A CONVERSATION WITH MEREDITH
DROOL: When do you feel you first found success in the world of art, and how have you grown since then?
Meredith: I started working in print design out of art school, which I loved, but I think I didn’t feel ‘successful’ until I had my first editorial assignment, which made me feel like I could combine ideas and images in the way I’d hoped to be able to do. Since then, I’ve been working on taking my work in a looser, simpler direction–working within constraints, like a limited color palette, is actually very liberating for me! The illustrations that I like the most are always the simplest-looking and most straightforward, but there is always a roundabout process to get them there. Making lots of quick sketches before starting to go in a finished direction is still the goal, for me, and still a step I neglect more often than I should!
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DROOL: How did you discover your voice in art?
Meredith: When I look at older illustrations of mine, I recognize certain things that have stayed consistent–it’s like looking at someone’s baby pictures and seeing the features they have as an adult, in miniature. The mark-making has stayed pretty consistent, but my comfort with color and using different media has changed a lot over time. The more I make, the closer I get to being able to say what I’m trying to say with images.
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DROOL: What compels you to keep driving forward as an artist? How do you aspire to grow as an artist this year?
Meredith: As a younger artist, I was really concerned about making things that looked good, but the older I get, the more I realize that what I’m after is making something that expresses a thought well. I’m always working to be less self-conscious and more expressive in my artwork. In the coming year, I’m hoping to learn some new skills and incorporate more analog textures into my illustrations. I’m also trying to get a bit more comfortable filling the full entire space.
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DROOL: What about dogs attracts you to them as subjects for your artwork?
Meredith: Something I’ve always loved about dogs is that as people, we have to interpret everything dog non-verbally. A little twitch of the eyes, softening of the shoulders, or bobbing of the tail can speak volumes, and people who love dogs are so attuned to all of that. One of my all-time favorite artists, James Thurber, could say some much with just a few squiggly lines on a dog’s face. My favorite dog expressions are the slightly embarrassed or over-the-top exuberant ones–two emotional states I can definitely relate to. Plus, dogs are natural comedians; even the most dignified dog is pretty funny. I love trying to articulate that in my illustrations. Dogs also come in infinite variety–so many shapes and colors and sizes! I never get bored of trying to draw them.
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DROOL: Which do you prefer: dogs or people, and why?
Meredith: Tough question! But I guess it comes down to this: would I rather be in a room of twenty people, or twenty dogs? Dogs, any day.
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DROOL: What characteristics in dogs/breed of dog do you relate to most, and why?
Meredith: My husband and I love geraiatric dogs, and we had the most amazing English Bulldog and Pit-Lab mix that got funnier and more dramatic every year of their lives. I related to both of them, in that their natural state was complete indolence, with 90-second blocks of insane, tail-wagging, jowl-flapping madness distributed at unpredictable intervals.
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DROOL: Anything else you want to share with the dog-loving humans of Earth?
Meredith: I love you all: you get it. Let’s all be kind to a dog today.
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