The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Meaghan Way: Meaghan Way, 26, Illustrator/Designer, Freelancer
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
MW: I love to visit galleries and museums, but I often draw inspiration for illustration from non-related fields. Architecture and industrial design are my primary sources, and I pay attention to buildings and signage the most. Lately I’ve been drawn to the pastel buildings and homes throughout Florida, as well as the 1980’s & 90’s motel and diner signs. I’m traveling to Los Angeles in the fall, and I can’t wait to see the architecture along the West Coast.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
MW: I am only a year into it all, so I haven’t come across too many incidences where professional and personal work conflict with one another. I recently read Kellen Hatanaka’s interview on It’s Nice That, which particularly resonated with me. He talks about the importance of maintaining personal style in all professional projects, and that he can’t be expected to deliver his strongest work if he is trying to be something he’s not. I couldn’t agree more with this idea – I think that it is important to maintain authenticity with professional projects, or run the risk of burning out and stagnating your personal work.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
MW: I am both creative and productive early in the morning, as well as late in the evening; my brain tends to get tired around 2PM and pick back up around 8PM. I don’t mind this lag because it gives me enough time to step away from my ideas and reevaluate them in a few hours.
As Don Draper once said in season one of Mad Men: “Just think about it deeply…then forget it. An idea will then jump in your face.” – Words to live by, since I take all of my professional advice from DD.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
MW: I want to work bigger. I just finished a giant black and white mural with Kendra Yee and Meg Dearlove, which was a fun learning experience. I would love to do more illustrative murals – playing with both colour and composition at a larger scale is very exciting to me.
I also want to collaborate more, because I think that collaboration is fundamental for personal growth. Pushing myself out of my comfort level and expressing ideas and opinions with others is a tough but rewarding experience. It’s also amazing to see what multiple people are able to come up with, compared to one person alone.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
MW: My main source of inspiration comes from architecture and industrial design, so I think that the natural progression for my artistic practice is to work spatially. Currently, I am in the process of writing a proposal for a spatial installation within a gallery. My *big plan* is to take my 2D illustrative style, and translate it into a three-dimensional, interactive environment.
Another project I have been working on is producing a housewares line. It will combine my illustrative style with a non-representational approach, so the designs will be more abstract, and less narrative. Having something I’ve worked on become a functional object that exists in the world is a rewarding concept for me.
I was able to attend Sight Unseen’s OFFSITE in NYC this May, and it was inspiring for me to see various designers work I admire online, IRL. Eric Trine, Ellen van Dusen (of Dusen Dusen), Jean-Pascal Gauthier, Josephine Heilpern (of Recreation Center), and Kim Mullis (of Wilderness Bodies) are all designers that motivate me to continue pushing myself to make art.
Other artists, designers, and architects that inspire me: Jonas Wood, Ettore Sottsass, Ricardo Bofill, Lorien Stern, Caitlyn Murphy, Lilian Martinez (of BFGF), Paul Wackers, Geoff McFetridge, Atelier Bingo, Cold Picnic, M-S-D-S, Annie Lee Larson (of ALL Knitwear), and Santiago Ascui – I could go on.
In terms of my creative process, I have a fairly convoluted method that will hopefully be streamlined one day. It involves many sheets of loose paper, word maps, thumbnail sketches, digital mockups that are printed off and drawn over and scanned back onto my computer…and lots of coffee. Working out ideas in pen and marker allow me to conceptualize faster. I avoid using sketchbooks. I like to tear up my rough work and play around with the composition; sketchbooks are too treasured and hinder my ability to conceptualize freely. I like the option of occasionally shredding ideas that I’m sick of.
TCU: What scares you?
GE: Losing creative steam.
TCU: What does success mean to you?
GE: Being proud of the work that I produce, but being driven by the need to grow and expand and do better. Supporting myself by doing something that I love. Having work not feel like *work*.
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
GE: I think that it is important to vocalize goals in order for them to seem attainable. I like to exchange ideas and aspirations with friends and family, since so many of my peers are working on exciting projects right now. It’s both inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by so many ambitious people.