Why Make Work?

Only days ago, I was lamenting to my mother about the struggle to become an artist. See, in some ways, I feel I have recently taken some professional steps backwards. Just this week, I started working in another restaurant after once again returning home penniless, all my money spent on travel or exhibitions, the financial holes covered by my ever-supportive parents. After traveling and installing in two countries and six states in the past five months, I have been feeling a little run down. Often when this happens I am also physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted, a conglomerate of perceptions that leave me feeling wasted, crushed and ultimately, like a failure because optimism takes energy. Mom suggested I look at the big picture and list my accomplishments as way to regain focus. So here it is, my simplified list illustrated with pictures:
April: Corte Moronati, Artist Residency in Sirmione, Italy, a trip funded by a professional development grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. I was invited to install for ArtPrize while in attendance of this amazingly beautiful place.
Corte Moronati Artist Residency, “Internalizzare (Internalized)” (2014) installed in a 14th century attic in Sirmione, Italy: I used “Internalized” as a way to explore my feelings of alienation associated with being an outsider within the Italian culture. Wood, screw eyes, acrylic, twine, spray paint, neon marker and black light.
May: “Terminus” (Atlanta, GA, 2014) designed and built for the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences art auction, a body of work that resulted in nomination as one of the Georgia Committee’s Women to Watch for acceptance into the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Image of me standing inside of “Terminus” (2014), an installation that visualized Atlanta’s transportation past, present and future and New York City subway tunnels. It was a multi-media installation created from light, ribbon, string and video. Projection created by Pablo Gnecco, sound design by Adam Babar, armature construction by ExhibitCraft and photography by Steve Moraco. The audience was able to enter “Terminus” and traverse the artwork as if walking through a subway tunnel. This project considers what the city of Atlanta could become if their transportation issues were resolved. The piece was installed in Atlanta, Georgia at the Goat Farm Arts Center for the Hambidge Center of Creative Arts and Sciences Art Auction.
June: Jentel Artist Residency, Banner, WY. When the director told us that we were given the gift of time to use however we pleased while in attendance at Jentel, I chose to rest and spent my time staring off into the stars or watching the wind dance through the grassy hills. I did also learn how to use Adobe Premiere, edited the video for “Terminus” and created my Kickstarter video.
The hills of Banner, WY, location of the Jentel Artist Residency.
July: Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, a three-week residency cut short because of a family wedding (nurturing relationships will always be a top priority for me). “Glowing Fisher” was a built to demonstrate what I do for the other residents but also as a sketch for work that I hope to build in the near future. I also traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit with the ArtPrize curator and see for myself the building I would be installing on this September. Oh! I also worked on “Double Arch” for the MariettaCobb Museum of Art.
“Double Arch”, 108″ x 115″, White twine dusted with spray glitter, this installation was created for the 14th annual Metro Montage Juried Exhibition at the MCMA.

