My Muse, My Love

By Lucinda Michele Knapp

Originally published on Advocate.com July 02 2008 12:00 AM ET

“I felt a
sense of guilt,” explains artist Meghan Quinn. Her
quiet, deliberate manner seems to belie any sense of
unease, but she explains, “I met my husband
really young. I was 18. Before him, there was a girl,
but when I met him I knew I’d found the person I
wanted to be with. Even so, I felt like my life was
decided for me when I was really young.” What
would today have looked like if she’d followed her
road not taken?

Quinn’s
photographic art balances great delicacy with stinging
social commentary, exploring gender, identity,
activism, and culture. In her series “My Muse,
My Love,” she gently pushes aside the veil of what
might have been, exploring through collaged images the
lives of two women -- an artist-photographer, and her
muse. “As the project evolved, the characters
became personifications of two sides of myself,”
explains Quinn. “More specifically, they
epitomized who I was and who I have become as a
partner. One is more hesitant, guarded. The other is more
grounded and nurturing.”

Evie and Bree --
evolving as characters, growing more defined as aspects
of Quinn’s personality and past -- are actually both
Quinn herself. “I started after Christmas,
’cause I gained about 20 pounds, ate as many
cheesecakes as I wanted. Bree is a little softer, a little
curvier. I shot her the first two months of the year.
Then I started eating healthy again, got back in
shape, and changed my hair in April.” She then
created the images of herself as Evie, and collaged
the two characters together into the same moments.
“I wanted to show snapshots in their life,”
Quinn says.

And the guilt?
“I’m a big proponent of art being therapy. I
wanted to do this to work through the issues I have
with my own sexuality and my place in the LGBT
community that often acts as if the ‘B’
doesn’t exist. I’m much more grounded
and have a better understanding of myself from it.”

Going between the
two characters put Quinn on an emotional roller
coaster. “My husband’s been behind me on it
all the way,” she says, “even though my
past relationship with a woman kinda caused me problems at
first. We almost broke up. But you find none of that really
matters, because the bisexuality was there all along
-- so what’s the big hang-up?” The
project hasn’t just helped Quinn flesh out the
internal history of her heart, but through giving her
characters life, she’s allowed the disparate
parts of herself to breathe, to thrive, and the roads
-- both taken and not taken -- to unite.