Meredith Wing, AKA @moomooi on Instagram, is developing a faithful following with her quirky mixed-media illustrations that use flowers and found objects to create elegant fashion illustrations with a touch of humor. Under her fingertips, peony petals become an Oscar-worthy gown, tulip petals a skirt, a fortune cookie is set as a quirky hat, and tiny seashells make for a stylish necklace.
With #SomeFlowerGirls, the 30-year-old illustrator has already caught the attention of several brands, such as Coach, Grey Goose, Baccadri, Patrón Tequila, and Rebecca Minkoff, among others.
A Boston native who now lives in Sydney, Wing initially studied literature, then French and finally architecture, and says “my diverse past lives always find a way of weaving themselves into my work in surprising ways.” As examples of this, she points out, “architecture school taught me about materiality and graphic composition while Francophile tendencies often prompt me to represent Parisian girls in my sketches, effortlessly chic with a devil-may-care attitude.”
To create her #SomeFlowerGirls, Wing lays fresh flowers on an image and takes a photo from above. “In this sense, the artwork is the photograph itself or, arguably, the art work is the process of assembling the piece. Recently I have experiment with gluing freeze dried petals as a way to create a lasting piece; the end result is aesthetically pleasing but a bit of the poetry is gone. Capturing and sharing a moment in time feels more intimate.”
Here she discusses with Blouin ArtInfo her creative process, framing for an Instagram world, and her new projects:
Have you always been fashion orientated?
I have always had a mind that is constantly creating and very sensitive to imagery, and fashion had an early presence. I remember that, as a little girl, I would change outfits ten times a day, wrapping long pieces of fabric around me in unusual ways and never wearing one ensemble for too long lest I get bored of it! Sophisticated leading ladies of old Hollywood movies my dad watched always caught my attention. I was influenced by these indirect presences from a young age. This chronic sartorial love affair is visible in my work. Working for Lacoste in Paris and contemporary designers in NYC deepened my love for fashion design. Creating imaginary dresses with flowers and objects satisfies that outlet.
When did you start using found objects in your illustrations?
My husband and I were bored during a layover and had a little pack of Chiclet gum — an American product in which gum comes in these perfect little squares. I made a drawing and we used it as a purse in the image. I posted this little “gum purse” to Instagram and people loved it. So I fed off of that and started doing found-object drawings more often, simply because it was quirky and I felt happy doing it!
Tell me about your creative process. Does it start from the object, or do you start with the drawing and then incorporate the object?
Both! Sometimes a flower or object inspires a portrait, sometimes I alternatively try and “dress” a portrait with a flower or object. So inspiration goes both ways. I can be just as inspired by the volume or texture of a flower as by a person whose demeanor I try to capture in a drawing.
In an Instagram age, how important is framing?
The composition and cropping of an image is almost as powerful as its content. In an age where most media is consumed digitally, I am definitely conscious of how an image will appear on a mobile device — what will be too detailed to be noticed, what needs to be magnified, etc.
What about the ephemerality of your work?
The ephemerality is intentional. I like that the image is appealing for its representation of time as much as something formal. Framing compounds this sense of time by letting me highlight the flowers or suggestion of life on the periphery of an image.
Do you buy flowers every day and which do you favor for your creations?
Not every day, but a couple of times a week usually. I love garden roses for their density of folds and poppies for their delicate texture. Roses are a favorite to use because they are pretty sturdy and forgiving. Other flowers, like gerbera daisy, have petals that lay flat and are easier to layer. So depending on what I am making, some are more appropriate than others.
You’ve worked with some brands, how did this come about?
Instagram is my advertising — brands find me on there, directly or indirectly, and reach out in one form or another. Making live portraits of guests and celebrities at Soho House’s Coachella pop up “Desert House” last year was a lot of fun and also an example of how projects are born. While I was doing portraits there, other brands also represented at Desert House like Grey Goose asked me to contribute custom illustrations for them as well. For Grey Goose vodka, I grabbed different ingredients they were using in their cocktails — mint, orange, lemon, thyme — and made these into a #SomeFlowerGirls fashion illustration they could post on their social media.
Tell me about other special projects.
Being asked to incorporate real flower petals in custom portraits for Tory Burch several weeks ago was interesting because it presented the challenge of using fresh flowers in a manner that would last at least a couple of hours. A dab of glue allowed me to affix real petals on to paper and the effect was actually really great!
What about challenges?
Incorporating jewelry in images for Tacori jewelry house has been a great challenge in thinking creatively with objects that already have distinct forms. Some brands give me direction, but most give me a lot of freedom which is great.
Instagram gives a lot more visibility to artists like yourself but the competition is intense. What do you think sets your work apart?
Indeed! I like to think my work is uniquely sophisticated and sartorial for its genre (whatever that is…), incorporating 3D elements in a way that echoes garment construction and not just throwing them in for their novelty.
Are you working on any specific project right now?
An editorial spread for a fashion magazine incorporating jewelry, an illustration for a cosmetics company launching a series of floral inspired blushes, a logo design…
Any fashion illustrators who have influenced your work?
I love the clean lines and feel of Garance Dore, but that’s still very different.
What's the most indispensable item in your studio?