Meredith Kaplan Samuelson a des yeux de félin, un chat borgne et parle à la vitesse du jaguar. Cette prof d’art plastique à Brooklyn vit dans l’état de New York avec son mari Matt et ses deux enfants, Ben et Eli. Je la connais depuis plus de dix ans maintenant et j’adore son coup de crayon, son univers doux et enfantin coloré au pastel et au fusain. Son rêve : illustrer un jour des livres pour enfants. Je l’invite dans mon atelier pour discuter art et éducation, et je suis persuadée qu’un jour ses bouquins se vendront comme des petits pains.
Who are you Meri ?
« I live on Long Island in New York and I am an artist and art teacher. I can’t remember ever not being interested in the arts : visual art, music, writing. I think that art and culture is the foundation of humanity but that it also just makes people feel good. I think that everyone should have access to design and color and personal things and so I love to make things for other people that they can feel happy to have in their homes. »
Tell me about your job
« I work as a middle school art teacher in Brooklyn, New York and teach a diverse population of 11, 12 and 13 year olds. We spend a lot of time learning about the basics of art : value, proportion, figures…but I also try to incorporate world cultures and contemporary art concepts into our lessons because I think it’s important that the children understand bigger ideas and the world outside of Brooklyn. Right now the students are working on a variety of projects – book making, Mexican folk art paintings and circus posters based on figure drawing. »
And about your art
« I work a lot in pastels mostly because I spent many years living in small apartments with small children and couldn’t fathom setting up paints. I love creating portraits and find a magic in sculpting out form and texture from a blank surface. I also love collage, especially tiny little ones. I spend a lot of time making things for other people and will basically make whatever someone wants. »
How did you start to draw ?
« I always drew but started feeling passionate about it in elementary school when we were assigned a book making project and realized this was a way to combine writing and art. I went to college for illustration and still dream of creating children’s books one day. »
What inspires you ?
« My children inspire me with their perfect faces and bodies – they are works of art unto themselves. I am also inspired by beautiful papers, the texture of natural things and brand new art supplies. Other artists inspire me to want to be better. »
What are your projects ?
« I think I’ll get that book started… »