The MNY Spotlight

Meet Meredith Hanson, Nantucket Based Watercolor & Acrylic Artist

Introduce yourself!

Hi everyone! My name is Mer and I am thrilled to be a Mestiza taste-maker! I am a native New Yorker who made her way up the coast to Nantucket to pursue a career as a full time artist. After graduating from Wheaton College in 2011 with a degree in Fine Arts, moving to Nantucket allowed my art career to flourish. Next up: I am thrilled to embark on a new life adventure on the South Shore (and beyond) with my dog Willis!

Artist Meredith Hanson Nantucket

Meredith wears the Lorena Gown in Blue Mist

How did you discover your passion for painting? Tell us about some of the unique items that you frequently paint!

I have always thought that painting discovered me and not the other way around! Because I dabble in so many different mediums, I have the ability to use the painting process to tell stories through my work. I frequently use different surfaces (e.g. handbags, walls, shoes, dresses, and ornaments) as individual “canvases” and each and every time I add a splash of paint to a new surface, it tells its own unique story. One hand-painted project I loved working on was a floral dress I designed for a formal event on Nantucket. The material was challenging to paint on but I was determined to make it work. In the end, the dress became a “conversation piece” as it was worn beautifully by one of my best friends who hosted a very special fundraising event for The Boys & Girls Club on the island.

You have so many exciting collaborations going on! What have you been working on recently?

Having an opportunity to collaborate with a variety of companies over the past few years has been an exciting and fulfilling part of my art career. In addition, being able to use several different mediums has allowed me to expand my portfolio by adding photography and content creation to many of my newest projects. Being able to paint, photograph and film my process and create “stories” has opened so many wonderful artistic doors which includes working with Serena & Lily on hand-painted holiday projects, customizing Saks Fifth Avenue bags, jumping into a Creative Director role on Gray Malin’s Nantucket photography collection and now illustrating a children’s book. I am incredibly fortunate to have an abundance of challenging opportunities to continue to grow as an artist.

For the past 6 months I have been working around the clock on illustrations for Magic Eyes, a children’s book, with author, (and now great friend!) Lauren Fornes. This is the first book Lauren has authored and the first book I have illustrated which has been an exhilarating ride! Lauren and I have blended our love for Nantucket into this magical story and we’re counting the days until it lands in bookstores in 2023.

How has living in Nantucket inspired your designs?

For over a decade, Nantucket’s natural beauty has been a constant source of inspiration. When I first moved to the island, I was primarily an oil painter so the first thing I did was join The Artists Association of Nantucket which allowed me to hit the ground running. Although I would eventually put down my oil painting brushes for much smaller hand painted pieces and watercolor collections, my love of landscapes and seascapes continues to be a tremendous source of inspiration. From motif watercolor collections of Nantucket lighthouses, lightship baskets, hydrangeas and more to hand painted whimsical scenes of waves crashing on the beach or garden inspired moments ( Chanticleer garden is my #1!) - the theme will always be the thrill of going out on location to explore new places and spaces.

Check out more of Meredith's work on Instagram @merhanson

You are also creative through photography and videography! How does your creative expression differ through those two mediums versus painting?

When I was in college, I took a film photography class with one of my favorite professors, Andy Howard. Professor Howard taught me to strive for an emotional connection with art, not just a visual representation. My love of photography began when I was very young as my mom was an accomplished photographer. Like my mom, I make it a habit to always travel with my camera at the ready!

Describe your fashion style in three words! 

Classic meets coastal meets one of a kind!

What advice would you give to others looking to turn their creative passions into a business?

When I moved to Nantucket in 2011, Instagram did not exist so building a business required in-person networking via local organizations and businesses (The Artists Association, Nantucket Island Safe Harbor for Animals, and The Boys & Girls Club) which in turn allowed me to cultivate wonderful new friends and associates and clients. Thanks to Instagram and other social media platforms, I’ve been able to reach a larger audience beyond Nantucket but it will never be more important than investing my time and energy in my community. That’s my best advice! 

Nantucket-based artist Meredith Hanson
What new products do you hope to paint and add to your website in the coming months?

I love to bounce from one medium to another and experiment with new surfaces and themes to paint. Right before the holidays a few years ago, I wondered what I would most enjoy creating for my family/loved ones as gifts that would be truly unique and special. Voila! I happened to come across paper maché ornaments and thought how fun it would be to paint intimate little scenes on these tiny 2.5” “canvases!” When I started sharing photos of my very detailed ornaments online, I was inundated with inquiries from people who were looking for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for their family and friends to celebrate special moments or events in their lives. As my work on Magic Eyes wraps up in the next few weeks, I will be kicking off the holiday season with a variety of hand-painted products which will be available for purchase on my website. Lastly, I am very excited about the launch of my 3rd holiday collection with Vineyard Vines which will go live next month!

What draws you to the Mestiza brand? How does wearing your Mestiza piece make you feel?

Growing up, my love for fashion and art went hand in hand. Mestiza’s mission to create smaller classic collections is what makes their designs so unique and special. Fashion is such an exciting way to express yourself and essentially tell a story which is what I also strive to do with my collaborations/collections. I chose my gorgeous blue Mestiza dress because it makes me feel so feminine and strong - from the beautifully constructed bow and belt to the soft French blue hue, which is also a color I love to paint with! Whether I’m painting, exploring or photographing in ‘Sconset (my island home), I often feel as though I have stepped back in time. I watched every Audrey Hepburn film when I was young and have always felt a nostalgic tie to that classic, timeless era through my love of fashion and art.

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