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Rising Stars: Meet Morgan Mager

Today we’d like to introduce you to Morgan Mager. 

Hi Morgan, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My name is Morgan Mager, and I’m an artist and photographer. I recently graduated from art school in 2021. I went to Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI. Here I majored in medical illustration and soon decided to minor in photography as well. I have always had a passion and talent for art, so a career that was art related was a no-brainer to me. In my senior year of high school, I created a concentration of work for my AP art exam that focused on the anatomy of the human body mixed with biological elements. The complexity and different layers of the body fascinated me. I found a similarity between forms in the body and forms in nature and was inspired to create a body of work about this. Directed by my teacher Robin Remer-Saenz I was shown the career path of medical illustration: a very technical and detail-based line of work focused on the human body. While at KCAD, I was exposed to many different forms of art that all related to medical illustration. I took classes focusing on rendering, animation, and even 3-D modeling. 

The decision to minor in photography actually was not my original idea. The medical illustration program at KCAD required all students to take an intro to photography course. I was excited for this and was under the impression I’d be using my digital camera. Come the first day, and I find out I had actually been put in the wrong intro to photo class. I was supposed to be put in the intro class for non-photo-majors and instead was placed in the intro FOR photo-majors. This class focused on using film cameras and developing prints in the darkroom. This was such an amazing experience because I was always interested in film and curious to learn more, now the chance had seemed to have fallen in my lap. My Professor Leah Gose convinced me to take the remaining 4 classes needed to minor in photography. I took classes that allowed me to gain experience working in a photography studio while using lighting equipment. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Going into KCAD, I had no experience with digital art, so learning how to work the adobe programs was a challenge. With time and experience, my comfort grew in the programs, and I’m still learning new tricks all the time. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Now that I’ve graduated, I’m currently working as a newborn photographer at the company Bella Baby Photography. Here we focus on offering parents a complimentary hospital photo shoot, done usually within the first 48 hours of a baby being born. I’ve only recently started working here, so I’m still learning and figuring out the professional photography world. The opportunities and exposure I have had so far has been amazing. While doing photography part-time, I also work at a local bakery as a cashier. I grew up baking a lot with my mom, so this job has also allowed me to express my creativity in a way I always was interested in exploring. 

Now on top of two part-time jobs, I’m also currently trying to open my own business! At the beginning of the year, I had the idea to design and sell vinyl stickers. In May 2022, I opened my Etsy shop MMO, which stands for Morgan Mager Originals. Since then, I have been working on expanding our sticker line as well as incorporating new products. I’ve recently taken up macraming as a hobby and decided I should list some items in my Etsy shop as well. Now I’m working on setting up the shipping and stocking for the macrame products of the Etsy store, which I’m hoping will be live by the end of September! I’m also working on getting information about craft shows in the Mid-Michigan area as another site for potential interactions. 

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
I use Instagram as a networking and exposure tool for my art. It’s a great app for connecting with artists of similar as well as different styles. 

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Morgan Mager

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