How one Australian artist who was told she’d never succeed is beating the odds to enter The Archibald
From a young age, most of us are encouraged to chase our dreams. However, this wasn’t the case for artist Megan Adams, who was discouraged time and time again and told that it was impossible to have a career in art.
Determined to follow her passion, Megan overcame many roadblocks and has entered into The Archibald Prize this year. All proceeds from the sale of her signed acrylic canvas portrait of Wayne Bennett (Australian Professional Rugby League Football Coach) will be donated to Alex McKinnon’s foundation – RiseForAlex Fund. Following the 2014 rugby tackle that resulted in McKinnon becoming a quadriplegic, he is faced with over $100,000 a year in expenses to treat his injuries. Megan’s painting will be sold on her website www.meganadamsfineart.com for $2,000.
The five challenges Megan Adams overcame to pursue her passion for art were:
1) Strong discouragement from everyone she knew
Throughout her life, Megan drew and painted constantly, excelling in Visual Arts at school. It was only at the end of high school that her teachers, principal and family told her that it would be impossible to make a career out of being an artist. As a result of the lack of encouragement, Megan did not pick up a paintbrush for six years. When her fiancé saw her artworks and suggested to her to start painting again, it took another two years before she bit the bullet and began night art classes. Within 10 months, Megan received her first commission request from Michael Bridges (previous Leeds United English Footballer, now Australian Sports Presenter) to paint his wife. This has since resulted in further commissions from CEOs and hotels, creating a burning desire in Megan to continue painting.
2) Fear of rejection
The fear of her work being a disaster was something that took a long time for Megan to overcome, even to the point that placing paint on the canvas was nerve-racking. She eventually decided that the worst that could happen would be throwing out the painting and trying something different. Now, the only way she can finish a painting without fear of rejection is knowing that she loves it. If she loves the painting, it gives her the confidence that someone else out there will enjoy the painting just as much as her, if not more.
3) Limitations of space
Megan currently uses the living room in her small apartment as her studio. With numerous art supplies, canvases, tarps and drop sheets all over the apartment, and large artworks occupying space of up to 2 x 3 metres, it has left little room for anything else. However, Megan utilises the space in the best way possible and shows that your environment shouldn’t be a barrier from following your dreams.
4) Cost of materials
Using high quality materials and the right equipment can make all the difference in a painting, but this also comes at quite an expensive cost. By truly dedicating everything to her dream, all of Megan’s money goes towards canvas, paints, mediums and more. Despite this, she believes that if you consider the achievements at the end, it will pay off.
5) Time poor juggling full time work and art
Working as a Personal Assistant in Darwin can sometimes mean that Megan works 10 hour days. However, the long hours do not hinder her from following her passion. After work, she paints until the early hours of the morning and resumes the process the next day. If Megan’s not painting, she’s updating her website, meeting people regarding commissions, varnishing, researching new techniques, organising couriers and more. Every spare moment of her time is dedicated to her art.
“When I worked in administration and event planning for the Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets, I met Wayne Bennett and developed a great relationship with him,” says Megan. “I feel honoured that Wayne allowed me to paint him. I know how close his bond with Alex is. I would love to sell this painting and hope that the proceeds can raise further awareness and support for Alex. From this experience, I can honestly say that anything is possible if you have the drive and determination – you just never know what might happen.”
By the end of the year, Megan hopes to have 20 paintings completed and expand into galleries on an international scale including China and Singapore.