In 1917 Picasso did some set and costume design for the Jean Cocteau’s ballet Parade. Picasso created the curtain above, along with the cardboard cubist costumes below. Picasso hasn’t been on the ArtDuh homepage for a while, and I was thinking about his costume design today for some reason, so it seemed like a good time to post these images. Enjoy!
Today my interview was posted and I had artwork was featured on Adobe’s Creative Layer blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Check it out :)
Please enjoy the following interview I had with Salt Lake City digital artist, photographer and author Megan Kennedy, because I know I did.
ArtDuh: I was listening to Florence and the Machine this morning and I was like, “That’s what Megan’s stuff kind of reminds me of.” Have you heard Florence’s stuff?
Megan: Yeah, yeah.
ArtDuh: [The song] “Shake it Out,” with the demons and fighting them – you have a few pieces that focus on women and it always seems like they’re going through some sort of struggle or they’re fighting, but they’re also emitting a strong sort of presence.
Megan: It’s definitely something purposeful, but still subconscious. I’ve dealt with stuff in my life that has given me the kind of perspective where it’s all just a choice. To me, where you’ve got the abyss and you’ve got life and you just kind of have to make that choice every day to which one you prefer… What it’s boiled down to for me is that I just remind myself to choose the life anytime I feel that, because depression’s a scary thing to struggle with and anybody’s who’s been through it understands how heavy that can weigh on you. So pushing off of that is kind of a constant theme in my life now, just remembering it’s not anything that’s happened to you or about you; it’s just that you’re choosing to ignore it, whatever’s causing that darkness. So it’s definitely a theme that means a lot to me.
ArtDuh: Do you personally struggle with it, or do you have people close to you that do?
Megan: Yeah, I’ve got family members that do, but I’ve definitely struggled with it since I was a young adult, so it’s been a crappy presence in my life, but something that I think, you know, you go through stuff and you become a better person on the other end.
ArtDuh: Where else do you draw your inspiration? Right now you have a series that you call a fossil series or a dino series; where’s that coming from?
Megan: I just restarted school and I’m going in for history. I love old things. I love just that history, and how old the world is and that there was really such a time when there weren’t any people and it’s so hard for us to wrap our minds around it. I’m just really attracted to anything that represents this thing that we can barely really understand. Just trying to picture these things walking and that we can still dig them up and how lucky it was that the right circumstances made these bones survive because otherwise we would have had no idea. Like, how old would we have thought the world was? So, just all the questions that something that old draws to my mind, it’s definitely why I like that series so much. It’s just fun. The museums did such a good job arranging them as well, so they do get credit for the awesome way they put them up. It’s awesome to go see them.
ArtDuh: Where do you grab your images? Some of them seem so surreal. The album cover you did for Arsenic Addiction and the skull, did you have that lying around?
Megan: Yeah, so basically what I do is either I’m taking the photos or just use them from stock photography (so people that take these pictures and then sell them or give them out for artists like me to utilize them). So, if there’s something I can’t take a picture of like, you know, I’m not in Europe, so there’s no way I can get a medieval castle around here to shoot, so luckily there’s these awesome photographers who take these shots for artists like me. And they’re artists in their own right, really. But usually I grab from that or pictures I’ve taken, pictures friends have taken, things like that. It’s almost a mixed medium, but not really.
ArtDuh: Do you work with other mediums?
Megan: I’m not a very good draftsman. I started school for art first before I switched over to history and it’s just, I love photography, I love the digital arts, but it doesn’t really translate to traditional forms. I’d really love to know how to paint and do it well, but that’s probably for another time.
ArtDuh: Are you self-taught?
Megan: Pretty much. I took those few classes at the University of Utah and it was 3D art, 2D art, and a kind of instruction drawing type thing. It wasn’t digitally focused. But no, pretty much self-taught. Like, I found this stuff, and it’s funny because I’ve never been into art, but when I was a teenager and going through probably the darkest period that I referred to earlier, writing… I’m a big writer, I’ve written my whole life, but it wasn’t doing the trick as far as therapy. So I found deviantART, I found dark art, and it was so new and it’s expression of darkness and how they were doing was exactly what I was looking for. And so it just compelled me to start trying to build my own.
ArtDuh: I find that fascinating because I don’t know if I’m drawn to making art in the way that I need it as an outlet for emotion.
