Featured Artist Megan Grugan
Interview by Nathalie Borozny
I first met Megan when she hosted a MamaCita Holiday show in her home in Bala Cynwyd last year. I watched her efficiently and graciously find a place for all of us while arranging her own work with her children and husband working along side her. Meg is a member of International Encaustic Artists and a graduate of Moore College of Art and Design with a BFA in painting. She still studies drawing and painting at Moore and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art which I found as encouragement to continue learning, seeing, and moving forward.
It was exciting to get to know her through this interview…
Nathalie: Do you remember the first time you thought of yourself as an ‘artist’? How did that come about?
Meg: I first thought of myself as an artist when I was starting first grade. Every word that I read or wrote had a color pattern and temperature in my mind. Words that were spoken were colors to me. I remember trying to explain this to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Gibson, when I was struggling to read aloud our assigned passage about a blue bird. The letters on the page were all printed in black and I really felt they should be blue, yellow and green because that is how the passage felt to me. She said I had the spirit of an artist and no matter what anyone ever told me, I should keep seeing things in color, even if it was printed in black and white. Mrs. Gibson allowed me to turn in assignments written in different colors. I think I realized that art was something I was good at, and it was a recognized part of me. I knew it was something that I deeply enjoyed. To this day, I always think in colors.
Nathalie: What role do you think children (I know you have four) play in our lives as women who make art? Supports, distractions, creative inspirations, examples?
Meg: My children have been an inspiration to me. They have always helped me to see the world in a lighter and brighter way. I loved making art with them and experiencing the process and the world through their unfiltered selves. While I would not say that I produced a large body of my own work when they were little, I definitely exercised my creative muscles on a daily basis through storytelling, doll making, costume and scenery creation and much more.
Not all of my children would call themselves artists using the literal definition, but they are all very creative. Knowing that I helped fuel that by not limiting their creativity has really helped to inspire my own view of the world and my work.
Nathalie: How would you describe your color palette and has this evolved, or been a conscious choice?
Meg: I gravitate toward clear and vibrant colors that are found in nature. I am not sure that this has evolved or if it has even changed over the years. I have my favorites—probably more toward the warm end of the spectrum.
Nathalie: Art can be a language, a way of communicating, a way to express ideas. Can you talk about what ideas you want to communicate through your painting?
Meg: I don’t know that I am trying to express any ideas. I am just making a record of a moment in time. Sometimes it is from memory or several memories strung together to be a story. Sometimes it is what I am currently looking at or experiencing, sometimes it is what the wax and pigment are doing on the surface. For me, the language of art is a very fluid expression of the enjoyment of a moment in time.
Nathalie: The organization SpeakArtLoud, in its manifesto Five Reasons Why We Need Art, states that “art is a collective activity. Art offers us a reason to come together.” Could you talk about this in terms of MamaCITA? And, can you say something about what MamaCITA means to you?
Meg: I found MamaCITA at a time when I was trying move into a more “traditional” space to create. The other women are all mothers who have had similar journeys and were motivated to share their creativity with the world. I have found the group to be deeply supportive of my art and my life as an artist who is pulled in a million directions every day. MamaCITA is a way for me to stay connected even when things feel crazy busy and out of control. The Mamas are always there to keep me accountable to my creative self.