April 21st, 2018 - May 9th, 2018 // "Flourish"

::falls into couch wearing pj's in the middle of the day:: 

Phew, this month is already flying by! 

I recently had the opportunity to visit Spokane and attend First Friday at The Chase Gallery for the group show "Flourish" which featured myself and fellow artists Melinda Hurst-Frye and Tara McDermott. 

It was lovely to see this show, the three of us have been working on it since late last summer and to finally see all our hard work on display was incredibly rewarding. 

What makes the show special is not only that our work shares similarities, (ie. photograph arts focusing on nature) but also that while our subject matter and tools are similar, our final work and process are all very different. 

Another joy about this quick visit was how kind and welcoming The Chase Gallery was, both Mika Maloney and Remilisa Cullitan from Spokane Arts took excellent care of the layout and helped us in every way. It was a pleasure to work with them and I hope to do so again in the future. 

I also want to recognize how kind fellow photographer and Spokane native Melissa Rackham was, she visited the show Friday night and invited us over for brunch the next day with her family in her lovely home -- it was a great start to our very hectic Saturday which started with an artist talk and ended with driving all the way home to Seattle. 

All in all, I came home Saturday night and crashed until Monday morning -- but while my body was tired (and maybe still a bit tired today)  I'm now feeling ambitious and inspired, and so thoroughly in love and thankful to the city of Spokane. 


One of the best parts of this whole experience was getting a chance to watch Tara make her work on the way to the show, she even let me take a photo on the Hasselblad! (!!! x 100) 

So while my quick iPhone 6 snaps will pail in comparison to her medium format goodness, here are a few of my favorites from the trip over. 

March 13th, 2018 - April 20th, 2018 // Love Letter to Spring 

The last few weeks of April are usually my last bits of calm before the storm -- since my collage work heavily relies on photographs of plant life, I have an "on" season that starts to pick up late Spring and runs like a marathon through late Fall. (Or when I have a small mental breakdown, whichever comes first.) 

During the height of summer, I often feel like I'm trying to drink from a firehose. And this year will be even busier because it will be my first full season with a garden, courtesy of the Seattle P-Patch program. This responsibility means there is much more to do, but I am already reaping the rewards. (And pulling weeds.) 

I had a head start with planting for Spring last Fall, so my little space is already about to burst with color. Most recently a handful of Tulips burst through my little plot and became some of the biggest most vibrant flowers I have ever seen! 

I have a few projects that I'll be testing this summer, while I pursue growing my own art and all that entails; and while I suspect many of the items I grow in the garden will end up in front of my camera at some point, I'm just enjoying the learning process and experimenting. 

I've been telling anyone that will listen that taking on that little 10' x 20' patch of earth is the healthiest thing I have done for myself since adopting my dog, Gus. It's such a rewarding space, and I'm incredibly thankful for it. 


Besides the garden, this Spring/Summer schedule has a lot on my plate beside my typical art practice. 

  • I'll be rebranding the website, which is no small task. 
  • I'll be attending the Ayatana Nocturn Residency in Ottawa this June. (!!!)
  • And I have a show in Spokane that I'll be traveling too and be giving an Artist Talk for this May 5th, 11:00am-12:00pm! 

I have never packed this much into my busy season before, but I have faith that I won't regret it because, for the first time in my career I have also scheduled myself some time off.

It's not much, but enough that I hope I won't become too burned out. Small victories! 

With that in mind, I'm going to finish this up and take in the last few weeks of April in stride. Sometimes I can't believe I'm lucky enough that I get to wake up every morning and pursue my art, even if it means by the end of October I'll be thoroughly frazzled. 


Oh! And about those aforementioned Tulips, they are so gorgeous that after I photographed them, I just couldn't keep it to myself, so I made a set of 10 digital wallpapers -- free to download. 

Just click here and pick your favorite for a quick laptop makeover, it'll do you good. (A few of my favorites is below.) 

