Meagan Boyd lives and works in the dark paradise, often referred to as Los Angeles. Through her art, she explores the transcendental realm between dreams and waking life in the context of myth and magic.
Meagan Boyd lives and works in the dark paradise, often referred to as Los Angeles. Through her art, she explores the transcendental realm between dreams and waking life in the context of myth and magic. The work often depicts Utopian environments filled with modern day nymphs, spiritual deities, holy beings, and party monsters, relishing the interconnectivity between all animals, humans, and nature. Incorporating an explosive colour palate and intricate line-work, her "freakishly folkish" aesthetic fuses nostalgia with an enigmatic urban glow. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Boyd is the art director and co-founder of the Applied Mythology Project, an organization that seeks to understand the relationship between creativity and esoteric practices in modern society.
Comprised of acrylic and watercolour paintings on canvas and paper, the exhibition serves as the latest iteration of the artist's bold investigations into spirituality, religious symbolism, and the occult. Boyd's floating deities, known as "fauves," serve as mystical centrepieces within each work, elegantly draped in flora and fauna against a flat, vacuous backdrop. While grounded in present day, she re-imagines our universe as a vivid supernatural playground, seamlessly incorporating primitive art traditions with postmodern sensibilities. Touching on themes of faith, sexuality, rebirth, and inner-growth, Neon Fauves is an imaginative exhibition that dwells in enchantment and possibility, reminiscent of surrealist painters Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington, as well as Frida Kahlo's unique take on magical realism.
1. How long have you been painting, and how have you noticed your practice evolve into what it is now?
I've been drawing, painting, and making things since I was a child, but it wasn't until I was maybe around the age of sixteen that I decided I wanted to pursue it as a career. I think my practice evolved the most in the last five years, with the last three being the most crucial. I spent some time at the California College of Arts (CCA) studying painting and drawing for a while. I felt that the environment of the institution was not conducive to my work, but it did push me in the right direction and taught me what I am be capable of. I ended up leaving CCA and coming back to LA (where i'm originally from) to organize my own art shows with my friends and reach out to other artists that I respected. I ended up with a job at a gallery in West Hollywood, New Image Art, working with Marsea Goldberg [the gallery director]. She has been working with artists for over twenty years, and I learned a lot about being an artist there [ . . . ] I tried to focus on tightening up my style and began exploring more deeply the themes that really interested me: mythology, ancient symbolism, feminism, and the interconnectivity between animals, people, and nature.
2. Your exhibition is titled Neon Fauves. What inspiration have you drawn from the Fauvist movement, and how have you made it relevant to today?
I feel a strong kinship to Fauvism as it is characterized by wild brush strokes, vibrant colors, and primitive techniques, reducing the work into something very pure and direct. The term literature translates to "wild beasts" in French. I feel like my subjects are these wild, shape-shifting beastly aspects of myself or people that I know and love. They exist in magical environments that I create for them that dive both into the past and future, and perhaps into a place that is eternal. However, I don't consider myself to be part of a movement that happened a hundred years ago; I just like the idea of reinventing an old narrative, the re-telling of a myth. It's like a cycle that continues to flow into itself, each time with added elements that make it more expansive and colourful, a complex ouroboric lemniscate.
3. Many of your paintings feature an amalgamation of human, deity, flora and fauna. What is the significance of this inter-connectivity for you?
I think I feel most myself when I can acknowledge the inter-connectivity of living things. Every experience I've had that I can consider "spiritual" is deeply rooted in this feeling of inter-connectivity with nature and animals, the understanding that I am just part of that equilibrium, and [that I] will eventually disintegrate into the earth when I die, which life will eventually grow from. Again, it's this feeling of cyclical birth, life, and death, that is perhaps a poetic way to depict how I understand what is eternal.
4. Leiminspace describes the characters in your work as whispering “to their listeners that magic may still exist despite the iPhone age.” How do you view the relationship between urban life, technology, and magic?
I think my work is very reminiscent of things that are currently overlooked because they depict many primitive symbols and images that are appropriated from ancient magical texts and alchemy books. But, I do think millennials are searching for meaning, and maybe even something magical that expands beyond the superficial world of social media, [which] can distract them from technology for a moment. That being said, I am very pro-technology, and I have found that online platforms help me connect to people interested in my work and other artists from all over the world—talk about inter-connectivity!
5. What is next for you?
Well, I'm currently seven months pregnant and my husband and I are looking forward to having our first baby this fall. I already have some plans to curate a group show next year with some friends, possibly something on the East Coast. I'd like to keep the creative ball rolling. Somehow I think my growing little daughter inside me is giving me lots of inspiration, and I feel very motivated to explore this new chapter with my little creation coming along with me.
If you live in Los Angeles, be sure to check out her show from August 12th–September 1st at Leiminspace // 443 Lei Min Way Los Angeles, CA. For more information, visit the Leminspace website or the Facebook event page.
Interview conducted by Julia Serena
All images © Meagan Boyd, reproduced with permission