I am Llew Mejia. Pronounced LOO MEH-HEE-AH. I am a lot of things I guess. I do a bit of illustration and I do a lot of textile design. I like to dabble in both worlds and currently I work full time as a textile designer. I think explaining who I am as a person is a convoluted journey...
How did you get started in illustration, what is your background?
I actually didn't know what I was going to do with my life for a long time. I decided to go to school for plastic surgery. But that didn't pan out I lost interest very quickly and disliked the people that were going into that field at the school I was going to. So I secluded myself from them and became obsessive about drawing. I created a portfolio with no experience in the arts and submitted it to MCAD which is where I went to art school in Minneapolis. My background is: My parents moved around a lot as a child so I have lived all over the US some in Mexico and some in Australia. I think its made me a well rounded individual. But who really knows about all that. I thought art school would be easy but it wasn't so I ended up trying to catch up to all the kids who were the shining star art kids at their high school. I have always had a competitive drive I think thats really healthy in this field if you want to be successful.
Where did you study? Looking back, would you recommend your path for beginners in design/illustration?
I explained I went to MCAD. Its basically the worst weather in Minnesota so no I don't really recommend it. I also don't recommend going to art school as now I am a fair bit in debt and with the internet at everyones finger tips I would recommend just learning everything online now a days instead of going to art school. I wish I would've have known then what I know now.
What is a turning point in your professional career?
I don't honestly remember a point when I was getting more and more work. Probably while I was working as a textile designer at Target. It really enabled me to focus on freelance work after hours and it gave me the freedom of working for a vast array of clients given the knowledge they had provided. I think that maybe then was about the time I started getting more clients like Adidas and Patagonia etc...
What is your ideal work environment? Do you prefer to work in your studio all day long or mix a few activities?
Ideal would be at my house. Although having a place you go to work such as a studio has its advantages such as socializing and learning from others. I think what I do with my day depends on how urgent the project is. If I need to have it done in a week I would probably spend all day on my computer at home. If not I would hack at the project slowly. Typically everything is rushed though so its always get it done ASAP.
Where are your favorite places in your city or outside?
I currently reside in SF. Its a beautiful city and I love the presidio as well as the Mission for some good Mexican food. Best burrito is at La Taqueria. Also outside the city there are a lot of good hiking trails and stuff although I rarely go just because I don't drive here or have a car so its tough. All in all its a great but very expensive city!
Who are the designers and illustrators, colleagues you admire most?
I like too many to really name them all. Just to name a few: Lab Partners, Roman Muradov, John Malta, Bill Rebholz, Wesley Allsbrook, Rachel Levit, Monica Ramos, honestly the list just goes on and on and on…