Massachusetts–based artist Megan Carty‘s original abstract paintings and prints have been featured in numerous galleries and online purveyors including Anthropologie, Minted, and Artfully Walls. She’s even had work on display at hospitals such as Sloan Kettering Memorial in New York City and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston. “I love that I can take inspiration and turn it into something tangible with my own hands,” says Carty. “Having a vision and seeing it through is my life’s joy. And, I find so much fulfillment in learning new things. As an entrepreneur, I have taught myself to design my own website and email newsletter, do my own photography and editing, create ads for myself, and how to collaborate with other business owners to help each other in our careers.”
The busy artist, with a penchant for color in runway fashion and nature, sits down with SHLTR to reveal everything from how she landed her first big break to how she spends a single day. Scroll down for a look at Carty inside her studio.
How did you get started?
“Ever the lifelong art kid, I studied art and advertising design at Syracuse University. I spent years as a graphic designer at small agencies and retail corporations until I started my own business designing and letterpress-printing wedding invitations and birth announcements. Once I began my family, I needed more flexibility in my schedule so I began selling cards and prints on Etsy, back when it was new. As my confidence in sharing my art grew, I decided to focus on my fine art practice fulltime, eight years ago. It has been a long game where I’ve had to get back up time and time again after being knocked down. I will never quit.”
Your childhood career dream?
“I’ve always wanted to be an artist. When I was six, I told everyone I would be an artist or art teacher one day, and I never wavered or doubted it for a moment. I was lucky in that way. I never wondered or worried about what my path would be.”
Describe a typical day.
“My typical day involves getting my three kids off to school and then I go down to my home studio in our converted basement garage. There, I check and respond to emails, inquiries, and other pressing admin work. I check my social media channels and reply to any comments or DMs I received overnight. I then create content to post on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok for the day that serves as a way to market my business and share my work with the world. Then, I begin painting, either for a collection I’m working on or a custom piece for a collector. I break to have a quick lunch, [if I remember] and then continue painting until my kids get off the bus from school. After handing out snacks and connecting with them, I go back down to finish any painting I need to complete before dinner. I try to be finished by 7:30 or 8:00. I love what I do because every day is different and interesting.”
Describe your break into the industry.
“My first big break was when Anthropologie reached out to me to create a custom floral painting they could use to make a gigantic wall tapestry to sell in their online store. I was so excited as I’d just created a vision board the week before where I included working with them as a goal one day. It was a huge opportunity to share my work. I completed their painting quickly and it was approved immediately, which was also a big boost to my confidence.”
“I’m so inspired by the colors, lines, and shapes of nature, especially in New England where I’m from. There is something so soothing and meditative in noticing the smallest details like the weird waving plants in a tide pool or the lichen on the bark of a tree. These small moments are what I try to capture and highlight in my art. Aside from nature, I’m also wildly inspired by the color combinations in runway fashion. Fashion designers are forward thinkers and risk takers. I love seeing the way they pair different patterns, colors, and textures together. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and fashion magazines getting inspired and I save any color combinations that stand out to me that I want to incorporate into my abstract paintings. I love my paintings to be bold and brave.”
Carty’s Tips For Emerging Artists
Share Your Work
The process of creating your art is fascinating. People love to know what inspires you and where your ideas come from. Use social media to share your sketches, references, works in progress, finished pieces, and help collectors envision owning it. This is how people like collectors, gallery owners, and online shop owners find you and feel a connection with you. These relationships are gold.
Don’t try to pitch yourself to galleries too soon before your work is ready. Know your unique style and voice as an artist and have your work be the highest quality it can be before approaching others with it. Be ready to explain it clearly and succinctly.
This means you will invest your time, resources and money in the best materials you can. Be willing to work boldly and bravely. Frame it professionally. Show your confidence and people will value it.
Be Prepared to Hear “No”
You cannot gain wins without first hearing “no” a lot. It pays to develop a thick skin and to not take rejection personally. Keep showing up and sharing, and eventually someone will give you a “yes.”