Megan Brock is a talented 20-year-old from Muncie, Indiana. Being drawn to the likes of famous surrealist and psychedelic artists, Megan’s specific style is beautiful, meticulous, and sometimes grotesque. Brock attains a mixed bag of reactions to her artwork as she displays her creations in local events and her broad use of social media. Miss Brock describes her process, inspirations, and the public’s view of her psychedelic artwork.
When someone asks you to describe your work, sight-unseen, how do you describe it?
I usually describe my work as off the wall, unconventional, and very colorful. If they ask about subject matter I’ll describe it as very trippy, psychedelic, abstract, and occasionally, realistic and technical.
A majority of your artwork is reminiscent of the Psychedelic Art Movement of the 1960’s. Is there a specific reason you are drawn to producing artwork of that specific style?
I’ve always thought I should have been born in the 60’s or 70’s as the art I create is very similar to the time period. The images from this time period are very alluring to me: drugs, mushrooms, and bright, contrasting colors. These images reflect greatly on my own art, inspiring me to create psychedelic and trippy drawings and paintings. If I’m having artist’s block, I might go through rock posters from that time period on Google images for inspiration. I love art that evokes feeling and is so bold, busy, and hallucinatory that it is pleasing to the eye as well as your mind.
What type of feelings do you experience creating your work?
The first word that comes to mind is “frustrated”. I am very hard on myself as an artist and tend to get frustrated when the piece isn’t going the way I want it to. I go back and forth from “I love it” to “I hate it” until the piece is finished.
Available on Etsy
Art is a type of therapy for me, and the more I work on a piece that I’m actually enjoying the more relaxed I feel. It really is a stress reliever if I don’t take myself too seriously. Happiness also comes to mind. When I finish a piece, I feel like I’ve done something productive and occasionally, beautiful.
Do you remember your first artistic influences?
When I was a child I visited the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and saw artist Chihuly’s permanent glass installation, “Fireworks of Glass”. I was amazed to learn that it’s comprised of over 3,200 pieces of individual glass. The installation was mesmerizing and memorable; since then I have been interested in glass and glass blowing. Chihuly has been my favorite glass artist since.
I worshiped Alex Pardee, and I even attempted to copy his style for a while. His art is based off of his own experiences with depression, which really spoke to me as I also suffer from depression and anxiety. I really relate to artists who base their work off of their own lives and experiences.
What is the earliest piece of artwork you can remember producing?
The first serious piece of art I created was in fifth grade Art Club. It was a portrait of actor Adrian Brody, and still hangs in my front room to this day. I spent over six months on the piece and it is the only serious portrait I have done. Portraits are very difficult for me as they take several months. I like to spend a few weeks and sometimes even a few days on a project; otherwise, I lose interest.
Mandalas, a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, are seen throughout your work. Do you take influence in religion? Is there hidden meanings behind the symbolism?
My mandalas have no significant relation or affiliation towards any religion, nor do they have any special symbolism or meaning. I started drawing on black paper several months ago and saw a YouTube video of a white mandala drawn in gel pen on black paper. That started my obsession with the designs; I thought they were thought provoking and complicated. After I had knee surgery in February of 2016, I started drawing several mandalas a day. I actually filled up three or four notebooks just with mandalas, practicing over and over to get them perfect. I have OCD and not being able to get out of bed to clean the house for almost four months because of my knee was absolute torture. I think drawing mandalas helped me with my OCD by being able to focus on something technical and clean looking. It took my mind off of the bad things and helped me focus on something productive.
The use of eyes, or eyes “bleeding” or “watering” is a prominent symbol in your work. Can you tell us what inspired “Trippy Eye”?
I’ve always loved drawing eyes, whether they are technical and anatomically correct or abstract and trippy. “Trippy Eye”, was inspired by a splattered paint painting I saw on YouTube, as well as the the Zelda “triforce”.
I enjoy bleeding watercolors together and I try to incorporate eyes into my work quite often, thus “Trippy Eye” was created.
According to Brock’s Etsy listing the description of “Trippy Eye: is “[The]drawing of a trippy psychedelic eye surrounded by bubbles, drawn in an abstract manner with mixed media. It is done on Strathmore paper with mixed media including prismacolor markers, colored pencils, and Faber Castell pens.”
What is the most challenging piece you have produced?
I had to do a landscape perspective drawing for my Drawing 1 class at Ball State University. I chose to sit in Bracken Library with a view of trees and the Architecture Building. At first, it was very daunting and confusing to learn perspective and how to use a ruler to determine which way the lines should be going in order to make it realistic and correct. Eventually, I got really into the drawing and after 40 hours of drawing, measuring, and cursing, I eventually got it done. I got an A+ on the drawing and believe it is my best piece to date.
How do you prepare yourself to make a new piece of artwork? Tell us about your process.
To come up with an idea I will take a good long look at the world around me. I will pick objects that I could draw or paint abstractly or psychedelically and then come up with a sketch, to begin with. Then I’ll break out the nice paper or canvas. If I’m painting, I’ll paint the background first and then block in any images with white paint in order to be looser with the piece. Then I’ll fill everything in and add details as I go. If I’m drawing, I’ll start with an initial sketch and then move onto nicer paper. I may use a reference image; it just depends on the drawing or painting. I don’t exactly have a specific process; my motto is to go with the flow and let the art come from within.
