Megan Evans:Learning to Balance Her Own Art with Being an Art Teacher

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Megan Evans and I first met at a Creative Arts of Women (CAW)  meeting soon after she joined.  Then at the first Pink Crow party that I attended, I was lucky enough to ‘win’ one of her pieces and now it is hanging in my house in Florida!  Over the 2 years we’ve been in CAW, we’ve talked and realized that we both taught at the same Columbus City middle school at the same time several years ago!  What are the odds?  I have become enamored of her work and finally pinned her down for an interview.

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Megan’s piece in my house!

Originally from Cincinnati, she left the Queen City to attend college in Findlay. She graduated from the University of Findlay with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Art with a minor in Mathematics.  After graduation, she moved to Columbus and began working at the Goodman Gallery where she both sold artwork in the gallery and  helped people create custom framing orders. After working for several years at the gallery, she thought it was time for a change and she decided to go to The Ohio State University to work on a  Master of Art Education. Since then, she has taught for Columbus City Schools (15 years). Beginning at Binns Elementary on the west side of town, she then moved to Monroe Traditional Alternative MS (now closed and where we both taught) before finally landing her current assignment at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School.

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Regurgitate and Transparency

She states that she has always wanted to make art.  My earliest memory is sitting at my mom’s sewing table and drawing, as though that was my own personal art studio.  Then in high school, she had a teacher (Jane Cramig) that inspired her to really develop her skills. She spent every free moment in the art room, making as many different pieces as possible. Therefore, the decision to pursue art in college came easily, and, happily for the rest of us, she has been making art ever since.

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Megan in her classroom

When asked to categorize her art, she stated that she creates abstract landscape paintings on irregular shaped canvases that she creates and stretches. Pieces begin with acrylic paint, layering the background colors and from there begin adding drawings of birds, fish, and botanicals. She also adds images created using block printing.  As the images are layered, there is more painting and then the final layer of wire sculpture is added.

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Bloom

One of the questions she is frequently asked is how she creates her uniquely shaped canvases.  This process is one she learned as an undergraduate student and has continued to use. For me the beginning of the creative process starts with the shape. The canvases are drawn out onto plywood and then cut out with a jigsaw.  Once the shape is formed, quarter round is notched every inch to make it flexible then added to the edge, which raises the canvas off of the plywood frame. Finally, the canvas is stretched. 

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Change

Inspiration comes mainly from nature and her own life:

It has taken me many years to really understand the meaning in my own work.  Ever since the last years of college I have been creating images around nature and the transformation of plants, insects, and animals.  In the last couple of years, I have come to understand that this was an introspective look at my own life and how I have been transformed by the events/tragedies in my own life.  Since the revelation, I have continued to represent these ideas in my work.

She also states in her website:

Deeply affected by the loss of her mother to breast cancer and the loss of her daughter to Trisomy 18, she draws inspiration from those experiences and her reflections on both the pain of loss and the joy of knowing.  Her artistic influences include Hannah Wilke for the transformative elements in the artist’s work and Vincent Van Gogh specific to his use of texture.

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Although it has been important for her to maintain balance between her career as an art educator and the creation of her own work, she does state that being a teacher has affected her work. She hasn’t learned any new techniques recently but one of the things she loves about teaching is that it keeps her using many different media all the time. I have come to see how wonderful mixed techniques are when used together. She thinks this is why she incorporates so many different media in her works.

Recently, Megan moved what used to be her home studio to Millworks. She’s particularly excited for this change since her home space was small and often overrun by her two children. So now she has a larger dedicated space to create her unique pieces.

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Megan’s piece for Landmark…Living in the Past

Megan is also one of the people represented on the Long Street Cultural Arts Wall.Quite an honor! She is included in the education section recognizing her work in creating public art with young people on the historic Near East Side. She worked with many neighborhood/community organizations to create public art pieces such as: NoBo (North of Broad) after they bought a vacant lot for $1.00, a city program that was offered if the space was maintained as green space.

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Community Sculpture

Besides her website, she offer works for sale during exhibitions. And speaking of that,she plans to continue exhibiting with CAW over the next year while also applying for juried shows.  I have applied for shows out of Columbus, most recently a show called Furs, Feathers, and Finns in Maryland but my work did not make the cut:( The no’s are part of the process of being a working artist and I have been compiling a list of goals I have for the next year in terms of applying for shows- currently, finding the time to follow through and keep up on the list seems to be the struggle- teaching takes up so much of my time!

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Another community scultpure

Besides her website, she offer works for sale during exhibitions. Her work is currently featured in the Transitions show at the Shot Tower Gallery, which is a Millworks group show featuring the works of Pheoris West.  She may also be doing the upcoming CAW show in November and will definitely be doing the Inside/Outside show in that CAW has planned for  Spring 2017 (she’s already begun the work for the show!!)

 

 Contact info for readers:

 email: exaltedart@gmail.com

website address: meganevansart.us

http://www.columbusmakesart.com/artist/1203-megan-evans/

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