-MJ 

March 1st, 2018 - March 13th, 2018 // References from Art History

It's officially market season in Seattle! (Well, it's technically always market season as we have many flea and farmers markets open year round -- but this is the time of year where more than just the dedicated few set up a booth and sell their treasures.) 

Which means it's my season to source my props and the knick-knacks that add those little details that I love so much. 

Most of those details are inspired by referencing paintings and etchings from the Rennisaunce and Baroque art periods, as I have adopted portions of their visual language and mixed it with my own. 

As I prepare for upcoming flea markets by viewing my favorite paintings and making my "wish list" for this season, I thought I might share my previous inspirations and how that inspiration manifested in the work. 


My work is obviously heavily influenced by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526 or 1527 – July 11, 1593.) 

My whole digital collage practice came from experimenting within a previous series named #ArtHistorySelfie - which only lives on IG via the tag.

During that time, I thought I could magically make an Arcimboldo-ish self-portrait in under a week.

That did not happen. 

But the work did end up taking a life of its own and eventually outgrew the project I intended it for; evolving into "Warmth" over the course of two years of working on it. 

WarmthbyMegganJoy

I don't often borrow specifics from Arcimboldo other than a general idea, as I go off in my own direction - but there are still little details of what he incorporated into his portraits that I go out of my way to also include. I like to think of them as my nod to what made his work so engaging, and pulled my interest into the artwork in the first place.

Like these little strawberries tucked into his "Spring" 1563, and my own "Brave Face" 2017.  

Sigh, I love them. They look like little jewels. I just sowed a slew of heirloom strawberries varieties for my garden this summer. 


I may not borrow too many specifics from Arcimboldo, but I do borrow specific items from Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Eyck, and Dürer. 

I'm always on the hunt to bring something tangible, relatable and special to tuck within my collages. I'm always looking to add something artificial, with weight and texture to contrast against whatever flora and fauna I'm mostly building my work with. 

Here are a few details that I have borrowed, compared with each piece of inspiration.

Detail: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer - 1665 // Miss Disquietude - 2017 

Detail: Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck - 1434 // Orange; Brave Face - 2017 // Tassle; Fortified - 2017 

Detail: Self Portrait with Beret, Gold Chain, and Medal by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn - after 1640 // Cat's Cradle - 2017

Detail: Melancholia I by Albrecht Dürer - 1514 // Miss Disquietude - 2017 


This flea market season, as always, I'm on the hunt for gold chains, pearls, rings, clocks, lockets, vintage ribbons, and chords. 

But I'm also hoping to go through my stock of inventory and make artwork with the treasures I already have. (Which includes everything from a vinyl corset to 13lbs of fake pearls. My studio is nuts.

-MJ 

February 14th, 2018 - February 28th, 2018 // Gratitude Gift 2018

This year I made it a priority to accomplish a project that has been in the back of my head for awhile now - an idea to not only make art accessible - but to give it as a gift in gratitude. 

Right around now, 11 homes will be receiving a package from me in the mail; each contains "The Authoring" a 9" x 9" edition of 11 (2AP). 

I designed "The Authoring" with this project in mind, based on "the writing hand" emoji - I wanted to make something to inspire and engage the creative process for whoever receives the prints. 


The process for making this collage was surprisingly quick. 

Once I decided on my concept, I realized that I would need a thicker pencil to accurately recreate the hand shape of the emoji, which I thought would be hard to find. 

Instead, it took me about ten minutes of browsing Blicks in Capitol Hill to find this thicker pencil that initially had a ruler printed on its side. 

I painted the pencil gold, made sure to photographed it with the correct light source and proceeded to fill in the hand with green and purple flora and fauna from my catalog of images. 

It took me just a few days to complete, which is significantly shorter than I usually spend on making hands. 


The trickiest part of this project was convincing people that the artwork was indeed free, they had just to send me an address to post it too. 

I'm hopeful that I will be able to do another Gratitude Gift next year, and if I can, the first to know will be those on my newsletter mailing list. You can sign up by clicking here. 

Make art. Share art. Repeat. 

-MJ