Meagan Meli’s creations contain a potpourri of themes, imagery and cultural references. Her illustrations can be playfully dark and scary in an Edward Gorey way. Yet no design elements are left stranded. They relate to each other by way of complementary colors, placement and equal doses of quirkiness.
There’s the juxtaposition of the human heart next to floral Victorian shapes. There are hippy era mushrooms, a Native American-dream-weaver, Day of the Dead and woman-as-wolf symbols. Canines, feminine skeletal parts, beaks and third eyes are found in her works as well.
“Meagan is well into the process of developing a unique visual communication style,” says Chair of Illustration Ed Soyka. “She has a very personal approach. It appears she’s really benefited from a fine arts foundation.”
“‘Cyclops’ is disturbing and arresting and thought-provoking,” says Illustration Professor Dan Shefelman of Meli’s illustration. It has a copper plate acid etching feel to it.”
Meli considers it to be her most “bizarre and gruesome” piece. “This is based on a real congenital disorder called Cyclocephalus, otherwise called a Cyclops,” she says.
In another work, a knotted bunch of wildflowers fits in delightfully beneath a skeletal torso. At the bottom pelvic area of the torso there are two fingers touching in an “Om” shape.
“I combined my favorite types of imagery into one piece to make my “Dream” illustration into something special,” said Meli.
“I saw this woman’s face in my head for a while before I drew her,” says Meli about “Forest Princess” (above). This is more of a sketch but I worked hard enough to say that it is a finished piece!”
Meli, who is completing her BFA in illustration, received her AAS in fine arts at FIT. “They are different worlds,” she says of the two disciplines. “Going from working abstractly to the push to working very tightly is a leap!
“Experiences in my major have helped me find who I am as a young, developing illustrator. Professors John Nickle, Don Sipley, and Dave Devries contributed to the illustrator I am today. They are incredible talents.”
“‘Barn Owl’ is the most popular from a series of five called “Osteology of an Animal,'” says Meli.
“I can’t believe how far I’ve gotten in two years,” she says. “I can’t wait to see what becomes of me after these final two years in the FIT Illustration department!
Photos used with permission.