Megan: It definitely is for me. I have a hard time processing emotion really just as a person, I think. I just get really uncomfortable with feelings, I don’t like them. That pushed-down stuff, this is where it comes out and I’m grateful for it; it’s really awesome the stuff that comes out. You know, watching people buy it at festivals, it’s just cool to actually connect with people and it’s a different kind of emotional connection and one that’s actually not uncomfortable for me.
ArtDuh: So when you’re at these festivals, what does it feel like when someone shows an appreciation for your art?
Megan: It’s powerful. It’s an acceptance. For somebody who has such a hard time connecting with people, it means a lot. Because I think especially dark artists or digital artists… every artist suffers some sort of rejection even in their art. So to have people like the one where it says, “When I grow up I want to eat the weak;” I made that as this dark joke, and I can’t believe the amount of people that responded to it, like old women and moms that buy it for their kids’ rooms and people want to put it in their office all the time. For something that was just a dark joke that usually some people would criticize me for and to have so many people just laugh at it with me, it’s just cool. It’s given me a whole new perspective on people. It’s hard not to judge people, but it gives me a whole new perspective on people who I would have never thought were into that. It kind of opened my eyes in how much art can affect people. There were people I otherwise would never have talked to, probably, because we share no interests, but in that one moment we shared that same joke.
ArtDuh: You said you weren’t really attracted to art in the first place. Tell me about that.
Megan: Yeah, as a little kid, it was mostly science. Science and history. I’ve always been fascinated with history. I suck with numbers, but I can remember eras and I love storytelling. I’ve loved books my whole life. I don’t know, my brother was always (he’s not the hugest artist or anything now) the one doodling around or sketching and he was all very good at it. So we just always kind of thought he was the artist and then just this transition happened. (I enjoy art, especially CD covers, that’s kind of what got me into it. I love the art that comes with music.) But until I got this digital medium where, not that it was any easier to learn than say painting or traditional mode, but just whatever it was spoke to me as a person and the way my brain operated and it was easy for me to finally translate that stuff. For somebody that has never been that artistic outside of writing, it was a really awesome thing to discover that I could do. But yeah, logic brain, that’s where I’m comfortable.
ArtDuh: Do you incorporate history into your art?
Megan: I try to, yeah. I’ve always dabbled in the idea of doing some flat-out historical piece. But there’s something very flat about it, the way I’m approaching it, so if I can hit it in the right way, then absolutely. I got really into paganism the last couple of semesters, just learning about what these religions really were. I’ve incorporated a lot of that lately into my art. But yeah, if I can find the right, reason to use it, I will.
ArtDuh: What else do you do for work?
Megan: I work part-time, day job at a pet store. I love animals. I’m about to start school again at the University of Utah. I’d love to expand my degree into archeology so I can actually dig this stuff up and study it but for right now it’s about getting the degree first. I work for SLUG Magazine, and I’m covering Napalm Flesh which is the heavy metal side. It’s super awesome because I’ve been a metal head for a long time so it’s cool to be a part of the community. I’ve got the art and then the writing. I’ve had a couple things published and I’m working on novels and things like that. It’s fun. I like hobbies.
ArtDuh: I saw that you also photograph for SLUG, too?
Megan: I’m on the photography team, technically, but it’s mostly writing. I started with writing, and then I went and covered Mayhem Fest and they had an extra camera. Shooting bands is one of my favorite things to do. It’s so cool to watch people in their element and capture that happiness. And they’re never like that off-stage, it’s just that one moment.
ArtDuh: How did you get the inspiration for the album cover?
Megan: That was so much fun, because I was struggling. I’ve done their album art before. This was the first time where they were like, “We’re not going to be on the cover as a band. We don’t need to do any photography and this is all up to you. We’re just letting you do this. We trust you.” It was a lot of pressure. I don’t even remember my whole original idea, but it was something totally different and then I just thought, “You know, let’s just do something crazy.” And so I’d been working on it for 3 or 4 weeks already and it was so frustrating because it didn’t feel right. (And I’ve been getting better as the years go by, recognizing when it doesn’t feel right and to just abandon it. It’s hard to do that when you’ve been working on it for 15 hours already.) The one that came up, that album cover, I did that in 5 or 6 hours in a night because it just hit. It was something about the way the woman’s body was bent. It was such a dramatic expression. It came together and I got the colors right and I decided to make it that foreground focus thing because it felt like you were coming upon something that you weren’t supposed to see. It just popped.
