Artist Friend Margaret Withers’ New Blog

by Chris Silver Smith

My good friend, Margaret Withers, has just launched her blog: Compound Artist Margaret Withers.

bacterial monster figure :: by Margaret Withers, 2010

bacterial monster figure :: © by Margaret Withers

I’m really quite proud of her — she is a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to marketing, and she’s got a fantastic instinct for it. Blogs are a great way to promote and represent one’s self, and a great way to create a dialogue with the online community.

I’ve often found that visual artists frequently avoid writing much, which is a loss to the community as a whole since it results in a sort of “silence” around their work as well as reduces the overall promotion benefit they might otherwise gain. It’s not surprising, really — most independent artists already have so many claims on their time, what with creating their art, schmoozing with gallery owners, operating small business paperwork, planning showings, preparing for showings, and more. Anything which reduces the time they can spend on creating art is often resented, and for many of them, writing falls into that category.

However, Margaret has always been effective at treating writing as yet another medium for art, and her infrequent writings involving art criticism or observations of the world around her are so evocative and experiential that all of us who are lucky enough to be friends of hers look forward to when she is inspired to write. She’s not just a visual artist — she’s a poet, too.

As you can see from her recent fine art drawing above, she’s got a quirky visual art style. Her best work are these fantastically-colorful paintings which have nearly an impasto texture on their surface. If you were to try to pigeonhole her, you might label her as an abstract or expressionistic artist. However, Margaret isn’t interested in being forced into any stylistic pigeonhole, and I can see that her recent drawings are looser and flirt with representational features while maybe not actually becoming illustration. The “bacterial monster” resembles a cartoon, but upon closer inspection, you find that it might not be.

Margaret’s declared herself to be a “Compound Artist” in her blog’s name. But, I don’t think that’s really a style so much as a description of her process of assembling images by building them up slowly with repeated treatments.

Margaret and her husband, Scott, lived in Colorado for many years, but moved to Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, just a few years ago. Williamsburg is populated by a good chunk of NYC artists and hipsters. It’s the perfect environment for Margaret — a dynamic hothouse which provides fertile ground for growing art and inspiring creativity.

Williamsburg, New York

I can’t wait to see Margaret find her “blog voice” — I hope she’ll comment on art she sees in New York, and I hope she’ll sometimes write about the day-to-day things she sees in Williamsburg — it’s a fascinating taste of her unique outlook whenever she does!


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