Clutter Castle is what Meghan calls her eccentric home studio, tucked away in the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn. When I saw the odd, yet beautiful, string installation hanging from the ceiling, a collection of wooden instruments displayed on the wall, and a creepy plastic hand sitting on its own mini mantel, I fully understood how the Clutter Castle earned the honor of its name. But it’s funny, although I was like a kid in a candy shop in her vintage oasis — oohing and ahhing at every corner, I didn’t find it overwhelmingly chaotic. I felt as if the odds and ends of all the clutter were actually masterfully organized to push the use of imagination and a creative atmosphere. Which made perfect sense, because those were my exact thoughts about Meghan’s winning art piece, Chaos Mountain. The bright and earthy colors bleed into one another with no particular pattern, yet the shaped splices are meticulously placed. I love it. Perhaps the juxtaposition between the crashing watercolors and structured mountain reminds me a little of myself: a bit messy, a bit random, a bit chaotic, but in the end of the day, I know what I want to do and exactly where I want to go. “Not all who wander are lost,” a favorite quote by many free spirited individuals, resonates within the illustration of Chaos Mountain. Meghan Ellie Smith,a true free spirit herself, is not only the Queen of Clutter Castle, but officially wears the crown of our latest Art Contest.
I absolutely love your aesthetic and design. How exactly did you decide on the concept of Chaos Mountain?
Thank you! I’ve been very inspired by nature lately, especially mountains. I guess being in the city all the time can make one feel a little desperate for the great outdoors. Working on Chaos Mountain was a really nice way to get some simulated nature time.
Where do you find inspiration within your space?
I’ve got 7 roommates! All of whom are musically, artistically, and creatively talented. Being surrounded by wonderful, passionate friends is an amazing source of inspiration.
Where does down time fit into a day of being productive.
I pretty much just go on reddit.com/r/aww and look at cute animal photos whenever I’m waiting on paint to dry. That and watch Parks and Rec, and take the occasional nap when the mood strikes.
What are your most essential tools that you must have by your side while you design?
Pretty much just acrylic paint, brushes, paper towels, scissors, duck tape, laptop, and very important- CANDY.
What was the toughest lesson you learned as a freelance artist?
Lots of people will tell you they can’t pay you, “but you’ll get great exposure.” This is a load of crap.
Other than being an artist, what else do you do?
First and foremost, crazy cat lady. I took that to the next level recently and started volunteering at an animal shelter called BARC in Williamsburg- they’re awesome, I highly recommend volunteering and/or adopting from there. I’ve also just been named the talent booker for a new bar/music venue in Williamsburg called Kingsland which I’m crazy excited about!
Where do you picture yourself and what will you be doing in 5 years?
If all goes according to plan, bottle feeding baby tigers. And making a legit living being an artist.
What advice would you offer the you of 5 years ago?
DON’T LIVE IN THE DORMS; you’re gonna have a weird roommate who doesn’t flush.
What quote keeps you motivated? What does that quote mean to you?
One time I was in the car with my mom and I asked her, “How many birds are there in the world?” She responded, “Seven. It’s all mirrors.” Both hilarious, and amazing. It’s way more fun to let your imagination bend reality and see the world however you want.
What are some new skills you are trying to acquire to perfect your craft?
I’d love to learn about screen printing! I’ve got some friends that can teach me, so it’s just a matter of finding the time to do it. Also photoshop…very daunting.
How do you recharge your creativity?
The aforementioned nap times are pretty great for that, and hanging out with my friends and laughing about all things ridiculous puts me in the greatest mood, which is when I’m at my creative best.
Do you have any special projects or events that are in the works or that are floating in your brain right now?
I’m currently working on my biggest painting yet! It’s 3ft.x4ft. and sort of a surreal, illustrative mountain scene. I’ve always been pretty scared of doing large format work so it feels really good to be confronting this challenge. I’m happy to report- so far, so good.