Elise Mesner

Elise Mesner's sunny and colourful work, chock full of witty compositional details and playful juxtaposition, is the perfect antidote to the January blues...

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Elise Mesner Photography - Tippy - Makeup: Shelley Rickman, Stylist: June Suepunpuck, Assistant Stylist: Victor Tapere, Hair: William Clark. Models: Yuliia Kurochka / LA Models, Bronte Schleppi / Photogenics, Alicia Ruelas / Two Management

Describe your work in three words…
Kinda, really, colorful... Sunny and sweet, yeah? Let’s say dulcet, efflorescence, and halcyon.

What first made you realise you wanted to pursue a creative career?
I’ve always been intrinsically motivated with a strong gravitation towards creative work environments. A natural consciousness to follow the creative road and creativeness, plus insatiable curiosity, have always been defining characteristics of my personality. As a creative, you land in the complex and paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or the routine zone. I worked as a staff accountant, and years later as an underwriter in the mortgage world, but managed to always remain creative behind my desk, teaching painting classes and having art shows in my flex time. I was simply hard-wired to create. Eventually, the full-on creative career found me. I do enjoy organisation, logic, numbers, and balance but I have a bigger flair for making a whole shebang from nothing. I like to stay true to myself without any compromise. Living a creative life was and is still a big necessity, and I’m forever in gratitude that a career organically bloomed from it. Watering the seeds, always.

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Elise Mesner Photography - Jaljie - Makeup: Shelley Rickman, Model: Alexis Lilly

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Elise Mesner Photography - Oh Cherry Skies

What are your favourite tools, materials or bits of kit for creating work?
Solitary mind wandering, the sun, pancake lens, cadmium pale yellow mixed with white, a drop of aqua, black hair, the sun, more sun and pure sun. Vivid imagination fueled by intense curiosity. A playlist for this, a playlist for that. Deep observation. Random acts of kindness. Humour. Tiny bites of meringue. Falling in love.

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Elise Mesner Photography - Tippy - Makeup: Shelley Rickman, Stylist: June Suepunpuck, Assistant Stylist: Victor Tapere, Hair: William Clark. Models: Yuliia Kurochka / LA Models, Bronte Schleppi / Photogenics, Alicia Ruelas / Two Management

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Elise Mesner Photography - Le Clic - Wardrobe + Stylist: Irene Discos, Makeup: Shelley Rickman, Assistant Stylist: Themie Zgonis

Tell us about a recent project you're particularly proud of…
Working on a personal project called Open and Oceanic (to be released this spring). It’s a series about taking the present opportunity to be where you are, without knowing where you are, alertly, but you know that ‘YOU ARE’. I’m feeling pretty glimmery about this project because it’s about mindfulness, moving and shifting in the world, trusting and treasuring your own space. Because daydreaming is anything but a waste of time. A whole meaningful reflection.

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Elise Mesner Photography - Le Clic - Wardrobe + Stylist: Irene Discos, Makeup: Shelley Rickman, Assistant Stylist: Themie Zgonis

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Elise Mesner Photography - Model: Zoë Ligon

What's been the best audience reaction to your work so far?
The first thought that comes to mind is my Grandma Mesner’s smile when she saw my paintings at the Detroit Institute of Arts years back — “I don’t know how you do it kid, you’re something” *And that giant smile to be cherished* (Her smiles are everything). My heart exploded.

How do you develop your concepts – where do you start and how do you know when to stop?
I like to take time for solitude. Observe, observe and observe (the observation factory doesn’t have a shutdown). I typically create in cycles, putting myself in a creative incubator. Focusing intensely. Feeling very deeply. Going with life’s cosmic intelligence. Concepts seemingly come from out of the blue mostly, or when the brain fires up, I tend to structure my day accordingly. I believe you have to know your inner monologue to be able to express it, AND…I use procrastination as a tool, and tend to do my best work under pressure. I love the rush of a challenge. Hmm… “when to stop?”. I certainly don’t have that part figured out.

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Elise Mesner Photography - Walking on Water - Model: Mallel McNeil

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Elise Mesner Photography - Fruited

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Elise Mesner Photography - Tippy - Makeup: Shelley Rickman, Stylist: June Suepunpuck, Assistant Stylist: Victor Tapere, Hair: William Clark. Models: Yuliia Kurochka / LA Models, Bronte Schleppi / Photogenics, Alicia Ruelas / Two Management

Are there any particular visual or conceptual references that you draw upon, or ideas that you try to explore in your work?
Celebrate the magic of the sun, the fruits, the trees, the colours, the marks we make on the world. Treasure the eccentric, the ordinary: whatever is made out of love. Find the beauty in all. Can I get mushier?

What would be your dream project?
Just Googled ‘How to become an oceanographer?’. That’s the next dream project. Studying the waves. Smiling at pygmy seahorses in the face. I’m done. Happy as a clam.

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Elise Mesner Photography - Model: Zoë Ligon

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Elise Mesner Photography - Sassoon Salon | Inter Salon Soirée: Style: Traci Sakosits. Haircut: Marion Colton Jones. Colorist: Lucas Venice + Gina McCormick. Model: Jenny Boa

What's the relationship between your self-directed projects and more commercial work, and how do they feed into one another?
My personal work, along with commercial, is a dose of an examination of alteration. Commercially I love pioneering brand identities but I really enjoy when a brand has been around long enough that there is a kind of tension between the way it was originally designed to look and the way it looks after I’ve shaped and created “art” with it. I couldn’t agree more with David Bowie’s “Never play to the gallery” statement: “It’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfil other peoples’ expectations. They produce their worst work when they do that. If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” I suppose I’ve always refused to play to the gallery and commercial work has always percolated into my personal work. I must make it mine.

What advice would you give to budding creatives looking to make a career change?
I say, shake it up baby, it’s critical. Let the buds bloom. Diversifying your experiences feeds your creative mind and the dots will connect when you follow your heart-gut. Why bother otherwise?

elisemesner.com

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Elise Mesner Photography - The Rose

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Elise Mesner Photography - Sassoon Salon | Inter Salon Soirée: Style: Traci Sakosits. Haircut: Allison Lyle. Colorist: Lucas Venice + Gina McCormick

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Elise Mesner Photography - The Rose

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Elise Mesner Photography - Le Clic - Wardrobe + Stylist: Irene Discos, Makeup: Shelley Rickman, Assistant Stylist: Themie Zgonis

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Elise Mesner Photography - Jaljie - Makeup: Shelley Rickman, Model: Alexis Lilly