Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Megan Euker

It's always intriguing to meet artists and meet them in unexpected places.  I am a beginner rower with Row Chicago.com on a recreational team.  We are in it for the exercise, to learn a new skill and just for fun.  I have met a good group of people through rowing and interestingly, an artist, Megan Euker.  She is a painter and a sculptor. She was kind enough to do an interview.

Where did you grow up?
Baltimore, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
What have been some of your non–art jobs?
I was a pianist at a piano bar in Chicago when I was twenty years old.
At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to be a sculptor/painter & what made you want to become a sculptor/painter?
I wanted to be an artist from as early as I can remember. I have always felt an intense drive and obsession with making things, so it was natural that I would devote my life/career to this pursuit.

You studied in Italy, what was that like and what was the one thing you learned from that experience?
My year in Italy on a Fulbright was amazing, life changing, and unforgettable. I learned you should always keep your eyes open and be spontaneous. When an opportunity arises, grab it, because it may never happen again, and even if it does, you may not ever have the inclination to grab it again. The best relationships I formed and the best art I made sort of happened by chance (I did not anticipate/look for/plan for them).
What are the steps/process (what are you sculptures/paintings made of) to your creations?
I get an idea, I obsess about it until I make it, then I obsess about making it, come across lots of problems that intrigue me, and remake it many times until I get it out of my system and move onto the next idea/material/process.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
In Chicago, I really like Soul Vegetarian East and The Chicago Diner. In New York, I like Mario Batali's Otto Pizzeria.
What do you do for yourself that is not art related?
I am currently on a rowing team, I love seeing Broadway shows, I cook a lot, and I play the piano.
What in your life motivates you/your work?
Anything I don’t fully understand – I have a huge curiosity about the unknown.
What is an ultimate goal of most sculptors/painters?
To produce pieces that:
-Are aesthetically pleasing or at least make you want to look longer or closer
-Make you/the audience feel something
-Make you/the audience question something
-Cause you/the audience to think differently than you would otherwise
-Tell the artist about him/herself
If you were not doing art what would you being doing?
If I was not an artist as an occupation, I think I would be a really good criminal profiler or psychotherapist.  I also have an intense interest in Italian language such that I could see myself incorporating that into a job/lifestyle. But I think the parts of me that make me a good artist infiltrate everything I do, so those parts wouldn’t be separate from any other occupation (drive, curiosity, creativity). 
What was the best (most fun) art exhibit you have been part of?
My last exhibit at Linda Warren Gallery (now Linda Warren projects) was the best and most fun exhibition I have had. I was really excited to show sculptures along with paintings for the first time, and I also had a live capoeira performance. It was incredible, because it really changed the dynamic of the space, and created an atmosphere filled with intense energy.
What advice would you give to aspiring sculptors/painters?
1.   If you are uncomfortable, you are in a good place for making art.
2. Never think you know everything about a subject/process and never think you’re above other people. You can always learn from others – even if you’ve been doing something your entire life, you can still learn from someone doing it for the first time.
3. You have time, resources, and energy for anything that you truly want to have time, resources, and energy for.
4. Don’t spend so much time on the computer/watching TV.
5. Read a lot.
6. Look at the work of other artists ---- look at work that you don’t like and work that you love, and try to understand what you hate and love about both. Try to have tons of artists’ names come to mind as you work.
7. Always keep an eye on yourself and pay attention to what you pay attention to.
8. Exercise and be healthy. Smoking packs of cigarettes and being an alcoholic won’t make you an artist.
9. Work beyond what you think your limits are.
10. Treat people with respect and kindness.
11. Engage in cultures and lifestyles other than what you are familiar with.
12. Be curious, ask questions, be open to change.
13. Accept that everything changes as a fact of life.
14. The world is really small, and the art world is really, really, really small.
To contact Megan to see more of her work please visit her website www.meganeuker.com.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lost Artists

I went to Second Saturdays at the Art Colony for the Lost Artists Exhibit in Avondale (2630 West Fletcher Chicago Illinois 60618). The space is a large warehouse with little rooms sectioned off that each artist rents.  The hallways are covered by art.  There was a space where there were poetry readings; then later musicians occupied the space. The walls did not go all the way to the ceilings and you could hear the lovely voice of the singer and guitar in every part of the warehouse.  In the far distance or in the front row the song’s beautiful melody was just right for the occasion. Each rented space was numbered and each number was a unique design by each artist.  I saw work by James Vellner whose pieces reminded me of one of a kind tattoos.  Artist Walter Fydryck bird series was completed with an acrylic wash and pencil.  I am always impressed by different techniques in execution. Photographer, David Bechtol‘s panoramas of wilderness landscapes were my favorite of his collection. 

One of the spaces is occupied by Take 2 Vintage a tiny shop with vintage furniture, ceramics and paintings. I would love to buy the bright velour squat pinstriped blue suitor chair. (I like chairs, more that couches) It reminded me my neighbor Helen’s round chair when I was a kid.  I dream of that chair and wish I could have it.


GretchenHasse’s use of an old window like a comic book in each pane made me think of Pinterest’s ideas.  Her work also made me think of the Story Of O comic book. Her figure drawings were exaggerated and with bold, intricate lines. In Kirk Rohrbaugh’s space the lighting was fantastic for his vibrant, bright pieces on oval and circle canvas as well as squares and rectangles.  When you walked into his space the colorful paintings lit up the room with cantaloupe oranges and fire truck red and neon blues.

My favorite art of the exhibit was Frank Mascenic’s pieces.  They were nature and abstract themes.  The granny smith green in some of his pieces really caught the spectator’s attention.  One of his paintings was a lush yellow that drew everyone to step into the room. 


The Art Colony is open to the public every second Saturday of each month.  It’s free to attend exhibits and usually artists provide snacks and drinks for the evening. Stop by and buy local!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

ARTinerary ©

ARTinerary© came to me when everyone was designing apps.  I thought here is my app idea; it's for those of you looking for a fun Friday night and do not know what to do.  Maybe you're tired of the same thing every weekend and maybe you are visiting Chicago and do not want to do tourist stuff: you want to see where the locals hang out.  My friend Whitney always said I was Julie McCoy, because I like to plan nights out: "Well I am your cruise director now" with a Friday night plan with an art/creative theme of events.  I hope you will enjoy the agendas and you can follow the ARTinerary© on Twitter.  I have created ARTinerary© for the last four Fridays.  I hope I can keep it up and I hope I do not forget. Here is the first of the new year: Friday January 4, 2013 ARTinerary©:

Part 1 @ 530pm:
Ojero Exhibit by Sam Kirk
at Elephant Room located at 704 South Wabash.  This is the last night of the exhibit; DON'T MISS IT!

Part 2 @ 730pm:
Dinner at The Flower Flat located at 620 West Addison. They have delicious menus that change week to week (BYOB too). Also there is some great art hanging up.  Here is the menu: PRIX FIXE FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013...

beet salad with rosemary vinaigrette
celery, radishes, oranges

walnut pate

seared steak with herb butter
horseradish mashed potatoes
wilted spinach

pan-fried tilapia
green beans, capers, lemon

orecchiette, kale, white beans
truffle oil

Chef's choice
banana bread muffins with chocolate ganache

Part 3 @ 9pm:
Reggae at Exedus II located at 3711 North Clark.

Whitney and I and friends ended up at an electric reggae show one night where this tiny, tiny, gal belted out a sax better than any other sax performance I've ever seen in my life.

Have a great weekend!