In addition to being a quite obviously brilliant artist, in getting the chance to chat with fashion Illustrator Kei Meguro, we at Zeum have discovered that the wistful, fun and delightfully quirky and charming quality to her works is very much a reflection of her own personality. Her pieces are clearly quite lovingly crafted as is illustrated by her almost impossibly precise detail work, in addition to the practically tangible softness about them. Kei is definitely one to watch, and we are all too eager to see more of her and her truly lovely work!
Tell us a little bit about yourself Kei! Where are you from, how old are you, and how did you get started as a fashion illustrator / graphic designer?
I’m from Tokyo, I’m 26, and I currently live in Brooklyn. I was always one of those kids that would quietly draw for hours while the adults wined and dined, so drawing has been a passion since I can even remember. I came to New York to attend School of Visual Arts. I started out majoring in Fine Arts and graduated with degree in Graphic Design. Since then, I’ve done design for agencies around the city and now I am focusing completely on illustration.
Please describe your work in three words.
dreamy / delicate / hairy (haha)
In crafting your portraits do you work with models or from photographs?
Ideally, models, but usually photographs.
List five things that you can’t live without.
My hands, my tablet, the mantra ‘less is more’, a really good laugh and homemade meals.
We’ve noticed that your work is predominantly monochrome, sometimes with the addition of little splashes of subdued color. Can you tell us a bit about what draws you to this particular aesthetic?
I like to distill it down the parts that draw me in the most.
What materials do you use in creating your pieces?
Pencils, graphite, bristol paper, scanner and Photoshop.
Can you tell us any songs, stories, or films etc. that you feel have had a significant impact upon the creation of any of your pieces?
Sometimes I hit the brick wall and feel unimaginative so depending on my mood I’ll change the playlist up. Yesterday I was listening to Debussy and Chopin but tonight I’m jamming out to Can- an avant-garde rock group from the 70’s.
As for inspiring movies, here are some from the top of my head: The Dreamers, Fantasia, Edward Scissorhands, Leon: The Professional, Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, all Ghibli films… My “favorite movie list” is never ending to be honest- I guess I’m drawn to visually stimulating films.
Who are your personal fashion icons and/or favorite designers?
Maison Martin Margiela & Commes Des Garçon because they are so minimal yet so impactful.
What does your work mean to you and what do you hope that it will mean to those who follow your work?
For me it’s about practicing my art every day, and I hope it will be encouraging to my followers to keep practicing and evolving.
What might you say has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?
All of the support I have received has made the entire process of learning very stimulating. It’s hard to pin down one exact moment!
Are there any projects that you are currently working on that you can tell us a bit about?
I’m currently working on a collaborative piece with a photographer, and preparing for a gallery show opening in London this February. I’m also working on collaborating with two of my best friends who also happen to be graphic designers, we have an experimental ZINE project coming up. Excited to share it with all of you!