SISJ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE: MEGAN HESS >
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND… Here is my full interview with international fashion illustrator, Megan Hess. Since this interview first went live over twelve months ago, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Megan on a personal level. Let me tell you, she is one of the kindest and one most beautiful people I have ever met – inside and out. I also can’t wait to share with you the beautiful gift and message she has for my baby girl! A big thank you to Megan for all her support x
Before we jump right into it, let’s start with a little get-to-know-Megan intro – tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in Brisbane with my parents and brother and sister and lots of chooks. I studied Graphic Design because it felt like a ‘real’ job in the art world, but really always wanted to be an illustrator – I just never knew back then that it was a possible career choice! After working as an Art Director in Ad agencies for several years I packed everything up and moved to London. It was in London that I worked in a million different creative jobs and in my final job there I realized that I had a burning desire to be an artist.
At this time I’d became the Art Director for Liberty Department Store. Whist I loved art directing fashion I loved illustrating it more. I started to do very small illustrations for Liberty and from this art directors saw my work and little commissions began to follow. After about a year I found myself with non-stop work. I wasn’t earning a fortune but I’d never been happier and I knew I was going to do this forever.
As my clients got bigger and better I was able to be a little more selective and just work on briefs that I knew had a great creative opportunity. Then in 2006 I got a call in the middle of the night from Candace Bushnell’s publisher asking if I would illustrate her next novel ‘One Fifth Avenue’. This was when things took off at rapid speed for me. Her book became a New York Times best seller and I met with Candace and she asked me to illustrate all her previous books including the cover of ‘Sex and The City’. Once ‘Sex and the City’ was released I was contacted by TIME magazine in New York to create portraits for them. This was a dream come true and I still can’t believe I work for them. Following this, I began illustrating for Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Vanity Fair, Italian Vogue, Bergdorf Goodman, Laduree….. Ironically, at the same time as my work finally took off I had my first baby!! Its funny, I always tell people that I haven’t really slept since 2006!! Today, I live in the roof of a converted Church in Melbourne with my husband and two children.
I believe design and particularly illustration is similar to being able to hear rhythm and dance – skills I personally believe you are born with or without. While we can study new techniques and hone our skills, ultimately it’s a gift that cannot be taught. What are your thoughts on that philosophy?
I think, like many creative pursuits it has to be something that you really want to do in order to be good at it. Something that you love and really enjoy spending a good amount of time doing. And because you spend so much time doing this pursuit, you become good at it.
At what age did you realise your incredible talent for illustration and design? And what is your earliest memory of drawing – who/what was it?
I actually don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t drawing! Even as a child I would just sit and draw and it’s always been very natural to me and a way of relaxing and feeling inspired. My earliest memories of drawing as a child are the little characters that I would draw in primary school of my other classmates.. Every Saturday was spent at art classes too – it was my favourite day of the week! Back then, if someone had told me I would end up making my career from drawing, I would never have believed them.
To date, what is your absolute career highlight and what is your personal highlight?
The career highlight is so hard to choose! There have been so many ‘pinch myself’ jobs over the years and I still get incredibly excited when a great new brief comes in! I’m going to have to choose three: 1. My first big break when Candace Bushnell asked me to illustrate all her book covers, including the cover of Sex and The City – That job completely changed my life and my career just took off at rapid speed after those covers came out. Today she is still my mentor and right this minute I’m working on illustrating her next book cover!
The second highlight was illustrating a giant illustration for Tiffany & Co of their iconic 5th Avenue store in New York. I’d always loved the brand and working with them was just a dream come true.
The third was being commissioned to illustrate 12 portraits of Michelle Obama. That was one of the most challenging and intimidating jobs that I’ve ever worked on, just because I had to really capture her look and style perfectly. When I finished the portraits and everyone was happy it felt like I’d climbed Mt Everest!
Personal Highlight: Marring the right guy! I met Craig when we were both 19 years old and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve been starving Uni students together, built our careers together, travelled together and now have our two little chickens together – Gwyn and Will. So family is my biggest personal achievement.
Vogue, Tiffany & Co, Vanity Fair, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Time Magazine… Just to name a few! Is there a brand that you would still love to design for, if so, what is it and why?
Ohhh this year is looking busy already with exciting projects! I’m already trying to work out when I can schedule in time to sleep! But dream clients…..hmmm.. It would be nice to get a call from Tom Ford! I think my next dream client would be something new…something that’s completely different and chalenging in a new way.
SISJ’S QUIRKY QUESTIONS FOR MEGAN >
If you were a colour, what would you be and why? Tiffany Blue. Because beside those little blue boxes, I think it’s the perfect shade of happiness.
What beauty product cant you live without? EVE LOM cleanser. It’s the only beauty product I really splurge on because it’s AMAZING! You feel like you’ve been to a day spa every time you use it. And I warn you, once you try it, you’ll never be able to go back to normal cleansers!
What was the last song playing on your phone/MP3? I was just listening to ‘Royals’ by Lorde. She’s amazing.
What is your most unappealing habit?! I’m OCD about tiding up before I can draw. I literally can’t draw if I know the kitchen has dishes still in the sink,. It actually drives me crazy! I was like this as a kid. I had to clean my room before I could do my homework. This annoys everyone including myself!!
IMAGES VIA > http://thegracetales.com // http://theinteriorsaddict.com // www.meganhess.com // http://www.peachmacarons.com