June 22nd, 2018 - July 2nd, 2018 // 31st Birthday Self-Portrait

For the last five years or so, I have made a self-portrait around my birthday, however this year I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to fit it in. The last week of my 30th year felt like an entire month's worth of ups and downs and running around. So taking an afternoon mid-week to pull this together felt a bit selfish and as if I didn't have my priorities in order; I had to keep reminding myself that when I feel overwhelmed, it is the right time to stop and make something because making is essential to my well-being. 

In this case, I had decided earlier this month to make myself a pink Rococo wig, for no other reason than earlier this year I made a big fluffy Marie Antoinette inspired wig for another project and really struggled with that process, so I wanted another shot at it to put into practice everything I had learned. 

My first wig was part of a personal project series named Commoditize, which I suspect I'll be posting more about when I wrap up the final image and write an overview of the entire series. Until then, you can view the wig here. 

That wig took me months, and a docked me a few ego points. This wig took me a day and recouped a few of those ego points. I don't plan on making another pompadour style wig, but it's nice to know that I have that in my bag of tricks now. 

While I was planning on semi-cosplaying as an 18th French Queen, I still wanted something that was defining of myself. So I designed the wig using some recycled silk-flowers found at Seattle ReCreative, because, could it be a portrait of me without flowers? The answer is no.  

Making the image was simple; I just set up my Oliphant backdrop (one of my favorite possessions ever) near my north facing window, set up my tripod and spent the afternoon experimenting with different poses. 

I wasn't expecting to really love the resulting image as much as I do. It may become my new bio photo. 

-MJ 

MegganJoy--12.jpg

May 10th, 2018 - June 21st, 2018 // Ayatana Residency

You know that thing that all creatives (hope to) get when they become so inspired that they become overwhelmed and shut down for a bit while they process? That's been me for the last couple days. (+ now I have a gnarly cold!) 

I just got home after attending the Ayatana Nocturne Research Residency with a notebook of ideas and big plans. Ayatana specializes in combining science with the arts, there are many different themed programs to choose from, all taking place in Ontario, Canada. 

I decided to attend the theme that seemed the most unfamiliar to me, which was about Nocturnal wildlife, in an effort to thoroughly push myself out of my comfort zone. (Which I was.)

I couldn't possibly write something here that would even begin to cover my time there, and to be honest, and I wouldn't want to because I'd much rather encourage you to attend yourself. So instead, here's a list of things I learned at Ayatana that may show up in my future work: 

1. Our atmosphere acts as a prism; when you look at planets low in the horizon line, the light reflecting back to you becomes shimmery and wavey because of the distortion. I'm obsessed with it. 

2. Trees relax at night. Yes. That big living thing without a central nervous system takes time to rest. And you can visibly measure it. (!!!) 

3. Just, everything fungi. I have never been so excited to explore a new to me medium. Did you know there is a mushroom that smells like watermelon? 

4. Basically, if you yell "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?" into a forest, you could end up talking to an owl. 

5. Darkness is vital to our ecosystems and, I personally was interested to hear how lack of darkness affects mental health - turns out we need the absence of light as much as we need light. 

There is much, MUCH, more; I suspect I'll be unpacking nuggets of inspiration for many moons. 

However, by far the most inspiring part of my time there was the conversations with the people around me. I'm going to link them below because they are all wonderful creatives and I highly recommend checking them and their work out. I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to share space with them. 

Agnes Marton  

Shin Young Park

Deborah Santoro

Blawnin Clancy

And I would be remiss if I did not include a link to the Ayatana director, Alexis Williams.

I can't wait to see how our time at Ayatana will manifest in our work. 

-MJ 

Some of my favorite textures from the week. 

 Cave selfie! 

Cave selfie! 

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