A native of Tulsa, Okla., Megill was born July 17, 1942. He spent a stint in the Air Force before the Vietnam War, translating Russian into English and cracking codes. A multi-instrumentalist singer and songwriter, Megill was active in the Oklahoma music scene, but he didn't get serious about making metal sculpture until he and CarrieGlenn, his wife and creative partner, attended a Salvador Dali exhibition together in the early ’70s.
Megill's work explores what CarrieGlenn calls “the mythical kingdom,” and the artist's greatest gift may have been his ability to combine whimsy with an intensity of vision, marrying the two together with an eye for detail and a feel for materials. Megill was never one to pass up a good pun, but his pieces also embody deep metaphysical questions and mystical symbolism. There is always a sense of serious play at work in these sculptures of army ants carrying spears, mermaids gazing into illuminated crystals, giant hornets gathering around glowing blossoms and at least one half-porpoise/half-human creature riding on a tiger shark, playing a game of underwater polo.
The Megills moved to Nashville in 1988 because Larry sought to expand his musical horizons. He found work as a touring sideman with artists like William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys, but sculpture became his creative focus in recent years.
“Like many other talented musicians — Herb Alpert, John Mellencamp, William Lee Golden — Larry sought for ways to extend his artistic expression beyond the world of music,” explains Lois Riggins-Ezzell, the executive director of the Tennessee State Museum. “Larry’s famous metal butterfly series — adopted by Dolly Parton for use with both Dollywood and her Books from Birth program — is the most well-known of his works.”
Dolly Parton commissioned the Megills to create her Chasing Rainbows award. The national prize is given to a school teacher who has overcome challenging obstacles in the pursuit of delivering quality education. “He did Chasing Rainbows from 2003 until 2011,” says Megill's daughter Miranda. “He also did the larger piece that went in the front window of their gift shop.”
In addition to a number of private collections, Megill's artwork can be found in the collections of the Tennessee State Museum, the Biltmore Hotel and the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Medical School.