Coming to Art by Encouragement
I wanted to become an artist because it was the first thing someone told me I was good at. I have a vivid recollection of a specific elementary school art project: My class was making clay relief tiles decorated with flowers to put on a bench for the community. I was assigned bluebells. As a stubborn 10-year-old, I remember being frustrated with my flower because it wasn’t the one I had wanted. When I asked my teacher if I could switch, he unfortunately said no. But he also told me that although it might be hard, he knew I could do it. I’m still unsure if he actually meant it, but it stuck with me.
While there are many artists who have influenced my style, it is my elementary art teacher who has made the biggest impact on my decision to pursue art as my career.
Art + Emotion
My work runs parallel to my life. My ideas have always been very self-centered in that they are a reflection of my current thoughts. A lot of my work is figurative, and I have always seen the figures as self-portraits. Many times, people ask why I paint nude figures. It’s not the nudity that draws me to painting them; it is the emotion held in the movements of the body and in the shades of skin tone.
I find working to be very therapeutic, as it is a way to get out my frustrations and work out any problems I am facing. I find myself spending more time in the studio when I need to escape my daily life.
Painting + Weaving
When I create, I am transported to a place where the rules don’t apply. There is more than one way to thread a loom. There are also countless ways to paint. So why should painting be refined to just a canvas?
My work thrives off of experimentation, which is ultimately what led me to combine painting and weaving. During the summer of 2018, I began painting on a few old pairs of jeans in hopes of rediscovering them. I was thrilled and excited with the results, and mostly that I now didn’t have to discard them. I started thrifting jeans just so I would have new canvases on which to paint.
While painting has been a true passion of mine for majority of my life, I only started weaving this past fall. After being introduced to the loom, it just clicked. If I could paint on my denim jeans, why not paint on my weavings? I dove right in and began experimenting. The first piece of work that came from this experimentation is Your Lower Back.
When I had leftover warp after working on a larger piece, I decided to make a small weaving, which would eventually be used as my canvas.
Painting on the weaving for the first time was quite strange. The texture of the weaving greatly affects the way the paint is applied, which is something I was not expecting to be a big factor. However, I find it exciting that my work has a level of unpredictability when I am creating it.
The Creative Process
My process is very erratic. I am either working for extremely long hours, bouncing back and forth from painting to textiles or I’m doing everything I possibly can to avoid working.
Once I have an idea, I like to dive right in head first. I never sketch out my plans beforehand because I have a very short attention span, so it makes it less exciting for me if I know what to expect. Of course, there are plenty of times where I’ll spend a long time on something and have it not come out the way that I had intended; however, when something works out just the way I wanted, the work becomes more special.
Caitlin Meagher is a mixed media artist, whose work is informed by her sense of self and the people surrounding her. Traditionally trained as a painter, Caitlin is thrilled by the endless opportunities presented by combining her painting skills with various materials. Her current work explores intimacy in small moments and combines painting and weaving. In May 2019, Meagher will graduate from Syracuse University earning a BFA in Studio Arts with a concentration in Film. She is ready to face the trials and tribulations of the art world.