In The Spotlight: Megan Coyle ’08

Megan Coyle '08 makes a name for herself as a collage artist.

Megan Coyle ’08

As a young girl, Coyle loved to write and illustrate her own stories – though she always envisioned herself more of a writer than a visual artist. When she arrived at Elon in 2004, she intended to pursue a career in creative writing, not art. Yet after finishing her first college courses, she changed her mind.

“With writing, instead of being motivated, I found myself more uninterested in my work, which made it harder to continue pressing forward. Criticism of my art just inspired me to work harder at it,” Coyle says.

She completed her Elon degree with a dual major in creative writing and art, specializing in painting, and embarked on a career as a professional artist in the Washington, D.C. area, working mainly in the collage medium.

“I love how flexible collage is. You can just dive right in and work hours on end without worrying about materials taking too long to dry or drying too quickly, which are issues with acrylic and oil paint,” she says.

Coyle begins each project by taking a trip and snapping photos of anything that captures her attention. She returns to her studio, sorts through the images and chooses a few to sketch to guide the collage. Then, she tears out pages from magazines and other print materials that have colors and textures she’d like to use. She cuts the pages into shapes based on the highlights and shadows she sees in her reference photographs.

“It’s a challenge, because it can take a while to find colors that will work for a particular collage,” she says.

Coyle uses a glue stick to paste the cut pieces on top of the sketch. Once the collage is complete, she paints a layer of UV-protective varnish to protect the paper from light and seal the pieces together.

The results are impressive; her work has shown in various venues in the D.C. area, including the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center, the Fisher Gallery and, currently the Touchstone Gallery. Several of her collages can be seen and purchased on her website.

“I’m drawn to the process of exploring how to reach out to an audience with my art, be it through exhibits, workshops or social media,” she says.

-By Becca Tynes ’13

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One of Coyle’s pieces depicting the Lincoln Memorial.