The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, “Glowing Fisher” (detail, 2014.)
August: The Wassaic Project Summer Festival, “Seeing This Guy”, installation. I spent four days camping in the field with friends and both worked AND played hard.
Artist Zebadiah Keneally and I standing in front of “tent city” at Wassaic’s Summer Festival.
“Illuminated Stanchions (Site Revisited)”, installed on Luther Barn for the Wassaic Summer Festival VII, 2014.
Just the other day, a friend of mine commented that it appeared I was “living the dream” with all my travel and work, which caused me to reflect on what “the dream” was. What’s the point of all of this work, most of which occurs behind the scenes? So much of the actual work to make an art object or major installation/exhibition isn’t seen: the search for funding, the applications, the networking and social media campaigning to generate interest, travel: to and from residencies or simply show/gallery attendance in effort to network with collectors and other artists and become knowledgeable about what’s new and up-and-coming. This is where I currently find myself – navigating all of this stuff so I can build my new body of work. All of this effort is entirely necessary but I often get lost in it and I have to remind myself why I wanted to be an artist in the first place:
“Inspired by both the interior and exterior, I make three-dimensional drawings to emphasize obscured elements within recognizable objects and correlate the symbolic with lived experience. My work begins with the search for potential install locations. I prefer sites where nature has been permeated by manufactured elements or ways in which structures can communicate certain particulars about the current human condition. Each composition is comprised of a multitude of lines expanding and contracting in space to encourage the appreciation of specific habitats for what they are while also examining their hidden meanings. The final artworks are a multi-sensory art experience enhanced by natural and synthetic light intended to engulf the visual senses and reawaken for a moment the simple intrigue of looking.”
Megan Mosholder, Artist Statement
One of my favorite parts of making art is watching the transformation of space with the knowledge that the final composition will make all of the work leading up to it – the physical, conceptual and theoretical work – worth it. The other part is watching how others respond to my installations. For example, my most recent piece, “Illuminated Stanchions (Site Revisited)” (2014) installed for the Wassaic’s “Seeing This Guy” was inspired by the way Luther Barn is built directly into the landscape. Drawn to the way landscape and architecture have merged together, I installed glowing twine directly onto the barn as a way to get audience members to slow down and see what I felt was a magnificent location, significant in more ways than one.
Luther Barn merging into the landscape, a source of inspiration for me.
So, with that memory on the forefront of my mind, I will leave you with this: my most current project. It is the beginning and I am searching for funding. I have created collectable objects to support that funding. The final project, entitled in Native Odawa/Ojibwe dialect Mijimendan vta Ziibi (Remember the River)”will be installed for this year’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI and serves as a reminder of the importance of Grand Rapids’ history but also its future: respect for all races of people and care for the environment vital to our survival. Installed directly onto the 5/3 Bank building in downtown Grand Rapids, this installation will be realized from thousands of yards of glowing ribbons and will be an interactive artwork that is reminiscent of Grand Rapids’ past, present and future. I need your support. In exchange, you will receive a collectable hand-crafted, art object. TOGETHER we have the opportunity to create a memorable and three-dimensional sculpture that encourages cultural compassion and environmental awareness.  I promise I will do you all proud in Michigan and return to Atlanta/Ohio victorious!
One of my Kickstarter rewards, 18″ x 18″ SCREEN PRINT – “TWISTED VORTEX” Glow-in-the-Dark White and Metallic Silver Ink – Edition of 75.
My friend Giada Crispiels has a fund raiser for her artist residency and one of the perks for donating is a 4 NIGHT STAY FOR 2 in Sirmione, Italy! (See pictures... amazing, right? Who wouldn't want to go there???) AND for every 25th dollar, Indiegogo will donate $1 to her campaign. Did I mention the donations are tax deductible? 

An Update....

It has been a year since I have posted anything on this blog. In many ways, I had forgotten it. Until today…

Recently, I have been thinking about the past year. October 7, 2012 found me preparing for my MFA thesis exhibition. I was a nervous wreck, not entirely sure of what I was doing yet (my work is site-specific). I was also worried that my thesis committee would hate it and I would have to re-do the entire thing and remain in school for another quarter at the very least. The exact opposite happened though: my show, A Tale of Two Bridges 2012, (although poorly attended) was wildly successful and published digitally and in print. I returned to New York City a new graduate the words “now what” running through my mind.

Fast-forward to October 2013: I still have those words running through my mind as I sit in my studio at the end of my first artist residency at The Wassaic Project. With three weeks left to produce before traveling on to the Vermont Studio Center, I am considering my next career move. All of my previous experience is obviously informing these decisions. For example, my recent public installation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina has made me consider more public work. How can I continue to create pieces in the same vain but as permanent installations? There is also the question of the socio-political conversation that I am still interested in engaging visually.

And thus the exploration of potential new materials begins….

Check out more work at meganmosholder.com

Luther Barn at The Wassaic Project Artist Residency. 