ArtDuh: Tell me about your book.
Megan: It’s a horror novel. It started as a frustration project to get some emotions out, basically. I’m way into zombies, I’m way into horror picture. And more than that I’ve got this super fascination with anti-heroes and what means good and bad and the whole apocalyptic world view. You always wonder what would happen if it really did happen and what would the remainder of humanity be like. And the zombie movies, they’re entertaining, but it’s all of these good guys, these people that survived by banding together and everything. But nobody does a movie about just the bad guys. That’s who I think would survive; it would be a world of the worst people ever, because they would be cold enough to survive. So that’s the perspective I came from and I have a huge soft spot for the South, so I set it in New Orleans so I could have some fun with that. And I just started building this story about this jerk drifter that’s the worst kind of survivor and coming across others who are just as bad as him.
I’ve had more downloads than they say you should expect as an indie e-book person. If it gets my name out there, awesome, but I have plenty of writing to do, so I’m not too worried.
Thanks, Megan! Look for Megan’s art at
and her E-book, “Bury Me In Smoke” at Barnes and Noble.
Also, find more of Megan’s writings under her other name, Megan Dipo.
Megan Kennedy’s art is the sort I respect. My own artistic endeavors tend to be bright and “clean,” so when my eyes meet a piece of artwork I wouldn’t naturally create myself, I can’t help but stare. There’s something deeply human about experiencing raw, dark art. I feel more comfortable opening up to people when I realize there are others out there who have emotions, too. That they’ve experienced emotions that may have been more intense than I’ve ever felt.
Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of speaking with Megan about her work and our conversation was a fascinating peek into her world. Please stay tuned for the complete interview. For now, here’s a preview with her thoughts about her piece “Funeral Girl.”
ArtDuh: You said on your Facebook that Funeral Girl is one of your most popular pieces.
Megan: I don’t know what the deal is in that. You don’t see it in a lot of movies anymore, but just the funeral thing with all the black umbrellas… there’s something just so visceral about that. It’s just such a haunting representation that you don’t even have to put in a dead body or a coffin and people know what that is. You’ve seen movies where ghosts are following kids around and things like that, but just that kind of perspective, where it’s like what would that do to a little person if she had that heaviness following her around? I just found the perfect little girl and I like that she’s all Victorian; it kind of added another layer to it, a seriousness to it. Yeah, people responded to that one. It was another surprise because it is dark. Especially with little kids, it’s always sketchy because you have to make sure you’re getting your point across the right way.
While we’re at it, why don’t we round out this discussion about graffiti and talk about Polish artist NeSpoon? She’s been installing her lace doilies in seemingly bewildering spaces such as beaches, parks and abandoned buildings. There’s something spooky about her worky. Her white doilies have a sense of phantasm about them; they’re reminiscent of spider webs, dream catchers and snowflakes, all of which in my opinion have a quiet darkness about them. (Have you ever stood in snowfall at night? It’s ghostly.)
Looking at all the different spaces where NeSpoon has spun her magic, from driftwood to parks to rundown buildings what would you deem the most appropriate place for doilies? What’s your favorite? I believe the doilies contribute one particular shared message, just as NeSpoon says on her old Blogger account:
“My friend Ania named it, the jewellery of the public space. I must say, I like that name. Jewellery makes people look pretty, my public jewellery has the same goal, make public places look better. I would like people who discover here and there my small applications, to smile and just simply feel better.”
Believe it or not, urban art forms like graffiti art, street performances, and break dancing are thriving in Utah. These art forms will be celebrated at the second annual Urban Arts Festival on Saturday, June 9 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Urban artists will fill the outdoor space, offering art for purchase at the SLC Arts Hub property, located at 663 West 100 South, where the festival will take place.
“The new SLC Arts Hub will make full use of its nearly three acre property with three stages for music and entertainment, and one of them is located in the full-sized circus tent we are proud to call our own,” says Derek Dyer, executive director of the Utah Arts Alliance, SLC Arts Hub and festival co-organizer.
