After her older sister moved to college, Lodi High School senior Megan Bedford took over the spare bedroom and began mixing watercolors and attaching found art to blank canvases. She's been making art for as long as she can remember, but now she is sharing her work and talent around Lodi and even beyond American borders. As she clears her paintings from the walls of the California Street Cafe, she is getting ready for her high school graduation and a trip to Canada to paint murals with the Wall Dogs.
On canvas, her paintings are unique. Her techniques are her own as she finds beauty in broken glass, old newspapers, tree bark, recycled water bottles. She uses her hands as brushes and even mixes glittery puff paint with water to create a shimmering element to her Asian-inspired design.
Q: How long have you been painting?
A: I've been doing art my whole life, but I started doing painting more seriously a couple of years ago when I was a junior.
Q: How did you get the idea to attach and paint the bottoms of water bottles to some of your paintings?
A: I use water bottles (to put) my paint in. I just saw it and thought, oh that would be cool. Most of the time I just see stuff around the house or like in my little art area and I'll just use it.
Q: So you use newspaper, fortunes from fortune cookies.."
A: Yeah, a lot of my stuff is made with like mirrors, broken glass, too.
Q: Was California Street Cafe the first place you ever had your art exhibited?
A: Yeah. I won an art scholarship so I showed at the Mondavi wine show, but it was just like a student showing.
Q: Was the scholarship for college?
Q: Have you chosen a college?
A: Yeah, I'm going to San Diego State.
Q: Are you going to be an art major?
A: Yes, it's with an emphasis on interior design.
Q: Do you have a lot of your paintings displayed around your own home?
Q: What's your favorite piece.
A: That's hard. It's probably one that I just completed. It's pretty dark. It's dark purple and brown. It's abstract.
Q: Do you have any objects on that painting?
A: Yeah. There's a lot of cardboard and it has broken glass and string.
Q: What are some of your favorite colors to paint with?
A: It just depends. I use a lot of brown.
Q: What tools do you use?
A: I use paintbrushes and pallet knives and I use my hands a lot.
Q: What do other students say about you being really artistic and talented? Do they even know?
A: I'm in advanced art at school so there are quite a few other artists.
Q: Who taught you to paint?
A: No one really taught me, I just learned myself. My mom always had us do art projects when we were really little.
Q: Have other students been taking advantage of the First Friday Art Hop and showing their work around town?
A: No, not really students.
Q: Are your parents artistic, or where do you get this artistic gene?
A: My parents are not. But my grandma is a fine artist and my grandpa is an architect.
Q: As an interior designer, what would you say your style is?
A: Probably contemporary, a little bit modern.
Q: What does your room look like at home?
A: It's purple. It's kind of crazy because I decorated it a long time ago. I do have two of my paintings up.
Q: Do you sell your paintings?
A: I don't sell my paintings. I will, but I want to build up my collection and I want to save them for college. But I will sell them later.
Q: Are there any artists that you look up to?
A: I go through art magazines a lot and look up all the different art and pull out the ones that I like. I don't look at any particular artist, really. I just look at everybody's.
Q: Do you feel like there are resources for you, as an artist, in Lodi?
A: Yeah, I feel like Lodi is kind of an artsy town. There is support here.
Q: In school, what is your favorite class?
A: Probably art.
Q: Is there another aspect of art that you have studied that interests you?
A: We did do life-size cast plaster bodies. It took a really long time. It was fun. We did them in groups so we could have enough room for the bodies. We painted them after.
Q: What do you do in Lodi when you're not at school or painting?
A: Hang out with friends. That's pretty much what I do.
Q: Have you ever given any of your paintings away as a gift?
A: Oh yeah. I did give one to my sister. It was for her new apartment when she went away to college. I'm giving my friend one for graduation too.
Q: What's the weirdest item you've ever put on a painting.
A: I've put some weird stuff on them. The glass is kind of weird, I guess. And the bottom of the bottles.
Q: Were you one of those kids that used to pick everything up off the ground?
A: (Laughs) No, but that would make sense.
Q: Do you have any tips for people who want to start using watercolors?
A: Just experiment. That's what helped me because I didn't really know what I was doing to begin with. I just started playing around with the tools and paint. There is no wrong thing in art.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or shows you are working on?
A: In the summer I am going to Canada with the Wall Dogs. We are going to do a bunch of those in Canada for seven or eight days in July.
Q: Is that with Tony Segale?
A: Yeah, he was my mentor for my senior project so he invited me.
Q: What was your senior project?
A: I painted a mural for the teachers lounge at school.
Q: Are you painting anything right now?
A: Yeah, I always have a few projects going on.
Q: Where do you paint?
A: I took over my sister's old room. It's pretty messy now. I have a carpet over the real carpet so I don't spill everywhere.
Q: Do you listen to music while you paint?
A: Yeah. I don't like rap. Sometimes I'll listen to bands. I won't listen to Gwen Stefani while I'm painting.