If you haven't been following @moomooi on Instagram, you are seriously missing out. Meredith Wing of Meredith Wing Design has basically taken all of my favorite things (macarons, veggies, petals and fashion) and turned them into works of art. Her dainty, whimsical, mixed-media fashion illustrations are impossibly chic and undeniably adorable at the same time. Working out of New York and Sydney, Australia—both amazingly inspiring centers for design—she creates fresh, fun, and feel-good drawings filled with wanderlust and wonder. Do yourself a favor and check out her series #SomeFlowerGirls to see for yourself, and read on to learn about her background in architecture and fashion, her sources of inspiration, and the power of Instagram and Chiclets gum.
Portrait of Meredith Wing | Photo by Marcy Castelgrande
Summer Thornton: What is your earliest memory of art?
Meredith Wing: I remember working on a quilt in preschool where all the children had to complete one square. I was probably 4 years old and I drew a scene of Victorian ladies in fancy dresses with lacy collars and parasols. Perhaps it was then that the seed was planted for #SomeFlowerGirls!
ST: Tell me about your training in fashion and architecture and how that translates into your work.
MW: I worked in Paris at Lacoste under Christophe Lemaire and in New York City for Cynthia Steffe, Sue Stemp, at ELLE magazine and with others before deciding I wanted a broad education in design. Instead of going to school for fashion design, though, I decided I wanted to study the built environment. I was becoming increasingly impressed, living in NYC in my 20s, by the architecture community I was exposed to socially. Architecture to me is the perfect combination of the intellectual and the visual, and when I applied and was accepted to the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I could not pass up. Instead of working in a design firm like my peers upon graduation, however, I decided I wanted to see where my illustration work could take me since I found so much happiness in working with my hands and creating whimsical scenes that almost seemed like a manifestation of my daydreams. Both illustration and architecture are creative and visual fields. My love for materials was honed in school, and one day a more direct correlation may rear its head. I would love to create an installation that incorporates my illustrated work.
ST: What inspires you now?
MW: I’m inspired by the structure of plants and flowers as well as the volumes and textures of couture. The way fashion can complement a woman’s silhouette and render her an art object is so beautiful. Using surprising materials to mimic this effect is my playful way of being involved and expressing my passion.
ST: Your illustrations combine flowers, produce and found objects. How did you come to your medium?
MW: During a layover with my now husband, we were playing around and used a piece of Chiclets gum as a purse on a drawing of a girl. People on Instagram went wild so I started playing around with more mixed-media work. I thought it was really playful and fun and I think people look at my work as a little escape from the seriousness of life.
Bean There Done That
ST: What’s your favorite flower to work with and why? What about produce?
MW: I love David Austin roses and peonies for their density, and anything leafy and green makes a fabulous gown in terms of produce–my bok choy lady is one of my most popular to date.
ST: You’ve collaborated with Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff, Pantone, Soho House and more. What’s next for you?
MW: Probably my biggest collaboration to date will be announced in early February, but for now it is on the down low! I am trying to do some illustrated book work as well and would like to work on a children’s book in the next year.
ST: Photography plays an important role in your drawings. Do you take the photos?
MW: Yes! I just got a new light box for the holidays and a nice camera earlier this year so am hoping to strengthen my photography game in 2017!
ST: Your drawings have the cutest names. What’s your favorite?
MW: That is the fun part! I like the girl in the tomato dress named “In Her Heirlooms.” If only veggies could be passed down to the next generation…
Swing the Day Away
On the Vine
Photo by Marcy Castelgrande
ST: What are your favorite tools and brands to use for your illustrations?
MW: Winsor & Newton watercolors, Faber-Castell products and Micron pens.
ST: Do you have any other creative talents?
MW: I have worked both in the design and styling sides of the fashion world. Also interior design. Anything visual and physical, that’s me.
ST: How do you describe your own style, both fashion-wise and with interiors or the type of art your drawn to?
MW: Eclectic bohemian at times, and classic minimalist at others.
ST: In what ways do you live a creative life? Do you have any outside passions that affect your art? How do they drive your creative pursuits?
MW: I live a creative life by remaining alert and curious about the world around me. Traveling as much as I can to environments I am unfamiliar with forces me to see the world and myself in new ways. Creativity is about new perspectives and resourcefulness, so moving around helps me stay “awake” in this way. Other than that, keeping up to date with fashion, music and design news inspires new works of my own and helps me keep a pulse on how the design landscape is shifting.
ST: I especially love your cutouts.
MW: Thank you! The cutouts are a great way for me to combine sharing my travels with my artwork. Since I share personal parts of my life on @moomooi, I can incorporate an illustration into a scene from a trip. The #SomeFlowerGirl becomes that much more personal and representative of where I am at a given moment.
ST: What’s exciting you most about the creative industry right now?
MW: That people like me can build a business by leveraging social media platforms and use these same networks to connect with other creatives. I owe my opportunities in large part to people finding me on Instagram. It’s so exciting to share creative projects in real time and be able to connect with others instantly.
ST: Fill in the blanks:
MW: Creativity means _____: working within constraints
Art is _____: a mirror to yourself
I’m a believer in _____: choosing work that inspires me
I’m always on the hunt for _____: new modes of expression
I prefer _____ over _____: experiments over predictability
_____ is the new _____: vegetables are the new florals!
My favorite colors are _____: black, white, patina and rose quartz
In my free time, you can find me _____: eating avocado toast on Bondi beach!
Kale A Paris
All images courtesy Meredith Wing of MooMooi
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