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Studio Visit - Maureen Meyer

Studio Visit - Maureen Meyer

Studio Visit with Maureen Meyer

Welcome to the studio of Maureen Meyer. Graphic designer and mixed media artist, Meyer’s intuitive artistic practice is deeply connected to the past. Here we explore her journey and get to know here a little more...

Q.

What is your creative process?


A.

My process is very intuitive, and mostly dictated by the material. I generally start with two shapes, and build/remove from there. The paper itself is unforgiving, given its old age and fragility. However, I try to keep the process fluid and forgiving— nothing gets glued down until I'm certain it's finished, so it's tough to overwork a piece.

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?


A.

Many sources!...
The light and shapes in Los Angeles
Fashion (vintage Lanvin and Balmain, current Marni, Miu Miu and Acne)
Old textiles (Sheila Hicks’ tapestries, Gees Bend quilts, vintage Swedish flatweave rugs...)
The Bauhaus (lamps and teapots, specifically)
Furniture by the Memphis group
French art deco (Ivan da Silva Bruhns)
Everything ever done by Eileen Grey

 

Maureen Meyer says

“Allowing myself to make art has been one of the most terrifying, rewarding and authentic things I have ever done.”

Q.

Describe your work in three words...

A.

Structured, subtle, juxtaposed.

 

Q.

How did first discover collage art and begin your artistic practice?

A.

When I moved to Los Angeles, I considered going back to school for my MFA. A graduate administrator clarified that in order to be considered, I would need to create an entirely new portfolio of fine art, separate from my design one. She felt I could do this within one year of home practice.

Intimidated, I took an abstract painting class in the hopes that some structure would help. Unfortunately, things went from hopeful to hopeless. I couldn’t get my brush to communicate what I wanted, and it was incredibly frustrating. I got into my head!

Around that time, a friend gave me beautiful magazine. I was totally absorbed by the muted colors and simple compositions, and I made a joke about cutting it up to make some collages. She encouraged this idea, pointing out it would otherwise just sit on a shelf somewhere. So I did, and things unfolded from there.

 

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

Authenticity and sense of balance. I try to create work that is malleable— a piece that initially feels very quiet and serious can become bold and playful upon further consideration.

 

Q.

What influence does modern culture have on your work?

A.

I don’t watch TV and I am not on Facebook, so I consume “culture” in a very controlled way— in my own time, on my own terms. Fashion has always been a source of stimulation for me. Beyond the aesthetics, I admire the way designers take risks and how well trends are informed by current events. Like many, I have felt empowered by the women’s movement and that has made me brave enough to do what I love. Allowing myself to make art has been one of the most terrifying, rewarding and authentic things I have ever done.

Having said this, I have always been very influenced by the past. As a child, I observed and lamented the loss of formality in society. My mother used to remark that I belonged in a bygone era. It would sadden me that people no longer dressed up to travel or to see a performance— the shift away from those elegant rituals felt like a downgrade in quality.

Without the ease of the modern technology, past generations of people had to focus and work harder to accomplish tasks; I often wonder if that made them better at what they did.

Q.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

Increasing the scope and scale of my work. I am learning to weave on a floor loom, so I look forward to introducing new mediums and methods such as fiber into my practice. From what I understand, it can take an artist years upon years to discover their “voice.” That type of evolution really excites me.

 

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

Absurdity, myself, my children. Tiffany Haddish, Kristen Wiig…

 

Q.

What is your approach to color?

A.

Color is paramount in my work. It sets the tone and always parallels what is going on in my life. Because color is so susceptible to change based on its relationships, I spend a lot of time considering it. I often refer back to Ad Reinhardt and his subtle modulations in hue… Since I am working with pre-existing material (vintage paper), I am forced to work with what I have as opposed to mixing my own colors. In this way, I have less control; this can be challenging at times and beneficial at others.

 

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

Attention, expectations, judgement

 

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A.

Titian (particularly Bacchus and Adriadne, which he painted in the early 1520’s)
Esteban Vicente
Agnes Martin
Louise Bourgeois
The Albers
Ellsworth Kelly
Carmen Herrera

 

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

I studied Buddhism for a brief time in New York. Impermanence, one of the three marks of existence, impacted me deeply. My older daughter was a baby at the time, yet I had young friends and older family members battling cancer. Seeing life around me come in and out this way shifted my thinking significantly. This idea— that everything is temporary— is one that I think about every day. Before I left New York, I created a mark that symbolizes impermanence and had it tattooed on my arm so that I would remember to take pauses and to treat each day like it could be my last. A very wise friend recently passed on this bit of wisdom: “Everything you could ever want, you already have.”

About Maureen Meyer

Maureen Meyer is a Los Angeles based visual artist with a background in graphic design working primarily in mixed media.

 

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About Maureen Meyer

Maureen Meyer is a Los Angeles based visual artist, working primarily in mixed media. After graduating from design school in 2003, she spent 12 years in New York as a graphic designer, developing an expertise in visual concepting and publishing. Upon relocating to Los Angeles, Meyer shifted her focus to fine art. Drawn to stories and rituals of the past, Meyer became fascinated by the rich patina and worn colors of archival papers and discarded print materials. With a background in typography and visual storytelling, she gradually developed a vocabulary of familiar forms and everyday objects using found materials — magazines, office or scrap paper, and print materials, some dating as far back to the 1920s. Through her delicately balanced compositions, Meyer seeks to create new stories through vehicles of the past.

STATEMENT

“Visually, we experience the world in terms of shapes and their relationships - those of color, scale, proximity, etc. My work is an evolving attempt to recreate life situations. Using randomly clipped shapes, I start from a place of disorder and set about solving the problems that exist within the composition. By adhering to an underlying grid, I am always considering where the eye goes, where the weight sits. Ideally, I am able to find a place where all the elements can co-exist; this balance lends an overall sense of calm and order to the chaos. For me, this process is akin to meditation.” - Maureen Meyer

 

EDUCATION

2001. Wake Forest University. BFA, Literature, Studio Arts and International Studies.

2003. The Portfolio Center. Graphic Art and Design Coursework.

2017-2018. Art Center Collage of Design. Independent Study, Textile Art and Color Theory.