Seattle. The 2017 issue should be available this February.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee?
I don't drink it often, but if I do it's whatever my husband left in the kitchen that morning. So black, cold, a bit stale and usually out of a cereal bowl -- because we never seem to have clean mugs in the morning.