Art, Artist, Artistry
By: Maggie Scruggs
I believe in natural ability, and I believe most things can be learned. I believe everyone has something to express and the ability to express it; sometimes I get lost in my perceived inadequacies and never say what I could because I think I don’t know how.
Layer by layer, I have started to peel back all the excuses I tell myself and others for why I’m not an artist: No one taught me to paint... It isn’t my full time profession... I wasn’t even an art major… I don’t have a studio… What I have to say isn’t that important.
As a kid I always loved color, play doh, chalk, and watching my grandmother paint in her studio barn, but I had no formal instruction until I came to UGA. I woke up one morning in my first semester and said, “I am going to add an art minor.” I had no understanding of portfolio review, pre-requisites, applications, and I didn’t even know where Lamar Dodd School of Art was on campus. I waltzed in and told them what I wanted (like I do in most things). Two months later I was taking Drawing I with Professor Hatmaker.
Below are some of my first drawings! I would sit and stare at my page for the first 20 minutes of class too scared to make a mark. Professor Hatmaker would circle around and lift my hand to the page and tell me to not be afraid to mess up.
This class felt like survival at first… Sitting at a drawing desk for three hours in a dark room sketching old bones in the dead of winter, struggling to show my teacher I can, indeed, read angles.
At this point, art was lines, shades, black, white, gray, measurements, quiet, competition, and fear. I was too overstimulated with getting the still life “right” to spend any time involving my personality or even asking myself what I wanted art to be about.
Over the last four and a half years, I have said ‘yes’ to everything. I said yes to photography, learning color, entering shows around town, commissions of all kinds, teaching myself media I didn’t learn in class. Anything that involved learning something new I was a ‘yes’ for.
I realize now that I was probably in over my head and somehow I never messed anything up too badly (minus the 10 bottles of wine I broke installing art in Earth Fare…see right.)
I set myself on the path of learning anything, everything. but I never fully dove into one subject or one discussion or one media. Now, I have shifted my focus to articulate my struggles and my joy in the media that can best depict it.
2016/ congrats, you got a man
My voice has shifted from calculated to cheeky to cynical to soft with a punch.
Art feels less rigid.
I feel like I don’t have to get it right, because if I am translating words from my journal right onto the paper, it’s honest, clear, and direct.
Because I have the best job in the world and the privilege of free time, a flexible schedule, and no huge responsibilities, I have time to discover what I want for my art. I feel most inspired when I find a captivating subject and new music.
I dream of having a huge studio where I can make a mess, work that is appreciated even if it isn’t understood, and art that makes an impact.
My latest project is called Pride Portraits. To celebrate Pride Month, I am creating ink portraits layered with pride flags in pastel. Each piece is $25 and 30% of the profit goes to a foundation of your choice. I am having so much fun and am overwhelmed with the joy it’s bringing me and the recipient. I feel less alone making these, and I feel like even though I can’t fully relate to each recipients story, I can share a piece of it.