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.