INTERVIEW: Megan Schaller
Soon to be college freshman Megan Schaller uses a forgotten medium to create her art: Microsoft Paint. "I want to pay a tongue-in-cheek homage to my digital kid roots by using the software so many kids like me grew up with. Read the new interview with the queen of pastels below.
When did you first start pursuing art?
Like so many digital babies, my first forays into the wild world of desktop computers were long hours spent on Microsoft Paint. Technology is such a creative sphere - the desire to make some online mark is infectious. Before there was social media, I made my mark on the universe through digital art. I just never outgrew it.
It blows my mind that you use Microsoft Paint to create your pieces. What was the decision behind that?
I grew using Microsoft Paint, but the decision to start posting that art online was definitely a conscious choice. I wanted to show that making digital artwork can be accessible to everybody - it isn’t limited to those with expensive, esoteric software like Photoshop. Likewise, I’m a teenager. I want to pay a tongue-in-cheek homage to my digital kid roots by using the software so many kids like me grew up with. Microsoft Paint celebrates generation z. I continue this celebration by using pastel colors, which have really been adopted online by my era of teenagers as a battle flag of youth. The pastels, like MS Paint, are in recognition of the digital gen z.
You have a very unique style of art that really stands out. How did you narrow in on the style of art you’ve become widely known for?
A lot of people ask me why I don’t draw eyes. While I often answer this question by dissecting the irony in how I’m drawing portraits of people without eyes and yet eyes are the most telling, personal part of the body… the true answer is that it’s hard to draw eyes on MS Paint. They usually look really cheesy. I’m obsessed with comic book art, so I’ve always been drawn (literally and figuratively) to 2-D, outline-style portraits in that vain. I try to keep a few trademarks, like white hair and exaggerated eyelashes, for continuity.
It’s clear how much music inspires your art. What are some artists/bands that inspire your work?
The artwork I post online is my way of using the power of the interwebs to celebrate and thank the musicians that have soundtracked my life. I’m obsessed with music, but I don’t have the luxury of musical skill to assuage that obsession (although, in an ideal universe, I’d be a badass girl drummer). In consequence, I’ve settled on digital art as my outlet to showcase an appreciation for music. Musicians that I find myself drawing frequently include Grimes, Bjork, and The Strokes. Unsurprisingly, these same artists’ music have all had the greatest impact on my development. Recently, I’ve been trying to post a lot more portraits of women musicians, as they are often overshadowed by the big industry boys club. A lady musician is a bullet. She should never be underestimated.
What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had since you began a career in art?
It’s incredibly humbling to be recognized by such incredible musicians for my art. A while ago, Ryn Weaver asked me to illustrate a design for her tour merchandise, which was an absolute dream. Although I’m pretty embarrassed by these moments now, I used to bring prints of art to shows to try and give to the musicians afterwards. Anything to share the art!
Exciting plans for the rest of the year?
This fall, I’ll be starting college at New York University. Moving to New York - an art and music cornucopia - has been my dream for years and years and years. I’ve never had traditional art training, so I’m excited to take some classes in design, although I plan on majoring in computer science (I’m fascinated by tech - it’s such a mind-blowingly creative, inspiring field). No matter where I’m living, I know I’ll always be present post-post-posting art away on Instagram.
Written by Cameron Capers