This week, alongside her artistic collaboration with the movement, Louder Than The Storm caught up with Meg Wagler (megwagler_illustration), a Midwest based visual artist creating illustrations, murals, and paintings.
Meg didn’t always want to be a visual artist. At the beginning, she started off wanting to be a writer -- and as we speak, it becomes clear that her words are certainly no less beautiful than her art.
How did you get to where you are now?
I received my BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration and got started as a designer in the marketing world for about a decade. After working as a designer and art director for brands over the years, I realized I needed to create on my own terms to feel like I was doing authentic work. I freelanced on the side for many years and ultimately made it my full-time job just this year. It’s been a wonderful journey!
Where do you usually find your inspiration?
I draw inspiration from a lot of things. I had a professor tell me once that good artists are interested in everything outside of art. I use cooking, photography, lettering, writing and gardening to fill my brain with visuals and colours and ideas. Then, I try to practice intuitive art where I meditate and find a space of clarity before I start working. It helps me cultivate more of my intuitive thinking and clears away the worry of what people will think or what they expect to see.
Your Earth Day and Plant Study pieces are stunning, and so colourful! How does the natural world and its beauty feed into your creativity or creative process?
I am always inspired by nature! Plants, animals and landscapes are gorgeous and fascinating to me. I often study and work on pieces exploring feminine strength and often use botanicals to illustrate how colourful life can be naturally. I spend a lot of time outdoors camping and hiking and still continue to find inspiration everywhere. The natural world is beautiful and deserves to be celebrated!
I often study and work on pieces exploring feminine strength and often use botanicals to illustrate how colourful life can be naturally. I spend a lot of time outdoors camping and hiking and still continue to find inspiration everywhere.
Of course, your art often finds itself outdoors too, in murals, where lots of other people will see it! What is it about putting art into a physical, outdoor space that appeals to you?
Murals are my favourite pieces to create! Bringing vibrant art to life at a large scale completely transforms a space and, even better, transforms people’s experience in that space. The most powerful aspect of murals is that they help to create identity, character and uniqueness to a community and provide a really special art piece for people to be proud of even if they wouldn’t typically be able to afford custom art pieces in their home. It’s a great way to harness the unifying power of art in a big way!
Art definitely has power in a lot of different ways, and lots of your work could be seen as responding to political or social events. What role do you think art plays in those conversations?
I think art can absolutely be a conversational tool, even if it’s just the spark. Art unifies ideologies and can absolutely hold a microscope to social and political issues in ways that resonate. When we continue to create and share art on these subjects, we continue dialogue and motion for progress and change.
When we continue to create and share art on these subjects, we continue dialogue and motion for progress and change.
In particular, what role do you think art can play in the climate change conversation?
I think we have to keep the climate crisis in the limelight, to serve as a daily reminder for us all to do our part to help revert environmental damage and prevent further issues. If we stay silent, the conveniences of modern living win out and people forget to act. If you share art that feels authentic and striking, people want to engage and want to believe they can be part of the solution to celebrate and preserve something so beautiful.
Even in some of your pieces which don't have an explicit link to the Earth, such as in your femme-focused art, we see a lot of natural forms. Why do you think this is?
Almost all of my work explores a balance of opposites and how they coexist, because that paradox is so interesting to me. In some works, I balance bright colours with black, in other works I balance concepts of strength and vulnerability, and most often I look at how the overall concept of femininity is often much more of a balance of power and finesse than we realize. I think it all roots back to what’s natural, what’s true and authentic in contrast with what we tend to label things. I think things like nature, women, organics, communities, and politics all have such robust character and possibility if we take the time to explore them.
I think it all roots back to what’s natural, what’s true and authentic in contrast with what we tend to label things. I think things like nature, women, organics, communities, and politics all have such robust character and possibility if we take the time to explore them.
What do you hope the pieces you have produced for Louder Than The Storm might convey?
I wanted to explore a few different aspects of nature in these pieces: beauty, comfort and responsibility. I wanted to create a piece to celebrate natural beauty, a piece to illustrate how compatible we can be with nature if we choose to be, and a piece to illustrate how we can’t continue to take these things for granted. I hope that they resonate and inspire others to make small (or big) efforts to protect our home!
Interview by Louder Than the Storm Creative Team Lead Emma Turner