September 19th - September 28th

Lately, because of recent developments via the Guggenheim, there is much talk in the art world and beyond about the ethics of using living things in an artwork. 

As someone who does often photograph living animals for my work, this is something that is always on my mind, and more so in the last couple days. I photograph these creatures because I am interested in them, find them beautiful and ultimately value their presence on this incredible space rock we live on -- as such, I certainly do not want to contribute to any suffering. 

Previously, I had a roughly formed informal code of ethics of how to manage the use of these animals, however, due to the recent conversations, I spent yesterday going through my process and looking for any opportunities to do better. 

I decided that the best way forward was to compare how I was typically working with these creatures against the guidelines of the Animal Welfare Act, and make any changes immediately if need be. 

For my purposes, I did not exclude any animal, in any particular way, as the AWA does, in fact, exclude certain animals from its protection. I also decided to include the exclusions, that are not federally mandated but would be required to receive federal funding. 

I am happy to report that my previous practice was well within the guidelines of Animal Welfare Act. 

The only point that I can, and should, do better is being more transparent about my policies so that I can be held accountable. 

As far as I can tell, I don't qualify for any licensing or mandated regulations, but as of today, I do have a dedicated page on my website sharing my policy and code of ethics for review. 

While I am proud that my previous practice is indeed humane, I do want to finish this post up by acknowledging that my approach is a work in progress, and I intend to continue to do more research and make improvements as I learn. 

Phew, that was a doozy. Thank you for sticking with me with such a heavy topic. I'm one of the lucky humans who wakes up every day to make art, and I'm thankful that so many of you appreciate what I do. 

I invite you to check out my Code of Ethics and share your thoughts below. (I know I won't make everyone happy, and that's ok, I want to hear from you either way.)  

Meggan Joy

August 6th - September 18th

So, if you are keeping track, the last 30 or so days did not go how I intended. My 15 images in 30 days challenge got to about five images before the wheels* started to fall apart.

I'm not as surprised or disappointed as I probably should be. I had a lot of external stressors, including getting very ill.

However, I did get all of my 15 images started, meaning they are still works in progress, emphasis on progress. 

Which was my goal all along, to streamline my process, to get faster, to get organized. Put some pressure on to see where I did well and where I could do better. I made progress on all of those intentions. So I'm counting it as a victory. 

I also filled a sketchbook full of ideas, ideas that are just waiting to come together. 

Here's a peak of some of the work I did finish, my very first repeat pattern. (More of those to come!) 

-MJ 

*wheels = me

RepeatX.png

August 4th - August 5th

3/15

On yesterday's date, years ago, someone I trusted and loved passed away. This person is important for a multitude of reasons, but for one, he had acted as my reliable protector for my entire life up until that point. 

His death marked the start me having to learn to build and enforce my boundaries on my own, without the support I was accustomed to. 

Years later, I'm much stronger and capable, and that's in part due to his influence. 

"Fortified" is a gentle reminder that boundaries are valuable and that making space for yourself is knowing your strength. 


It takes a village to make hands out of flowers. Every single one reaches a point where I don't think it will work -- and then it does. 

Each time I start one, I find that the rules I followed for the last one won't work, and I'll have to re-figure out how to do it. 

And Cthulhu bless the patience of my friends who are often sent a work in progress screen shots asking, "...what does this look like to you?" 

It feels like a miracle when it pulls together. Every. damn. time. 

"Fortified" // Digital Collage in process. 

"Fortified" // Digital Collage in process. 

August 2nd - August 3rd

2/15 

"Wishing Ghost I" is a concept based on a particular conversation I recently had about the positives of knowing you will die. 

(Spoiler Alert: you will die!) 

This is obviously something that will make some uncomfortable, and I understand that, but for me, my death is the end of my work and my purpose, so while I am alive, that labor and purpose must be addressed. A deadline is just that, and I do not see that as a negative. It keeps me honest. 


I knew I wanted to portray these ideas in some way, but my immediate concepts felt too easy, perhaps a bit of low hanging fruit. 

Further more, I don't ever want my work to portray death as scary or evil; there is no value in using my art to villainize something that we will all do. 

So I scrapped those plans; and decided to start over. 

Whenever I do that, I like to take Gus on a walk to mull things around immediately and start fresh. This time he (of course) walked right into an over grown patch of the sidewalk that was full of seeding dandelions. It was the contrast of the seeds against his dark fur that got my brain thinking. 

By the time I got home, I didn't even need to sketch out my idea. I found the perfect broken doll feet on Etsy and told my apartment complex not to be worried if they see me out weeding. 

Within 12 hours of the feet arriving I had the finished work in front of me. 

I just love this little guy; these simple ones are often are the hardest to trust my instincts with, but as soon as I saw this in my head, I knew I'd be happy with it. I plan on making more soon!

"Wishing Ghost I" // Digital Collage // 12" x 12" (Edition of 5) // 2017 

"Wishing Ghost I" // Digital Collage // 12" x 12" (Edition of 5) // 2017