Why I am an Artist

Colorful Collages by Megan Coyle

“Why are you an artist?”

I get asked this question a lot, and every time I hear it, I’m always surprised it was ever asked in the first place.

“I’m an artist because I don’t have a choice.”

I guess it’s hard for non-artists to understand what I mean, and to understand what fuels me to live the creative life. I’m an artist because I need to be one – I have this inherent drive to make things. It pulses through my veins, and makes me fiercely resistant to the thought of ever giving up the artist title.

When you’ve been making art every week of your life for years, the process of art making gets ingrained in your mind. What may have started as a hobby, or something that was “just for fun,” blossoms into something you can’t live without. It becomes a habit through repetition, and when you finally go without it for a few days, you feel like something is missing from your life – the pangs of art withdrawal. It’s moments like those when I realize I can’t live without being an artist in one form or another. Being an artist is what gives me purpose in life.

Art has also been one of the few constants in my life. Even when times have been tough, like grieving the loss of a loved one or coping with the pain of a broken heart, art has been around for me. During those times, art has not only been a creative outlet, but also a form of therapy that helps me through the days when it’s difficult to stay afloat. I guess you could say that when life gets messy, making artwork is one of the few things that makes sense amid the chaos.

Squirrel by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Squirrel!” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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When I was growing up, art had a major role in my life, which is why it makes complete sense that it still does. As a kid, I took art classes at local galleries and whenever it was possible at school. I remember back in high school, it didn’t matter how stressed out I was from my other classes, because I could always count on feeling a great sense of relief when I went to art class. I could momentarily forget all my other worries as I focused on drawing or painting.

Although I went to college for creative writing, I quickly realized that visual art needed to have an active role in my life every year, so I picked up a second major in painting. It was at that time that I realized something – that no matter what criticism I received for my visual art, I was always able to bounce back. Rejection is a pretty tough thing to overcome when it comes to an artist’s work, simply because we are putting ourselves out there when we share our art. And even during the worst critiques, when I felt incredibly sad and didn’t know if I should continue making artwork at all, I’d find myself painting in my room late at night and realize it was meant to be.

National-Museum-of-the-American-Indian
“National Museum of the American Indian.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″
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As an artist, you would think rejection is something I get used to since it happens often enough in an artist’s career. Although for whatever reason, whenever a gallery has rejected my work, I still find myself wondering if there is any point in continuing to make art. I’m glad that I’ve never given up entirely because of the opinion of a handful of people. No matter what, I’m still drawn to creating something, let it be a collage, drawing, or painting.

So whenever I’m asked why I’m an artist, all I can think is it’s not something I choose to do – it’s something I have to do. I’m an artist because making artwork is what drives me through each day.

The Serious Grin of the Eagle

The Serious Grin of the Eagle by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The Serious Grin of the Eagle” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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After relaunching my portfolio site, I’ve finally had some time to make some new artwork. This is the first eagle portrait I’ve ever done, and it was interesting tackling an animal portrait after spending so many weeks immersed in coding websites and not making artwork.

The original is available for sale in my online store.

Swing by the New Online Store

Smiling Birdy by collage artist Megan Coyle
Smiling Birdy by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Smiling Birdy” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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You may have noticed that over the past few weeks my website has gone through quite a few changes. I redesigned the overall look and feel, and then started adding a few improvements here and there. One of the big improvements of the new site is the new online store experience. Previously I used Etsy to sell my smaller, original collages. Now you can purchase collages of all sizes directly from my site.

If you swing by the online store, the top section has several icons that link to different products that you can buy directly from me – original art, prints, custom art services, handmade magnets, and also a section that will include artwork that’s on sale.

The Magic of Memories

The Magic of Memories by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The Magic of Memories” Collage on paper. 9″x12″
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This is a commission that I completed for an author who lives in California. She wrote a story about a collage artist in the DC area, and she thought it was only fitting to hire me to make a collage inspired by a description from the book. This piece was inspired by a passage that described a work of art created by the fictional artist – a box of memories with light swirling from it. I definitely had a lot of fun creating this piece, especially since it was a little different from what I normally make.

The Wise Lizard

The Wise Lizard by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The Wise Lizard” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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This is the first collage that I’ve actually completed in the New Year. I decided to tackle another animal portrait, and this time focused more on using texture and loose lines.

Lately I’ve become increasingly interested in changing things up with my work. I plan to not only experiment with different collage techniques, but also with different mediums. Stay tuned for more…

Happy as a Corgi

Happy as a Corgi by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Happy as a Corgi” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to make a new work of art – life has been keeping me busy! Earlier this year I went through a coding bootcamp, and recently I moved to Maryland, so needless to say, life has kept my hands full. However, I finally had a chance to put the finishing touches on this little guy. I definitely plan to start making more collages soon.

The Smiling Corgi

The Smiling Corgi by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The Smiling Corgi” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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Corgis are my favorite type of dog, and I can’t believe that this is actually my first collage portrait of a corgi. Needless to say, there will be more of these collages in the future!

Sprinkles and Cupcakes Make Everything Better

Sprinkles and Cupcakes Make Everything Better by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Sprinkles and Cupcakes Make Everything Better” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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I usually like to tackle animal collages, so I decided to change things up a bit and work on another still life piece. It’s been a while since I’ve made a new work of art – sometimes life can get pretty hectic. This year is proving to be a busy one for me, with more traveling and a lot of classes that I’m taking at night. What can I say? I have a lot of interests that keep my days pretty busy.

Anyway, I think I’ll work on cranking out another still life collage next.

Coffee Break

Coffee Break by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Coffee Break” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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Coffee is definitely a popular subject matter for me. What can I say? Coffee fuels me and inspires me.

I’ve been devoting so much time and energy to animal collages these days, that I decided to take a break and focus a little bit more on other subjects. There may be a few more still life pieces in my future. We shall see…