The entertainment line-up includes:
The Cube – Music stage:
11:00 a.m. – The Swinging Lights
12:00 p.m. – MiNX
1:00 p.m. – Louie Troupe & Konsickwence
2:00 p.m. – Big Blue Ox
3:00 a.m. – YZE
3:45 p.m. – Oso Negro & Dusk One
4:45 p.m. – Johnny Utah & DumbLuck
6:00 p.m. – Music Garage
7:00 p.m. – Dark Seas
Street Stage – DJ stage:
11:00 a.m. – DJ Trixx
12:00 p.m. – DJ Blessed
1:00 p.m. – DJ XSpand
2:00 p.m. – DJ Planet
3:00 p.m. – Street Jesus
4:00 p.m. – DJ Deyjuice
5:00 p.m.- DJ Che
6:00 p.m.- DJ Lishus
The Circus Tent – Performance stage:
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.- Salt City Indie Arts Poetry Slam Contest
1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m. – BBoy Federation – Break Dance Battle
3:30 p.m. – People’s Production- African American Theater Company
4:30 p.m.- S.L.A.P.
5:30 p.m. – Samba Fogo
6:30 p.m.- Lunar Collective
7:00 p.m.- Transfusion Hype
Food, art demonstrations and educators helping the public learn to make urban art with their own two hands are highlights of the award winning day-long festival. Proceeds from the festival will go to support the brand new SLC Arts Hub gracing Salt Lake City’s downtown west side.
“The public will be taught urban art projects by professional artists, and they will get the chance to practice their new skills on the outdoor walls of the Hub,” says Tamara Fox, Gray Wall Gallery director and event organizer. “Other art activities festival-goers may enjoy trying include screen printing, creating aluminum sculpture and repurposing aluminum cans to make jewelry and pinwheels. The cost to make these crafts is just $2 to $5.”
A skate deck painting contest will also take place at the festival. For $30, the public can buy a skate deck, paint it with their own creative urban art and enter it into a contest. Art lovers can vote for their favorite deck throughout the day, with prizes awarded between 6 and 8 p.m. A group of professional artists have also been selected to paint skate decks and these will be on display as well.
Throughout the day there will be skateboarding demonstrations, competitions as well as open skate periods. The Urban Arts Fest skate area is designed by We are One Skate Park.
Salt Lake City’s best street food vendors will be on hand with vegan tacos, gourmet hot dogs and rosemary-infused lemonade, among other treats. And, for the first time, this year’s festival will include beer sales which are offered by Red Rock Brewery. Entrance to the festival costs $5.
The event is sponsored by Brand32; Broadview Entertainment Ats University; Redrock Brewing Company; vitaminwater; jetBlue AIRWAYS; The Downtown Alliance; Salt Lake City Arts Council; SLUG Magazine; Utah Division of Arts and Museums; Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks; Romney Lumber Company; Bboy Fed; KRCL; TheJeromeShow.com and David Charles Baker. For more information on how to be involved and to see the schedule of events visit www.urbanartsfest.org.
About the Utah Arts Alliance
The Utah Arts Alliance is a nonprofit arts and educational organization committed to fostering the arts in Utah in all forms. In addition to the SLC Arts Hub, the UAA has a gallery and recording studio at 127 South Main Street in Salt Lake City. For more information, visit www.utaharts.org.
About The Gray Wall Gallery
Brain child of Tamara Fox, The Gray Wall Gallery is interested in showing new and unusual art work. It is a program of the Utah Arts Alliance and is the driving force behind the festival. For more information, visit http://www.graywallgallery.com
I recently heard that a group of young, free-style printers had become loyal ArtDuh fans. They run a business called Theareem Clothing Company in Northern Hollywood, CA. They print free-style, meaning the colors and inks will never be the same on any two shirts.
“One shirt can be very mellow with blues and yellows,” says the group’s organizer, Ray Mendoza. “And the next shirt might resemble something like a fruit roll up with the colors.”
Colors aren’t the only thing that makes Theareem’s shirts cool though. Typography plays a big part, “We also love typography, so we try our hardest to invent our own lettering and different ways to spell our name,” says Ray.
Fans of the brand are often urban trendsetters who are deep into subcultures like graffiti art and hip hop.
The t-shirt company has a free give-away for ArtDuh readers. Post a comment with the answer to this question “Who was the second man who landed on the moon? And what name did he inspire?” and win a free scom tee, as seen on this link buyourclothes.com First right answer wins.
Visit their website www.theareem.com or fan them on facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Theareem-Clothing-Company/151565004881573