Reflections on 2010

A Purple Cow's Paradise by collage artist Megan Coyle

This year has been quite a busy one. There were a lot of firsts for me which is pretty exciting. And to celebrate the upcoming year of 2011, here are 11 things that occurred this past year:

1) First solo exhibit that was then followed by several other solo shows throughout the year.

2) First newspaper feature

3) First magazine feature

4) Organized my first exhibit reception where I was responsible for everything from PR to the food. It was quite a learning experience!

5) Gave first artist talk and then gave a couple more talks. I’m usually terrified of public speaking, but after giving a few talks this year, I’m more comfortable with it. I actually kinda like it.

6) Scheduled my first solo show in another state (“Paper Collage” at Krempp Gallery in Jasper, Indiana)

7) Related to #5 – scheduled the first workshop I’ll run next year. It coincides with my Krempp Gallery solo show.

Blue Dachshund by collage artist Megan Coyle

8) Started working on my first children’s book – I’m still in the process of working on it. Hope to finish it sometime next year.

Downtown Cafe by collage artist Megan Coyle

9) Quit my job last year to work on artwork for a few months this year. Then found a new job doing design/web work – which has been a lot of fun.

10) Learned a lot about business and marketing for my artwork. As a result, I finally documented all my art and started designing marketing materials for myself.

11) Realized that art is something I really want to pursue.

All in all, it’s been quite a good year. I’m so grateful that I have so many supportive people in my life. And I’m incredibly excited about what the New Year may bring.

What did you accomplish this year?

Happy Holidays

“Christmas Tree”
Collage on mat board. 7″x5″
Order a print

Happy holidays, everyone! I’ll be out and about during the next few days and won’t have a chance to post until next week. Hope you’ve had a chance to finish your holiday shopping – and that you’re keeping warm! It’s been quite chilly here in DC.

Anyway, I’m off to start a marathon of eating all week long. Hopefully I can get a little exercise in between bites.

Bosty goes to Hawaii to escape the cold

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

It was getting too cold in DC, so Bosty boarded a plane and flew away to Hawaii for the week. He decided to send me plenty of pictures of all the fun he was having – I’m quite jealous. Here he is enjoying the bright blue skies while posing next to a palm tree.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

He’s loving how green the trees and plants are in wintertime.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

Bosty keeps posing next to Hawaiian sunsets every night.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

And he highly enjoys spending the day in a hammock, catching some rays (and z’s).

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

He’s been frequenting the beach to do some snorkeling and boating.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

Staying by the water until the sunsets and it gets too dark to enjoy the scenery.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

How about a drink with a mini umbrella in it? Don’t mind if I do!

He sure is having a grand old time – maybe he’ll bring me along next time?

Q & A: Collage Art

Brown Bear by collage artist Megan Coyle

Tell me about your collage technique.

Each collage starts out as a sketch. This helps me get an idea of the proportions of the subject and get the likeness down properly. I’ve noticed that if I don’t do a good job with the sketch; chances are I’ll have a hard time getting the collage to look right.

A Piece of the Ocean by collage artist Megan Coyle

Next I work on cutting and pasting paper onto the sketched composition. I’ll page through a number of magazines, tearing out pages that have solid colors or textures that I may want to use. Then I start cutting out strips of paper based on the shapes of shadows and highlights that make up different areas of the background or subject. I’m able to recreate the look and feel of a painting by working with fragments and shapes of magazine strips – these pieces of paper act like the distinct brushstrokes in a painting. As I work, I think of areas where I could weave in fragments of photographs in order to create moments of interest and texture.

Kitty in the City by collage artist Megan Coyle

How do you know when a collage is complete?

Often times I don’t feel a collage is entirely complete. You just reach a point where you feel it’s time to stop. Other times I know a collage is complete when I’ve set it aside for a couple of days, returned to it and think that there’s nothing more I can do to improve it – it’s resolved, finished.

What challenges have you found in your work?

Since I work with colors and textures that are found in magazines, there’s always the challenge of finding the right colors that will work well with a given collage. Sometimes it will take a while of hunting through magazines – just feverishly turning pages until I find the right color or pattern that I can use in a piece.

How has the Internet helped you promote your work?

It has helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for the Internet, it would be more difficult for potential clients to contact me. Although having solo exhibitions and giving lectures helps a great deal with getting exposure, if it wasn’t for the Internet, people who have seen my work in exhibits wouldn’t have a way to find out more about me. The Internet has also made it a lot easier to sell artwork and prints, and allows others to contact me directly.

Birdy by collage artist Megan Coyle

What’s your greatest ambition?

My greatest ambition is to take my technique to new heights. For instance, I’d really like to incorporate video and animation with my work – I just need to give myself enough time so I’ll have a chance to dive in and work on it.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on a dog portrait that I was commissioned to do – my client is going to give the portrait to his wife as a Christmas present. I recently completed another portrait that is also going to be given as a holiday gift.

Aside from commission work, I’ve been working on editing the plot of my children’s book and sketching out illustrations that I will collage in the future.

What are you trying to do with your art?

I’m trying to make my viewers question traditional ideas of what makes a painting a painting and a collage a collage by merging these two different mediums together. My collages are meant to be like an illusion – making viewers think they’re made from paint when they’re actually made from magazine strips. I like having my viewers question the materials of my work. I like it when they mistake them as paintings, because once I tell them they’re made from magazines, they look at the work in a new light. There’s also an urge to get closer to the collages to really study the handy work that went into creating them. I like this interaction of the viewer getting closer to take a better look.

What is your favorite subject to collage?

Portraits of people are by far my favorite subject to collage. I love all the details that make each person entirely unique and different than the next one. I also like how expressive the human face is as well as how people can tell us a story with their body movement and interaction with the environment around them. I’m really drawn to narrative scenes, and the human form works well with telling us a story.

Tabby Cat by collage artist Megan Coyle

I also like making portraits of animals. Animals can be such characters as well – I love how colorful different species are. Animals also work well with creating narrative scenes, which are my absolute favorite type of scene to construct.

How would you like to improve as an artist?

I would like to improve by finding more ways of presenting my work – by incorporating my technique and style with different mediums. I’m especially interested in getting better at working with animation. I have a feeling that animation would be a wonderful tool to use to create more dynamic artwork – artwork in motion.

Bosty goes to NYC

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

After arriving in NYC, Bosty hit the subway to get around town.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

He wandered around Chinatown, looking at all the knick-knacks and souvenirs

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

and doing a bit of window shopping for the holiday season.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

On his way to Central Park, he ran into part of a movie set on the street. He especially liked the enormous rocking horses on the set.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

Brrrr it was cold outside, but the trees in the park sure were toughing it out.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

Before he knew it, it was time to leave. Bosty hailed a cab to head over to the bus station so he could get back to DC.