Only days ago, I was lamenting to my mother about the struggle to become an artist. See, in some ways, I feel I have recently taken some professional steps backwards. Just this week, I started working in another restaurant after once again returning home penniless, all my money spent on travel or exhibitions, the financial holes covered by my ever-supportive parents. After traveling and installing in two countries and six states in the past five months, I have been feeling a little run down. Often when this happens I am also physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted, a conglomerate of perceptions that leave me feeling wasted, crushed and ultimately, like a failure because optimism takes energy. Mom suggested I look at the big picture and list my accomplishments as way to regain focus. So here it is, my simplified list illustrated with pictures:
April: Corte Moronati, Artist Residency in Sirmione, Italy, a trip funded by a professional development grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. I was invited to install for ArtPrize while in attendance of this amazingly beautiful place.
May: “Terminus” (Atlanta, GA, 2014) designed and built for the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences art auction, a body of work that resulted in nomination as one of the Georgia Committee’s Women to Watch for acceptance into the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
June: Jentel Artist Residency, Banner, WY. When the director told us that we were given the gift of time to use however we pleased while in attendance at Jentel, I chose to rest and spent my time staring off into the stars or watching the wind dance through the grassy hills. I did also learn how to use Adobe Premiere, edited the video for “Terminus” and created my Kickstarter video.
July: Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, a three-week residency cut short because of a family wedding (nurturing relationships will always be a top priority for me). “Glowing Fisher” was a built to demonstrate what I do for the other residents but also as a sketch for work that I hope to build in the near future. I also traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit with the ArtPrize curator and see for myself the building I would be installing on this September. Oh! I also worked on “Double Arch” for the MariettaCobb Museum of Art.
August: The Wassaic Project Summer Festival, “Seeing This Guy”, installation. I spent four days camping in the field with friends and both worked AND played hard.
Just the other day, a friend of mine commented that it appeared I was “living the dream” with all my travel and work, which caused me to reflect on what “the dream” was. What’s the point of all of this work, most of which occurs behind the scenes? So much of the actual work to make an art object or major installation/exhibition isn’t seen: the search for funding, the applications, the networking and social media campaigning to generate interest, travel: to and from residencies or simply show/gallery attendance in effort to network with collectors and other artists and become knowledgeable about what’s new and up-and-coming. This is where I currently find myself – navigating all of this stuff so I can build my new body of work. All of this effort is entirely necessary but I often get lost in it and I have to remind myself why I wanted to be an artist in the first place:
“Inspired by both the interior and exterior, I make three-dimensional drawings to emphasize obscured elements within recognizable objects and correlate the symbolic with lived experience. My work begins with the search for potential install locations. I prefer sites where nature has been permeated by manufactured elements or ways in which structures can communicate certain particulars about the current human condition. Each composition is comprised of a multitude of lines expanding and contracting in space to encourage the appreciation of specific habitats for what they are while also examining their hidden meanings. The final artworks are a multi-sensory art experience enhanced by natural and synthetic light intended to engulf the visual senses and reawaken for a moment the simple intrigue of looking.”
– Megan Mosholder, Artist Statement
One of my favorite parts of making art is watching the transformation of space with the knowledge that the final composition will make all of the work leading up to it – the physical, conceptual and theoretical work – worth it. The other part is watching how others respond to my installations. For example, my most recent piece, “Illuminated Stanchions (Site Revisited)” (2014) installed for the Wassaic’s “Seeing This Guy” was inspired by the way Luther Barn is built directly into the landscape. Drawn to the way landscape and architecture have merged together, I installed glowing twine directly onto the barn as a way to get audience members to slow down and see what I felt was a magnificent location, significant in more ways than one.
So, with that memory on the forefront of my mind, I will leave you with this: my most current project. It is the beginning and I am searching for funding. I have created collectable objects to support that funding. The final project, entitled in Native Odawa/Ojibwe dialect “Mijimendan vta Ziibi (Remember the River)” will be installed for this year’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI and serves as a reminder of the importance of Grand Rapids’ history but also its future: respect for all races of people and care for the environment vital to our survival. Installed directly onto the 5/3 Bank building in downtown Grand Rapids, this installation will be realized from thousands of yards of glowing ribbons and will be an interactive artwork that is reminiscent of Grand Rapids’ past, present and future. I need your support. In exchange, you will receive a collectable hand-crafted, art object. TOGETHER we have the opportunity to create a memorable and three-dimensional sculpture that encourages cultural compassion and environmental awareness. I promise I will do you all proud in Michigan and return to Atlanta/Ohio victorious!