DeKalb County is home to many treasured attractions; Some come in the form of first-class museums while others are people. We’re thrilled to shine the spotlight on a true local treasure, Ms. Megan Satkowiak. Megan is definitely someone to know – an artist, leader, young professional, visionary…even unicycle rider! Enjoy this virtual coffee talk Q&A with one of Auburn’s rising stars.
Are you originally from DeKalb County? If not, how long have you been at home here?
I have lived most of my life in Auburn except for being born in Kalamazoo, MI and living in Fort Wayne for about four years after high school.
Where did you go to school and/or receive training? What discipline or subjects did you study?
I have attended IPFW and Ivy Tech for a degree in Business. Aside from my high school classes, I am a self-taught artist.
How long have you been an artist?
I have considered myself an artist since I was young. In grade school, high school art class was my favorite! During college I started working and didn’t make time to create. I slowly got back into art about two years ago after having worked with Pat Delagrange, well-known local artist. She encouraged me to create art and also join The Auburn Palettes Art Club.
Who are other artists (here, there or anywhere) do you admire?
I admire my Great Aunt Evelyn Shelagowski, a well-known Michigan Artist. She has always given me lessons and encouragement through all my life. She knows people from all over the Country and has been so successful in her art Career; she is such a down to earth, caring person! She is now in her 80’s and is donating her work to charities and auctions.
I also admire my entire family because even though they may not call themselves artists they’re all creative in different ways and teach me so many things.
What is MSat Art?
MSat Art stands for my initials. With a last name that is long and hard to pronounce, I wanted my signature on my artwork to be short; I wanted my business name to be simple.
MSat Art consists of Acrylic Paintings, murals, abstract art, artistic décor, gift-wrap, beaded serve ware, gifts and more. I love to use old windows with my artwork or build things out of them. I also love creating with wire – I put it in my paintings and décor. I am constantly growing and working on a lot of new artwork with various mediums.
What inspired you to start MSat Art?
When I sold my first piece of art at my first show in 2010, I was inspired to start MSat Art. I received my first custom art order for a wall of abstract paintings followed by a couple of mural jobs and other orders. I decided to open MSat Art Studio to be able to share my creations and other artists work as well.
Why did you choose to base MSat Art here in DeKalb County?
I am fortunate to live in such a unique space in Auburn. It was once studio to Artist Andrea VanHorne and has an interesting history of other businesses in the building. I decided to open up the space to the community and move my personal living space upstairs into the loft. Most don’t realize I live there when they see the space. It now has a gallery feel and is growing more with time.
What other businesses and organizations have you been involved with in DeKalb County?
All the downtown Auburn retail shops and restaurants have been such a pleasure to work with, from their participation in the 2011 Shopping Walk- benefit for Multiple Sclerosis Society that I organized to being supportive in hanging a flier or talking about marketing ideas. Starbucks recently donated coffee beans for a coffee themed Christmas Decorating project I had for Smith Farms Manor during the Noon Lions Club Annual Christmas Stroll. They also donated brewed coffee for the event!
Are there other artists in residence at MSat? If so, who are they and what is their medium?
Yes! Dailey Allen is a college student who has always had a passion for art and enjoys all mediums. She loves to paint, draw or make trash into treasures. She loves all forms of art including photography and that passion is growing as she learns more. Dailey is very open-minded to art and understands that all artists are different in what they do.
Kayla Kriener is studying to be a paramedic. She has always been creative but has just exposed her work for the first time to the public in the November Open Studio at MSat Art Studio. She is very talented with detailed floral acrylic paintings and likes to use a special material to give texture on some of her paintings and also unique bottles and jars. She is exploring various mediums of art as she grows in her art.
My brother and sister in-law, Jason & Sarah Satkowiak, create “School” of Fish. The “schools” are various sized fish wall hangings made from different metal, wire, bolts, screws and various recycled goods. Created from “junk” found in my Grandpa’s barn to recycled Mad Anthony’s bottle caps, these fish are a must see!
What does the future hold for MSat art? Goals? Aspirations?
Currently I am job searching, looking for a job that I can work hard at and then come home and do art. I want to always do art and keep the MSat Art business alive and growing! In the next few months I will be looking into taking some art classes and doing some traveling including a long-term goal to Colorado for snowboarding and getting inspired with all the scenery and art. Also MSat Art Studio will take on a new look as different displays of artwork arise. MSat Art Studio will have a Grand Re-opening Event sometime around March.
What advice would you give to budding artists and entrepreneurs?
Many artists seem to not make time for art, like I had. Everyone needs inspiration to get them going. Finding other artists that are supportive is key. I feel a lot of starting artists are just not sure what people will think of their work. The truth is not everyone will like it but if one person connects with your work they will treasure it for a lifetime. Art takes so many different forms and so many people have different or no appreciation for it. Run with YOUR style and put yourself out there. If selling and showing your work to the public is not for you then do art for yourself! Feel the enjoyment of turning an idea into a completed form of art!
Do you show your work outside of the studio?
I am looking to do some art shows in 2012, as well as display in restaurants, galleries, or other studios. I also will meet and show my portfolio and sampling of work to anyone interested.
What has been your most exciting moment as an artist?
Finishing my first mural job at Auburn Dental Associates was a very exciting moment. I painted characters on the mirrors in the children section. It was the first time I had done anything like it. Woody from Toy Story was scary looking at one point but I had to work hard at it and not lose faith that I could do it. Now it is exciting to know children will come to enjoy my work for many years.
Aside from your studio, what is your favorite DeKalb County attraction?
The Eckhart Public Library and Genealogy Center is really cool to me. I love the study spots and quiet areas where you can read at the Library. In The Genealogy Center, I enjoyed finding history on the building where MSat Art is housed. I enjoyed snapping some engagement photos for my brother around the library. They are both beautiful spots in DeKalb County that are about more than just checking out books.
How can a visitor experience MSat Art?
MSat Art is open during select “Open Studio” days as advertised or by appointment.
Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MsatArt
Finally, word is that you are a skilled unicycle rider. Is this true? Spill the beans!
Word is out!! Well, I get a lot of funny looks when I ride down main street by the studio. I found an old unicycle in my Grandparents barn; I learned to ride it during the week I was staying with them. I rode it for neighbor kids, kid parties, and even for a “class clown” voted title for senior year- high school. Perhaps a lucky visitor will get to see Megan take it for a spin!
Many thanks to Megan for taking the time to share her talent and vision with us. Wishing MSat Art all the best!