Art, Artist, Artistry

By: Maggie Scruggs

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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.

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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.

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2016/ congrats, you got a man

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2016/ domesticated

2017/ flying

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2019/ out

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.

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Support my art by following me @maggiescruggsart and maggiescruggs.com. I can’t wait to connect.

xx,

Maggie

Maggie Scruggs