I am pleased to share that I was awarded a residency at Amazon for the summer of 2023.
The Amazon Artist in Residence program provides local artists with a $15,000 grant, ten weeks of studio space in the company's Seattle or Bellevue offices, and an opportunity to connect with Amazon employees by sharing space together. I am incredibly excited about this upcoming season of creating.
To be helpful for future Amazon AiR applicants or any other project proposals, I thought it might be beneficial to read my submission. (I know how hard writing about your art and process can be; it's daunting, critical, and personal, so it can be overwhelming if you haven't had experience or one-on-one guiding support!)
I was fortunate enough to have a friend (who once worked at this program on Amazon's side) go over my application and give me some thoughtful feedback about how to structure my ideas and timeline. I want to offer that same support to you. So please feel free to dissect and borrow any structure you see below, apply it to your process, and have your ideas get the recognition I believe they should have.
Below is what I submitted copy paste, on August 1st, 2022.
I intend to use my term utilizing the space to photograph florals grown by local farms. (Perhaps I can even arrange to photograph some of the specimens found within the Spheres indoor gardens.) With the plan to use that greenery to digitally assemble a life-size depiction of Tyche, the goddess of chance, fate, and fortune. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyche)
I believe a quite literally homegrown interpretation of Tyche would be well suited for the corridors of Amazon, as she is a deity revered as the personification of the fortune and uncertainty found within a community. She represents the connection between a singular fate and how it relates to the future of society as a whole, takes responsibility for the good and bad luck, and creates the meanderings of chance in between.
She'll be assembled from the bounty of spring through summer* harvests, which I'll bring into the Doppler studio to photograph, catalog, and collage. (*due to the nature of this type of work, spring/summer term is desired.)
Balancing on a sphere, vision obscured behind a veil, the luck of the singular person and the populous fluctuate to her whims. Whichever way she shifts, so do we, may they be favorable or not. Amazonians also find themselves in a similar position as the city continues to shift and transform at a rapid pace, further centering its economy on the tech industry and whispers of a recession looming. "The arrival of tens of thousands of well-paid workers — earning what residents call "tech money," or average total compensation of more than $150,000 a year for Amazon employees — has sent rents and housing prices soaring." 'Amazon in Seattle: Economic godsend or self-centered behemoth?' (The Washington Post, April 8, 2019).
Of the ten weeks, I plan to spend the first five photographing my material. A visitor would observe my unconventional studio set up, buckets full of fresh flowers, and my method for drying the florals to reuse for installation work.
The next four weeks are spent collaging the images together. Visitors during this time will view my technique in real-time, creating Tyche's digital arrangement as I'd project my screen onto a wall.
The final week is reserved for test printing and wrapping up the project in whichever manner is needed. The final piece will be mounted to Dibond and Acrylic, with a back cleat for easy display.
I plan to make the event project like an analog version of my digital work. Each participant will be provided a kit for the workshop, stocked with enough supplies to make their own "Hand of Tyche."
Each kit will come with my images to collage with, a hand outline to use as a guide, designed similarly to a classic paint-by-number painting, so the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows will be pre-mapped out on the canvas. Allowing the participant to create the illusion of a "true-to-life" hand with ease.
However, to encourage creativity and emphasize the risk of fate that Tyche represents, the participant will choose each kit element from sealed envelopes randomly selected by themselves during the event.
It will be up to their creative choice to arrange the various elements fate hands to them, but with the built-in win of the complex tonality and pose already selected.
Using a projector, I'll show my process using the same supplies and analog method, then share a bit about my standard practice.
I've spoken a few times to students and plan to engage with the workshop attendees as I did for "Medium and Intent," an artist talk I prepared for the students of Photography Center Northwest.
However, for this event, I hope to be less formal and allow space and conversation to ease and flow as we work through our projects. I will offer insight into the various science and folklore of the plants being used, guide them on constructing this realistic floral hand, and explain my reasoning for choosing Tyche as a subject. The artwork could be quickly completed in a few hours; however, it will be convenient to take home if they want to work on it at a slower pace.
My practice is rooted in cultivation, beginning with each new growing season. Each year, I select plants with particular characteristics in mind, from the fruit they produce to the shape of their flowers to their qualities to attract certain insects and birds, etc. All this is done with my artwork in mind as I tend to my garden.
Throughout the growing season and into the harvest, I photograph every aspect of the life cycle using my specialized studio setup. For additional material I cannot grow myself, I purchase from local farmers and spend summers in an unconventional technique of digital foraging, with my camera and portable studio on my back.
I catalog these images using my own methodology. The color, texture, shape, and qualities of each specimen are noted, along with any historical meaning, folklore, or scientific references that I want to include in my final collages.
These images are the primary material I create with; each digital collage is built from my catalog of photographs and weaved together digitally. I accompany the large-scale collages with an immersive installation in which I create an unnatural garden filled with fresh and dried flowers to frame the art, based on the notion that if the artworks existed as a planted seed, what would unwind from them?
When viewing my work, the shape of the icon/s reveals herself. Her posture, substance and material, and sometimes even the objects she wields, together focus the viewer on a fable that both flora and fauna can relate to. Delicately tucked into my "flower ghosts," you'll find miniature dramas, like a mantis stalking a fly or a new butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, placing these performances within the piece's theme.
My work is meant to facilitate discovery no matter how far, or close a viewer is to the art. There will always be something new for viewers to find in the compositions and, in doing so, gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the ecosystems that surround and support us and how we relate to them and vice versa.
Meggan Joy is a self-taught photographic artist primarily focused on digital collage. Joy combines fragments of the natural sciences with her narratives and allegories, often weaving in symbols and motifs from art history to create a new surreal vision.
She fabricates this staged imagery from the ground up, growing most of her subject matter in her garden, documenting the growth, beauty, and decay. Each piece is created by assembling thousands of individual photographs of botanicals, insects, and other wildlife - resulting in a final image that is bursting with life and layered with hidden details and anecdotes.
Joy has been honored as a finalist for the 2019 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize and received the bronze award at the Moscow International Foto Awards in Fine Art – Collage category in 2017. She lives and works in Seattle, WA and is represented by J.Rinehart Gallery.
And that's it! I hope this can help you. As a bonus, here are the little buddies beside me as I hit send. One-month-old (exactly!) foster puppies, all now living their best life with their forever families, they will be one year old when I start my residency this summer. <3