Feature: Meg Mosley
Interview and photoshoot with artist Meg Mosley
Location: Park Land Walk, Crouch End
What inspires your art?
I am inspired by a fascination with the everyday, with the absurd in the ordinary and with the routines and rituals that groups carve out to make sense of themselves and each other. I am motivated to be seriously silly by the inventiveness with which many women use the internet to perform, display, socialise and overshare. I am captivated by the connection between individual and communal identity and how these interact and how they are being modified by our obsession with the internet.
Tell me more about Megastar
I researched Megastar by visiting Las Vegas, Nevada, in search of the glamour and extravagance that is used as a reference point in my hometown. I intended to work as a participant observer but something stirred in my psyche as I experienced just how much people were willing to respond to the project and I was so inspired by their willingness to join in the fantasy that I spent the whole trip dressing up for the occasion and did a shoot at the Neon Boneyard in which I tried to capture the imagined persona of a disenchanted show girl. I started to see the things I filmed as ‘events’ that could be manipulated and learned how to do things ‘for the story’. Eventually, these insights evolved into the creation of my alter ego, Megastar, a full-on Trow Vegas celebrity…
… Megastar is not a character I’m acting out as such because it’s not switched off. Megastar has merged strangely comfortably with me as a persona – meaning she’s not a performance but an extension of myself mostly lived online and through social media. She is a glamour girl maybe from a slightly more bygone era of the 60s, 70s, 80s because she’s influenced by personal ideas of family as well as popular culture. My mum wrote a book, ‘She Who Dares, Wins’ in the 80s and my granny set up the first beauty school in London so I’ve been formed by strong, bold, women who believe in looking glamorous. Megastar’s a kind of homage to my family and to powerful women everywhere.
Tell me about Trowbridge and recent art projects/exhibitions
Trowbridge has been the inspiration for Megastar – the two can’t be separate. The project started from my amusement at my hometown being called Trow Vegas by so many locals, which is ironic because it really quite a dull place with a bad reputation. I wanted to make some artwork about this so I developed the story of a west country girl wanting more glitz and pace against the backdrop of a place that somehow just can’t get it right either…
… To make the tv series about #mylife in Trow Vegas, I needed to make relationships with local people. This led to all sorts of interesting and funny interactions as they wholeheartedly joined in and shared their own aspiration and personalities. The ‘Meg’ part of me remained a dispassionate observer but my ‘Megastar’ persona was the force behind all the glitzy events I filmed…
… It was intriguing to discover how far people who didn’t know me were willing to go along with Megastar. I met Vicky on twitter and she became my star struck protégé ‘Mini-star’ and worked with me on many events. I also found other locals dreaming up ideas for themselves with glamorous imaginations; I met 2 boys who have alter egos and many girls aspiring to be like Katy Perry. I discovered some local gym boys who thrived on becoming celebrity bodyguards at my Trow Vegas red carpet event. I worked with the local town crier who puts on his costume and becomes a different person. I even met one local guy who joined in my red carpet event and was so passionate about Trow Vegas he had a tattoo in homage to our hometown, which he photographed and made a video diary of his tattoo day!
Where did you train/study art?
I won a full MA funding scholarship from The AHRC for the Research Preparation Masters Scheme to study for a Masters degree at the Slade School of Art. As my course progressed, the themes of my work shifted dramatically from the personal to the communal and I started to get people involved in my work. My work became more sociable and began to include performative lectures and presentations related to the connection between individual identity and communal identity. How these interact became the premise of my dissertation and final seminar. This culminated into a large scale event I staged on the opening night of the Slade called Friends Family and Flowers. It was ethnographic, performative, playfully unconventional and defined all my subsequent artistic aspirations.
What does the future hold for Meg Mosley?
I am interested very much in being a digital native investigating the possibilities for exciting, female art that this era could engender. I want to be a part in that. As Megastar I’m still on a journey and I continue to strengthen her brand and see her into commercial and popular culture and potential television roles as a comedy character as well as using the persona to perform and I am receiving commissions to be Megastar in various art circles as well as interest in her commercially. This is a treacherous yet exciting balance to forge…
… I also have now teamed up with artist Sarah Maple a very funny and talented artist I admire and with director Ross McClure. We have launched ourselves as the #MeggyAndMapes show where our tag line is ‘the adventures of #MeggyAndMapes two girls on a gonzo mission into the heART of creativity which sees us a tv presenters investigating the artworld, the self appointed Ant and Dec of the artworld. This will be launching this Saturday 9th November 11.30pm at Rio cinema at a late night event ‘At Home With The Ludskis’
For further details please check out Meg Mosley’s website: www.megmosley.co.uk
Follow her on twitter: www.twitter.com/meggymosley
and ‘like’ her facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/megmosley
Info about ‘At Home With The Ludskis’ event on 9th November can be found here: http://grannyludski.wordpress.com/