Many artists will tell you that they share a piece of themselves with everything they create. I believe this is a truth and I try to find those pieces when I explore the collections of the artists that I feature. The detail that I remind myself not to forget is this: the art only tells part of the story. It’s when you speak to the artist and get to know their perspective and inner thoughts do you really get to understand their unique viewpoint. That’s definitely the case with Megan Carty. Her collection of abstract art is so expressive and alive that I just had to know more about the talented artist behind it. I’m so happy to welcome her as a Maker Member and you should definitely explore her bio, the accompanying video and the artwork on display. After you read this exclusive interview, of course!
What inspired you to begin your collection?
I call this new work Abstract Landscapes. I used to do representational work; more traditional landscapes and seascapes but it started to get very tedious for me. I wanted to create unique work that was easy to identify as my own. I wanted to be excited when it was time to sit down and paint…to know it was going to be a satisfying and relaxing process to look forward to again and again. This new work is just that. It still has the bright colors I love to use, but it’s more ethereal, minimalistic, and meditative. It’s meant to be soothing and bring the colors of nature into your home…to remind you of happy times in a place special to you.
Describe your creative process. Where do you start?
I love landscape photography: both taking my own shots and admiring the work of others. When I see a photo that absolutely captivates me through its colors, I know I need to capture it in a painting. I look at all the colors that call out to me and look at how they are paired together and I mimic that in my work. I also think about my travels and places I’ve been…I tend to make mental notes about the colors I saw and how beautiful they looked together. I later translate that feeling and memory into a painting. Once I decide on the colors I’m in the mood to paint, I sit down and get myself into a quiet meditative headspace with soothing music or silence. I then let the brush and colors do the work…it’s always a surprise what comes about. I love that intuitive and unplanned nature of the process. It feels magical and spiritual for me which is very special.
How do you maintain your creative drive?
I try not to burn myself out…I make work when I can, but I have 3 small children and I’m the at-home parent so I’m quite busy with them! Because of this, I need ME time and painting is my chance to relax and unwind each day. Because I am also running an art business, I have to show up and create AND market my work regularly. The necessity of running a business contributes to having a consistent creative drive. No waiting for muses here! Show up and do the work!
What materials do you love to use?
I love to use gouache (pronounced “gwash”) which works a lot like watercolor but the colors are more opaque and vibrant. I use them in pans, like watercolor. It’s also easy to travel with and clean up! I like to paint on a material called Aquabord by the brand Ampersand. It’s a claylike surface that absorbs the paint like a paper. But it holds the color bleed and nuances of the details much better than paper, in my opinion. I also like to use Strathmore Mixed Media paper. It’s smooth (no tooth) so I find it easier to control my results. I also love to use gold metallic ink and paint…that pop of sparkle can really add something special to a piece…jewelry for your walls!
Do you have a dream collaborator?
I would LOVE to turn these abstract landscapes into fine dishware for Anthropologie or Lenox. The metallic gold line work and natural color pools would translate wonderfully to teacups and saucers and plates. I would also love to translate these to rugs and yoga mats. I would also love to collaborate with Tiffany & Co. to create original works to be sold in their stores as jewelry for your walls. I find the same traits that make jewelry so special also ring true for original fine art. Adornment is a way we express to others who we are and what we value.
What are some of the challenges that you face as a maker?
Sharing my work with the world is my biggest challenge! While partnering with art galleries works for some, I struggle with the “permission-based” approach in the art world where one person determines whether your work is “good enough”or not. Everyone has different tastes! I like the idea of being an entrepreneur and getting to keep most of my profits rather than give half away to someone else. I think obtaining original art should be much less intimidating for the average buyer and taking art out of the traditional gallery atmosphere really interests me. Why can’t original art be found in more traditional retail home store atmospheres? You can go to certain malls to get high-end luxury handbags; why can’t original art be more accessible like that?
Because I am also running an art business, I have to show up and create AND market my work regularly. The necessity of running a business contributes to having a consistent creative drive. No waiting for muses here!
How do you use social media and blogging to promote your work?
I LOVE to use Instagram to share my works in progress and bits of my life. I also LOVE using Instagram Stories to share my life and thoughts with my friends and followers. It’s a great way to connect with others and show how we are all really quite similar. I’m alone with my kids much of the time, so I like feeling the sense of community there. I also enjoy using my Facebook business page to share videos of my process and live video streaming. I like to share fun things there as well. It’s like having a blog without having to write too much! I update there regularly. I also try to use Pinterest to share my work with others who might enjoy it.
Where do you see your shop/project going?
I am going to continue creating these pieces to reflect different kinds of nature…mountains, seascapes, rivers, jungle and the like. I will be expanding the sizes I offer and will keep creating more of each. I would love to create commissions for people who have a favorite place they have been…I would love to translate that memory into a special unique abstract painting that is special to just them.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on The 100 Day Project where I am creating one painting per day for 100 straight days. I am chronicling it on my Instagram and Facebook page. It’s interesting to watch my work grow and evolve each day! I’m learning a lot about my process and my commitment.