FIVE QUESTIONS WITH MEGAN RIEKE
Artist Of “Tranquility” Headboard In The Blue Rooms
1. What differentiates the art scene in St. Louis from other cities?
Like other major metropolises, St. Louis breeds both negative and positive cultural components onto our city’s fine creatives who then use some of that as basis for interpretation, motivation, and declaration. One of the best aspects of our art scene are the artists themselves. We are hungry. We are community-driven. We are full of voice. There are some great galleries, non-profits, opportunities, and our nationally acclaimed art museum, which all showcase local and global talents. However, St. Louis lacks a serious dialogue between artists and patrons. Without consistent and financial support for the arts on civic and personal levels, St. Louis will continue to struggle to find our cultural identity.
2. Tell me about your work with SOHA Studio and Gallery.
I was asked to join Julie Malone (founder/artist/owner) and Kat Dunne (ED/curator) to help with the day to day of running, maintaining, and marketing a gallery that featured only St. Louis artists. There is no other gallerylike this in the city. We gave (often) undiscovered or green artists their first solo exhibits about once a month. We also featured some well known artists who just had a new collection to reveal. Our group exhibits were theme driven, conceptualized by the mastermind Kat, and really drove artists to get out of their comfort zones. I learned a ton about the physical labor to run a gallery as well as looking at art through more technical lenses which has proven priceless to me. It was definitely an education, of sorts, and it has helped me, I think, to become a slightly more confident and focussed artist.
3. What are the best spots for family outings in the city?
Oh Geez! This is a tough one! With three little boys in tow, I’m constantly searching for things to do that don’t cost an arm and a leg! I think I’ve taken them (at least once) to every heralded hot spot in the Lou. But I cannot brag enough about our library system and parks! Some of the best times we’ve had is picnicking and kayaking at Creve Coeur lake or attending an StLFC game. I haven’t taken them to the new Arch grounds yet, but am excited about the new Jefferson Memorial Museum opening.
4. What ties do you see between tranquility and painting?
Oh boy. Well, I asked if I could paint tranquility because the overall color was blue and that’s my favorite color! I didn’t think too hard about the meaning until I was in the thick of it and realized that my personality and life is anything but tranquil. So I struggled. Long and hard I struggled to create something serene and effortless. In past paintings, I’ve gained tranquility through the laborious act of painting, making strong marks with bold colors that left me, in the end, feeling peaceful and exhausted having run the gamut of all emotions. My paintings, however, reflected more of the struggle than the peace. This particular project forced me to approach my canvas in a different way. I had to process my struggles internally, find my “om”, then paint. So, although my process of the AAH painting was slightly different, all of my personal elements are still there; I just highlighted a different aspect of it.
5. What makes you most excited about Angad Arts Hotel?
I am most excited about AAH serving as an arts community hot spot. I think the mixed venue concept that heralds all aspects of the talented creatives in our city will draw people from all over. This is what St. Louis needs to really showcase all of what St. Louis has to offer on a national level. We are a city ripe with talent and need AAH, that not only recognizes it, but is also willing to back us.