I wish to introduce my friend Megan Uhaze. I have admired her colorful work for some time. Uhaze’s paintings have a bold signature style.

A member of the Hamilton Arts Commission, Uhaze graduated from Philadelphia’s Moore College in 2009. She works as a professional artist for The Seward Johnson Atelier in Hamilton. Her paintings are primarily in automotive paint, lacquer and acrylic on Masonite.

What are you communicating with your art?

My current body of work is focused on critically endangered species. After starting to work full-time at the Johnson Atelier as an artist, I had a bit of a slow spot in my own art. I decided to work from a topic or list to push myself just to work and see what happens. I chose endangered species. It’s been eye-opening, and since I’m a person who is very much influenced by design and color theory, the different colors and patterns found in animals and in nature have been really fun to work with.

What media do you use and why?

I started painting in oils and acrylic, but after moving further into my career as a painter at the Atelier I have found many products through my job that I really enjoy. My work for the past five years is primarily in automotive paint and other industrial finishes. I sometimes use raw pigments, lacquer, spray paint and other products meant more for commercial finishing.

Who were you influenced by?

I was exposed to art from a young age. My father is an architect and very into design and art. He was very structured using sharp lines, balance and symmetry. I see that influence in my paintings as they are very graphic, balanced and have clean lines. Artists I admire are Gilbert & George for their amazing use of color and design. Frida Kahlo, Kehinde Wylie, Andy Warhol and Shepard Fairey were also influences. I’m inspired by local street art and the mural art culture. It’s bold, beautiful and graphic.

What is your process?

I usually start with a subject of an image I have drawn. Then build from that central subject. When I’m painting animals, I do a lot of research. I will study their habitat, what they eat, what the threats to their well-being are, etc. I find that the patterns, colors, shapes and other images in the painting will come from this information. I love color, and I always play with bright and bold color combinations.

Do you work on your art every day?

I don’t work on my work every day. I definitely work on my painting at least three to four days a week, but I give myself time to sit and stare at it, ponder what’s next. Sometimes I only work for a quick minute, other times I sit for hours.

Do you acquire your art supplies locally?

I get things pretty locally. I buy a lot from Jerry’s Art-a-rama and A.C. Moore. I prefer to work on hardboard so I buy a lot of Masonite from Home Depot, or I use old wood board that I find.

Where do you like to eat?

My husband and I are pizza junkies, so DeLorenzo’s is one of our favorites.

What fight/struggle do you have regarding your art?

I would say time to create is the hardest. Since my day job is focused around art and making art, finding the energy and the time to push forward into my own art can be challenging. I have scaled down the size of my painting and work since college to make working at home easier.

What one attribute should all artists have?

You should be making art because you can’t breathe unless you do. I tell my husband that I feel emotionally and physically off if I go too long without making art. If you are painting what you think people want to buy, then you’re missing the point, in my opinion. It should be a unique expression of you.

For more information about Megan Uhaze, go online to facebook.com/meganuhazeart.

Thomas Kelly is a Hamilton-based artist and member of the Hamilton Arts Council. His work can be found at thomaskellyart.com.