This is Abra King. She’s an artist, musician, quirkster and one-half of the creative duo, Megra. I met Abra when I was working at the Students’ Association of MacEwan a few years ago, and she always came into the office in a bundle of giggling energy. It was always a pleasure to see her and hear about her creative antics. You can read about the latest results of her inspiration below and be sure to check out her art, music, and everything Megra.
1. Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you do? What are your dreams?
Abra King. I am 23 years of age. I create. I draw. I paint. I build. I write. I play. I am constantly bouncing between projects whether visual or musical. It has been this way as long as I can remember, though writing music has been a more recent endeavor. The ultimate goal is to be able to support myself solely through my work. To be involved in a myriad of projects, my own and otherwise. To develop ideas and manifest them. I want to explore and discover (internally and externally) and live in so many places across the globe. Especially those with long winter months. I will live on a boat. I have a strong desire to be isolated completely in addition to my love of being immersed by new people and (often self imposed) artistic demands. Oh! To live in van, a travelling studio…not to mention frequent festival stops. Dreams of mine are large in numbers and ever-growing, those are just a few.
2. What makes good art? How do you make art? What do you try to say/convey with your art? Let’s talk about art.
Good art is true. It provokes a reaction, whether overtly demanded or not. It has the ability to, even for a moment, absorb one into another reality or just to distract from daily existence/your own brain. In terms of execution, I use traditional methods (dry medium or paint on paper/board/canvas) as well as experimenting with other materials (such as wax or ash) on found surfaces. It is rare for me to start a piece with a specific message in mind, as I typically find meaning once I’m well into the process. Though I have done a couple pieces clearly commenting on social, governmental and environmental issues; this is not typical of my work. I often create scenes or characters that I wish were around me.
3. What are you working & focusing on right now?
At the moment more of my energies are focused towards music. Writing new tunes, working and re-working old ones and playing for people whenever I can. I recently had my first recording session and am working on having an album out this winter. As of late, I seem to be making more progress musically though I am primarily a visual artist. I am working on a few commissions and recently have sold some originals and prints.
4. Tell me about Megra.
Megra is Meagan Henderson and myself as a unit. We have known each other since infancy and have spent an arguably unhealthy amount of time together. She is my best friend and business partner. We have been going by Megra for a few years now, largely because it was tiring for friends to constantly refer to us independantly…and we always like an excuse to make a spectacle – Megra seemed limitless. Growing up we were constantly working on something, whether it be costumes for an invented holiday or a rap video for a friend’s birthday. I’ve always it found hard to identify with any group (not to say it was a goal, I have always had a lot of joy) but Meagan has always been a constant. While both attending Grant MacEwan (Meagan for Design and myself for Fine Arts) we realized that together we could establish a real business, a unique business, doing what we love. Essentially we are freelance artists; Meagan specializing in video and photography and myself in fine arts and music. Some projects we have been hired to do are portraits, live music shoots, paintings and personalized drawings. Working with new people and new ideas is a huge part of Megra.
5. What’s it like making a music video?
Strange. Unlike a recording or a drawing, it’s more immediate and unforgiving. Fewer chances for modification (at least in the way I approached it). The couple I’ve done were live, so maintaining my composure whilst playing mistake-free was certainly a challenge…and certainly not accomplished entirely! And then there’s giving your full trust in whoever you are working with to cut together a piece that is true to you and your sensibilities. It’s also super fun. Having another multi-sensory outlet for expression. Also working with someone, having a fresh take on how to present a song that I really only know how to sing and play. The whole learning process that occurs is super interesting to me.
Also! Check out this silly video.
6. What’s in the works for you in the near future?
More of the same, but on a grander scale. I am working to get my work up in more spaces, play more shows, enter more visual competitions and the like. My work will be more accessible and in turn I hope to establish myself, make a mark in this city.
7. What advice can you give aspiring artists and creatives?
Pursue what you want. What you’re passionate about. If you’re unsure of exactly what it is (and it often changes and evolves), don’t cater to someone else’s idea of what you should do/who you should be. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Do things that scare you. Explore- in terms of experience as well as modes of expression. Exercise discipline in whatever it is you’re practicing (hold yourself accountable). Recognize the value of your work. Get involved in your community- invest time in local music and art. Actively seek new places and experience new people.
8. Where can we find & purchase your art?
Locally (Edmonton, AB, Canada), it is in and out of a few establishments. The best way is to visit megra.ca/fine-art and contact me via email about interest in specific pieces. I will be listing prices for originals and prints in the near future. Or you can message me through our Megra Facebook page, where you can see my art as well as up to date work and happennings of Megra.
9. How do you keep your life playful & brilliant?
Woowee…I suppose by doing what’s important to me (which others sometimes see as trivial). For instance, sometimes the only thing I want to do is draw hybrid creatures, or destroy old computers and collect bits from the insides for a future project or make elaborate cards with nonsensical rhymes. Whilst I am lucky enough to have a strong sense of where I want to be and what I am compelled to do, I often find myself in situations purely out of curiousity. And I don’t take myself too seriously. Being a person is ridiculous and it seems a waste not to reveal in its mystery and hilarity. l never forget what my Dad always told me, “Never grow up…fully.” What I am finding hugely important as a “young adult” (that phrase always weirds me out) is surrounding myself with people who inspire me, have a sense of self, and are positive. At this age we have so much more control of where we inhabit and who we chose to have in our lives. Which is awesome. I try to accept the reality I have and create the one I want. Even in my short lived, semi-independant, adult life I have met such beautiful and diverse people. Just being aware of untapped opprotunity, places yet to see, things to create, it’s quite overwhelming and marvelous. Sometimes this world makes it pretty hard to be unmotivated.
Thanks for sharing, Abra. I love your inspiration for aspiring creatives. It’s all about doing what you love and persisting. I hope to see you again soon!