Southern Artist Spotlight Series: Meredith Pardue
What is your training?
I have a B.F.A. in Painting with an Art History minor from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA and an M.F.A. from Parsons School of Design, New School University in New York City.
What inspires you and your designs?
Natural beauty. Human connection. Love. Travel. Experiencing different cultures and landscapes. Music. Film. Literature. Visual art.
What is your favorite piece?
Siren Song II: 72″ x 96″ ink, oil, & graphite on canvas, 2013
How has the south influenced your work?
The physical beauty of Louisiana, especially the delta with its swamps and bayous, has certainly influenced the aesthetic of my work. The organic forms often remind of me of giant banana leaves, bougainvillea, or elephant ears. And the fluid, lyrical compositions of my paintings remind me of the way things grow there, which is often one on top of another. There is a heaviness to the air there and richness to the growth and landscape in Louisiana that stays with me. And I have always felt that the landscape is mirrored in Louisiana cultures, which are all very sensual as well–the Cajun and Creole cultures for sure, but also the culture of the more formal deep south with its emphasis on beauty and aesthetics. All of the cultures of Louisiana are centered around people gathering and being together. And they are all centered around rich, flavorful foods and drinks (lots of drinks) and people enjoying them together. In fact, most of the primary Louisiana dishes are communal ones–crawfish and shrimp boils, pig roasts, and big pots of gumbo, crawfish étouffée , red beans and rice, etc. And of course there’s the music–cajun, creole, country, zydeco, and jazz–which is also just so rich and delicious and usually involves dancing.
What is your favorite restaurant in Austin?
My favorite restaurant in Austin is Justine’s. Or Perla’s. Or Fabi & Rosi. Can I choose three? I love good food!
What is your favorite cocktail?
I am more likely to be found with a good Bordeaux or glass of bubbles.
How do you balance personal life and work?
I don’t know that I really pull that off! It seems like the scales are always tilted a little bit in one direction or the other–work or family. On the other hand my life is my work, and my work is my life, so there is little division between business and pleasure for me (which I love). However, trying to balance my family and work life is by far my greatest challenge. I follow some general guidelines–I keep regular studio hours, I plan as much as is possible for the kids, I keep a tight and organized calendar, and I don’t work at all when I am home with my family. But like I said, the scale rarely feels balanced, and I often struggle with that. When I feel frustrated or overly challenged with this, I just remind myself that I am doing the best I can with a healthy shrug!
Somewhere on the ocean with someone I love. I feel like I was meant to be by the ocean. Probably Italy. I haven’t been there before, and when I do go, I may not come back. Just kidding! Kind of.
A large scale piece in a public institution with carte blanche somewhere in Paris.
Your favorite hostess gift?
A Murano glass ashtray given to me by my beloved friend, Margaret Ann.
Who is your style icon?
Your favorite up and coming artist?
Demond Matsuo, a painter/mixed media artist in Baton Rouge:
His work is both contemporary and historical, delicate and powerful, refined and raw. His work really speaks to me. I bought this piece from Ann Connelly Fine Art (annconnelly.com) as a birthday present to myself in 2009, and I look forward to collecting more of his work!
What is your most treasured possession?
My family means more to me than anything I own, but if I had to say what my most treasured possession is, I would have to go with my rock/coral/shell/bone collection. They are souvenirs from the journey of my life, and they are beautiful. They remind me of beautiful days I’ve had and inspire gratitude for my beautiful life.
What are you reading?
Confessions of and Art Dealer [John Howard Swanson],
the Wilder Shores of Love [Lesley Blanch],
and I just finished The Gifts of Imperfection [Brené Brown], which I gave to a nice lady I met at the pool at a hotel…I hope she’s enjoying it!
What are you listening to?
John Prine, Citizen Cope, Stevie Wonder, Amos Lee, the Classic Country and Jazz stations on Spotify, Nina Simone, The Neville Brothers, Beyonce, Joni Mitchell, John Mayer, Miles Davis.
Favorite Fashion / Design Blogs?
To be honest, I don’t read blogs. I do read books–novels, biographies, historical fiction, you name it! I love to read and always have
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Meredith and her beautiful artwork. Here are some of my favorites. Be sure to check out all her work on her website.
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