Interview: Llew Mejia – Textile Designer & Illustrator

Llew has so many great pieces of art on his website, that i wasn’t sure if we’d ever be able to narrow it down to which ones should be featured.

Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
My name is Llew Mejia. I am a textile designer during the day and an illustrator at night. I work a lot, pretty much all the time. I guess art school gives you PTSD where you have to just continue working on things, even if they’re pet projects, during down time. I am from a lot of places. When I was a kid, I lived in the southwest and moved from there back and forth to cities in Mexico for some time due to my mother being Mexican and us having family there. Eventually we moved around in the Midwest and ended up in Minnesota somehow, which is kind of a snore but at least its safe which is probably what my parents thought… I currently reside in Minneapolis.

illustrator Llew Mejia illustrator Llew MejiaHow did you get started doing what you do?
I went to school to be a plastic surgeon originally. Which is pretty ridiculous because I ended up on the opposite end of the spectrum I feel like in some ways. Although I think that both are artists of sorts and both create something new.

I dropped out of that career path and became a little antisocial and started drawing quite a bit. I wasn’t really interested in the internet at the time so I didn’t even know that being an illustrator was a viable career. I ended up applying to a MCAD on a whim in Minneapolis and I got accepted. I met a woman there that basically taught me everything I know about what I do now and tutored me on how to get into product design. So that’s it, long story short.

What’s your inspiration?
I travel a lot. I think that helps you get to see a lot of things and add them to your memory as part of a visual library. I figure every single person has a visual library and ‘style’ is a regurgitation of millions of things you have seen and been stimulated by over the years. I have a big collection of occult books and taxidermy and all sorts of random trinkets I have collected from all over the world as well.

Textile Designer Llew MejiaWhat is art to you?
Not sure. A means to an end or an end to a means. Have not figured that one out quite yet.

What does your typical day look like?
Wake up. Answer freelance emails for the first part of the day usually. Drink coffee. Proceed to working on any array of things from a textile yardage to a logo. Regardless of what I am working on, I’m typically drawing for a majority of the day which is really nice and I can’t really complain. Although I do think that computers are going to fry my brain, I need to get back in the groove of working analog, it is just really frustrating when I cant Ctrl+Z my mistakes away….

How do you keep motivated?
I’m always motivated by other people around me. I use them as a measuring stick to what I would like to perceive as success. Whatever that may mean to me. But it’s really easy to be motivated when you know a lot of people around you are doing awesome work and working with even more awesome clients.

illustrator Llew Mejia illustrator Llew MejiaWhat do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I don’t know if I want to accomplish anything with it. I just want people to enjoy it for what it is and move on. Or not if they don’t want to. I’m apathetic towards this one.

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Don’t go to school to be a surgeon, you dummy. Probably drop out of art school as well because the internet is the most powerful tool you have if you learn how to harness it.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Work hard, be nice, but not too nice. People don’t like that either.

Textile Designer Llew MejiaAny words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Use your brain and your computer and you will go far.

What are your thoughts on art school?
Pretty much a waste of money. Experiences with people you meet are priceless. Connections are alright but not great at my art school but I know some schools are better about Alumni/ Undergrad relations. I would say in America they may not be worth it if you have the drive to succeed.

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I want to continue working as a textile designer and just be recognized as such. I think that is manageable. I am pretty realistic about my aspirations I don’t like to talk about things I haven’t done yet but think about them to myself instead. It’s a better way to arrive at a goal in my opinion.

Follow Llew Mejia on TwitterInstagram and Tumblr!



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