Support and Seizure, Wassaic, New York, 2013, Braided Mason Twine, Blacklight and Eyelets. Photographs by Danny Ghitis. A mixed-media installation that explored the socio-political dynamics of the Wassaic Project Artist Residency, particularly the merger between the two communities: artists and locals. I was interested in the revival of the Wassaic, once a forgotten hamlet plagued with home foreclosures. Many of the community members told me how happy they were that the residency was in existence because it brought new life and interest to the area. The Wassaic Project continues to look for ways to revive the area such as its newly implemented art education program, which I have had the pleasure to be a participant of as their education fellow.

Coastal Discovery Museum Juried Public Art Exhibition, Art Around the Horn, Hilton Head Island, S.C.:

I was recently in Hilton Head, SC installing my largest work to date, Gossamer. This work of art was built out of 15,000 feet of nylon cord, 2000 screw eyes, blacklight and hand painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. The piece took over 150 hours to build. I was fortunate enough to have my mother Nancy and friends Lauren and Adam help me to build the piece. Without their, help this "three-dimensional" drawing that was installed in a pole barn 12 feet in the air would not have been completed in time for the art opening.

I have opportunity to win prize money for this work of art. Winning will allow me to fund my upcoming artist residencies in Vermont and France and will help me to finish the work for my solo show at Roy G Biv gallery in Columbus, Ohio February 2014. I would greatly appreciate it if you would go to the following link:

And select "Artists". 

A survey will appear. Please click on my piece "Gossamer" and select "submit".

Gossamer, Hilton Head Island, 2013: 15,000 feet of nylon cord hand painted with glow-in-the-dark paint, 2000 screw eyes, and blacklight. Photographs by Adam Trevillian.

Gossamer, 2013, Screen print with glow-in-the-dark blue ink, 16" x 18".
 A Tale of Two Bridges and the Concept of “Inner Strangeness.”

A Tale of Two Bridges (2012) explored old conversations about city planning, race and power, and the more current social and political climate in Savannah, Georgia through the recreation and emulation of The Talmadge Memorial Bridge and its skeletal twin. The installation was built inside the remnants of an old confectionary building located at Southern Pine Company, a warehouse complex located in Savannah. This piece created out of light-sensitive braided mason twine and illuminated by blacklight appeared as a beacon of hope amidst its dilapidated surroundings of the warehouse and outlying, economically depressed, immediate neighborhood. The selection of this location was a visual way of incorporating Yamacraw Village, a notorious public housing neighborhood that lies in the shadow of the Talmadge Bridge, an area that once belonged to Native Yamacraw Americans.

I began my MFA education at the Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall of 2010 and moved to Savannah, GA as an alien/outsider not accustomed to the Southern culture. I was shocked by the prevalence of minority segregation in the city. A Tale of Two Bridges was my visual response/reaction to the social dynamics of the Southern American culture I found myself in. It was a projection of my thoughts and ideas relating to the social norms of Savannah that made me uncomfortable. My installation inspired by the two bridges, echoed the neighborhoods that surrounded them, outcasts within their own city.

The idea of “inner strangeness” or internal dialogue is developed socially through our active and passive interactions with others. Psychologist Jean Laplanche claimed, “we all begin life thrown by the enigmatic desires of those around us.”[1] These desires are difficult for individuals to fully understand causing us to feel disoriented and experience an “inner strangeness”. The residual effects of this inner strangeness become stored in the unconscious, affecting the overall sense of self. A Tale of Two Bridges demonstrated my own personal inner strangeness in attempting to position myself within the social norms of Savannah, Georgia. I chose to respond to that discomfort through my work, a piece I hope will influence others to become more socially aware.

[1] Gross, Aaron, and Anne Vallely. Animals and the Human Imagination: A Companion to Animal Studies. New York: Columbia UP, 2012. Print.

A Tale of Two Bridges, Savannah GA, 2012, Interior/Exterior Installation, video, found objects, black light, braided mason line, screw eyes, acrylic, wood. Photographs by Steve Moraco.