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Behind the Artist: Meredith Park

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By: burgundy bug

Meredith Park aka Meredith Playground

Source: Meredith Playground

Meredith Park is an illustrator known online for her comics and illustrations that are reflective of her perspective.

Recently, we reached out to Park to learn more about her work and process as an artist via email.

What sparked your interest in art and when did you begin drawing? Are there any other artists in your family?

I’ve been doodling as far back as I can remember.

When I was in primary school I loved reading comics like Calvin and Hobbes, and I’d fill spiral notebooks with comics and stories following a little cast of characters I’d invented.

My grandmother is an excellent watercolor painter, and her daughter, my aunt, is a designer and artist who has worked across many mediums. I get my spark from them!

What did you want to be when you grew up? Was it related to art in any way?

When I was little I thought I ought to be a marine biologist, because I had learned the name ‘Meredith’ meant ‘guardian of the sea.’

The Advocate by Meredith Park

Source: Meredith Playground

Never mind the fact that I was constantly doodling, or less-than-proficient at science and math…

As an artist, who are some of your biggest inspirations in terms of style, writing, process, ethic, and so on?

If you look at my work you can tell I read a lot of Lucy Knisley in my formative drawing years. I was motivated to get seriously into comics via the “As You Were” anthologies from Silver Sprocket, which I discovered by chance on Tumblr six or seven years ago.

I love Maddie Dennis, Laura Knetzger and Kat Schneider’s comics, theirs is among my favorite work coming out currently.

Overall I’d say I carry more influences on the writing side, it’s more important to me to develop that well. Between content, writing style, and ability to set mood and tone, I most appreciate the work of Flannery O’Connor, Simone Weil, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Carson McCullers, G.K. Chesterton, and George MacDonald.

There are others, but those have stuck with me the most and the longest.

You experiment with quite a few different mediums throughout your work; pencil, watercolor, pen, and digital art, to name a few. What are some of your favorite materials to work with?

XIX • THE SUN by Meredith Park

Source: Meredith Playground

I really enjoy the watercolors. It’s easy to work quickly and get in a rhythm with them, and playing with hue and saturation gives me a lot of leeway when it comes to articulating what I want to express.

What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?

I don’t think of myself as an artist all that often, but it is nice to know that if I need to express something, I have a method and the tools I need for the job.

I rock climb sometimes and it feels related; like if I’ve been working out a lot and focus, I can look up at a route and know that I have the strength and ability to find my path up, I know that I can do it. It’s satisfying.

As you’re wrapping up your degree at George Brown College’s School of Design, what do you hope to accomplish in the years following your graduation?

Meredith Park aka Meredith Playground

Source: Meredith Playground

Ha, I haven’t thought much about design since I finished.

Lately I’ve been focused on comics and working on a longer-form narrative in my autobio work… but that’s the only art/career-focused stuff I’m doing.

Other than that all I really wanna do is get better at sewing garments and take more bike trips. That’s really what I like doing. I like working with my hands, manual or physical work, stuff like that.

What impact do you hope to make with your work as an artist, whether it’s your impact on the world, your followers, or yourself?

Comics by Meredith Playground

Source: Meredith Playground

Oh, geez. I don’t know what kind of impact I might have – or should try to have…I really can’t control how people receive my work so I don’t spend much time or energy worrying about it.

I have been reading “The Prophetic Imagination” by Walter Brueggeman and that’s gotten me thinking more about the beliefs and framework that undergirds my entire paradigm for living. So then the kind of work that will come out of that ought to be purposeful.

I guess what I mean is my work is a vessel and if I’m attuned to following Jesus (I’m a Christian so that is my whole deal) there’s potential for it to be prophetically active and that’s a direction I’m interested in. But I don’t need anyone to like my work or even read it.

“I Do the Church Things” comic by Meredith Park

Source: Meredith Playground

Up til now, and currently, it’s just for me to work out things I’m meditating on or struggling with.

Meredith Park

The dialogue and captions throughout your comics have a poetic heir to them. Do you write any poetry, or anything of that nature, in addition to your comics?

Comic by Meredith Park

Source: Meredith Playground

Not really. Maybe once a year. I occasionally screenwrite for myself.

I’d make movies but making a comic is like storyboarding and directing a movie except that it’s cheaper and you can do it all yourself in a much shorter span of time.

Comic by Meredith Park

Source: Meredith Playground

Do you ever find it difficult to allow yourself to be vulnerable or show your emotions on the internet? Are there any comics that you were apprehensive about sharing online?

I only share work once I’ve already processed and felt a healthy sense of detachment from whatever it’s about.

I appreciate that readers receive it as being very open or vulnerable but in reality it’s controlled: I know exactly what I want to write and how I want to visualize it. I protect myself. I take my time with my work, I don’t make spontaneous emotional work as that has the potential to start fires.

I have friends, mentors, a counselor, pastors, and family to support me in working through actually difficult or vulnerable territory.

No disrespect to my readership, but you guys don’t get to enter that space. It’s not for you. The consumer attitude of the average internet user can get under my skin.

My use of social media has declined a ton this past year due to how much readers project onto me, I don’t abide it. It’s not good or healthy for human beings.

What advice would you give to any aspiring illustrators or writers out there who want to be more personable in their work, but are nervous about revealing that side of themselves to the public?

Understand that you have no control over other people and how they respond to you. If you make work because you want a certain response or type of validation from others (especially strangers on the internet) things will not go well for you.

Comics are a great medium for working out conversations between you and yourself, so use it in that direction and you might feel more satisfied.

Do you have any additional comments or final thoughts to share?

Comic by Meredith Park

Source: Meredith Playground

Can you go outside where you are? Go outside.

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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