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One of the first thing Meg Hunt hears in response to her age is 'You're so young!' It's really not true, but she's twenty three, grown up near the beaches of Connecticut and transplanted into the Arizona desert where she lives with her dutiful assistant and her small dog. Meg is an illustrator, freelancing for the past year and a half; her clients have so far included Rockpile, Bust, Utne, the Phoenix New Times, the Stranger, Fantagraphics Comics, K Records, and a few more. She spends her time watching cartoons and British comedies and drawing, veering between silkscreening, illustration, comics and the like. Her personal motto is QUIRKY ART FOR QUIRKY TIMES, 365/24/7, and Meg is always up for a challenge. Besides art, Meg likes good company, noodles, exploration, thrift shops and yard sales, and tricycles.

When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?

I've always been interested in art since I was a kid, but I didn't have much of a plan. When it came to figuring out what to do with my zeal for art, illustration seemed to be pretty logical, but it hit a rocky period when I hit high school and college. I fell in love with the idea of being an illustrator my senior year of high school, but the college courses I took left me disillusioned; for two semesters at the University of Connecticut my illustration professor, the ever amazing Cora Lynn Deibler, was on sabbatical and I didn't really get a good feel for the kind of work illustration could provide with the adjunct faculty hired to fill her shoes. But then, I won an award for illustration, spent two more semesters learning all the exciting and scary things that illustration can offer, and I've been hooked ever since.

Who or what inspires you?

Everything; I really dig the work of friends (their productivity makes me feel inspired to make more), but of course I like looking outside of the art world for influence. I find myself inspired by old posters, toys, garbage, patterns in fabric, fashion, pop culture and manufacturing, printmaking, educational programs on the Discovery Channel or TLC, books, cartoons, videogames, and music. Lots of music inspiration.

As for people that really inspire me, I gotta name people like Ghostshrimp, the Little Friends of Printmaking, Jillian Tamaki, Sam Weber, and Josh Cochran totally floor me and surprise me all the time.

Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?

I attended four years of college at the University of Connecticut. We're not really that well known for our art, but I got a BFA majoring both in illustration and printmaking. The printmaking aspect really swung my style into perspective, I found my niche in silkscreening and as a result all my artwork tends to reflect that. Lots of flat uses of color and graphic lines now. The printmaking side also helped out because my professors always tried to get me to explore with technique, not to get so stiff. So the way I work is a lot more fluid and painterly than a lot of other silkscreeners I've met. Though I'm not terribly proud of the work I did in school now looking back upon them, it definitely set the building blocks up for what's coming out now.

How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?

Well, I guess I haven't been at it long enough to be truly stale yet, but I don't like to do the same thing twice. Though sometimes I have recurring elements, I keep trying to push myself, whether by color, line, perspective, or character, so it keeps being odd and interesting. I'm also trying to sharpen my brain with word exercises and such so I can get my concepts better sharpened.

What are some of your current projects?

I've just wrapped up a design for a letterpress print that'll be released as a limited edition set to coincide with Fantagraphics' upcoming book BEASTS!, and right now I'm working on a series of drawings for The Believer and some collaborative wallet designs for Poketo. Besides that, I'm also working on a zombie comic with my sister A. Hunt. Other than that I'm just trying to get work published, maybe get some t-shirts printed, get my silkscreen press financed and put together so I can print again, and perhaps a limited edition art print?

And of course, I'm just scrabbling towards getting more freelance work, sending postcards, the usual hustle!

Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?

Ha, typically I'm most proud of whatever I've just finished. I'm pretty proud of the work I've done for Fantagraphics, but I guess it's just being tied into a fantastic project with so many of my favorite artists. I dunno, it's too hard to really pick out something I'm more proud of at this point.

Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?

There's always things to try! But I know there is a lot to silkscreening that I am raring to explore again, particularly split fountains, varnished layers, diecuts, etc. I've pretty much sworn off painting, so that's right out. I haven't tried competing in illustration yet, so I guess that's something else to attempt!? I'd love to do some work for book covers, advertising, album art, product design, etc... So you name it, I want to try it!

Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?

Be persistent, don't let yourself get run down by problems or failings. It takes time to get your name built up enough that people will know who you are. Some people get style obsessed, and some just flounder all over the place-- but I think it's best to just find what appeals to you and that you will have fun drawing down the line. Trends seem to go in and out, but you need to stick to what it is you do best and can work best in. Be natural, enjoy yourself and have fun-- and try and learn all you can about the business side of illustration. There's a lot to it, and it can be scary, but better to be informed than ignorant!

What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?

I think if you can look at it and get lost in the details, it turns out great. Great concepts are important too of course; and I find myself more drawn to things that aren't just drawing what you might see in real life. I can see an illustration and it might look great but if it doesn't make me think a little bit or really strike me with its humor or emotion I'll just walk away or close the magazine or whatever. If I come back to it more than once, it's hooked me.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

I try to find more work. It's harder for me to just work on personal work, because I feel so tied to having a reason to make it-- an end product or a project or a work assignment. If I can figure out a project or get more work then I can shut off the part of my brain that worries too much. Sometimes it's tough but I always pull through so I just try and not let it get to me.

And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?

I don't have cable since I moved, so I've been largely subsiding off of DVDs, but I know if I did have my way I'd be watching the oddity programs on TLC, the Venture Bros., Project Runway, Reno 911! and Celebrity Poker Showdown probably.? That's okay, more time for me to work in the long run! But typically I work alongside music or DVDS- I have a great tolerance for listening to certain things without getting sick of them!

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Cuentos de Antiguamente said...

Really great idea his kind of "interview-blog" for know artists.

Blake Himsl Hunter said...

Nice interview and your artwork is amazing.

Choper Nawers! said...

Nice work love your style.....

richy said...

wow! exelent blog! they enchanted your illustrations to me! , exelent work, congratulations.

I invite to you to share ours links greetings!


Eli said...

I love the muted color schemes and dreamlike feel of all of these.

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