Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In Conversation: Meg Hitchcock

Meg Hitchcock is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Vermont, and lived in California for over 20 years. She received her BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, and studied classical painting in Florence, Italy. Her work with sacred texts is a culmination of her lifelong interest in religion, literature, and psychology. Hitchcock's work has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, London, and Berlin, and reviewed in Art in America, ArtCritical, The New Criterion, Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, and The Daily Beast.

Bliss (2012) Letters cut from the Koran, 35.56 x 27.94 cm (43.18 x 35.56 cm framed),
(c) Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I’m from Vermont. I moved to California when I was 20, and that was my home base for over 20 years, so I consider myself bicoastal. I now live in New York City.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
My work is an examination of the human condition. In particular, I explore the universal belief in God, and the consequences of that belief. I work with sacred texts, paper, and glue.

What’s your favourite word? What does it mean and why do you like it?
I don’t have a favorite word, but I do have a favorite letter: a lower-case 'm'. I like that it’s fat, blocky but round, and has not one but two humps. I also like the roundness of a capital O, so my favorite word could be “Om”, just for its appearance on the page.

Installation view of Meg Hitchcock's artworks in Re-writing the Image. 
(c) Copyright courtesy of the artist.

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why?
I’d like to collaborate with my husband, Kurt Steger, who is a sculptor. We plan to do this some day. I love how he thinks about the world, and how we work together on shared projects.

What inspires you?
Going to the Met is always inspiring. In general, looking at art, reading, and listening to music inspires me.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
My best work is done in silence. However, sometimes the tedium gets to me and I need a distraction, so I’ll either listen to classical music or NPR. I can only do this when I’m working on a very repetitive passage in my text piece.

Detail from Hymn to White Tara (2012) Letters cut from the Koran,
35.56 x 27.94 cm (43.18 x 35.56 cm framed)
(c) Copyright courtesy of the artist. 

What do you think people will take away from seeing your work? 
Rather than being swept up in the literal interpretation of a specific text, I’d like the viewer to understand religion as a collection of sacred writings that allude to something ineffable. The word of God is ultimately written in the heart, and any attempt to express it will ultimately be an approximation of a deeper experience. I’d also be happy if someone just thinks my work is sick.

Where can people find out more about your work?
On my website: http://www.meghitchcock.com/ and blog: http://meghitchcock.blogspot.com.au/

What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
In September I have a solo show in Washington, DC at Randall Scott Gallery, and will also be participating in a large museum show which I’m not yet allowed to talk about. I have several other group shows in the works.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
My advice is for artists and non-artists alike: Find the subject that’s closest to your heart, and pour everything you’ve got into it. Then do nice things for other people, and you’re all set for having a good life.

Om Tat Sat (2013) Letters cut from the Bible, 35.56 x 27.94 cm (43.18 x 35.56 cm framed)
(c) Copyright courtesy of the artist.

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