This week's Monday Motivation comes to us from mother of two and illustrator, Meaghan Elderkin. Her inspirational napkin sketches have amassed a following and have been known to teach an inspirational lesson to reach for your dreams. She can be found online at her website, on Instagram, and on her Facebook page.
Tell me a little bit about your background... Who you are; what made you interested in art?
Both my mother and my grandfather were incredible artists as I was growing up. My grandfather and I would spend our days drawing and learning together. We'd watch Bob Ross and paint along with him on the tv. So I was lucky enough to be surrounded by art and artists growing up. I also went to Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts and studied Illustration, and I couldn't have wished for a better college experience. Spending 4 years surrounded by art and artists all day every day is my idea of heaven.
Who are your current art inspirations and how do they affect your artistic process?
My artistic inspirations are extremely varied, everything from an eye-catching advertisement to a pattern on clothing to the classic painters in galleries.
I'm also extremely fortunate to have artists as some of my best friends, and when we're together we just kind of soak in each other's styles and make them our own. I think that's the key for most creative people, finding a tiny spark somewhere and making it your own.
What made you start sketching on napkins?
When I was a kid, my mother used to draw on my lunch napkins every day. I remember other kids in my class coming over to my lunch table to see what my mom had drawn for me that day. So when I had children of my own, drawing pictures and notes on their napkins was a no-brainer.
What are your thoughts on the art community in your area? Do you participate in any art communities?
I'm extremely lucky to live in a state with an abundance of artistic communities. Rhode Island has RISD, where I take classes through their museum, we've got several huge art festivals every year which are an absolute treasure trove of talent, and also in Providence we have something called WaterFire, which is where they have performance art, concerts, and artists that set up tents and displays along the backdrop of the city and the bonfires along its rivers.
How have your children changed your life, both personally/professionally and as an artist? How are they involved in your art?
My daughters have changed my life in a million different ways. Everything is new and exciting and seeing the world through their eyes is pretty magical.
My daughters and I love to draw together. We have a game where we'll each take turns contributing to a picture and make it as silly as possible. Holden is 10 and Elsa is 3, and I've been drawing on Holden's napkins since she was in preschool. Elsa isn't in school yet, but she does take a weekly art class which she loves.
The napkin drawings have always been silly and light hearted but after the election this past year, I decided to use the napkins as a way to let Holden know that no matter the political climate, she is a strong and capable young lady.
Holden had a really hard time coping with the election results (as most everyone I know did as well) and so I thought that by drawing and quoting strong and brave female role models, she'd understand that women have been fighting and standing up for themselves and what they believe in for thousands of years. And that we're never going to stop fighting for what's right.
How has your background as an artist affected your children? Do you think having an artist mom helps inspire their creativity?
I think that me being an artist has given my girls an opportunity to learn different ways of expressing themselves and I feel like art can be used for lots of teachable moments in life. For example, if something doesn't go the way you'd wanted it to, you just use that as an opportunity to make it into something different. If you spill ink on your carefully drawn picture, you don't need to throw it away, you just use that mistake to make your piece of art into something just as beautiful, even if it didn't go as planned.
I would like to thank Meaghan for taking the time to participate in this interview. And more importantly, thank her for her dedication to her craft and making a positive impact on her kids' lives. Again, please show Meaghan some love on her website, Instagram, and Facebook.