We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Eskoff and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Megan, what are you inspired by?
My work is heavily influenced by expressionism, fauvism, and neo-impressionism. I borrow from theses movements bright colors and bold shapes, as well as emotional earnestness and sincerity. My memories of astonishing landscapes from some of my favorite places to visit, mainly Colorado and Ireland, dominate much of my content. I enjoy looking at photos for reference, but rely largely on memory of how a place feels, or the mood of the light at a certain time of a day. I am also inspired by meditation and mindfulness, just the act of focusing in on your body and breath, and taking in what is right in front of you. I explore the theme “the divine in the every day.” Part of my process is noticing how the sun lands on the branches of a tree, or the various shades of blue in a single wave of Lake Michigan, the patterns of leaves and flowers in a neighbor’s yard. There are snippets of beauty existing in every corner of every day, if we just practice noticing and savoring. I also love music. I think it is the best art medium for submerging people into a very specific mood. Poetry and painting are often more subtle, more suggestive, but I think music is really powerful at creating deep emotions, and I listen to it all the time, especially while drawing, to hone in on certain feelings I’d like to explore.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art and poetry explore the metaphysical in nature, and the divine in every day life. The landscape is my muse. I create drawings from oil pastels, a versatile medium that delivers bright hues and bold marks. What sets my art apart from others is its sincerity. The subject matter is very personal, taken from landscapes of places I’ve visited. I lead with my emotions to create expressive, vibrant impressions of places I love. I am more concerned with conveying a certain mood in my pieces than I am precision. I enhance natural colors, and exaggerate shapes. The results are finished pieces that feel both familiar and brand new. My poetry is also very visual. I play with language to divert expectations, and pose questions without giving answers. I would like the world to know that my work is always an act of courage. It is so easy for me to doubt myself, but with every piece of art or poem I create, I express the courage I have in myself to trust my intuition and my abilities. Process is a word I think about often. Rarely do I sit down to draw or write with an exact idea of the end result. I focus on an image or sensation, and allow the work to unfold of its own accord. The end results are as surprising to me as they are to anyone seeing or reading them. I love that about my practice! My style has shifted over the years, but I find the process always shows me hidden bits of my mind and heart that I uncover from my soul and turn into something tangible. I hope that my work inspires people to live slower, pay closer attention to the details, and to find their own courage to create something new.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend were coming to visit Chicago (and it wasn’t February during a pandemic..) I’d first take them to Lake Michigan! I live right next to the lake, and it is wonderful to walk up and down the beach. Then I’d bring them to Andersonville, one of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Chicago. We’d get a 3 course meal from Anteprima, and then wander to Hopleaf, the best bar for beers; they have dozens and dozens of different beers from all over! I would take them to The Art Institute of Chicago, to show them where I went to school, and then to journey through the museum. Afterwards we’d stop by Exchequer, the best watering hole in the loop, for a big basket of cheese fries and a dirty martini. We would go to the Garfield Park Conservatory, a brilliant conservatory with thousands of different plants from all over the world. To end the week, we’d head to Wicker Park and first visit Myopic Books, a charming second hand book store with a “Flourish and Blotts” (Harry Potter, anyone) vibe. We’d get dinner at Dove’s, and then, go dancing at Danny’s, the best dive bar with the best live DJ’s. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My entire family are so supportive of me being an artist. From the time I was little, I’ve been fascinated with books, writing stories, and visiting the art museum. I’ve always known I’ve wanted to be a writer, and when my art practice expanded to include painting, they cheered me on. Big time. It’s hard to step out of what society deems as “a good career path” and follow your artistic passion, so having a family that respects and admires my work has been a great source of encouragement for me. I also received my BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). This was incredibly important for my growth as an artist. It was the first time I ever believed in “magic.” Being surrounded by so many people who care about art as much as me really solidified how much I knew I was meant to be an artist. My professors pushed me to do more than I thought possible of myself

Website: meganeskoff.com

Instagram: mae_skoff

Facebook: Megan Eskoff

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