HOW IT ALL BEGAN
I want to start off by giving acknowledgements. I would not be anywhere near doing this show without the supportive expertise of my family. First my sister, Samantha, for joining me in making these pieces. She is so talented and could be doing anything—I'm proud of my ideas, but without my sister and her amazing talents these photos would look like they were taken in a garage with a bunch of junk sitting in front of a sheet and not the masterpieces that she turns them into. The rest of my family have been so much help, especially through this first half of the series when I couldn't really describe what I was doing but they were willing to wear strange costumes, share resources, let me borrow their studio, sit uncomfortably, and even pick up an essential prop piece that was an hour and a half away since I was living out of state. I would also like to thank my friends and fellow artists here in Utah that have been a huge motivation in continuing this project as I have slowly shown them to people outside my immediate family. Last of all I want to thank my husband who has been the biggest support of all and my number one cheerleader. He even took two days off of work to watch the kids so I could fly down and shoot two of the pieces. That's love, folks.
Thank you, thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
So, this one time at Christmas I got this idea for an epic Christmas card photo. It would be Wes Anderson meets The Nativity. I knew it would be a huge pain to coordinate that many people and costumes and equipment but I just knew in my heart I had to try. As the days went on and I got the support of my family I kept having more and more ideas for the photo and got especially excited about the symbolism I wanted to include about the Savior, the center of my faith. I was also excited about using ideas from traditional nativity scenes but recreating it in a new non-traditional way. My dad helped me set up the camera, we borrowed the costumes from a woman in our congregation, and I only went a little crazy getting the set up and everybody dressed while nursing and napping an eight month-old baby. Below is the result. I won't talk about the things that are wrong with it, but there are reasons it didn't end up in the final show. I am very proud of it just the same.
After that first photo, the huge flow of inspiration I had felt in creating it didn't stop. I got more ideas and I wanted to continue. My whole life I've been an artist but I've never been able to stick to one style. This is a huge disadvantage if you ever want to have a career as a fine artist, or at the very least, have a show with pieces that fit together. But this felt sustainable to me, and I loved connecting with the Divine again in a way that always created my best work.
So I didn't have any ideas for a show yet but an opportunity came up that allowed me to create my next piece. I ended up participating in an online game of artist telephone through the Satellite Collective. The game is an "interactive, online exhibition [that] presents 315 original and interconnected works in 18 different art forms, created specifically for this experiment by artists from 159 cities in 42 countries." It was an honor to be a part of and I was grateful that my half-formed idea worked with the piece I was sent to for inspiration. The piece is called "Adam's Dilemma" and is the first one in the series "Works of Translation." It is full of symbolism, art historical inspiration, and gospel ideas inherent in Mormonism.
Since then I've kept going with the goal of completing 12 pieces in order to compile my first show. It's been an incredible journey—one that is slow but steady and I am excited to see how things turn out. Thank you for checking us out here and I hope you check back for the latest pieces.
Megan K. Geilman