12 Questions: Megan Magill



1.Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I have blue eyes. I am the mother of a 12- year old. I was born in a year with a 0 at the end which makes it easy to remember how old I am which obviously has its pluses and minuses. I grew up outside of Chicago but hope to move to Maine permanently when my son in out of high school. I do interior design work as my day job although sometimes I get my days and my nights mixed up.


2. What first inspired you to begin making work?

I stared making work after taking a class on the history of photography at my local art center about 10 years ago. A lot of my early work revolved around me making pictures with a small dollhouse doll. I realized pretty early on that they connected to how I felt inside when making them and this is what got me hooked on making art.

3.What is your studio like? Could you share an image?

I spend a good portion of the summer in Maine (my husband’s business is there) and the school year in Chicago. My studio in Maine is in the woods whereas in Chicago it is in the basement of my apartment building outside of the laundry room. I sometimes find it hard to get there but try to remind myself that I am lucky to have the space and it is actually pretty nice. Can you guess which is which?











4.What are some of your rituals in the studio to get the momentum going?

Movement and music (sometimes). I get a lot of ideas when I move and in an ideal world I would work in a GIANT studio that required I move all over the place. When it clicks I am totally integrated with what I am doing. When this happens I can add music but I need to get to this point first. Also just looking at imagery. Although sometimes this can make me lazy as it is so satisfying to just look sometimes.


5. How do you overcome ‘failure’?

By trying to put it in perspective and moving forward. The world is a big place and I try to remind myself that there are lots of ways to make a difference and reach people through your work and what you do. Overcoming my own criticism is the hardest which is so ironic…why are we so hard on ourselves!


6. What is the most inspiring place you have been to?

I love looking art in whatever context I can but Mass MOCA in North Adams Mass is unbelievably inspiring. It is housed in a converted factory building…initially it was a print works and then an electric company and is 130,000 sq. feet. I’ll attach a pic so you can see the scale of what they can show there. I also love that it is located in the Berkshires instead of a big city.

This was from an Anselm Kiefer Exhibit installed in a giant hanger. These paintings which were massive seascapes with a lot sinking ships covering both sides of this room. Museum guide for scale.



7. Do you have any other interests or hobbies?

I am interested in design and am currently involved in planning the remodel of our house in Maine. Picking things like paint colors can be a good stress relief. I love being outside. In Maine where we live it is very rural. Sometimes I can go for a walk and not see anyone else for 45 minutes. I find this very grounding and stimulating at the same time. Coming back to Chicago always takes some getting used to.


8. Do you collect anything?

Vintage photos, college yearbooks, books in general, interesting objects.

I am drawn to collecting objects that have seem to have stories attached to them that many seem quite unbelievable. For instance, I have a wedding topper (of a couple on their wedding day-it would have been placed on their cake) it has been incased in Lucite..forever preserved which is both charming and creepy. I also have a chocolate bunny mold with a bunch of bunnies missing…the bunnies look incredibly creepy..not the Easter variety. I could go on but you’ll just have to come visit my studio to see.



9. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

Karl Ove Knaussgard’s series My Struggle…there are 6 books so I think that has me covered. He writes very matter of factly about his life and he doesn’t gloss over the ugly parts. This is exactly what I am drawn to in my own work..our struggles..the things we try to hide from each other and ourselves..the crazy hilarious things that we do to each other and to ourselves. I think our stories are amazing just as they are because they are real. He does this really well.


10. What are the biggest challenges you have faced as an artist?

I think finding my place. I started in photography and got my MFA from a school that was focused on photography and film but I came out doing printmaking and have been evolving ever since. I also am a person who has a lot of ideas so staying focused is sometimes a challenge for me.

 

11. Who/What are influences for your work?

I really am influenced by everyday moments and how we document them verbally and visually.


12. What are you working on right now?

I have been making digital drawings based on found snapshots. I have been trying to figure out how I ultimately want them to be and at the moment my thought is to turn them into hook rugs..which may be a stupid and insane idea but it is my thought. So I am trying to figure out a way to make that happen. I also have a series called Venus with Folds that I am trying to come up with a final presentation for. These are folded Xerox copies of famous female portraits most of which have been painted by men. I fold them until they they turn into an object I am happy with. I thought they might live as photographs but I think they need to be more sculptural so I am still working on it.