Interview of Megan Eacock by Sophie Pellegrini
Hi Megan! Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m from Cromer near Norwich, England, a tiny seaside town in Norfolk and I love it. I’m 15 and go to a really small high school and am currently in year 11 doing my GCSES which is scary I guess. I live in a wee house with my mam, brother, two sisters and my dog. I hate maths and science but love history and English.
How long have you been painting? How did you get started?
I’ve been making stuff all throughout my short 15 years of life, but I realised I have a passion for painting about 2 years ago when I got a new art teacher. At the end of year 9, Mr. Merry (my art teacher) gave us a task to draw a self portrait and I remember going home and spending ages on it. When I brought it in, he praised me for it, so I did more, and from then I never looked back. I’m very thankful that he encouraged me to start, because without him I would have never had the confidence to create the things I want.
What’s your favorite thing about painting and art?
My favourite thing about painting is being able to completely zone out for a while, I’m a very messy and stressy person so just sitting painting and listening to music for a few hours a day makes me feel relaxed and happy but also productive. I also find it quite hard to express my opinions verbally so doing it creatively helps me a lot.
I also love seeing the progress in every piece I do; seeing some aspect of the faces I paint become a little bit more realistic or better motivates me to do more, because with art, there is no limit to what you can create which I really love. My favourite thing about art is the community, everyone is so unconditionally themselves and not afraid to be weird, and as a teenager I finds that’s super powerful. I’m surrounded by people that want to fit in, so seeing artists challenge that really inspires me to have no boundaries in expressing myself.
Is there anything in particular you hope to express or convey in your paintings?
I like to express the meaning of being ‘unconventional’ in my paintings; I like painting people that don’t fit the normal standard of appearance, or act in really controversial ways. Donald Trump fucks me off a lot and as a young girl I want to let other gals know it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in, and what Trump stands for is not okay. Politics are kind of a taboo subject for teenagers, and adults kind of roll their eyes when a kid has something to say about it, because we’re thought of as uneducated a lot of the time. In my art, I really want to stress the importance of speaking up about it and not being afraid to have an opinion as a teenager.
Who are some artists you admire and are inspired by?
I’m really inspired by Elizabeth Isely because she’s very explicit and shocking in many ways, and I want my artwork to impact people like hers impacts me. It makes me feel empowered and reminds me to not be afraid to shock people or be controversial. She talks really openly about taboo subjects like sex and I love that because it’s not expected from females. I look up to really powerful people that made changes in their lifetime, like Bowie. I truly am fascinated by how fearless he was with style and music; it’s so difficult to be original and it seemed like he did it so effortlessly. He makes me feel like I change the world with my art which is really special to me.
Can you tell us a little bit about your work process?
The process I go through when painting usually begins with research, I look through social media to find what the current controversy is. I then think of ways to incorporate that into portraiture. For example, the Women’s March in America earlier this year inspired me to paint Trump’s face with the words “pussy grabs back”; it was my favourite response to Trump’s sexism. After I’ve decided what to paint, I use acrylic and a tiny paint brush and I take to the canvas. I use short scribbling motions to apply the paint and layer different colours to blend them together. I don’t blend the colours fully because I like the patchy collage look it gives. Normally I sit listening to funky music with a coffee in hand (milk and three sugars).
What are some of your other hobbies and passions?
One of my other passions is music, I love gigs and the variety of sounds. When I come home from school, my routine is to blast “Tainted Love” and dance around my room, it makes me feel great and that’s why i love it. I love the intense emotion a song can make you feel and how connected you can feel to a person through music. my favourite song is “She’s Casual” by The Hunna because of how it escalates from the intro, it’s an ace song to dance to. My favourite band is The Slits because of how radical they are, listening to their songs makes me wanna pack up everything to go travel and explore my freedom.
List five things that fascinate you.
Children, contemporary art, conspiracy theories, Brian Cox, and serial killers.
Follow Megan on her Instagram.