Name: Carly Mejeur
Company: Carly Mejeur
Gift Store Items: Prints, lunch totes and more!
Location: Lake Worth, Florida
How long have you been making/creating paintings?
I went to Bak Middle School, where I focused on communications and writing. And my elective art teacher said “Can you just switch already to art?” My college classes were mostly geared toward galleries and museums, but here in Florida everything is different. And the kind of people I want to reach are everyday people, so the gallery scene isn’t for me anymore. Having my work in gift stores and art shows is what I want I want and communicates the importance of our oceans more. I also went to Dreyfoos, and from there I knew I wanted to go to art school. But Maryland Institute College Art at the time was the top painting school in the country, which was really cool. I did landscapes, portraits and figures with oil paint primarily. I received my BFA in painting and a master’s in art education. I don’t think I got into watercolor until later. And I did some ceramics because I wanted to get into teaching art. In the meantime, I was life guarding for Palm Beach County Ocean rescue in the summers, so that’s how I got to keep in touch with the ocean. So I loved art and the ocean but didn't feel like I could connect my two loves. But I came back to Florida and got a job at Palm Beach Maritime Academy. There, they do plywood regattas and lots of beach clean-ups. That helped me see what I could do as an artist to help the environment.
When did you get into art and specifically watercolors?
I’ve been doing the nautical charts for four years or so. My friend’s dad was a boat captain with Mel Fischer and had a ton of charts. He was going to throw them out, but asked what I could do with it. So I made a painting for him, myself and some friends. It really started as something to do, but as I painted the sea creatures on the maps, I realized I could connect the animal to different lines on the charts, as if the creature belonged there. Then it took off, and I was invested in making that statement. My prints that are specific local places in South Florida are limited editions of 50. Also, the lunch totes that have my nautical chart series are in collaboration with the Art of Lunch – created as a way to eliminate plastic sandwich bags. It’s been really successful!
What other artists have inspired you?
One of them is Wendy Artin. She does mostly figures in ink wash, and they are kind of focused on letting the viewer imagine things; capturing the essence but not overworking the piece. Lucian Freud is another artist, and of course, Wyland and Guy Harvey. I think the fact that they are able to create these ocean foundations and make programs for kids is a great thing, and I so admire their business model and mindset.
What is your favorite medium to work with? What medium would you like to try but haven't yet?
I would try a lot of different kinds, but I would love to try collographic printing where you can change the colors. Or to work and practice in metal with cool patinas. It’s such a science and it’s hard! In fact, I wanted to be a marine biologist but then I realized I needed to be good at science!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard about art/creativity?
I think it took a long time to figure it out, but people need to know every day is a new day and it’s exciting to be doing what I should be doing; where things fall into place. So keep trying to discover yourself before just trying to do what will make you money, or what others are doing. You’ll be more successful and happier if you do what you love now.
What do you try to communicate with your art?
I hope that when Florida natives see my work that they realize, “that’s my home; that’s where I live.” That’s the vibe I want to extend to Floridian friends. For tourists, I want them to remember the image, and feel more connected to it, and do something about ocean conservation, like picking up trash. Simple things like that. We are here together on this place and need to be respectful of these other creatures and live harmoniously.