January Feature: Meg Terry
"At my core, I hold a deep love for nature. I’ve always been so interested in plants, wildlife, and the outdoors. I’m always the person that points out different birds and has to catch every frog, toad, or snake I come across. I look to nature and the outdoors to celebrate and find joy, and also to heal and find peace. My impulse as an artist is to write love letters every day to the earth; it is where we all come from and where we will all someday return.
In my craft-based work, I focus on the use of second hand materials as a part of my process. Taking the time to hunt out pre-loved materials and envisioning what they could transform into flexes my creativity in ways that new materials simply can’t. Motifs of plants and animals also work their way in everywhere they can, tying together pieces that, while tactile and practical, guide one’s mind towards ideas about sustainability, slow use, and how our consumption impacts nature - ourselves included.
In my gallery style work, I photograph and paint the places I’ve been as a reminder of the beauty I’ve been lucky enough to experience. In the current world we live in, it’s become so easy to have blinders on to the natural world around us. Too often we hear stories about hiking trails with ideal photo op views being absolutely destroyed and littered upon for the sake of an Instagram post, rather than being truly enjoyed or respected, or yet another species becoming endangered due to deforestation and pollution. In my work, I aim to take a slower, more intentional approach to appreciating the beautiful views and creatures I’m lucky enough to live with every day. In my paintings, I aim to capture the honest beauty of these places while conveying the dreamy, warm lens that I see the natural world through.
My hope as an artist is that when someone views my work, whether it be at a market or in a gallery, they take the opportunity to think about the ways they connect with and appreciate the natural environment that we as humans are still very much a part of."
Q: Tell me about what kind of work you are currently making?
"I'm excited to be rethinking the tactile focuses of my practice. Looking forward, I’m hoping to start experimenting with linocut printing on both paper and clothing, as well as shifting my current dye work towards natural dye methods. Ideally, adjusting my style and methods will result in pieces that better reflect my values and interests as an artist.
In my gallery work, I’ve just started an ongoing series where I use a film camera to take photos in nature, be it full landscapes or macro images of insects on flowers, and then paint an iteration of that photo. Using a film camera forces me to be thoughtful about the images I capture, which in turn leads to a closer study of the environment I’m in. Using these photos to then paint from is almost like painting from memory - dreamy images that don’t quite look real, and you haven’t seen since the moment you snapped the shutter. I love the pairing of film photography and paint, as they both feel very thoughtful and intentional, and make a cool pair when matching sets are seen together."
Q: What is a day like in the studio for you?
"Every day in the studio for me is so different! Working with multiple mediums leaves a lot of space for a varied experience. My studio is in my home, so it allows me a lot of flexibility; sometimes I spend my whole day hunkered down at my sewing machine while watching true crime documentaries, other days I take my easel out on my deck and paint in the sunshine. A lot of days are spent chaotically trying to get as much done as possible ahead of whatever art market I’m heading to next. One constant that I’m very thankful for is my pets. If you ever come to own a piece of my work, it’s absolutely guaranteed to have some dog hair included as a free gift with purchase. They’re lovely assistants, both in keeping my company while I work, but also by helping to keep me out on the trails looking for the subject of my next painting."
Q: Who are your most prominent influences on your art practice?
"Is it the corniest answer possible for me to say Bob Ross? I’ve been watching so much of his show recently and it’s been doing incredible things for me as an artist. I’m naturally a very anxious person, and an over-thinker, and overly critical of myself and my work (who isn’t?). His happy accident’s philosophy and quick pace of working have really been encouraging me to not get stuck on the details or think too hard about what I’m doing. Especially as a newer painter, it’s really easy for me to get painter’s block and take forever to finish a piece because I’m scared of doing something wrong and taking in the no mistakes teachings of Bob Ross have seriously helped me feel less pressure.
The other main influence on my art is always other local small artists. Being a market vendor consistently for two years now has allowed me the opportunity to meet so many amazing creators whose work is constantly inspiring me to try new methods, mediums and styles. A couple of my current faves are Emily of @shopslugbb and Emma of @kip_ceramics (both on Instagram)!"
Q: What are your preferred mediums to work with and why?
"When it comes to painting, I 100% prefer using acrylic on paper. Whenever I’ve tried painting on canvas I’ve struggled with it, and I’m not sure if it comes from a lack of practice or it just being a preference thing. I really enjoy painting on paper - particularly thick handmade paper made with recycled fibers - because it allows me to work with very thin paint to create an almost watercolour effect without worrying about dripping or running. I prefer acrylic paints because they’re super beginner friendly, inexpensive, and easy to work with.
In my photography, I’m a SUPER beginner - as in, still really learning how to get along with my camera. I have a Pentax SP1000 (second hand, of course) and it uses 35mm film and that’s about all I know at this point! The learning process has been really fun so far and experimenting with different lenses and lighting has been such an adventure already."
Q: What major themes, concepts or methods are rooted in your practice?
"I feel like my artist statement covered this thoroughly, but if I were to boil it down to one concept it would be that I use my art, through multiple mediums and methods, to communicate my adoration for mother earth. Motivated by sustainability, reuse tends to take center stage in my practice. In my tactile, craft-based work, I use exclusively secondhand textiles to create unique, whimsical clothing pieces and accessories by hand; it's the slowest fashion you can come by. My paint practice, while very new, circles around capturing and appreciating the natural environment. I do my best to incorporate sustainability by using recycled fiber paper rather than new material paper or canvas. Thematically, I use my art to grapple with how disconnected we are from nature as a society, but how close I feel to it personally. No matter what mediums I wade through or different methods I come by, I think nature and my relationship to it will always be at the center of my work."
Q: Where can we find more of your work?
"All my work and events can be found on my Instagram and Facebook page @wannabeartistgirl. I’m always posting about upcoming events and pieces available for sale on my pages, so drop me a follow to see where I’ll be next! Currently, my next market event is on February 9th with The Ward Night Market (@ward_night_market on Instagram) and hope to have many more throughout the year."
ABOUT "NEXT" INTERVIEW SERIES
NEXT is an extension of our N/A gallery exhibition program. We are looking to extend our reach to artists and create more opportunities through our online platform. Our goal is to promote emerging artists within the community who display dedication and production within their studio-based practice. The interview series will offer both conceptual and visual insight to the artists practice and studio environment.
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