Heya! As promised, here's the first of hopefully many interviews with amazing artists. Megan Lara is an up and coming Art Nouveau artist who's work is beautiful, creative and very, very fun! She has definitely taken the style and made it her own. She loves Dr. Who, Firefly, Dr. Horrible and fainting goats! In other words, she's just like us and I get to interview her - Woo Hoooo!"
· OK, first off, Megan - thank you very much for chatting with me today!
Hi Chaz! You're welcome. :D Thank you for interviewing me.
· So, What is Art Nouveau to you?
To me, it's taking things that normally might not be seen as blatantly artistic (in my case, pop culture/video game characters) and turning them into something beautiful. I would love to see a revival of Art Nouveau in advertising. Can you imagine labels and such with Art Nouveau inspired lettering? I mean, I've bought some wine just because they have Art Nouveau labels.
· How does this genre inspire your work and how do you continually try to make your art unique?
Art Nouveau inspires me because it's just so frackin' beautiful. I mean, I love pinup work as well, but with pinup there is a fine line between sexy and cheeky, or trashy. It's hard to strike a happy middle. I really haven't seen many nouveau pieces that come off as trashy, and they're just so pleasant to look at.
As far as keeping my art unique, I try to look at my subjects (lately it's been video game characters) from different angles than others. To elaborate on that a little: If you look at my Samus piece, you can spot the obvious references to Metroid fairly easy. But, I try to look for little things that the casual gamer might not catch. I used: the shape of Metroid Prime's interface to frame the background (after distorting it a little); the shapes on the back of her zero suit to create the embellishments on the side of the seal; the blue and orange lines in the background to create an abstract nouveau representation of the Metroid symbol. I try to do a lot of that kind of stuff in each piece.
· Right on! So, Megan, how would you describe your particular style?
I was trying to think of some clever word for it, but right now it's just nerd nouveau. Word's aren't really my bag. :) I'm really into realistic figures and portraits with bold, chunky outlines. I have a huge fascination with line. You should see my house: it's pretty much lines and circles everywhere. :) I draw other things, too, but right now I am just really inspired by nouveau art.
· What are some of your favorite things to draw?
Women! Women and faces. I am a portrait artist at heart and am slowly learning how to do other things. I suck at landscapes and silly things like flowers. As someone who does a lot of nouveau work, you'd think I'd have them down. :)
· I, like many artists working from home, get easily distracted by the TV, the internet, my cat, etc. How do you stay focused on the project at hand without getting too distracted?
Oh crap, I'm still so bad at this. I use a website blocker to block Reddit and other sites that distract me, and I have a separate Facebook account that I use for my page—that way I don't wander over to my main FB account and get distracted. I don't usually watch TV while I work—never really had that problem. My dog and facebook tend to be the worst distractions, but I'm improving!
· What methods seem to work the best for you, in terms of self-promotion?
Not being afraid to post anywhere and everywhere about your art. Luckily, since I am a huge nerd, I frequent a lot of nerdy forums that are into this type of art. I am part of my own audience, so I think that helps a lot. I can really identify with who I'm making the art for. I haven't actually done any advertising yet, but I do take advantage of twitter and tumblr—those seem to be really good at getting people to come to my website.
· Ya, I'll have to try Tumblr for sure. So when you need to recharge and get out of your head a bit, what kinds of things do you like to do?
Paint. Hahah. There is nothing quite like oil painting. Aside from that, I love to read (reading Snow Crash right now), play video games (currently Fallout: New Vegas) and run on my treadmill. Not too much though, I'm still wicked out of shape. :P
· What are some of your favorite video games and books?
My favourite video games are a weird combination of genres, haha. Final Fantasy 3, Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, Katamari Damacy, Dance Dance Revolution, League of Legends, Civ.. lots. Haha. Books: Dark Tower series, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Hobbit, The Gospel According to Biff (Christ's Childhood Pal), World War Z and The Stand. Read the Dark Tower, people. Read it! :D
· What’s the best piece of advice that you can give to aspiring artists that want to follow in your footsteps?
Be confident and don't be afraid to show your stuff. Just a few months ago I had finished that drawing of nouveau Peach, but I was to afraid to try and get it out to the masses. I only showed my friends. Finally my husband posted it to Reddit for me, and it showed me that there was a market for nerdy art. Don't sell yourself short. And, If you have to, fake it until you make it. Convince yourself that you're awesome. :)
Super important: accept that you will receive criticism. Nerds are a freaking hard crowd to please—they're like the comic book guy from the Simpsons. They know their stuff, and they aren't afraid (what with internet anonymity) to tell you why and how you suck. :)
· OK, last question: How can fans like me show support for your art?
Adding me on facebook/twitter/tumblr/wordpress/redbubble/deviantart would absolutely make my day.
Website and blog: http://www.meganlara.com
and buying my nouveau stuff at LevelUpStudios.com would be awesome. :)
Hey thanks a TON, Megan - you're an incredible artist and a fun person to be sure. This was fantastic & I thoroughly enjoyed it! I'm going to leave you guys with a few more of Megan's pieces and hopefully you'll be inspired to check out her links and give her massive amounts of support!
- Chaz -