Travel, Write, Draw. Three words to describe one’s hobbies, or for Meagan Morrison, her career. The Toronto-born, New York-living, uber creative fashion illustrator originally created her site to manifest her dream profession and showcase her illustration class projects. Eight years and multiple countries later, Meagan is creating vibrant works that parallel the culture she’s experienced around the world for luxury fashion and hospitality brands.
Meagan will be joining us at FRIENDS NYC next Thursday, September 20th, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. to customize your denim purchases with on-the-spot illustrations. We’re super excited to have Meagan join us for another “Natty Thursday,” so we decided to sit down with Meagan to discuss her journey from fashion-obsessed blogger, to widely successful travelling fashion illustrator.
CQ: First off, hi! Thanks for joining us. So I hear you’re originally from Toronto - could you explain a little bit about your hometown and how you ended up in New York?
MM: I grew up north of the city in a really small town. I always had a lot of interest in fine art and fashion but had no idea how the two could co-exist in a profession. When I finished my first degree in business at McGill, I moved to downtown Toronto to launch my career in fashion. I quickly discovered that the industry there was really small and that if I wanted to move upwards in my career I needed to be in one of the major fashion cities. A co-worker in Toronto introduced me to the profession of fashion illustration. Once I heard those two words, it was as if a lightbulb went off in my head. I applied for the two-year associates in Fashion Illustration at FIT, was admitted, moved here in 2009 and never looked back.
CQ: Wow, that’s amazing. Have you received any misconceptions as a Canadian living in New York?
MM: *Laughs* Yes, actually. I think some people believe that we all speak french, live in igloos, and wear Canadian tuxedos.
CQ: The French language is so beautiful, though! I think we should all speak it. Have you traveled there before?
MM: Yes, many times! It’s been a couple years since I was last in Paris but I just returned from a summer sabbatical in London, and spent some time in Capri and Amsterdam. You can read about it on my website (www.travelwritedraw.com).
CQ: You’ve mentioned before that travel is a big inspiration for your illustrations. Where in the world have you been that significantly affected your work?
MM: This is such a tough question! There are too many to mention, honestly. I love Africa and the Middle East. Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Tanzania...I learn the most from the places that feel furthest from my comfort zone. Dubai was life-changing for me. Traveling there inspired my blog and fueled my passion to make my illustrations into a career. I honestly think I had a past life in each of those places.
CQ: Speaking of your career -- it’s booming! You have a humongous following on the internet (we’re talking 150k+ followers on Instagram) and you’ve turned your passion into a career.You are quite literally living the dream. Do you have any advice for creatives as they enter into the professional world?
MM: Best advice is that you miss 100% of the shots you don't take, so take the shot. I honestly think that is the best advice to give and receive. Too many people are scared to take a chance on themselves. But when you live in your truth, and take risks for a better way of life, magical things happen.
CQ: Let’s talk fashion. What’s your favorite textile to work on?
MM: I love painting on leather (faux leather actually). It's such a smooth surface for the paint. I can really layer up and create some amazing textures with it.
CQ: At the FRIENDS NYC pop-up next Thursday, customers will have the opportunity to customize their denim on the spot. I think jeans also have an amazingly unique texture.
MM: Yes! No two are alike. It’s one-of-a-kind and really special and you can see the process behind the craft. It’s a collaborative effort.
CQ: Any fashion pet peeves?
MM: Slow walkers.
CQ: You mean like on the runway?
MM: No, on the sidewalks of New York. It drives me mental!
CQ: Haha. I agree.
CQ: I like asking random questions, so… If you could be any animal doing art, what would you be, and why?
MM: I would be a mix between an ostrich - they’re a bit erratic and expressive, much like my art - and some tiger / cheetah animal. A shape-shifting kind of thing. I have tight handling on features (like faces) when I do art, but the rest is free flowing. So a shapeshifter animal is similar to my art process.
CQ: Interesting! I was thinking a chameleon for you, because they adapt to each unique environment they’re in and connect to the world through personal interaction.
MM: Wow, I really like that! I would’ve never thought of that.
CQ: What would you say is your biggest success thus far, and why?
MM: I've had some pretty crazy, pinch-me, collaborations these past four years starting with being flown to Moscow to draw from the shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia back in 2014. Since then, I've been really lucky to illustrate for some major publications like Vanity Fair and Harper's Bazaar, as well as the cover of WWD for NYFW. But my favorite project so far has to be creating the new artwork for the Ritz-Carlton wine labels this summer. I've always dreamed of having my artwork on product and this is the first partnership to really do that. It's amazingly satisfying to see my work on objects you live with day-to-day.
CQ: Imagine if your ten-year-old self could see what you do as a career today. Would she be surprised or excited?
MM: I think she would be so pumped and excited! Not because my ten-year-old self didn't want to be an artist but because at that time I had no idea I could combine my love of fashion and art. When I was ten I went to Europe for the first time with my family. To know that my future self would travel as extensively as I have would be so exciting to discover!
CQ: Meagan, thank you for your time.
MM: Thank you!
If Meagan isn’t traveling or creating, you can probably find her staying active or dancing! Meagan will be at FRIENDS NYC located at 56 Bogart St, Ground Floor in Brooklyn, NY, next Thursday, Sept. 20, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. You can read more about her travel, fashion and life at www.travelwritedraw.com. You can also see her illustrations on Instagram @travelwritedraw.