Bill Collage

Bill by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Bill.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
Order a print

…And I’m almost done with my series! The latest one is of my dad, and this will be my final piece for the series. His neck is a little funky at the moment, and there are areas on his face that I want to rework, but overall, I’m nearly finished. Then I’ll return to three other pieces, work on fixing them up, and then I’ll be done with my collage work during spring break. This senior thesis stuff has been a lot of work, but I’m proud of what I’ve created. These are, without a doubt, the strongest six pieces I’ve created thus far.

Artists at Work: Smithsonian Community Juried Exhibition

This morning was the opening reception for the new exhibition that I have a piece in, “Artists at Work.” My collage, “Girl With Glasses,” is hanging at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center. The exhibition will be open from March 27th to May 18th 2008. It features 70 works chosen out of about two-hundred submitted pieces. I took a few pictures of the exhibition, as well as where my collage is hanging (they’re a little blurry because of the dim lighting):


Scott by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Scott.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
Order a print

Here’s the completed collage for my senior thesis exhibition. This portrait was inspired by my cousin Scott, who passed away from cancer back when I was in high school. He was thirteen at the time, but now he lives on in our memories and the artwork made by my family (there are a lot of creatives in my family).

Ali Collage and Collage Updates

Ali by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Ali.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
Order a print
Scott by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Scott” (progress picture). Collage on paper. 18″x24″

I’ve been working a lot on my collage of Scott–the background is taking forever! I’ve realized that the process of making collages is very time consuming. Not only am I busy flipping through magazines, trying to find the right colors, but I’m cutting the pages into tiny pieces to reassemble them to form my own images. It takes a while, but seeing the progress I make is well worth the time put in. Here’s the collage of Scott and the more developed collage of Ali.

I need to work on his nose more and the background and his shirt still need a lot more work. Also, his hair needs to be reworked so that he has a more rounded head and not a rectangular looking one.

Senior Thesis Planning

I’ve been trying to work on my senior thesis a bit by creating a few pieces for my next committee meeting. These pieces probably won’t make it to the actual show–I’m pretty sure they’ll be butchered at my next meeting. Nevertheless, I’ll continue onward.

Jean by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Jean Reading.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″

Anyway, for my show, I’ve decided to do collages, with portraits as the subject matter. During my winter break, I took advantage of the free time I had and got started on a sample piece to show my committee. This piece below is how far I got along with the portrait of my mother. It isn’t finished because it needs more shadowing on her face and better work with the wall in the background. I’m not satisfied with the composition either–I’ll probably have to take new pictures of my mother the next time I see her so I can make a better portrait of her.

Sketch of Ali by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Ali (Sketch).” Graphite on paper. 18″x24″

Today, I worked on a sketch for one of my future collages, of my cousin Ali. I like this composition a lot better and I hope to get started on it later this week.

And that’s everything for now. I’ll probably work on a few more sketches tonight of other portraits I plan on collaging.

Exhibition at the Smithsonian

This past week was exciting for me because I received an email the other day about an exhibition that will be up in March. I had completely forgotten that when I was interning at the National Portrait Gallery this past summer, I applied to a juried exhibition that’s only open to Smithsonian employees–thus I had to apply while I was an intern. This week was when they were notifying artists whose work was chosen for the show.

I didn’t expect that my work was going to be accepted, and now I’m really excited. The exhibition will be at the Smithsonian Ripley Center which is on the mall in Washington, D.C.

So if you’re in Washington, D.C., you should check out the exhibition. It will be up from March 20th-May 18th 2008.


This first picture is the piece that won the juror’s choice at the student juried exhibition. It was actually my least favorite of the three I entered–the other two are below. But I guess that just goes to show that what one person likes another person doesn’t like.

This semester is a rough one for me art-wise. It’s hard to get inspired these days when I have so little time to focus on my artwork. Nevertheless, I’m honored that I won an award for a piece I did this semester when I didn’t have as much time as I’d wish I’d have to work on each piece. The fridge piece is probably my favorite I’ve done this semester because I had more time and energy to put into it. The first painting down below is actually something I made towards the end of last semester.

I suppose all I really can do at this point is focus on my English work and unfortunately, my art will come second. But next semester I’ll have plenty of time to devote to my art making, which is good, considering that’s when my senior show will be.


Juror’s Statement

Here’s the juror’s statement from the “Artists Leading Elon” exhibition (it’s posted on the door to the exhibition as well):

Juror’s Statement

With extensive experience on both sides of the jury process, I have come to the conclusion that, despite any juror’s best efforts to remain impartial, selection of work is subject to the taste and biases of the juror. If a juror attends graduate school at a certain time or particular place, for example, they might have learned to value abstract art over figurative work, or think that “painting is dead”. As an entrant, you might find yourself in the unfortunate situation of entering work that reminds the juror of their ex-wife, or the background in your work is the color of the pea soup the juror was force-fed as a child. My point is this: do not be discouraged if your work was not chosen, as it is not a refection of the empirical value of your work.

My biases are as follows:

As this is a fine arts exhibition, I tended to avoid anything that looked too much like advertising… we all see too much of that, and unless you are using the language for a subversive purpose, I see no reason to make more of those images. There were some very eccentric choices, as I have a soft spot for kitsch, whether deliberately ironic or unintended. I was also drawn to work where you could feel the raw emotion, or the love, behind the making.

Some pieces were chosen because they looked like one thing, but became something else upon further inspection. Some were beautifully executed, which allowed them to transcend the ordinary subject matter that they depicted. The very best pieces that I saw here had a personal voice. The unique language of these works drew me in to look at everyday things in a new way, to experience human vulnerability, or revel in pure visual delight.

My thanks to the students for sharing your work with me, and for “putting it out there” to be chosen by others (never an easy thing).

-Kate Kretz