Take 5 With: Meredith Wing, Mixed Media Fashion Illustrator MooMooi
Want to turn your passion into your career? Fashion illustrator MooMooi shares her tips and the inspiration for her collab with Burts Bees...
Having caught the creative bug early, Meredith Wing, the talented mixed media fashion illustrator who goes by the moniker MooMooi, has been drawing since the age of four.
However, it took a stint of graduate work in french language and then architecture, and a chance doodle of a girl finished with a gum purse during an airport layover for Meredith to realise that illustration, her favourite childhood pastime, was in fact her true calling.
With a host of high profile collaborations under belt, including her most recent Burts Bees X MooMooi #SomeFlowerGirls series, we decided to catch up with Meredith to chat all things following your dreams and how to turn your passion into a full-time career.
How did you get into illustrating?
Since I was a little girl, I have been drawing. My favourite subjects to illustrate as a four-year-old were women in fancy Victorian costume, holding parasols and wearing lace collars and chockers.
I probably got this idea from the movies I watched and book covers I saw in the library. Old Hollywood movies with Golden Age stars like Ginger Rogers and Lauren Bacall, were always on in the evenings as my dad loved those films. The power of dress to tell a story fascinated me.
Why did you decide to use more of mixed medium and combine fruit / vegetables and other objects into your work?
About three years ago, my husband and I were trying to entertain ourselves during a layover. I began sketching, as I often do in these in-between moments, and I had a pack of Chiclet gum—an American product in which gum comes in these perfect little squares.
As I was drawing a girl in the pages of my Moleskine, we placed a piece of the gum on the page as her “purse.” This girl with her little gum purse was posted to Instagram and I was surprised to find that people really reacted to the image.
It caught their attention as something playful and cheeky. I fed off of that energy and started doing found-object drawings. It was also a bit of therapy, not taking anything too seriously and playing with my food.
What was the inspiration for the Burt’s Bees collab? Tell us a bit about why you decided to be on board
I grew up in Massachusetts, driving to nearby Maine in the summers with my family. Maine is where Burt created his first products and this part of America, New England, really values nature, the outdoors, and a down-to-earth wholesomeness.
These qualities are central to the Burt’s Bees’ identity and resonate with me as someone from this area. When the opportunity arose to do something with this brand I grew up with and support, I did not hesitate.
What are some of the best briefs you have work on to date?
The brief for the #BurtsBeesXMooMooi series is definitely up there! They simply asked me to combine certain ingredients with illustrations in my signature style and the rest was up to me. Any project that allows total freedom for creative experimentation will produce the best results—I can let intuition guide me.
What do you love about splitting your time in New York and Australia? How does that inspire your work?
New York is where I get inspired by street style and culture; Sydney is where I can put these ideas to paper in a relaxed environment. Over the past two years I have treated Sydney as my home base and visited NYC frequently, and now it is about to be the other way around as I am soon moving back to NYC. Whenever I am in one place, the other calls! If only they were closer…
Illustration is quite a niche career - what was the most challenging part of turning your talent into a full-time career?
The most challenging part of turning my skill set into a full-time career is ownership of what I do. Calling myself an Illustrator, realising I am a type of artist and graphic designer, and not apologizing for being this are things I am still working on.
I did graduate work in french language and then architecture before realizing that illustration, my childhood pastime, was my true calling. I was embarrassed about having taken this winding path to my current pursuits, but am beginning to recognise these chapters as necessary steps in finding my voice.
Who are some people you look up to / inspire your creative process?
I admire the Parisian style and simple line work of Garance Dore’s illustrations, and how they’re not too sweet. I love the sense of humour of Julie Houts too, and the way she combines illustration with prose
Tell us three of your fave NYC hotspots?
Acme for a late night dance party in the Greenwich Village, Maison Premiere in Williamsburg for $1 oysters in the back garden, and Baby Grand on the Lower East Side when I feel like subjecting strangers to my karaoke voice!
What's the first thing you do when you come back to Australia?
Easy: avocado toast and poached eggs with a piccolo.
What are your three beauty must-haves?
Burt’s Bees Royal Jelly Foaming Cleanser, Beeswax lip balm and Cucumber & Sage Facial cleansing towelettes.
What's your advice for anyone looking to get into illustration work?
Instagram is a great platform to share work and connect with a community of likeminded creatives. Not just for casual browsing anymore, Instagram has grown a powerful community in which people can connect with one another and one can share their work with a worldwide audience in real time.
This unique series can be found exclusively in Myer, David Jones, Priceline and selected pharmacies.
Stockist Number: 1800 813 661 & www.burtsbees.com.au