By Tricia Haggerty Wenz

Megyn Craine is an interdisciplinary artist who sees art making as a process of discovery. Her work is a reflection of how she interprets the world around her. It encourages us to look a little deeper, to question the way we understand our own world and its meanings for us.

Her exhibition, “Artifact,” opens on the ArtWalk at Hartford Public Library with a reception on Friday, May 13th, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The pieces will be on display through June 25th. Megyn will hold a conceptual collage workshop on May 21st from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register, click here.

The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

Were you an artist since birth?

I was always creative as a kid. While at 17 I wasn’t sure what I wanted for the rest of my life, I did decide to go to art school at the Hartford Art School.  I was a student of the Experimental Studio department. Without having to focus on any particular medium, we were encouraged to try anything. I learned welding, photography, painting, performance art and more. I wanted to learn every medium and push every boundary I could. I transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute New Genres department where I got my degree. 

After I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I knew what I like to do — which is be creative and help to inspire more creativity in others.

 

'Two Piece Set' by Megyn Craine.

‘Two Piece Set’ by Megyn Craine.

Perhaps because of that uncertainty you have done a million other things. And still do. Can you list a few? 

Horse wrangler, bakery owner, waitress, fine art auctioneer, pastry chef, nanny and now I am in grad school for marriage and family therapy. 

But at the same time, you were always an artist. 

 Always an artist. I was always making art. But I did not want to pursue making a living at it so it never occurred to me to show my work.  

And yet here you are. 

Yes, my husband Rafael Osés is also an artist. We actually met at Hartford Art School. He had an ArtWalk show a few years back and encouraged me to apply.

Is this your first exhibit? 

While I have shown pieces here and there this is my first solo show. 

Wow. 

Yes, it feels pretty good. 

What was the process like, getting this show together? 

Looking though my work. the word “artifact” kept coming back to me.  This exhibit is made up of things I’ve collected — the artifacts of my life.

The title piece of artist Megyn Craine's "Artifact" exhibition.

The title piece of artist Megyn Craine’s “Artifact” exhibition.

I am fascinated by the title piece. 

My title piece was created during the early days of the pandemic. The piece began with a number of old family quilts that I transformed it into art work. Beginning April 1, 2020, and every single day for the next two months, I would collect an artifact from that day’s experience and document it by writing something about it, stitching it into the quilt and sealing it in the moment, so I no longer know what was written on them. During the exhibit people are invited to take an artifact from the piece if they would like.  

That is so cool. 

Yes, I wanted my show to be an interactive experience for the viewer. During the entire length of the exhibit, I will have a bowl of tools available for anyone to add any artifacts they want to the piece. Artifacts are so interesting — things that we grow up with that we could have been easily tossed away now have value some other way.  How we or others determine the value of something is so fascinating to me. 

What a gift you are giving to the viewer. 

For me the viewer is just as important to the artwork as the maker. The idea of having something interactive in the show feels so important to me. This work has been packed up in my house for a while and now by sharing it with others my art will take on a whole new meaning. I am excited about this collaboration and the opportunity to experience my work while others are experiencing it as well. 

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