Ellie Meape is a South East London artist and illustrator working in printmaking.
By exploring the concept of femininity in a nostalgic way, Ellie investigates the dynamics of relationships and womanhood, re-imagining spaces and exploring the elements from her experience. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of escapism, establishing a playful link between the reality and that imagined by its conceiver.
What was your first proper job and what path have you taken since?
My first proper job was in a local Budgens in Somerset, I was around 15 at the time. I would work double shifts on my weekends to save up my pennies. I've since dipped in and out of working multiple jobs, from yacht stewarding, being a PA and working in galleries and studios. Since the most recent lockdown I have been selling my artwork and producing household goods.
What inspired you to be an artist?
My mum is a painter and for as long as I can remember we would sit and draw together. She taught me still drawing from a very young age. I always admired her effortless and fluid drawing skills. I wanted to improve and be like her. It's interesting now to see how my mum and I draw very similarly, sometimes hard to tell our techniques apart.
What really excites you?
COLOUR! I'm obsessed with joyful and unusual colour combinations that shouldn't work, but they just do. I've noticed I've started dressing more like my illustrations which always excited me.
Do you have a daily ritual?
Fruit and music! My morning ritual is predominantly based around fruit bowls and listening to good tunes to start my day in a positive way.
How do you get into the flow of work?
I try to draw anything spontaneous, it tends to lead into a tangent of ideas. Also organising my space to get me started, clean space, clean mind.
Do you have a top tip or tool that helps you with productivity?
Keep a note of everything, whether it's in a sketchbook or a quick note on your phone. I'm often on the go and don't always have time to pursue my ideas, but it's a good way of staying productive as I know in the back of my mind I have a long list of ideas to play with.
What's the best lesson you've learnt?
Saying no has been a big one for me this year. I've learned how to be more smart with my energy and to treat it like the currency for my business. So i guess not compromising myself, setting more boundaries and only entertaining things which nourish my soul.
What's your proudest career acheivement?
Someone asking me for advice on their artwork was a proud moment, it was nice to know someone else looked up to me and the way I work, as I feel I am at the early stages of my artistic career, it was humbling to know someone else was inspired the way I get inspired by other artists.
What are you listening to/ watching/ reading?
I listen to a lot of shows on NTS. When I'm making art and going through my process, music is a bit inspiration, I feel the two go hand in hand. I'm interested in listening to how artists can mix all genres of music together, truly is a work in itself. I'm currently reading 'Women don't owe you pretty' by Florence Given, it's a beautiful book with lovely illustrations which pair the themes of protecting your energy and dismantling out-dated narratives.
What are you passionate about?
I'm passionate about developing as an artist. I make art because it's my therapy and comfort zone and whatever life throws at me I want to continue producing images which reflect my experience.
If you could invite three people to a dinner party, living or dead, who would it be?
Frida Khalo, Thundercat and Dave Chapelle.
What dream do you still want to fulfill?
I really want to paint a giant mural. I'm yet to make my work large scale and it's a dream of mine to make something huge.
Who inspires you?
Carlota Guerrero, she's a photographer and art director from Barcelona, creative directing visuals for Solange. I love her unique blend of feminism and lanscapes, which would definitely be paintings. I take a lot of inspiration from her work.
You can find Ellie's pot collection for Jorelle here.