My Interview with CANSON Brazil

Works Featured in the Interview

Reference Photo Copyright James Meakin

Giuseppe Zanotti Design 2009

Hello Friends,

I'm so excited to be sharing this with you today!! A few weeks ago I was contacted by CANSON Brazil and was asked to do an interview with them for their newsletter. I was literally beside myself when I read the email. I say this with no exaggeration that CANSON is my favorite art supply brand. For me their products are synonymous with exceptional quality.

Furthermore, almost all the work you see on this blog is produced with their products; from my warm-ups on white sketch paper, to my finished renderings on colored paper. They just posted the interview this morning and I was so moved. It was incredible seeing my work curated as it was for the interview. Since the feature is in Portuguese I would like to share it here with you in English.

Please do visit the site to see the beautiful job they did:!!

Thank-you to all of you and to CANSON for this incredible opportunity.

Meag xx


CANSON NEWS – You were born and lived in Canada, right? How was your relation with arts and fashion in your childhood? When exactly did you start to draw? Did your parents support you to be an artist?

MEAGAN – Yes, I’m a true Canadian through and through – pleasant, polite, and warm. I grew up in the countryside about 45 minutes north of Toronto, Ontario. In many ways that was a hindrance to my access to fashion and art as a child. On the other hand, my parents really made-up for it by planning family trips around the world starting when I was very young. I can remember being utterly fascinated with the way in which people dressed even from the age of 11. I would take photos of shop windows in Zurich, or women by the Seine in Paris, return home and translate that into a painting. As a result, I was a bit of an outsider at school. So few people could relate to my experiences and couldn’t understand where I was coming from.

I probably picked up my first paintbrush when I was about 5 years old or younger. That’s why I say I feel like I was born with it in my hand. I remember one painting I did in kindergarten with a girl on a bike next to a fence. My teacher asked to keep it and I said no lol. I couldn’t stand to part with it, even at that age! Furthermore, my Mom and Baba (grandmother in Ukrainian) were constantly creating as I grew up. There were always craft supplies lying around the house. My Baba taught me the Ukrainian tradition of paintings eggs. My Mom would paint folk-art in the kitchen and I would join in. For that reason, I was totally supported in my love of art. My parents could see how happy it made me and wanted me to follow my heart always.

CANSON NEWS – You graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce. How did you choose this area before studying illustration? Did you fear being an artist? How was it to leave this first option and go to NY to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology? Why did you prefer a fashion school and not an art school?

MEAGAN – Oh my, lol, people are always really perplexed when they hear that I started with a Bachelor of Commerce and ended up in fashion illustration. I don’t blame them. My decision to study my BCOMM before committing to anything fashion or art related was inspired by a few things. For one, I was 17 at the time and felt way too young to study something so specialized. I was also really unsure about where I belonged in fashion because I couldn’t find a program that really appealed to both the artist and fashion lover in me. Lastly, I really wanted to live in Montreal, Quebec. My sister was attending McGill at the time and I loved her lifestyle there and the people she hung around with. I think I needed some time to really find myself.

I didn’t so much fear being an artist. I was almost rebelling against it. Somehow through the course of high school my innate love of art was diminished by the competitive nature of the classroom. I became obsessed with pleasing my teacher, my peers, always wanting to be the best. I needed to step away from that toxic mindset and experience life. However, by the time I finished at McGill I was ready to return to my love of fashion and art. I started working in every possible facet of the industry, including a magazine and designer, to find where I belonged. Eventually I discovered fashion illustration. The decision to go to FIT was easy. It was located in New York and only a two-year program combining my truest, most fulfilling loves.

CANSON NEWS – You told that, above all else, you see yourself as a painter. What techniques do you use and prefer? Is it true that you have stacks of CANSON papers at home? Tell us more about this.

MEAGAN – Painting for me is like breathing, totally natural and essential to my being. The fluidity of paint just allows me to really get my thoughts down on paper without interruption. I prefer using gouache on CANSON colored paper. Come to think of it, even the paper I use for warm-ups at school is CANSON. I think every artist has his or her favored brands and products. Because creating is so personal, you want to work with names you trust. I’ve been using CANSON since I was 14 years old. For me it’s synonymous with impeccable quality. When I was home over the Winter Break, I got really indulgent and bought a stack of colored CANSON paper to experiment with. To me it is like buying candy, I have a sweet tooth for CANSON.

CANSON NEWS – Do you work only with the fashion world? What are the themes you like? What are the things that attract you in your life? What feelings and stories do your drawings bring?

