an Artist’s struggle starts with definition

“”What do you do?- I am an Artist.”
Few people dare to say that. But why? We tend to make everything sweeter so that people won’t ask too much, or will understand. If I say I’m an Artist, they’ll ask again “What do you do?” demanding precisions. If I say I’m a Graphic Designer they’ll assume I draw logotypes and work for free for my friends. If I say I’m a painter they’ll probably think I sell 5000$ canvas that nobody understands… But really, who cares ?
I genuinely think an Artist’s struggle starts with definition. We’re constantly asked to define ourselves, but as an Artist looking for constant creativity flow coming and going, shouldn’t we dissolve any wall or label that may block our flow, our freedom? Isn’t that the whole thing about Art?

So I say I’m an Artist because I am. Everything I see, hear or do goes by an antichamber where it’s processed, analyzed and turned into some piece of Art, an inspiration, a color panel, a quick screenshot that will remain here until enough bended, scratched, thought, re-imagined, transformed, extracted,… I draw everyday for as long as I can remember. On paper, canvas, wood panels, fabric, people… Pencils, markers, pens, paint, charcoal are all part of my quiver. I’m also a musician. I play and compose. Everyday I sit by my window, hands on my piano and I improvise, looking outside. Every piece of music that I hear is decomposed. I try to recognize the instruments, to write the music sheet in my mind, to see the eyes of the musician playing it. For me, both graphic arts and music are related. One inspires the other and vice versa. 

Everything is a source of inspiration. It means I can be inspired by nature, other artists, sounds, dancers, movies, travels… Sometimes I feel the urge to create something. Today it’s a painting, tomorrow it can be a soundtrack, a comic book about dinosaurs or a peacock on the back of a vintage jean jacket… Being an artist means being open to every possibility, every daily life sound, every color, every voice, and never, ever, ever being bored of watching a sunset over the sea (That would be a crime).

I’ve been working as an Illustrator for a few years now. I’ve been told that my style is too miscellaneous or random to be interesting or understood, as you can see on my website : I’m actually pleased to hear that, because it means I’m not like everyone else out there. It means that I’m always exploring, and also very flexible and comfortable in many situations.I’m now in the south of France, enjoying summertime, family and the Mediterranean sea. I start my day with a good breakfast and a good read outside in the sun. I read stories about the past, other countries, fictions and fantasies. I like beautiful stories about beautiful people. It always inspires me in some way and It’s refreshing. This time is perfect for a little meditation. Then I often play some music or work listening to music (always). I can’t work well with a complete silence. Then lunch, coffee of course and back to drawing and painting. This entire “routine” is flexible. But most of all, it doesn’t work if I don’t go out and stretch, do some sport, swim, go for fresh air, see my friends, or travel for some time. The key is in balance, learning how to treat yourself with good things, with beauty and kindness. The 5 senses are involved, and we must treat them right.

As a freelancer, everyday life is easier and soul-searching at the same time. It’s easier because I free my mind of what people expect me to do and create exactly what I want to. It’s exhausting sometimes too for two reasons : I have to eat, pay my bills, be productive and show results, as said before. I’m also constantly pulled and pushed by different vibes and inspirations, coming from everywhere, and if I don’t control myself a little bit, I work on 5 or more different unfinished projects at the same time, that I end up abandoning. Because inspiration is here to take it when it comes. You can’t ignore it. But also, inspiration needs to be controlled in a way that it’s really effective. Inspiration can be a hurricane. You should know how to read the weather.

Being an Artist is the way of life that I chose, and even if along the way it doesn’t work, I’ll just do something else that I love (Did I say that Artists tend to love a lot of things ?). But I’ll never stop creating.”

Art is both personal and political

Being an artist means having the opportunity to be vulnerable and allowing yourself the freedom to share your experiences with a large group of people. However, being an artist  also requires a lot of responsibility as it is the artist who must share what others might be too afraid to share.

For me, being an artist has helped me navigate my identity and invite others to come on that journey with me. Having grown up around traditional gender roles and growing up in a very heteronormative town, my art has been a tool that I am able to use to challenge all of the things that I once believed were static. Being an artist has allowed me to take risks – whether that be through a performance, a digital piece or a poem. My art gives me a second voice.

From a young age, I found myself gravitating towards visual art as a means of expression and catharsis- to understand myself and to be understood better by others. In high school, it was my favourite subject and it was the only thing I really excelled at. This led me to studying my bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, where I discovered I had an attraction to the intersection of language, bodies and technology. I began making videos, drawings, hypertexts (online click-through narratives on a website) and installations about gender inequality and its roots in gender binaries.

Hybrid Thingz, Digital Print, 2020

I have now graduated, and I am still exploring my medium, mainly starting every piece with some form of poem, question, or body of text. During COVID-19, my art has been a means for me to document how the world is changing and how I am also changing. My art is quite personal anyway, but during this time I was able to really open myself up and just hope that others can find something in there that they resonate with. 

What Are You Doing?, Digital Print, 2020

My art explores the idea of softness and fragility, traits which are deemed feminine and equated to weakness. I want to empower the feminine traits that are often seen as less than the masculine traits but had an issue with these traits being assigned to genders in the first place. I like to use feminine imagery and give my work an empowered, unmovable voice. I also love using the internet as a theme and a medium in my work as I feel like the internet is a great place to explore this huge theme of identity because it is so nuanced online.

Normalies, Poem printed on satin, 2019

In my experience, art is both personal and political, just like the internet, really. I personally use art as  a mirror which I can hold up to the world so people can have a closer look at what they see around them and scrutinise things that seem to just be part of everyday life. I want people to have to think and then rethink when they see my work- I don’t really care if they like it or agree with it, as long as I can make them think twice. Finally, art is such a powerful way to start conversations with people, and I think that’s what I like the most about it. Not only can I make other people think, but I have also learned so much from others from these conversations, and that’s really crucial.

Untilted, Illustrations on A5, 2019

Find more of Megan’s work:

Challenge what you think is the norm

Being an Artist for me has changed throughout my life, from studying in a school wearing
there were constant rules and you couldn’t touch anything dicey to college wear mastery of
technical skills would lead to amazing artwork to lastly university to where everything can be
used as inspiration and you were the sponge, you chose what you absorbed. What you
squeezed out would be the art you made.

Being an Artist means to me what I create in response to what I am feeling, what I’ve been inspired by and causes close to me. Creating something that has meaning beyond the superficial level but into the mind, challenging what you think is the norm.