Meg develops her art practice of contemporary nudes in her home studio in Sydney’s South, which borders of the national park. Surrounded by nature, this inspiration is clearly evident in her work, with her layered colour palette reflecting the nearby fauna. Her use of denim as a canvas and the textured treatments she applies is reminiscient of her time in the fashion industry. With a background in dance, Gallagher’s exploration into the female form started at a young age. Since becoming a mother, Meg feels that she has become significantly more in touch with the female form. Painting nudes is a vehicle for her to celebrate how she sees women’s sensuality and sexual energy as one of their biggest strengths.
Do you remember your first encounter with art?
I grew up on a farm in New Zealand and growing up, my mother was insistent to provide a creative environment for myself and my brothers – we didn’t have a TV, so I have really strong memories of creating huge messes of paint, clay and fabric scraps all throughout the house. My father ran the local Arts Centre and so we would spend weekends watching him curate art shows and run workshops. I now look back on that dynamic with fond memories as I can now understand how much they impacted my life as an artist now. However, I must admit that the time I was often desperate to be a “ normal kid “… with a TV.
My father ran the local Arts Centre and so we would spend weekends watching him curate art shows and run workshops.
What’s your background?
I studied a Bachelor of Arts but chose to focus on fashion design as my major as I loved how closely it connected me to pop culture at the time. I was then awarded a scholarship to study fashion in Milan at IED – Instituto Europeo di Design. This experience naturally projected me into a full-time fashion career for the past 12 years. However, it’s been during my 8 years designing for contemporary denim brand KSUBI that I have been able to bring together my knowledge of art, textiles and trend forecasting – this has led me to design for collaborations with Travis Scott, Kendal Jenner and KITH.
How do you work?
Someone watching me work might see it as manic, but there is lots of method to my madness. I usually have about 10 pieces on the go at the same time, it keeps my brain fresh and allows for thinking time as each piece develops. As thick layers of paint dry on my canvas, I then move onto bleaching, dying and washing huge pieces of denim to use as bases. I’m also a big believer in planning out compositions prior to putting paint down. I think after spending so many years learning how to “edit” in fashion design means that I’m actually wildly disciplined with my planning…it might just not look like it from the outside.
As thick layers of paint dry on my canvas, I will then move onto bleaching, dying and washing huge pieces of denim to use as bases. I’m also a big believer in planning out compositions prior to putting paint down.
Why is drawing so important?
To me… drawing dictates so much of the final energy in my paintings, every tiny bump and curve I draw is there to convey the power of the female form.
What is your dream project?
I would love to do a collaboration with Playboy magazine actually as I love their unapologetic openness towards sex and nudity. It was a pile of vintage playboy’s from the 70’s that got me into painting nudes initially – the colours, the expressive poses are incredible. I’ve always been fascinated by the world of the erotic and would love to continue to bring to life provocative compositions that are normally hidden underneath people’s mattresses.