MEAGAN – I think the best way to describe the type of work I do is lifestyle illustration. That sort of encompasses a little of everything be it fashion, travel, food, entertainment etc. As I mentioned earlier, my parent’s turned me onto travel from a very young age. I love seeing how people from different places dress, eat, celebrate, entertain. That is exactly why I started my blog Travel Write Draw. I wanted a platform to showcase my love of travel and how the places I see, the people I meet, inspire my illustrations. I use my own photography for the majority of my themes and references so that my art feels completely organic. This summer I traveled to Dubai and before that I was in Istanbul. I can’t stop drawing from these photos.

At the end of the day I’m a storyteller at heart. I want to be transported somewhere when I look at a work of art. I want to learn something new. I want to be moved. Therefore, I strive to give that to others in my own work. I think that’s the only way for me to feel really fulfilled and challenged in my art. Living in New York provides some of the greatest inspiration too. Everyday you’re surrounded by the most fascinating and talented individuals. You have access to incredible restaurants and outstanding art galleries. I feel so unbelievably fortunate to live here and try to soak everything in like a sponge. I don’t know how long I’ll stay but I do know that I will never take my time here for granted. It’s been my dream since I was 15 years old.

CANSON NEWS – You told that NY and the other places you visit inspire you. But is there any person or persons that you admire and use as reference?

MEAGAN – This is a really wonderful question and I could probably do a whole interview based on this alone. I would have to say though that one of my greatest inspirations is Vera Neumann. I stumbled across the book ‘Vera – The Art and Life of an Icon’ almost a year ago and instantly fell in love. She successfully converted her original artwork into scarves, placemats, garments etc. A real entrepreneur, she would travel to Ibiza or Peru and paint gorgeous illustrations that would later turn into the basis of a collection. My ultimate goal is to be a brand – unite my business sensibility with my creative visions. I want to take inspiration from my world travels, create illustrations, and see those images converted into wearable products.

CANSON NEWS – You also told that food is something inspiring for your work. Please, tell us more about your relation with it and how it reflects in your work.

MEAGAN – I believe that style is a way of life. It isn’t just the clothing you wear, but the places you choose to eat, the food you consciously purchase or prepare. That is why food for me is equally as inspiring as a gorgeous pair of shoes. Here in New York, cupcakes are treated almost like a little accessory. I think the same holds true for macaroons in Paris. I love to paint gorgeous baked goods just like I would a piece of jewelry because I think the presentation is equally as important for both. I’m about to do a mini series actually. I think food preparation is an art form in and of itself. I think I’m sort of lucky that I find food inherently fascinating. I don’t think food illustration is a terribly competitive market, or at least not to my knowledge.

CANSON NEWS – How is the career-field for those who work in fashion illustration? Are there many possibilities of jobs?

MEAGAN – I think it’s extremely competitive and terribly difficult to find work in just fashion illustration. The days of fulltime in-house illustrators for designers or magazines are sort of over. I attended a FIT illustration lecture series not long ago featuring the brilliant David Downton. Fresh off the success of the Cate Blanchett Vogue Australia 50th Anniversary issue, he talked about how illustrations for fashion magazine covers seem to be used more as a marketing gimmick now than anything else. I think he’s absolutely right. That’s why I mentioned above that it’s a good thing I find food or other lifestyle themes inspiring for illustration. The more versatile you’re the better. You also have to be able to differentiate yourself and still be true to you.

CANSON NEWS – You told me you love fashion. How is your clothing style? Do you like fashion only for drawing or you are a good fashion consumer too?

MEAGAN – I really do eat, breathe, live, sleep fashion. I absolutely love it. No doubt my subject plays a crucial role in influencing how I dress myself. I would say that my style is eclectic chic. I mix a lot of vintage bargain finds, purchases from my travels, with high-end pieces. I love feeling really fresh, sophisticated, and put together. I see myself as the walking representation of my product. I want the way I dress to reflect the quality of my work and professionalism. I’ve definitely had to change what I wear though to accommodate the messiness of creating. I used to get manicures once a week before starting fashion illustration. Now, there is no point because I end up staining my hands with ink everyday lol. Ah but the small sacrifice is worth it.

CANSON NEWS – If you could be anything else apart from an illustrator what would it be and why?

MEAGAN – I would probably be a television host of a travel show. When I was little I used to pretend that I was being filmed in front of a studio audience and cook or create crafts like Martha Stewart. I love being on camera, connecting with people, and since travel has become such a passion for me, I think I would really enjoy going to places and reporting on my findings. I believe that anything is possible. I think we have a lot more control over our lives than we sometimes care to acknowledge. I feel like in many ways I wrote the script to the life I’m leading today. There will always be the things we can’t control, but for all the things we can, we should make the outcome what we want it to be. Believe in your dreams and let yourself succeed.