Artist Spotlight

The Skinny On Meredith Hanson

33432The Skinny On Meredith Hanson
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NANTUCKET ARTIST, TEACHER & COLLABORATOR

How would you describe your painting style? I started my art career on Nantucket as an oil painter, then progressed to large acrylic murals and now consider myself a full-time watercolor/gouache design artist. When I worked with oils, my style was loose and I focused primarily on landscapes, seascapes and animals. Using acrylic for murals, I focus on florals and beach scenes. With watercolor/gouache, I tighten my style so that it is very detail oriented and the focus is on a single item such as a floral study, a boat, or a lighthouse. Thanks to a friend/fellow artist, I was introduced to gouache a few years ago on an art retreat to Monhegan, ME. I fell in love with the vibrancy of the pigments and the amount of control I had with this medium. I have enjoyed the transition from very large paintings ranging from 4′-5’ to small 4” paintings.

How would you describe your personal style? Beachy chic/ sporty chic! Comfort is definitely a priority since I paint in my studio every day and I am always on the go! My summer wardrobe consists of blue and white striped shirts, comfortable chambray shorts and of course, my Skinny Dip Nantucket sweaters for those cooler island evenings!

Tell us about how the lines of art and fashion are blurring? When I started my art career on Nantucket in 2011 I rented a small space on the South Wharf to display and sell my artwork. Now, thanks to the power of social media platforms, I have been able to show my artwork online to several thousand followers and viewers which has really helped me grow my art business. I have been a lover of fashion since I was a teenager. I knew that one day, my love for fashion and art would collide. Thanks to the community of aspiring, talented entrepreneurs on Nantucket, that dream is coming true!

Art and fashion are becoming conversation pieces because of the nonconventional surfaces that we, as artists and designers, are experimenting with. I love to paint on dresses, handbags (Beau & Ro!), shoes… you name it! When a person finds out that you’re sporting wearable art, the conversation ignites!

What inspires you? All things Nantucket!! Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to work on exciting murals and exclusive painting collections with various businesses all over the island. I am inspired by our three beautiful lighthouses, catboats that race in the rainbow fleet, lightship baskets… really anything that exudes color and has texture!

What really inspires me more than anything on Nantucket is the warmth of this community and how supportive people are of each others’ businesses. There is a strong female presence on island and I like to believe that it ties back to the time when women were running the show on Nantucket while their husbands/partners were off at sea on whaling trips!

What are your favorite 5 places on Nantucket? My new home! Living on Orange Street in my little condo has given me a great sense of balance and strength. Home is where I do most of my painting if I’m not at one of my other favorite spots listed below:

  • Brant Point Lighthouse. As you round the corner on the ferry, Brant Point Lighthouse is there to welcome you! This part of the island is special to me because every time I sit and watch the sun set, I am reminded of how lucky I am to live on this magical island!
  • Steps Beach. Gentle waves, quiet beach, hundreds of pink rosa rugosa flowers…does it get better than that??
  • Front Street in ‘Sconset where beautiful homes are covered in roses! I love to bring my art students there to paint because it’s quiet and inspires them to use their imaginations.
  • Town. Because ALL of my favorite local businesses and best pals are there! No matter the season, town is always filled with great energy and lots of happy people! 

What are some of the most fun projects you’ve done? 

  1. My art collaboration with Beau & Ro! This project and partnership has been the biggest source of inspiration for me and has opened my eyes to the myriad ways that art and fashion intersect. Together, Sara and I are taking wearable art to the next level. Paintings are no longer captive to canvas or paper…people are finding exciting new ways to print on products that tell a story wherever they go!
  2. A few years ago I was commissioned to paint a mural on a staircase which I had never done before…not surprisingly, it sparked an incredible new art route for me to explore.
  3. This spring, I painted a mural for my good friend Holly Finigan of Nantucket blACKbook fame in Holly’s Happy Place store on island. This was a dream project because I was tasked with making Holly’s experience in Bali come to life. It was critical for me to capture a sense of peace in this mural which is how Holly felt during her trip.

What is your favorite thing to paint? That is a tricky question because I love to paint very different things depending on the medium I’m using!

  • Oil: Large waves and horse portraits (Fun fact: I have been an equestrian since age 6 and in the offseason, I love to visit my horse, Henne, who is now retired and lives in upstate New York.)
  • Acrylic: I love to paint floral patterns and abstract designs — really, whatever inspires me — on clothes and other accessories!
  • Watercolor/Gouache: Woody Wagon cars and golden retrievers…particularly my golden, Willis!

What was your process for painting the art for the Beau & Ro beach bags? After successfully collaborating on leather clutches and totes last season, Sara and I started brainstorming on new ideas during the fall/winter. In February, I sent Sara my artwork to start our production process. Sara is an incredibly talented designer! She has a very keen eye for placement and colors so once I submit my artwork to her, she takes the reins and creates magic with both mediums, leather and print!

Do you have any tips for aspiring professional artists? Art is HOT right now. I say this because art is more available to a greater number of people through social media platforms. For aspiring professional artists it is crucial to have an online presence to show your work, your progress and even behind the scenes of a project! More than ever, I believe it is critically important for artists to share what makes their craft so special and unique.

How about for amateur hobbyist artists? The saying, “Do what you love and love what you do” comes to mind whenever I think about art — whether it someone’s hobby or full time careerTo me, art is a natural expression of what makes me happy about life and I love to give myself positive feedback throughout the process. A good friend mentioned to me that she practices speaking kindly to herself when she runs… shouldn’t we practice the same when we create? I do!

  1. Every time I pick up my brush to paint, my goal is to paint with good energy and good thoughts. Every stroke of paint applied has energy.
  2. Why do I connect with certain projects more than others? When I work with my students, I want them to enjoy the act of painting while challenging them to grow their “inner artist” and technique.
  3. There are no mistakes! This is something I tell my students all the time because painting/creating requires real emotion. We learn and grow from every stroke we apply so it’s important that my students take pride in their work!

Favorite Quote? “Never forget who took you to the dance.” – Janet Hanson

That is my mom’s favorite phrase! No one ever achieves success or greatness as a solo act. I am inspired by every person who I’ve had the timing and luck to collaborate and partner with!

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