In this artist interview, we talk to painter Merrick Feagan. You can see more of Merrick’s work at www.merrickfeagan.artweb.com!
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I hold down a full time job to support myself financially but wish to become a full time artist. It has been difficult to work full time and find time to be an artist also but thanks to art web I have learned a lot of selling info and building my website has rekindled the passion for me.
How and when did you start out as an artist?
Its difficult to say, I have been doing this on and off for years only managing to sell a few works here and there but I would definitely say that my career as a professional artist started in January when I started to build my website on art web. Many thanks : )
What training did you have?
I attended Bradford College and studied fine art and art and design. I had a young child at the time I attended and so moving on to university was difficult, I abandoned my education at university to find a steady job. After that I bought art books from charity shops and studied at home.
What has been your best creative achievement so far?
My best creative achievement is a series of works I did based on music. I came across the term Synethesia and found out that it was a neurological phenomenon occurring when one of the five senses brought about a reaction with another. At the time, I really wished I had it just to know what it was like. The music series was the final work and this was also the project where I experienced the most freedom and joy.
What’s your favourite quote?
‘Well that’s a right kick in the Jackson Pollocks’ a bit of rhyming slang as I used to live in London and also a way of remembering that I always have art when I’ve suffered a kick.
Who is your favourite artist?
Picasso. There have always been flavors of the month for me where artists are concerned, but somehow, I always find my way back to him. My favorite book about Picasso is non loan-able and resides in my living room always.
What are you aiming for?
I aim to be able to sell my work and make a fair living but much more importantly than that I aim to be able to give my soul to art.
How will you get there?
I have made a start by joining art web but the next plan is to break free of my full time job. I want more time to devote to learning and making art. I want to be free to live it and breathe it.
Is anything holding you back?
The need for steady finances in order to pay the rent and bills. Its the whip that cracks down on most of our backs.
You and art
What sort of reactions do you get to your work? are you ever surprised?
Well, there are good reactions which always surprise me in the good way and make me feel like I can climb mountains. Then there are the other reactions from people which are polite but clearly state ‘I don’t think this is art’. I am never surprised at the polite reactions.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
It depends on what I am doing and how large it is going to be. Generally though, once I am into something I can rarely leave it alone and it can be finished in a matter of hours.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I love this question : ) Reggae, Garnett Silk, Sanchez, Horace Andy are all must haves on a Reggae day. I love James Brown and Aretha Franklin for a bit of Soul. Stevie Wonder is a firm favorite too. Beyond that and depending on what mood takes me there could be anything from Dance music of all kinds, Rock, Metal, Dub, Jazz to Classical.
What is next in the pipeline for you? Any new directions or shows coming up?
I have recently been looking at our fear of ageing, Its on television 24/7! I get particularly amused at how according to the ads women are ageing but men are ‘fatigued’. I think there’s an ugly side to all this beauty and youth though and I want to explore that. So far I have done a few portraits of women who have had work done and are sporting that fake look but I want to work on this in much more depth.
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Banksy. I love the book wall and peace. Banksy made art accessible to people of all walks of life and the work itself was so direct, full of humor and had more impact than any political speech or argument. It was like the artist had come along and used art to smack us all in the face with truths we all know yet don’t really think about. It was just beautiful to me.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
Love, anger, joy, loss, boredom. All these feelings inspire me and make me think of ways to say it visually. One concept interesting me at the moment is corporate bullying. The differences between the big guy and the little guy. Although that’s not really just a concept – its injustice.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
Ballroom dancers. It’s the impressionistic style but most of all it’s the colors. It hangs on my bedroom wall and at different times of the day different parts of the painting stand out. It just makes me feel happy. I shall be sad if someone actually buys it.
an artist’s advice
Have you got any advice for those starting out as an artist?
Keep going. It is hard sometimes but just keep going. Even when you are completely down and you just cant pick up the brush – study an artist even if only for ten minutes and you will have spent time reaching for some inspiration.