‘Why are you studying art history and chemistry in university?’ This is a question Meaghan tells me, she is often asked. To me, the two seemed like a crazy combination. When Meaghan explained that her final goal is to work in art conservation and collection over our chai tea lattes, it was more clear. An avid artist and dancer, Meaghan has a passion for art. She creates her own pieces and has developed as an artist since her childhood. She would love to be able to create more while she works in art conservation as a career.
In high school she found the subject of art history utterly boring. With the help of an interesting professor in university, however, she became intrigued with the subject. She has now graduated and hopes to pursue her dream by applying to the Art Conservation and Collection Master’s program at Ryerson.
It comes in all shapes, forms and sizes and Meaghan is no stranger to that notion. She uses oil pastels to create stunning landscapes and also makes her own clothing. Some of which, she told me, has recently used for her salsa team’s dance competitions. Using pastels, she explained makes it easier to fix mistakes. There can be both vibrant and muted colours to give to the subtle hints desired in a piece with the use of layering.
While she would love to create art as her dream job, she explained that she finds the business side of the industry somewhat daunting. I’ve heard from many artists, Meaghan included, that there is a large amount of work that goes into selling a piece of art. From creating and being happy with the piece, to marketing it in galleries or small businesses, there is a lot to do.
Art has both a light and dark side and inspiration can come from anything. To Meaghan, finding interesting pieces on Pinterest or researching other artists provides her with a starting point for her own work. She explained to me that through school, she has developed an interest for contemporary Canadian artists. She prefers ‘artists who look at identity and politics in their art.’
When looking at a piece of art, Meaghan says, it is important to consider the social and political time periods. Modernmet.com defines contemporary art as any art that is created in our lifetimes. The problem with this definition is that we were all different ages. The general consensus in the art world is that any art that was created after the 1960s is considered contemporary art.
This is one reason why she has a preference for contemporary Canadian artists like Norman Takeuchi. Through one of her university courses, Meaghan had the opportunity to meet and interview Takeuchi about his work.
There are dark times in history and Canadian history is no exception. Takeuchi, an Ottawa based artist was born in Vancouver. He lived through the Japanese internment camps during the Second World War. The idea of interning Japanese Canadians began on December 7th, 1941. Both Pearl Harbor and Hong Kong were attacked by the Japanese. From this day forward, Canadians and the government alike became distrustful of Japanese Canadians.
One of the very first memories for Takeuchi is not a happy one. The Canadian government forced his family, along with many others to relocate to interior British Columbia where they remained until the end of the war. They returned to Vancouver once the war was over, where he attended the Vancouver School of Art.
The Cube Gallery interviewed Takeuchi and he described his work as:
‘unsettling and uncomfortable abstract forms which allude to the early exclusion years [that] jostle with images from old Japan. While the paintings represent an uneasy search for harmony and balance between the two worlds, they are ultimately a celebration of my dual heritage.’
From someone who knows little about art, I found his work intriguing and saddening. If you’re interested in seeing some of his work, click here.
Everyone looks at a piece of art with a different background and interpretation. I will go forward from my interview with Meaghan a little more informed about the process of creating art.
If you like this article, please share it and sign up for my email list for the latest updates.