We have an exclusive interview with the artist Megan Broadmeadow, who is exhibiting on our Galeria Melissa London today. The artist behind the Mercury 13, told us how it was to work with Galeria Melissa. Come check it out:
1. When did you start to make art?
I’ve always made things, and being an artist has never felt like a choice, it’s just something I have to do. I made a lot of my own costumes as a child, and was always dressing up. I really haven’t moved beyond that much – although now I work with other people like dancers and composers to create more advanced fantasy worlds!
2. What are your inspirations and influences?
As you might be able to guess I enjoy watching sci-fi and psychedelic films for inspiration. I’m exploring the notion of imagination and the human construct of fantasy, and what this means in terms of consciousness and our experience of reality. I love work by Alexander Jodorowsky, but also like the silliness of films like Barbarella, as well as the dated style of films like Logan’s Run and Zardos.
In terms of artists, I admire Ryan Trecartin and Mike Kelly and the Bauhaus artist Oscar Schlemmer. Schlemmer’s idea of ‘Total Theatre’, which involved mechanical stages and immersion for the audience is a great starting point for me, and I like to play with that idea. I do this by using traditional methods and materials such as ‘peppers ghosts’ illusions and mirrors in combination with modern digital techniques.
The third strand to my investigations is the tradition of carnival and so masquerade, and so I try to research costumes and how people behave when dressed up as something other than themselves by going to parades and visiting museums.
3. What is your creative process? How have you conceived the concept of this new art exhibition in Galeria Melissa London?
This work came from a research trip I made to the National Space Centre in Leicester. I’ve been thinking a lot about the combinations of the man-made objects and unexplainable landscape of the cosmos. While I was there I saw information about the Mercury 13 women, and felt like that would be a good starting point to begin to create work around this topic.
The work evolves in lots of different strands at a time, I started with the floor layout, as I knew I wanted it to be immersive. The ideas for the sculptures also came early on, then the video content and other elements then began to emerge from that. The process has been a collaboration between myself and the dancers, composer, filmmaker and animator. Each person has brought something into this exhibition. I had the ideas and thoughts about how to present this idea, and wanted to make an immersive space, but I also like to work with people and add a bit of their spirit to it. Especially with the dancers. Each of them has their own unique style, and I wanted their movements and feelings to bring the costumes and characters to life, and so we worked together on set to discover the personality of the costumes.
Working with MDM who are making the objects has been a new process for me, and has allowed me to be more ambitious with the sculptural forms that I’ve produced for this show and that’s also been great. I’m really happy with sculptures.
4. What can the visitors expect about this experience?
I hope they will feel a sense of fantasy, and that they are stepping into another realm. I’ve also created some fun elements, as I felt that flying in space could be quite an enjoyable thing to do!
5. What about working with Melissa? Are you familiar with the brand? What do you think about this art/design pillar in the brand’s DNA?
This is my first time working with Melissa, and I knew of the shoes, but didn’t know the brand. I’ve really been enjoying working with Melissa and their openness to ideas! I also love the design of the shop, with the all the mirrors and illusions I feel that my work feels at home in there!
I think it’s really great that Melissa are working with artists, as I don’t think art is a separate thing that always has to sit alone in a gallery with no connection to anything else in the world. I’m also happy about the fact that people who weren’t expecting to visit art can discover the gallery and have an unexpected encounter with the work. It also means that people who wouldn’t normally see art might also have new experiences that’s important to me as I always want to make work that is for everyone, not only for people who have a background knowledge, or an art education.
6. What do you expect next for your career?
I’m currently making new work, I have some commissions and I recently won the Mark Tannner Sculpture Award. This is enabling me to spend more time in the studio, testing out new ideas. I will present those in a solo show at Standpoint Gallery in London next April.
I’m also going to have my first show in a public institution in Plymouth next year, and so all in all I’m enjoying being able to make new work, and presenting to new audiences across the UK.
7. Do you like fashion? How do you relate fashion and art?
I have a strong interest in making and researching carnival costumes, and so this means that I also take an interest in fashion. To me fashion is a powerful thing, in that out of all the art forms it can influence many people, and the trends that are worn by people become the image of humanity for that period of time. I find that fascinating.. Like why were flared trousers so popular in the 70′s, and why did all men wear wigs in the 18th century?!
I really like the work of designers such as Gareth Pugh and Iris Van Herpen and so it feels like a privilege to be following on from Gareth’s show at Melissa!
My costumes are a lot more rough and ready than couture outfits. They are designed to be sculptural and theatrical rather than being well made, for me it doesn’t matter if they aren’t perfect! I like the feel of something being homemade, and like the naivety of a child’s costume, or mask made for carnival. A lot of the time I recycle my costumes, and so they become sculptures or turned into another costume, or used in a different video. I like them to have many lives, and to explore where they can exist.
There is a strange distrust sometimes between fashion and art as if one might be better than the other, yet to me this doesn’t make sense. I’m not in a competition! People like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, are to my mind absolutely artists. I look broadly at creativity and am inspired by innovation in all kinds of mediums.
Now that you know the artist, come visit us to see the amazing art of Megan!