Behind the Scenes: Colorful Animals with Artist Megan Carn

Framebridge

Framebridge

 

South Carolina artist Megan Carn's paintings look like a smile feels. Through bright color palettes and soft lines she's able to transform even her most ferocious of subjects into gentle, pastel painted giants. Her candy colored tigers, giraffes, and elephants are always at home in nurseries and kids' rooms, while her bolder, brighter birds, zebras, and leopards are a welcome addition to any office or sitting area.

We discovered Megan's art right when the both of us were getting our start. In fact, the image you see above used to welcome every visitor to our original Framebridge website. We're excited to share the artist behind two pieces of art that hold a very special place in our team Framebridge heart. Read on to see where it all began for Megan (not at all what you would expect), and see what inspires her unfailingly optimistic point of view.


 
An overhead view of Megan's light bright studio workspace || Photo via @megancarn

An overhead view of Megan's light bright studio workspace || Photo via @megancarn

 

On Choosing art


I was "crafty" in high school, just like my mother and grandmother. In college, I decided I wanted to be an art therapist or art teacher, and I spontaneously added a second major to my to-do list. 

I always felt like I was behind the curve because I wasn't the best at drawing and I wasn't quite in the mindset of an artist yet.

I really figured everything out in the months after I graduated, and things took off after that!

 
"Spiffy Tiger" in our Irvine Slim frame with a white mat

"Spiffy Tiger" in our Irvine Slim frame with a white mat

Megan Carn with an pastel colored elephant painting || Photo via @megancarn

Megan Carn with an pastel colored elephant painting || Photo via @megancarn

 

On Changing Careers


I started a job in late 2013 after I graduated college and it was great, but it was not leaving me feeling so great at the end of the day. I needed more stimulation and more of a creative outlet...and more sunlight—my office was smack in the middle of the building with no windows. As the only employee there, I spent a lot of time alone, and that was a bummer too.

As I wandered around Instagram I said, “Hold up—I can do this. I can make art and turn it into a business.”

So I started working on it. And a year later, I left that job. It was CRAY. First, there was breaking that news to my parents: "Mom and dad, I'm gonna quit my job, and sell art all the time, okay?" They were really cool about it, though, and that was a great thing. Then, there was leaving the job I had, and explaining to everyone what the plan was. Two weeks later I moved to Columbia and started my full-time art career. I met my almost husband, I made a ton of friends, and I had tons of sunlight in my studio—it was amazing. It is really hard work and there isn't necessarily a paycheck every two weeks like at a conventional job, but it is fun and flexible, and I am really happy. 

 
"Leaf It to the Birds" in our Lafayette frame with a white mat

"Leaf It to the Birds" in our Lafayette frame with a white mat

 

On Color


 I have always been into the brightest things, the craziest combos, and how far I can push the envelope while maintaining taste and style. As I first started selling art, I was doing a ton of flowers and trying to do some abstract work. I realized quickly that not only does everyone do that, but many were better than me at it. I thought long and hard and experimented until it hit me: why not do animals, but in full, crazy color? Not too many artists are doing this right now... this is great. I loved it, and I have ever since: monkeys, tigers, lions, elephants, ostriches, oh my! Recently, I love using colors and layers that challenge a person to stare and examine and come back and go "hm.. do I love it or do I hate it? How many {birds} are too many {birds}?"

I like to make people smile with my art, and I love to smile when I look at art.

 
A quiet corner of Megan's studio || Via @megancarn

A quiet corner of Megan's studio || Via @megancarn

Our favorite frames for Megan's art: Mandalay, Irvine Slim, Lafayette, and Irvine.

Shop Megan's art here, and be sure to follow her on Instagram @megancarn.