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"The Act of Creation needs to Weave its way along our Journey with Us" -Australian Artist: Meg Allan

Artist Statement


I consider my work to be representational, existential and speaking of the intangible.

I often think about the act of mark-making to be a meditative and expressive experience, in which I gain certain understandings about myself and explore deeper notions circulating in the collective consciousness.

Meg Allan - The artist at work
Meg Allan - The artist at work

I try to make honest work that acts as an open conversation, suspended within the zeitgeist.

I often work between a series of multiverses, connected by symbolism. The work questions what it means to be human. I find it important to speak truth, using beauty as a catalyst to create dialogue that addresses difficult realities. I work within a contemporary narrative but use a classical painting technique. I work in many layers, whether it is with oils, charcoal, pastel or graphite.


During the act of creation, each element of the painting is conversing. The paint, the composition, the brushwork, the textures, the way the light effects an object. Every component is telling a story, and I live for that exact moment when the work begins to speak in the most profound way. My work is held in Australia and Internationally.


Meg Allan - "Self Portrait" 2020, 61x45.5cm, Oil on Wood
Meg Allan - "Self Portrait" 2020, 61x45.5cm, Oil on Wood

 

Interview

1. Have you always been interested in creating art? At what age did you discover your interest in drawing and painting?


Yes, I’ve always loved art. As a young child, trips to the museum and galleries were always my favourite and as a teenager in my spare time, I would make meticulous drawings of Michelangelo and Bernini sculptures.


2. Have you had a formal art education? If so, how have you seen the benefits of your education as your work evolved?

I’ve undertaken a few workshops but generally, my education consists of studying the Masters.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

I have many, but I would have to say the strongest influences would be William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Gustave Doré, John William Waterhouse and František Kupka.


4. What period in art do you love the most?


Again I have many, but the main ones would be the Pre-Raphaelite, Neoclassical, Renaissance and Romanticism periods.


5. How has your art evolved over the years? Is there a pattern? I notice that many artists’ flow is purely organic and with some their evolution is phasic.

It took me a while to feel comfortable with colour, predominantly because I spent many years drawing in graphite and charcoal, so the transition to understand colour was a slight adjustment. But now looking back, I'm glad I took my time to be fully absorbed in drawing as it's a basic building block of painting. So, I think my evolution has been fairly organic. I'm still looking back at ideas I had 7 years ago and thinking to myself, perhaps I am at the level I can paint these now and be happy with the result, not just technically, but with the added weight of life's experiences. The act of creation needs to weave its way along our journey with us, gathering understanding along the way, whether as an artist you are conscious of that or not. Some art needs to be given as much time and space as it requires, so in the end, it is able to speak for itself.


 

Meg Allan - "The Empath" 2019, 30.5x40.7cm, Oil on Panel (Private Collection)
Meg Allan - "The Empath" 2019, 30.5x40.7cm, Oil on Panel (Private Collection)

 

6. You make excellent portraits, can you tell me a bit as to why you love portraiture?

Thank you! I always wanted to paint portraits. To be able to capture the essence of a person is something very special. The human mind is so complex and I’m intrigued by that. Perhaps it’s an attempt to understand even just a small amount of that complexity.


Meg Allen - "The Boobook" 2021, 40x40cm round, Oil on Panel
"The Boobook" 2021, 40x40cm round, Oil on Panel

7. I am intrigued by your noir style in several pieces. Memento Mori. Using skulls, ravens, owls, I see you even have a vampire in “Frankie’s Halloween”. Do skulls serve as a muse?

I’m a bird lover and that particular Boobook owl (that I’ve painted twice now) has visited and stayed in our garden multiple times, for months at a time, over the years. They tend to roost in one tree during the day, so every day during lockdown I would say good morning to him, and he’d look down majestically and (I like to think) acknowledge me.



Meg Allan - "Tall Tales from the persimmon tree" 2020, 8x8 inches, Oil on board (Private collection)
Meg Allan - "Tall Tales from the persimmon tree" 2020, 8x8 inches, Oil on board (Private collection)

As for skulls, I really used them as a teaching reference for myself at first, to understand shape and values, then strength and complexity, sometimes with the animal skulls this extreme fragility, that they may crumble at any moment and return to the earth before I was able to finish a drawing.

Skulls may serve as muse, but as a nod to evolution, to the human body being able to adapt and exist in this physical environment. I don’t tend to think about the skull as a reminder of death, but as a tangible symbol of life. It’s an organic structure that supports the brain every day and night. I respect the artistic legacy of Memento Mori and of course, I can see the noir element in my work. There are certain inevitabilities in life, but I try to always create with courage and honesty in my heart.


8. Which of your paintings do you like the most and why?


The masterpiece I haven’t created yet?! It’s difficult to say, as there are a few. Painting ‘The Question’ was a big eye-opener for me, playing with narrative in mind and with lots of interlinking compositional elements.


Meg Allan - "The Question" 2021, 1m x 1m, Oil on Canvas
Meg Allan - "The Question" 2021, 1m x 1m, Oil on Canvas

Meg Allan - "Barry Otto" 2021, 60x45cm, Oil on Board
"Barry Otto" 2021, 60x45cm, Oil on Board

9. What challenges as well as joys have you experienced in your art career? Any seminal experiences?


Many! Thinking creatively changes you, in a way. I was very lucky to have been asked to paint Australian screen and theatre icon, Barry Otto earlier in the year, which was definitely a recent seminal experience.


10. What is integral to your work as an artist?

Apart from materials, time to create and the ability to be quiet, mindful and open.


11. Tell me a little bit about your life as an artist and how does it impact your personal and social relationships?


I am blessed to be able to live a life in art and I have family and friends that are in full support of that life.


 

Meg Allen - "With a light heart" 2021, 16x12cm Oil on Arches Paper (TAE Postcard)
"With a light heart" 2021, 16x12cm Oil on Arches Paper (TAE Postcard)

 

12. You are a contributor to the TAE, when did you start and what motivated you?

I think I sent my first card after being contacted by TAE's founder, David Sandum, on Twitter in 2015. I really liked the idea of bringing awareness to a cause and the great TAE community.

13. Are you involved in similar projects, contributing to fundraising or community development?

In 2019 I hosted and facilitated a community mural to bring awareness to breast cancer and earlier this year I did some mentoring at Veritas House.

14. Is there anything else you would like to share with the TAE Blog readers?

The TAE is a fantastic opportunity to be creative to help amazing charities all around the world. I’m always happy and thankful to be involved. ‘With a light heart’ is my contribution to this year's TAE, supporting The Encephalitis Society. I'm looking forward to seeing the little painting's journey to York and beyond.


You can see more of my work on Twitter and Instagram @meg_allan_art and on my website www.megallan.art which is updated with current exhibits.

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2 Comments


Lea Opitz
Lea Opitz
Jan 18, 2022

OH great article and wonderful artist!!! I love how she paints for TAE!!!

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Grace Rebullida
Grace Rebullida
Jan 18, 2022
Replying to

She is indeed a fabulous artist. It was a pleasure to interview her! Thanks!

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