MEGAN MENZIES

@MEGANMENZIES

Her work explores these seemingly normal, ordinary moments, and she indeed makes them beautiful!

Megan’s vivid colour palette, including fluid greeney blues, punchy reds and soft yellows, is gorgeously soft yet punchy, and brings a gravitas to the day to day scenes she is depicting. 


You might see swimmers, pickle jars, late night dancing by salt and vinegar crisps, lounging on the sofa, cash tills or cleaning…

  • INTERVIEW


     

     

    What do you want your work to say?


    In my work, I’m searching for an element of the sublime within the ordinary. I find inspiration in people and spaces that might normally go unnoticed. Stories and conversations feed my ideas and I collect them as research. What excites me is how that research combines with my memory and imagination, allowing me to discover and develop narratives and symbols in my paintings.

     


    How do you think your work has developed throughout your career? And what are your artist career highlights?


    A few years ago I moved to Poznan, Poland. I lived there for almost two years. During that time I was able to really develop my practice. I engaged intensely with the street that I was living on and the people that I met. I found that being somewhere unfamiliar had an impact on my creativity. It really forced me to be more observant and to look at everything more keenly. It was a hugely valuable experience and I am continuing to work in a similar way, despite being back in London.

     

    What are you working on at the moment?

     

    Before we went into lockdown I was working on a series of paintings inspired by an allotment in Tottenham near my studio. It’s there that I met a couple in their 60s, Ali and Fatima. Many of my recent paintings have been inspired by Ali, Fatima and their cucumbers! Now, working from home, I’ve really had to adapt my process. I normally rely on being able to go out, to meet people and collect stories. Instead, this has been a time for me to work more from my memories. I’m enjoying looking through old photographs in search of new narratives.

  • "I find inspiration in people and places that might normally go unnoticed."

     
    Is colour important to you?


    When I have an idea for a painting I normally make sketches in charcoal, so initially I’m not thinking in terms of colour. I really enjoy using charcoal, it’s the perfect medium to work with at the initial stage of an idea. It can be pushed around and manipulated so easily- it almost seems to work in sync with the imagination. Colour is important, but that comes later, more instinctively as a composition develops.

     

    WHO IS YOUR Favourite historical female artist?


    German artist Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907). Her paintings are so honest and confident. She was fearless, painted exactly what she wanted to paint and ignored her critics. A couple of years ago I made a sort of pilgrimage to a village called Worpswede, near Bremen, where Modersohn-Becker lived and worked. There I visited her house (now a museum with a large collection of her paintings). It was magical!


    WHO IS YOUR Favourite current practising female artist?


    Recently I’ve been looking a lot at Nicole Eisenman’s work. I saw her paintings in the Radical Figures exhibition at Whitechapel gallery earlier this year. I love her attention to detail and sense of humour and the vastness of her imagination. But it’s difficult to choose a favourite! I’m always discovering brilliant artists through Instagram and going to exhibitions.