Every night, Provo artist Megan R Stern sings to her two-year-old before he falls asleep. A line from a frequently requested song is “I’ll come too and play with you.” Megan says that “somewhere along the path to adulthood I forgot about playing, but raising children brings it back often to the front of my mind.” The paintings in her show I’ll Come Too and Play With You are a way of remembering and of connecting with her children. Megan’s show opens today in the West Gallery on the main floor of the Children’s Wing of the library and runs through October 28. Learn more about Megan by reading the interview below.

When did you decide to become an artist? What struggles did you encounter along the way?

Growing up I was involved in both art and music. When I went to college, I hadn’t yet decided which I would focus on and tried to keep up both at the same time. At one point in my freshman year I found myself struggling to compile my visual arts program application and prepare for a musical performance on the same day. I finished my application, sprinted to the art office to turn it in before the deadline, and missed the bus to travel to the concert venue. I didn’t completely realize it at the time, but it was in that choice to miss the bus in order to turn in my art application that I made a larger decision to focus on making art rather than music.

Which artists are you inspired by? 

One of my favorite artists right now is Erwin Wurm. He’s an Austrian artist who has worked largely in sculpture and interactive artworks. If you Google “Erwin Wurm Fat Cars” with my exhibition in mind, you’ll see why I like his work. And you’ll probably have a good laugh, too.

What’s your advice for how to interact with and appreciate art? 

We live in a time when we can find out just about anything about anything in a matter of seconds. Do a quick search online about the artist and gather a bit of context for the art you are looking at. This can help you know what the artist may be trying to get at with their work. Then spend time with the art itself. Look at it and feel whatever it makes you feel. The artist may have had one thing in mind when they made the art, and you may get something else out of it—and that’s okay! 

What advice do you have for people who are just getting started as artists? 

Just make stuff, and keep on making it—even when it doesn’t turn out like you envisioned. It can be useful to take a class or look up a tutorial for technical skill sharpening, but I think the act of creating at any level counts. Make a dedicated space for creating in your home or somewhere you go often. It is also good to have some sort of accountability partner or group—people who also want to create and who will support you in your efforts. This partner or group does not need to be limited to visual artists. You just want people who will talk with you about your work (and you about theirs) and give you good, constructive feedback.