We had the good fortune of connecting with Maegan Iamjan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maegan, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I think the best way to put it is – if you don’t believe that it is important to you, then ask yourself, why are you doing it? To keep going for me is that I am learning what not to do, and what works best for me. I don’t believe anyone should give up, I think it is a personal decision if you allow yourself to seek growth and change. I think most people who see failure at the beginning of their work, seem to give up. They think they’re doing it wrong so they tend to walk away. I do understand that feeling and I had thoughts on that too, but over time I have learned that failure to me is not a bad thing. It means to me that I had an expectation but I didn’t reach it. Failure gives you the gumption to get back up and to work progressively, and the work is never really done. By committing yourself to the idea that the work is always looking for improvement and have the willingness to hear feedback from others, will generate good ideas for you on how to improve it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a multifaceted artist who creates art based on emotions and the life experiences that shaped my creations throughout my journey of artistic discovery. As an artist, it is important to build forms of art that encourage interaction and brings out the emotional connection with any individual viewing my creations. My creative work includes watercolor, drawing, and sculpture while illustrating animals as the main subject of my work. My process consists of constructing animals into numerous characteristics/personalities that take on a past, a present, and a future. I aim to approach the audience with much vigor through my forms, and with this idea, I get to explore my personal empathy as a form of visualization. What I mean by exploring my personal empathy, really ties back into the connection I share and create with my viewers. The animals and creations are just as alive as you and I. We all share relatable struggles, passion, happiness, and sadness, as I believe anyone can relate to the characters in my art. Being creative and revolving my life around what art has offered has given me the drive for an emotional release that I want to communicate and share with people. I grew up in the bustling city of Bangkok, Thailand where the whole country is filled with ethnic culture that differs from Los Angeles. In my hometown, there is a rapid inclination in artistic development. The city was turbo-charged, mixed in with the most piquant smells of food that would tickle your nose, as the sounds of the neighborhood strays howling at each other that would echo down the streets. Street carts would hastily fly up and down the road along with the vibrantly painted market places that illuminated far and wide with bursts of colors. Everywhere, feelings of delight always flooded Bangkok, the bustling city I call home. Some may not identify with my home the same way. It is true without disagreement that my home was blooming in an assortment of cultures that created a sense of community and peace for one another. Also yes, the city could be chaotic, but because of chaos, I grew into understanding the beauty within. What became of my experiences gave me the peace of mind to be able to share various perspectives and insights that make up the inner components that make me who I am. Furthermore, I was raised in a multicultural environment which led me to spending a lot of my childhood experiencing the world prematurely and excessively fast at a young age. Some of those experiences came from traveling to my mother’s homeland in the Philippines and being surrounded by the bursting life in the city of Bangkok. An interest in art first came to me at the age of 5. I still remember my first “masterpiece”, a magazine collage I did so long ago as a child. As I started to grow up I developed other hobbies which included exploring musical talents such as playing the piano and xylophone. I loved to play instruments as a child, and music continues to still be a huge part of who I am today. With that being said, I still focused on art rather than other interests throughout my time growing up. A particularly arduous time that impacted me was during my late teens when I developed despondent feelings and felt like I had no direction of what I wanted in life or who I wanted to be. I managed to focus hard on my craft during my high school years despite the difficulties and decided I had what it takes to elevate my work and that my growth had reached a point where rendering and introduction to technical 3Dimensional scale was something I could master. So one thing led to another and I headed down the path of architecture. Architecture brought me to Los Angeles at the age of 18. Driven and full of ambition, I pummeled my way through college and got my bachelor’s in Architecture/Interior Design/Landscape at Otis College of Art and Design. After some years of dabbling in architecture practice, I decided that this was not the route for me. I do remember that I felt like I was losing myself, my authentic drive and creativity. I loved architecture and found the process that goes into planning structures fascinating, but I was sure architecture wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. The whimsical creatures or my playful critters are just examples of what really gave me true satisfaction. I departed architecture to go back to my roots of being genuine to myself, following my passion in making artworks with emotion and life that embodied my experiences and the world around me. My time as an architect really opened my eyes and allowed me to see that I had to venture out of my comfort zone and dominate whatever mediums I decided to consist of. Maintaining this mindset has helped me be on top of my growth. It is important to always have clarity and passion for whatever you choose to do in life. Through my art and through my life I learned a valuable lesson. The lesson that it is okay to share and embrace your vulnerability. Art in its many shapes and forms gave me the courage to speak from the soul, the soul that resonates in my animals and creations. The souls and life I create in many art forms that provide a connection to people in the real world. I hope that when anyone sees my paintings and drawings, that they can engage with the personal story of my life and my passion through the whimsical elements or distorted components. I love to create not for myself but for that very connection with the world. My art is its very own language that I have translated through art.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Definitely the food lifestyle here. My favorite food places are Holbbox, Night+Market, and Ajisai. I spend a lot of time at the flea and farmer markets around the area which gives me insights into weekly ideas and inspirations. If I have my creative friends come to visit, I’d take them to Maker’s Mess, which are classes to different types of art including embroidery, jewelry making, felting, etc. Those classes are super fun to join and requires no experience whatsoever. I am really into antique mid-century modern furniture, so I tend to go window shopping and viewing warehouses full of vintage furniture just for fun. And last but not least, Disneyland just for fun. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Mostly to my family and close friends. I’d like to also acknowledge my Estrella sisters who have supported my work from the beginning and brought me inspiration on so many levels.
Instagram: works: @maeganiamjan / shop: @maeganbymaegan