MeekNest Hawaii is a Hawaii-based husband and wife team who share a deep admiration for nature and a love of creative pursuits. MeekNest Hawaii was born from the couple’s desire to create art that reflects their appreciation for nature, inspires them to be kinder people, and encourages them to make time for artistic expression. BoomBoom Prints interviewed Gee, the wife of this awesome couple.
BBP: When did you decide you first become interested in art? Did you know right away that you wanted to be an artist professionally?
MeekNest Hawaii: The desire to create things has always been a part of my nature. For as long as I can remember, I always doodled, drew, painted, and made things. Naturally, I dreamed of becoming a professional artist from a young age. I majored in fine art during my freshman year of college, but switched majors. I ended up getting my Masters in Speech-Language Pathology and worked in that field for almost a decade. In the meantime, I continued to paint, draw, craft, and create things at home. The desire to have a more creative career and pursue art professionally lingered and blossomed over time, especially while living on Kauai, surrounded by natural beauty and a thriving art scene. While still working full-time in the education field, I finally made the jump to selling my artwork last year, with support from my loving husband and after much encouragement from a dear friend who is a successful artist on Kauai.
BBP: What is the story behind your shop name?
MeekNest Hawaii: My husband and I came up with the name “MeekNest Hawaii” in 2011. We wanted to incorporate the word “nest” because of its reference to home and family. I also wanted my artwork to decorate other people’s “nests”/homes and be a source of joy to both parents and children. We both are attracted to the quality of “meekness” because of the characteristics that it implies: gentle, humble, teachable, and patient. These are qualities that we strive to display and hope that are reflected in my artwork. We wanted to include “Hawaii” to pay tribute to our home and the source of much of our inspiration.
BBP: If you had to describe your designs in 5 words or less, what would you say?
MeekNest Hawaii: Happy, bright, tranquil, nature-inspired… meek!
BBP: What do you find inspires you most?
MeekNest Hawaii: I’m the most inspired by color, patterns, and texture in nature and man-made objects. I might see patterns on a seashell, the texture of upholstery fabric, or the colors in a platter of sushi and feel compelled to draw or paint. My natural reaction to seeing something inspiring is to create something artistic and incorporate elements of what I’ve seen. As far as inspiring people, places, and things, some of my favorite sources of inspiration are Eric Carle illustrations, Marimekko fabrics, mid-century/modern décor, the books The Little Prince (St. Paul Exupery) and Colors (Ken Nordine/ Henrik Descher), ReadyMade magazines, the store Kong Lung on Kauai, and hanging out with artist Fanny Bilodeau.
BBP: Do you have kids?
MeekNest Hawaii: We don’t have kids our own, but we are “hanai” aunty and uncle to oodles of our friends’ adorable kids. I love their curiosity and fascination with life. The best moments are when I observe their natural creative abilities in action. Recently, while searching for driftwood at the beach, my friend’s 3-year-old son used a stick to draw a small shape within another shape in the sand, and said, “This is me in mommy’s tummy!” I enjoy spending time with children because of experiences like that.
BBP: What would you say is the coolest thing about being a professional artist?
MeekNest Hawaii: I’m absolutely delighted and gratified when my artwork evokes positive responses in others, from brightening someone’s day to inspiring someone to spend time in creative activities.
BBP: What do you like most about collaborating with BoomBoom Prints? What are your thoughts on the idea of customizable artwork?
MeekNest Hawaii: First of all, can I take a moment to say that adore the name BoomBoom Prints? It makes me think of a drum beat, the Black Eyed Peas, John Cusack holding up a boom box, and the time I met Matt Costa at a concert and he drew a boom box on my Kokua Foundation poster!
I appreciate that BoomBoom Prints provides us with an awesome opportunity to share our artwork with a wider audience, especially parents. The interactive nature of BoomBoom Prints is the bombdiggity! It is wonderful that clients can participate in the creative process by individualizing aspects of the artwork to fit their “nests”/homes.
BBP: What did your room look like while you were growing up?
MeekNest Hawaii: We moved often when I was young, so my rooms’ walls were nondescript. I resorted to decorating my room with stuffed animals, using books with colorful covers as décor by propping them against the wall, and posting up my drawings with scotch tape. When my family finally settled in a house in Hawaii, I painted my walls cornflower blue and brushed white over, while the paint was still wet. My room looked like a sky full of cirrus clouds! It was like saying, “Take that!” to years of being surrounded by bland walls.
BBP: Is your workspace a specific nook designed to spark your creativity? Do you find yourself designing in all sorts of locations? Where does the magic happen?
MeekNest Hawaii: I’m constantly thinking of new designs, wherever I may be. It can be a distraction because, if I have a pencil and paper handy, I have to fight the urge to constantly sketch my ideas… especially when I’m supposed to be doing other things! Most of my recent artwork was done at the kitchen table with ZoeWee, my morkie dog, on my lap and my favorite music playing (Jack Johnson, Young the Giant, Beatles).
BBP: What would you tell a kid who said they wanted to be an artist?
MeekNest Hawaii: I would say, “You already are an artist!” In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” If you want to pursue art professionally, start young. Keep honing your skills by experimenting, exploring, and educating yourself. Surround yourself with encouraging people and visit inspirational places. Keep on keepin’ on!
BBP: Any other fun facts you’d like to add?
MeekNest Hawaii: Some random facts:
-My first name is “Mary Geraldine” and I go by everything from Mary, Gee, GeeGee, Geraldine, to Dine. When I meet new people, I don’t really know how to introduce myself, so I tend to randomly blurt one of my names.
-My hubby (the other half of MeekNest Hawaii) is a professional photographer (ModernTwist Photography, Supercute Photoshoot). We have photo shoots every few months. Our favorite one was a vintage, 1930’s-style shoot in the plantation towns of Ewa and Kunia.
-I still use a few art supplies from my early childhood, such as a Hello Kitty metric ruler that I use as a straight edge and a set of pastels, both from the mid 1980’s.
-Favorites of mine: The Office, Calvin and Hobbes, beachcombing, turtle watching, Bali Hai Bomb sushi from Kintaro’s on Kauai, Copic markers (one can never have enough!)
-We enjoy creating art to decorate our home. Some of our creations include: a wall hanging made from an upcycled vintage curtain stretched over an old frame… a huge painting created from a painter’s dropcloth, scrap wood, and leftover paint… picture frames made from driftwood and beach glass.