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Meet Megan Maniago

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Maniago.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. But I only started to seriously consider art as a career when my mom was helping me with my homework and she started doodling on this paper napkin. I thought the girl she drew was so pretty, and I still consider that to be one of my biggest inspirations. Eventually, I entered college as an animation major. Learned a lot of new things and met a lot of fun people. It really opened up a lot of doors for me and I will be eternally grateful and curious. I’m still trying to navigate this world as an artist, but I guess that’s half the fun of this work!

Please tell us about your art.
My background is pretty deep in illustration and painting, but I’ve branched out into motion graphics and other interactive experiments. I like to have fun and play around with my style and different mediums. Since going to college I’ve gotten really into experimenting with different mediums and technologies. I did my first projection installation while I was studying abroad, and since then I’ve done other similar projects. I would say a good chunk of my work is about an image, how people see you and how you see yourself, the disparity of all that. I’d like to say my art isn’t super in your face about it. I believe that if viewers can look at the details and all the other subtleties of my work and come to their own conclusions about my work then my job was successful. But also at the end of the day, I don’t like to take myself too seriously, I’m no intellectual.

What do you think about the conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I’m still a young artist, who is also deep in student loan debt. I’m a recent graduate as well, so it’s definitely been really hectic trying to find a balance with all aspects of life outside of financial stressors. Right now, I have two-day jobs, doing editing/motion graphics for corporate entities. At night and weekends, I freelance as a concept/illustration artist. It leaves little time for myself and other personal projects, but it does pay the bills. I don’t want to say that the life of an artist is a sleep-deprived life, but right now, for me, it is. But an artistic path is not an easy one, and those who make it are usually hard-working and fun individuals. Hopefully, I can break out of that cycle, but for the time being it is necessary for me. At the same time, it’s not like I’m doing work that’s totally outside of the path of my dreams, so I’m grateful for all the opportunities that I have.

The only real advice I can give at the moment is, going out and making friends. The jobs will come flowing in that way. I’ve gotten multiple gigs from clients who know my friends. It’s kinda like word-of-mouth. I guess you could call it networking? But to me, no one really likes it when people throw business cards at strangers. Making friends, or just going to events with people that have common interests or goals is great too! There’s also a lot of forums and groups online with a bunch of creatives looking to collaborate with like-minded individuals. Facebook groups, Reddit, and even just social networks, in general, are a great place to start.

Main thing is to put yourself out there. It’s easier to do now with the internet and stuff, but also a lot harder to stand out from the sea of everyone else trying to make it. Stick with making stuff that you actually like to create, and not just what everyone else is doing. It’s fine to branch out and experiment, but you should always stay true to who you are. There’s a niche for everyone and everything.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I don’t have a physical space, everything about my work is pretty virtual/digital, hahaha. The internet raised me. So, the only way to see my art is online like on my website or my Instagram (which I’ve been trying to post more to), where I document my processes. I just like the whole concept of art being easily accessible.

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