2015 Year in Review
Its never too late to reflect on the work that has brought me to where I am today. 2015 started out slow, then quickly gained speed last Spring, pushing through several exciting projects in the Summer, rounding out in the Fall, and ending in a nonstop stream of projects to ring in the new year. As I reflect on last year, I also reflect on the type of work I completed, what I enjoyed the most, and what direction I want to head in next. I have a unique background in architecture and job experience working on a variety of creative projects that has really opened up a world of possibilities. My year started out with a lot of set design projects in different theaters throughout the bay area. I contract part time at the Children’s theater in Palo Alto as a scenic painter. I dont design the sets, but I do help build them and then working from the designer’s elevations, I mix colors and paint them. I also develop and create specialty set items (I learned how to scenic paint mahogany!), props, and I provide set dressing.
2015 was also a big year for public art! Enhancing the local community through murals and large scale painting is definitely one of my biggest creative goals. When I work small, I prefer to use watercolor and charcoal/chalk pastel. However, when I work large, I have to use paint – and these projects have been a wonderful development of what I can produce. Last year’s public art splurge is in large part thanks to Redwood City – whose initiative is embracing and creating more public art in town. I also completed work in collaboration with the Santa Clara County Parks by enhancing their visitor center and disc golf course with murals at Hellyer. This park is really popular and for good reason – its beautiful, loaded with hiking trails, and the weather is enjoyable all year round.
The last large public art project was a special commission to complete a large mural in a workout room of a new apartment building in downtown Redwood City. The developers wanted the artwork to reflect the local, rolling hills of Redwood City in an abstract way. I had the help of my friend Tara and my Mom, who flew out from Indiana to work on the project with us. We had a very tight deadline, but we got it done. Although not my favorite project from last year, it was a great learning experience. I had to acquire liability insurance (and learn what that was all about), write a legal contract, and work closely with the developer to ensure the project’s success. A big takeaway from this project is that its important to always collaborate in a way where my voice and artistic style are still being applied throughout my work.
I also worked on a handful of events. These projects are nice because they provide a nice break from the regular hustle of my work. Someone else is hustlin’ for the work instead of me, and then they hire me to contribute to their projects. In 2015, I did chalk art, made my first sign (Thanks Rob for the CNC and workshop space in SF!), taught indigo/shibori classes to Pinterest, and provided set dressing for community fundraisers.
Of course, I am also constantly working on my own personal projects. I have a neverending list of ideas for my own work, the tricky part is finding the time. As I continue along this art journey, I recognize the importance of balancing work for hire and my own personal work. This year, I explored natural dyeing with fabric and with paper. I enjoy making my own pigments on watercolor projects and for the first time, applied this same idea to fabric. A collaboration with a seamstress friend, we are both inspired to continue dyeing fabric and creating handmade items. I also have an ongoing series of infographic posters made to inspire others to live more sustainably through art. I also sold my art online for the very first time! I plan to add a “shop” button to this site so visitors can view and buy prints. I had fun making custom shipping labels for friends – scanning images of birds I have cut out of magazines. Thank you, friends and family – for the continued support! The project I really look forward to giving back to in 2016 is my development of hands and flowers, nature, patterns, and colors using charcoal and chalk pastel on wood. I didnt do enough of these projects in 2015 – but wont let that happen again in 2016
Ill end with this small, commissioned project. It was one of my most popular and most viewed projects from 2015. One of my biggest goals in my work is to make everything by hand, with little use of the computer. In this rapidly evolving digital world, I want my work to reflect a breath of fresh air and showcase the handmade.
2016 is off to a great start. I look forward to sharing what Ive been working on and what is next in the world of What Meg Creates!