Painter. Toronto.

There's something going on with the water in the deeply unhip western area of Toronto's west west end, because there seems to be a particular concentration of hard working talent hidden away there. It might have something to do with the city's ever escalating rent, but Megan Ellen MacDonald is one of those talents who is taking full advantage of the lack of scenery in Islington Village, instead creating her own world to thrive in. There is no lack of imagination and humour in Megan's work, and plenty of familiar and unfamiliar subject matter to go around. Vibrant neon hues play against the slick and shiny porcelain that  you might recognize from your grandma's china cabinet. Remember how she wouldn't let you touch those things? It was killing you inside, because you were sure that they would probably even taste as sweet as they looked in there. But you wouldn't dare. Because you knew that if you were to break the trunk off of that tiny delftware elephant grandma brought back from her 1978 holiday in Amsterdam, the price might be worse than death. Just for example...

Megan has taken that impulse one step further, and her paintings are a sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny, sometimes psychedelic study of that childhood impulse. We got together just before her show Artificial Kingdom opened at Le Gallery in Toronto....

The most noticeable thing when you arrive through the doors of Megan's studio has to be the shelves of delicate collectibles, most of which populate her work at one time or another. When you paint kitchy nostalgia as an artistic trade, people can't help but gift you more and more of them, until they overtake entire shelving units. The mermaid (top right) for instance, was a gift from fellow painters and friends Dominique Fung and Peter Chan, who happen to occupy studios just down the hall. There tends to be a trend towards wearing studio clothes until they're threadbare and hanging on to dear life amongst artists, and Megan is certainly no exception. Those boots (above, center) are part of her daily uniform. She got them second-hand, and intends to wear them until... well, until they drop dead.  

Work from Megan's most recent show, Artificial Kingdoms. Moonrise, 30x40 In, Oil on canvas.

Find Megan's work at meganellenmacdonald.com.

Follow Megan on Instagram @paintscats

Megan is represented by Le Gallery in Toronto.