Ethereal. Vivid. Whimsical. It’s no coincidence that the same words used to describe happy dreams also bring to mind the stunning work of Meera Lee Patel. Her thoughtful illustrations are awash in a calm, yet bright type of beauty, a direct reflection of the artist herself. Despite the wide variety of subject matter depicted in her work, there’s a distinct underlying signature to her lines and colors. If her work already looks familiar to you, don’t be surprised—her illustrations have been commissioned and featured by the likes of Free People, Anthropologie, BRIKA and American Express, just to name a few. Her client roster is impressive on its own, but even moreso when you learn that she’s actually doing all this freelance work in the off-hours of a full-time day job. Her talents, it seems, are endless, as are her grace and poise. Conversation with her comes easily; she is young but grounded, genuine and focused.
I had the joy of shooting this recent photo essay featuring Meera Lee at her Brooklyn, NY studio. I’ve admired her work for a long while, and being able to watch it come together before my very eyes was like witnessing magic—a blank sheet paper with faint pencil outlines quietly but quickly came to life with a few deft strokes of her paintbrush. I only wish we’d had more than a couple of short hours together, but I have my fingers + toes crossed that our paths will meet again before too long.
From the artist: Meera Lee Patel is a self-taught artist raised by the New Jersey shore, where she swam the bright waters and climbed the cherry blossom trees until she grew old enough to draw them. Her illustrations are inspired by the magical mysteries of nature, the quiet stories that lace through everyday life, and the bold colors of her native India.
Her first book, DAILY ZEN, was published by Ulysses Press in October 2014. Her second book, EVERYONE ELSE IS TAKEN, will be published in September 2015 by Perigree (Penguin USA).
You can find more of her work here: