Juliet Meeks found a sweet spot at the intersection of art and product design. By working diligently at both, she creates original artworks as well as designs featured on products for such well known retailers as Anthropologie, Birchbox and Uncommon Goods. She also teaches artists how to license their work.
“Seven years in and it’s still new, but it feels really good and it’s exciting to love what I’m doing,” says the native New Orleanian, whose signature patterns are vintage-inspired florals.
Meeks’ educational and career background set the foundation for her path.
In high school, she put her entrepreneurial spirit to work selling her handmade jewelry and clothing at art markets and local stores. In college, she studied English and graphic design at Loyola and later worked for branding agencies before moving into print media. In 2015, she left her full-time job, delved into self-employment and soon found new connections through #The100DayProject, a 100-day online endeavor intended to inspire creativity via daily Instagram posts.
“I took a watercolor class and the next day I started 100 watercolor patterns,” she says. “I was very consistent with it and it helped me develop my style and get noticed by online bloggers.”
One blog that took note was Design Sponge, which had a large following. Subsequently, retailers came calling and her artwork has been applied to wallpaper, kids’ bedding, scarves, tea towels, stationery and other items. Like one of her favorite artists, midcentury textile designer Vera Neumann, Meeks’ business model makes art accessible to people in their everyday lives.
Meeks took what she’d learned organically about licensing and began sharing it with others in the form of online classes. She also offers watercolor classes online, and last summer, began working with art agent Liz Wain of Wains World (wains-world.com) to promote her surface design art.
Business aside, each work is unique and personal. Working out of a studio in the Mid-City home she shares with her husband, musician Michael O’Keefe III, she often uses a bouquet or a picture of flowers as a starting point for what then becomes a loose, quickly rendered interpretation.
“It’s been very liberating,” says Meeks, who enjoys the spontaneity and autonomy of her work. “I have room to explore and try more things.” JulietMeeks.com. @julietmeeksdesign