Your creative production takes a series of steps. How long does it typically take you to produce a piece? How many hours a week do you use to form your artistic creations?
Not nearly enough [hours] as I should. When I’m stressed, I have to force myself to work because my mind is simply elsewhere. On a good week, I’d say I spend at least an hour a day drawing or painting. If I’m working on a big project I may spend several hours a day working on it. On a bad week, I might not work at all. Sometimes I have to take a step back, walk away, and do something else for a while to get the creative juices flowing.
Why did you want to become an artist?
I have several hobbies, such as gardening and reading, but the hobbies I am most talented at are drawing and painting. I wanted to become an artist because it is something I have enjoyed doing since I was a young child. It has brought me joy and happiness, as well as regret, rejection, and sadness. Being an artist induces all types of feelings that most people don’t get to experience. When I am drawing and painting, I am at my happiest. Selling a piece of art to someone brings me more joy than any other job in the world.
What do you think the public’s perception is of your work? Who does it appeal to?
I get varying reactions to my work. If I’m selling at a show I could have an older generation walk by, stop, scowl, and continue on their way. The next moment I could have a group of younger college students stop by and tell me they love my work and wish they could afford to buy a piece. I think my art mostly appeals to people ages 18-35, the vast majority being college students, hippies, and hipsters.
You are currently taking classes towards glass-blowing. What inspired the transition from illustration to glass?
I am still taking basic studio classes as a freshman: drawing, painting, etc. You have to learn a lot of new skills before they even let you in the Glick Center for Glass, our on campus glass studio. I go there occasionally to watch upperclassmen work, however, and cannot wait to start blowing glass by my Junior year.
The transition began when I realized I didn’t want to make drawing and painting an actual job. The more I made it like a job (working 6-8 hours a day on a painting), the more I didn’t want to work on my art and the less I created. Glass blowing is something I’ve always been interested in. It’s also a growing market, with only an estimated 38,000 glass blowers in the United States. I think working actively as a glass blower would be a fascinating career field with many opportunities. By being a glass blower, I can keep drawing and painting as a hobby and side job, rather than a full-time career.
What do you want to accomplish in the future with your work?
I hope to sell art online to someone in every state in the USA. I also hope to gain a larger number of followers on my Etsy and Instagram page in order to expose myself more as an artist. Exposure is a big part of being an artist to me, and I work several hours a day promoting my art on various websites and apps. My main goal as an artist is to get a Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and get a job as a glass blower somewhere else in the United States. I also hope to have my own gallery one day, although that day is very far off in the future.
What are your thoughts on social media? How does online media effect the spread of your artwork to a larger audience?
Social media is the key to becoming a successful artist. It brings you exposure, customers, and admirers. I use almost every social media platform to promote my art, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Redbubble, DeviantArt, VangoArt, Fine Art America, Wanelo, StumbleUpon, Etsy, and Brisk Sale. I spend several hours a day posting on these sites and have gained a ton of exposure, followers and likes by doing so. It brings me sales as well. The more you promote, the more people see your art, the more people want your art, and the more you will sell your art. It is a major part of being an artist.
You personally sell your art locally. Have you had any art exhibits? Do you have any upcoming exhibits in the future?
I have never had an art exhibit, although my art has been in a local night club called “Be Here Now”. I do not have any upcoming exhibits, although I sell my work at local shows very often. I participate in the Muncie Arts Walk event called YART, a yard sale for art, jewelry, glass art, pottery, sculpture, and handmade items. Every piece is priced $40 or under in order to make art more affordable to the town of Muncie, Indiana. I also sell art at an event called “Make Music Not Meth”, a program that offers live music and “The Muncie Maker’s Market”. “The Muncie Maker’s Market” offers the same products as YART and is held every Saturday at the corner of Jackson and Cherry in Muncie.
What do you feel you have accomplished with your artwork?
I feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit, although not as much as I will in the future as I progress more as an artist and business owner. As an artist, I have created several online websites where my art is available for sale and have made quite a bit of money doing so. My art has been shipped to Texas, New York, Illinois, and various other states all around the USA. My favorite part of selling at local shows is having someone come up to me and say “Your art is in my living room” or “I gave your art to my friend and she loved it”. Making people happy by selling them art and giving them something of substance for their own enjoyment is my favorite part about being an artist. I think I’ve accomplished exposing myself as an artist fantastically by creating an Instagram, Facebook Page, and DeviantArt and gaining a large number of followers and likes. If you google my art, you can find it. I think that’s pretty amazing to see.
If you were to give advice to someone who would like to be an artist, what would you tell them?
1. Don’t listen to your family and friends who aren’t artists.
2. Work at least every day or every other day on your art, even if it’s just doodling.
3. Never not finish a piece. Even if you think it will turn out terrible, you should always finish. You never know what might come of it.
4. Get an education. Education is the key to becoming a better artist.
5. Get yourself out there. Create social media accounts specifically dedicated to your art and promote on a daily basis.
6. If you wish to sell your art, create online stores and find out about local craft and art shows in your area. Don’t be afraid if nothing sells, you’re just starting out!
7. Never give up. No one becomes a good artist in a day. It takes time, practice, dedication, and hard work.
Check out Brock's work at these websites:
Originally published on Artfoodie.com
Aug. 16, 2016