Artist Meredith Adelaide has many pursuits. Like many of our entrepreneurial friends, she left behind one path (or two, or three) to pursue her true creative passions.
You may recognize her from our Spring 14 Sauvie Island shoot, but this summer she asked us about using our clothes for a more personal take on our line. We chatted with her recently about Portland, her creative intentions and experience, and her latest series of unconventional self-portraits featuring pieces from our Fall 14 line.
B&B: You’ve got hands in many things—spending time on both sides of the camera, making music, collaborating with various artists...how does it all fit together?
MA: It all stems from trying to find myself. Putting myself in positions that I’m not familiar with and seeing how I react and navigate through it...all within the industries I am driven to take part in (film, music, art) in order to grow in both my personal life and my career.
I’m addicted to multi-tasking and I cannot stand wasting time or energy for things I don’t believe in, don’t agree with, or just don’t want to do. If there’s an opportunity to learn I’ll usually take it, which has led me to work in many, many different jobs. But, it also keeps me from the regularly scheduled jobs (9-5s) which I’ve found crushes me and heightens my anxiety to where I almost can’t function. Keeping this freelance lifestyle allows me to look at the world in a very optimistic light and I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt bored. I love that. So, I’m chasing that.
B&B: How did this self-portrait series come about? What’s the motivation behind it?
MA: This micro-series was kind of my last opportunity to create something for a Portland-based designer before I flew away to my new world in New York. I was in the middle of a month-long travel trip between SF, LA and NYC and found that the jobs I was on had very similar vibes to each other. Every self portrait series is a reaction to wherever I’m at in life, so for this I was annoyed at being hired to look “pretty” and “moody” and decided to fuck around until I found something that felt fresh to me. Then, I forced myself to step out of my black-and-white comfort zone and see where that took me.
B&B: What’s it been like working as a creator in Portland?
MA: For me, Portland was the place I moved to directly after college to step away from my family and find myself as an individual. I left with that intention knowing I wouldn’t stay forever, but it was the logical next-step in my life (coming from Eugene).
There’s an endless supply of people looking to shoot/create so it was a fairly simple process of finding them and asking, all while holding myself to a certain standard that was appropriate for me at the time--you know, shooting with someone who was different than the last person I shot, taking what I learned and applying it to the next...seeking out photographers who shot outside my comfort-zone (safely, with consent) and gaining more skills in preparation for potential bigger jobs.
I’m not sure I would have been able to really focus on my creativity and growth as intensely if I were in a bigger city; I would have had to find another job and do modeling on the side. At the time I was living in a $200/month unfinished basement apartment called the “dream cave” so I never had to really worry about making money...which is ideal, because the independent creatives in Portland (those who I worked with mostly as an unrepresented model) work primarily on a trade-basis. It’s a wonderful thing for building a sense of community, removing the pressure of the reality of money, and it’s a great platform for taking risks without much consequence for anyone. It gave me peace of mind and a freedom to really dig into myself and try a bunch of different things.
B&B: And now?
MA: Well, as I grew I became more intentional I realized that it was time to take the next step for both personal and career-based growth. A mentor of mine and I were talking about my need to be surrounded by people who hold me accountable, who are always working, always pushing--how I found out last year that I thrive in chaos and I was beginning to feel too comfortable in Portland. She told me “you have to move. It’s either New York or LA, but you need to go now.” It was what I needed. Two months later, here I am in New York and I’m flipping out because it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for and I’ve barely scratched the surface.
I’m not sure I would have made it here without my time spent and connections I made while being in Portland, though. It was the perfect city for what I needed to do for that period of time. I have a desire to write love letters to Portland; I want to thank it for being there and helping me become me. I’ve been in NY three weeks now, and I’m still mourning the west coast a bit. Like a breakup where you haven’t fallen out of love, but you know you can’t continue on the way it was. It will always hold a very kind, weird, and unique place in my heart, as I’m sure it does for many.