Wandering: Meet Illustrator Jaz Meier
Meet Jaz Meier, the talent and brains behind the retro styled brand, Harley and J. We talk creativity and careers while getting a peek inside her home and workspace in Surry Hills filled with vintage vibes that takes us on a time warp to the 70s.
1. Where did HarleyandJ all begin?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative as a career, it was a given since day one. My mother is an illustrator and textile designer and as long as I can remember she has always encouraged that side of me, I have two younger sisters who have also inherited her creative streak as well , its something that she has truly nurtured in each of us since we were young children.
For several years I worked for a merchandising company as a graphic designer for Harley-Davidson doing their t-shirt placement designs. Harley and J begun as an outlet for me to release my creative side in a way which is really only limited by my own imagination, a chance for me to get more in touch with my feminine softer side (all the bikes, metals, flames and skulls can get a little repetitive).
Although to be completely honest I never really truly focused on Harley and J until I was having a hard time emotionally. A few things had come undone in my personal life and I found myself feeling and acting miserably. Harley and J became a perfect outlet for me to channel all this negative energy into something positive. I was just designing and drawing up anything that came to mind. Before too long I had people contacting me for commissions, over the last two years it slowly grew and grew and I’m at a stage where I am struggling to keep up! You can see the progression of my earlier to work to what it is now and how drastically the mood of my work has changed. I never planned for it to work out this way and I never thought at 27 years old I would be getting enough work to live of my freelance. Life is funny – how a sad and hurtful path could lead me down another one so positive and full of opportunity.
2. How would you describe your style?
My work is heavily influenced the style of the 70’s. Everything from that era resonates with me so well. I can never get enough. Everything back then was so on point, the music, the style, the art. Art Nouveau and Art Deco are also themes that run heavily through my work.
Alphonse Mucha has always been and will always be my favourite artist. These two influences, my love for nature ,the female form and a dash of fantasy have all been blended together to form my style.
3. What’s your top tip to getting into illustration and design?
A true love and passion for illustration and design is the number one must. So many people fall into design because it can be a great career path, but its a huge and often daunting industry and you will suffer set backs all the time. That love and passion though will push you through those times where you feel like giving up and I promise you at the end its worth it. Take those set backs as lessons, they will be your greatest teachers. I’ve learnt so much from my mistakes and loses.
4. If you have one, what’s your 5 year plan?
I can’t say I really have one to be honest. I’m kind of taking this all as it comes. I’d like to think I would be well and truly out of the city by then. I love Sydney, but living in the hub of it is a necessary evil for now. I’m dreaming one day of a cosy cottage/studio on a property filled with goats and chickens in the middle of the bush.
5. What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The wonderful people I get to meet and interact with. Last year I went to America for a month and met people over the country who I had worked with, it was so great to finally meet these people in the flesh and make new friends.
6. How would you describe your personal / fashion style?
My clothing style is much like my art, heavily influenced by the seventies. Lots of flares and bell bottoms, leather and tassels. I love earthy rich hues. Browns and oranges, lots of warm colours.
7. Favourite place on this planet to escape to?
My family home, always.
8. Favourite son/album/playlist right now?
I’ve had Angel Olsen on repeat. She’s the best.
Photography by Molly Booth