Updated: Mar 17
With March as Women's History month, we wanted to uplift a few extremely talented local artists who identify as female. Although talent is nonbinary, in the arts industry women are often less represented and are less able to reach a broader audience. We hope you enjoy learning about these power-packed women who use art to capture their own feminine experiences.
Swampy-aesthetic and a taste for everything macabre, Megan Buccere has launched a successful fine art career touching on surreal, yet realistic representation of nature, feminity, and the constant pendulum between beauty and decay. We asked Megan a few questions about her experience as an artist and how being a woman shaped that journey.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist? When you expressed this, how did your support system react?
My grandmother put me in private art lessons when I was in kindergarten (I drew quite a bit apparently). One of her friends was a great watercolorist and I was able to take lessons from her once a week until I was in 5th grade. My family has always been very supportive of my work.
Do you feel that you have to juggle a lot as a woman artist as compared to male counterparts?
I have felt this quite a bit when dealing with certain gallerists from outside of Louisiana. The pop surreal art scene is very male-focused. In the last 10 years, there has been a major shift in galleries around the country showing more female artists’ work. There was a point when I was doing darker pieces that I and several of my women artist friends had long conversations about how we wished we would have used a gender-neutral artist name. At this point in my career, I haven’t encountered much bias from galleries and the public.
Do you feel that your audience is geared towards women or broader? How has the reception to your work been?
I have 2 different mediums and subjects that I work in. My darker, more pop-surreal pieces seem to be well-received by all genders. I can tell that my larger, more nature-focused pieces as of late do seem to be received better from women, however, I have had several male clients.
What key opportunities did you find in developing your talent?
I am very very lucky. I am a high school art teacher. I have been teaching for 23 years. I do not think I would be at this point in my art career if it weren’t for all the years of practice. I’ve always been pretty creative by my skills have developed 10 fold over my career as an art teacher.
What advice would you give to girls wanting to become the artists of the future?
Always follow your goals and passions! I have a full-time job and am a gallery artist. There is nothing you can’t do if you have the focus and desire. Being an artist is just like being a piano player, you have to keep practicing.
Representing the fine artist who can also do digital, Darrionne Ellis works as both a graphic designer and an artist. Darrionne partnered with us on our latest MLK Fest mural on the MLK Community Center on Gus Young Avenue. Darrionne's Instagram is currently under construction, but keep an eye out for this ultra-talented rising star.
When did you see arts as a future career? What were you drawn to?
I've always known that I've wanted to be an artist since the youngest age that I can remember, like age four or five. When people ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said an artist.
Growing up I struggled with the direction that I wanted to take as an artist because I was always interested in all expressions of art, like music, poetry, theater, painting, fashion design, and so many elements of art. The older I got my expression of art came from many different avenues.
My family was, was always supportive. It makes sense for guardians/parents to struggle to see how can art be an actual career. As I got older I understood that, but my family, supporters, and people around me continue to support me genuinely and recognize that art is my passion.
How ingrained is art in your life and how do you feel that you've been able to develop your talent?
Art is who I've become. It is how I express myself. It is so much of who I am that [the outside can] see that this is real, that I take this seriously and how passionate I am, and how much it means to me to be able to express myself through art.
I think the biggest for me in developing myself as an artist is talent and skill and finding confidence in the voice that I already have. Sometimes I have struggled growing up with my identity and always feeling so different, like an outcast, and not realizing that there was beauty in my differences. I have finally been able to realize how beautiful and wonderful God has created me to be. The older that I've gotten, I've learned to embrace my differences. I've learned to embrace the unique things about who I am as a person and also how that is expressed through my art.
How did finding your confidence help with making you a better artist?
Once I found confidence through understanding the identity that God has purposed in me, I also found myself in so many doors I felt I wasn't qualified to be in. But with my found confidence and who created me, I have been able to take on so many opportunities that have helped me to develop as an artist.
Whether it be on the entrepreneur side or just developing myself on a personal level, I believe that who you are as a person just adds so much to your artistry because essentially art is how you express, and whatever your expression is, it's coming from within. The more I've developed within myself, the more I developed as an artist to express my identity and confidence.
What words of wisdom would you impart to any young girl artists looking towards a career in arts?
My advice is to trust and believe in who God created you to be and to find confidence in that. Always be confident in your differences. Always be confident in what makes you unique as a woman, and as a girl. It's so easy, you know, living in a world that is led by social media where things sometimes become replicas. We see doubles and triples of the same thing, but find what makes you different and enjoy it, embrace it. Love that very thing about you that's unique. Do not be afraid to stand out no matter what door you go, what room you walk in, or what atmosphere you're in. Be okay with standing out, because that is what people are drawn to.
They are drawn to the person that is not afraid to say something differently, not afraid to show up differently, not afraid to do something that seems impossible. That's what inspires people.
Arts are soaked into everything Emily does, day in and day out. A fine artist with a taste for hyper-realistic animal portraits, Emily is often found at Mo's Art Supply or at maker's events with her business Fat Cat Designs. You may recognize Emily's work with BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo, helping design coloring sheets for new artists to explore the animals BREC's zoo has to offer.
How did you find your path as an artist?
I had a stroke when I was eight years old. Due to that, activities that I used to enjoy, I was no longer able to participate. My health determined what I could and couldn't do. After my stroke, my parents searched for alternative activities since I could no longer play sports.
I took some art classes and found my outlet for everything in life. Waiting in doctors' offices I would draw the posters on the wall. I really fell in love with drawing how the human body and illustrating how it works. I knew from an early age that I wanted to create art for a living. It wasn't until I was older that my passion grew into the driving force that it is today. I love illustrating nature and the scientific world around us; producing art that can be a teaching tool. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree from LSU, and a Master’s Certification in Scientific Illustration from California State University – Monterrey Bay. I am proud to own a company doing just that!
How do you feel women in arts are seen or represented? What would you change if you could?
I feel that women who create art are viewed more as having art as their hobby, whereas men who create art are seen as doing it for their careers. Why can't women juggle children and an art career? For me it is not a hobby, it is a profession, and one I am proud of. Just because we may be a wife, mother, or partner doesn't mean we can't have a real job, too. As a lot of your art centers around scientific accuracy, how is that received?
Sadly, I think that my work to more disturbing to the general public, due to the nature of what I am trained to illustrate. Some find the inside of the human or animal body disturbing, whereas I find it fascinating. Most people don't have paintings of skeletons and bones hanging in their homes. While I do art to sell that the general public likes, I also like to do art for myself, which is most often scientific in nature.
What key opportunities did you find in developing your talent?
Having an amazing family let me pursue my goals. Without the backing of my parents telling me to reach for what I wanted, I probably would have gone on to other things and not have been this happy in life. Being an artist is hard, and it won’t make me rich by any means, but I am very content with it! Follow your passion! Find the people who build you up, not tear you down.
Emily's work can be found online at @fatcatdesigns on Instagram.
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