The lockdown didn’t stop Robert Meganck and other artists like him, it just forced them to find a different path – VCU News

The lockdown didn’t stop Robert Meganck and other artists like him, it just forced them to find a different path – VCU News

Reese Witherspoon took up portray. Tony Hawk sang Nirvana with Mikey and His UkeRobert Meganck illustrated the music he heard. When the planet locked down, artists of all genres could not end generating, even if they had to discover new means to do it.

“When you put a resourceful particular person in a box, they will appear for a way out,” explained Meganck, professor emeritus in the Division of Interaction Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, where by he taught for 40 decades. “The pandemic practically eliminated my freelance illustration assignments, but the elimination of exterior initiatives does not adjust the interior drive to build something, it just forces you to obtain a distinctive path.”

Meganck’s path led him to generate “See What I Hear” — a sequence of illustrated tracks — and has gained him national recognition with an market award for songs-inspired art.

His visual interpretation of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” won Communication Arts magazine’s 63rd annual illustration competition. From 3,689 entries, 145 illustrations have been picked. The journal will publish the piece in its Could/June problem.

A piece motivated by Direct Belly’s “In the Pines” was identified for excellence by American Illustration and will be incorporated in its yearly AI-40, which represents the year’s very best illustrations.

‘Old individuals just develop lonesome’

It started off with the dying of people singer/songwriter John Prine in April 2020.

A picture of a woman with a black and brown dog with the lyrics from Led Zeppelin's “Black Dog” on top of it
Robert Meganck’s illustration of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” gained Conversation Art Magazine’s 63rd Annual Illustration Competitors.

“I’ve been a large supporter of John’s audio due to the fact his coffeehouse times in 1971,” Meganck explained. “I enjoy all his albums and was left questioning how to course of action the point that there would be no extra. I wrote a small piece to mail to friends that talked about the written content of his music, the descriptive elegance of his lyrics and what they imply to me.”

Meganck discovered himself copying the lyrics from “Hello in There,” a Prine tune about the loneliness of previous age, and pasted them within just a 12-inch by 12-inch site, the dimensions of an album go over. He digitally painted an graphic that represented the lyrics over the top rated of the text. The do the job, he explained, gave him a certain degree of closure.

A couple days later, he was listening to a Leonard Cohen album — another favorite — when he imagined about how he would illustrate the music “Ballad of an Absent Mare.” Mates and loved ones seemed to appreciate his tune interpretations, so he followed up with illustrations of songs by Paul Simon, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

At that point, he recognized the undertaking was a satisfying way to hold creatively active all through the pandemic. Two decades — and 110 illustrations — later, he’s however submitting a track on a weekly basis.

“No one thought the pandemic would nonetheless be affecting our life two years afterwards,” he mentioned. “It just type of advanced into a collection.”

Shifting is portion of the imaginative procedure

Meganck strategies just about every piece by listening to the tune, examining the lyrics and discovering its this means.

An illustration of a black woman laying in the fetal position with lyrics from Lead Belly’s “In the Pines” around her
Robert Meganck’s piece influenced by Guide Belly’s “In the Pines” was regarded for excellence by American Illustration.

“The street to end can just take twists and turns, and the ultimate may well search incredibly different from the initial strategy,” he claimed. “Allowing you to change is portion of the innovative system.”

When he often performs songs when he operates, it’s “not the identical song above and more than,” he mentioned. “At the start out, I do typically listen to albums by the exact same performer, but I also shift on to others.”

He chooses songs from a wide variety of genres — which include rock, place, folk, punk and blues — from his individual collection of CD and vinyl, iMusic and streaming providers. All the things is carried out digitally. Most start as sketches on an iPad, but all are completed utilizing some mix of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Following he comes up with the first concept, it requires 1 to a few days to comprehensive the illustration.

“The series is titled ‘See What I Listen to,’ mainly because they are visualizations of what I hear to and enjoy,” Meganck said. “Four of the tracks did start off as commissions, but just before I acknowledged each and every of these, I experienced to listen to them various situations, examine and understand the lyrics. Right before I accepted the fee, I had to consider that I could interpret them precisely. I also get music ideas from good friends and relatives. My daughter, a VCU grad, is huge on allowing me know what tracks she would like me to do. Also of notice is that 4 of the songs are instrumentals, so I had to attract from the title and tone of these music.”

‘The arts make your lifetime truly worth living’

It’s tricky for Meganck to say what he would be accomplishing if the pandemic hadn’t forced him to reevaluate his downtime.

An illustration of a magenta woman looking to the right and a blue man looking down at a newspaper while sitting at a kitchen table.
A piece motivated by John Prine’s “Good day in There.” “I’ve been a significant supporter of John’s music because his coffeehouse times in 1971,” Meganck said. “I adore all his albums and was left asking yourself how to course of action the reality that there would be no more.”

“Music is my muse,” he said. “For somebody like me, who enjoys live performances, [this project] was a way for me to specific my really like of new music without the location alternative.”

And, he mused, what could be improved than shelling out the bulk of his working day drawing? “I can’t imagine accomplishing something else.”

The truth of the matter is, Meganck added, that he is an artist not because he’s so good at it, but mainly because increasing up, he was so negative at anything else, and he hardly ever really wished to do anything at all else.

“The arts won’t preserve your lifetime, but they will make your existence really worth residing. If you consider about everyday living without having the visible arts, the performing arts and literature, what would give it that means?” 

The “See What I Hear” collection can be considered and purchased online at Saatchi Artwork. Pick items are on display screen and for sale at Collector’s Gallery at 13228 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian, Virginia.