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Megan Whitmarsh Interview

Written by Jane Kim   
Wednesday, 28 March 2007 07:20
Jane Kim interviews this LA based artist who just wrapped up a show this fall at New Image Art.

You may know her for her comic books, her handmade wallets, her paintings or all of the above. With misfits, embroidery, yetis, tiny industries, enjoy and explore the world made by Megan Whitmarsh.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I never know how to answer this question.

Where do you currently live and work?

I live and work in Highland Park, an old neighborhood in Los Angeles full of hills and dirt roads and canyons and coyotes as well as graffiti and trash and way too many 99cent stores. My studio is in my house.


What’s your favorite color?

I don’t have one—or it is always changing. I like combinations-- like pink and red.

Are you a breakfast for dinner sort of person?

I like breakfast in the morning.

What’s your studio like?

I am very clean and organized. I cannot work if it is dusty or disordered. I have a wall of little cubbies to put everything away so I can see everything. I have a drawing table, a sewing table, a computer table and a chair. It is very simple and everything is wood and handmade for me by one of my brother’s. It is sunny and bright and has windows opening onto my back garden. It is very small however.


Daily routine?

I have tea and toast, walk my dog, water the garden and maybe check email. Then I work from maybe 10 to 2, and then make lunch. Then work till about 6pm. Then either make dinner or my husband will cook. Then I often work again till 10 pm or so and sometimes watch a movie while I sew. I like to watch old b+w movies from the forties that my neighbor loans me. I mostly work. I try to take Sundays off though.

Where is your absolute favorite place?

I like the El Matador Beach in Malibu and the Yuba River in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Water and sunshine and heat.


Have you always embroidered?

No, my mom embroidered when I was a kid and I thought it was boring. I started sewing on my paintings in grad school. I feel like I am a painter still—not an “embroiderer”.


Yetis (big furry creatures). They are everywhere. Who are they?

They are a surrogate figure for humanity I guess—the misunderstood misfit.

There are often white yetis and brown ones. Are there different kinds and genders?

There are also grey and black ones—they are not supposed to represent specific ethnicities or genders. I just think “That one live in the Arctic” or “”He is from Tibet”


The scale of everything in your work is wonderful. Yetis seem like they would be gigantic yet they are tiny on the canvas and people as wells as mushrooms or mountains are all similar in size. What’s behind that?

I have always liked tiny things and details. It is my natural scale to draw and work in. I don’t think about perspectives—everything is more like an icon--- somewhat interchangeable and telling a story together.

Do you work with all kinds of fabrics or do you have favorites and where do you get them?

I usually use polished cotton. I like bright, flat colored fabrics.


How are your hands feeling?

They are very strong! I have a new muscle in my forearm from sewing—I imagine it is the muscle someone who plays tennis or something would have. I call it my Super Sewing Arm!

Are you ever a character in your work?

Yes and so is my husband and lots of my friends.

Roughly how long does it take to finish a piece?

It depends on the size. I am pretty fast at sewing but still a larger one can take months because I get so into the details—- like little necklaces or watches or earrings or something. I am always adding more details.


Are you now an expert at keeping string untangled?

No—I have a giant multi-colored thread ball that I pull threads out of. I use single strands to sew with.

What is the inspiration or inspirations behind the work? I notice movies, bands, social scenes and situations. By the way, I love “Yeti + Franz Kline.” Sometimes I feel like that in museums.

I am inspired by a desire to be optimistic about the future of humanity. I like to combine the everyday and the junky parts of modern life with the iconography of the supernatural and fantastic and thus transform the mundane into something magical feeling.


Do you like museums? Would you say you are a museum goer?

No I am not- I only like to look at a few things a day so I find museums a little overwhelming. I like dusty and approachable museums like the Museum of Jurassic Technology though. They have a beautiful tearoom with a Russian samovar and free cookies.

What do you like to do with your time (when you’re not working, which is probably like always)?

I like to garden and cook and eat and play with my dog and hang out with my husband and read and go away on little trips to nature and family.


So let’s end this with your favorite joke.

What did 0 say to 8? Nice belt!

For more on Megan, check: tinyindustries.com
Watch here film "The Life of a Yeti"
Megan just wrapped up a show at New Image Art in LA- DETAILS {moscomment}

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