Brian MacGregor is a full-time artist whose work has been internationally recognized. He moved to Savannah in 2000 from Richmond, Va., and is a SCAD graduate who enjoys camping and traveling to foreign countries in his spare time. He has won several awards for his artwork starting from his teenage years and has his own gallery in City Market.
Many of his artworks depict dreams and inspiration from his travels. He is the Gallery Espresso’s April artist and has an upcoming gallery show there called “After the March.”
What do you have to say about the starving artist myth?
Brian MacGregor: It depends greatly upon the economy. When the economy’s doing great, I’m doing great. When things go down, I feel it the same day.
How did you become interested in art?
Brian MacGregor: I’ve always been interested in art. Both of my parents did art as hobbies. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with painting. I always knew it was going to be my career.
Which movements have you been influenced by?
Brian MacGregor: Surrealism, abstract expressionism, and romanticism.
Who are your favorite artists?
Brian MacGregor: J. W. Waterhouse, Anselm Kiefer, and Joseph Cornell.
How did you become interested in depicting your dreams in your work?
Brian MacGregor: In my family, we always talked about our dreams, and I actually went through a long bout of insomnia in my teenage years and then in my twenties. Paying attention to my dreams is able to help me get through that insomnia and really reshape the way that I lead my own life, and realize that dreams really are a metaphoric way of explaining to yourself what you really want to do in life.
It seems that a lot of your art consists of paintings and mixed media pieces. What is it about these mediums that you prefer?
Brian MacGregor: In general, I find that mixed media is more true and that it covers everything. It’s just kind of the kitchen sink sort of painting.
What do you like best about creating art?
Brian MacGregor: The creative high is immense, as well as the fact that knowing that at the end of the day and at the end of the year, all of the hard work that I have put in during my life, I can look back at it and see what I’ve done.
Do you have a favorite piece?
Brian MacGregor: I don’t necessarily have a favorite piece. “The Lovers” painting - the original is 6 ft. x 4 ft. – I purposefully took over a year to do that painting, where at that point I had started doing work in at least a week or two weeks. I purposefully took a year because I wanted it to be almost like a chess game with a friend in Germany or something. I had to take a long amount of time to ‘play the game.’ And that was the purpose, for it to be a challenge to myself.
What piece was the hardest to sell?
Brian MacGregor: It depends on if you mean emotionally hard to sell or just physically hard to sell. If I have sold the piece at any point, whether it takes a year or more, then that’s normal. Some take a while, some sell as I hang it on the wall. It depends on the right person coming in the door. As for emotionally, I keep or give to a friend the paintings that I just can’t sell because of a deep emotional connection to the work.
What challenges have you found in your work?
Brian MacGregor: Mostly from a structural standpoint. I now only use wood surfaces; I don’t use canvas. I found that works because I use so much glue, and I’m more or less trying to find the exact right kinds of glue, buying it in bulk, being able to buy it in large amounts, and the right kinds of glue, lots and lots of experimentation with that, and being able to seal it properly.
What are your future goals?
Brian MacGregor: I do have my own art gallery, but I want to have another one that’s even a bigger gallery, and possibly have a bar in it and own a building. I also want to do several more children’s books. I’ve been working on several right now that include dreams, teaching kids how to use their dreams.
Any advice for aspiring artists?
Brian MacGregor: Yes. One, if you really want to do it and you love it, work all the time, work every day, and draw – you have to draw it. Put your work in a public place that can be seen; you have to constantly be seen because if your work is not out somewhere where somebody can see it, then you’ll never get noticed.What: After the March, work by Brian McGregor. Where: Gallery Espresso, 234 Bull St.When: Now through the end of April; reception Friday, April 18, 6-9 p.m.