We get in studio with Meëk Meëk to chat about art, their fascination with pareidolia, the canvas of the world and the music they are listening to
Why did you want to be artists and what does being an artist mean to you in this generation?
We wanted to have a purpose. Being an artist in this time, that time and in due time means the same thing to us. Influencing people and creating art with a social and political consciousness.
Do you remember your very first encounter with art? Was there a specific moment?
We have been surrounded by art all our life, both our parents are artists.
Claire: I remember when we were still living in Amsterdam. Our mother took us to her Ateljie which was packed with paintings from the walls to the ceiling. It was a rainy day where we walked through the hustle of the city. We arrived, tired and hungry wanting to go home where we could sit in our room filled with toys and create our own world. I remember this moment so clearly, where I stepped into my mother’s head. This was my first clear memory of art.
When did you start drawing?
We started drawing at the age of three.
Being a duo of siblings creates for a unique dynamic. How do you leverage and maneuver the dynamics of your relationship when it comes to art?
We balance each other out. When we start creating an animation or thinking of installation ideas, we bounce off of each other. It’s the thing that we value the most. it takes courage to create art and can be difficult to believe that your stuff is ‘good enough’. It’s best to act like a fool, but I guess it’s easier to act like fools together.
You immerse yourselves in various mediums including animation, film, illustration, street-art, embroidery, sculpture and even music. How do the various outlets differ and what do you prefer the most?
Yes, we have various mediums we work with. We want to make ‘Meëk’ travel through different forms and dimensions. This is visually represented. Showing that everything is influenced by each other. Like the world, we are all connected. We are one. Everything we create is an element of the world that we are trying to invent. So, I guess our main purpose is to form a movement. A movement where you can be free and improvise. A movement that lasts forever.
Abi loves to play the piano and create different sounds on the computer, she wants to control the emotions in a social space. Claire loves to take photographs of the things around her. To see how the camera can distort reality.
As opposed to just being a means of distributing your art your use of social media (especially Instagram Stories) uses the mechanics of the platform to express ideas and is an extension of your work. Performance art one could say. How does social media influence your art?
The initial idea was to create a social experiment. To see how much space we can cover and how many people we can speak to. This is still the case, but now we have the world watching. So yeah, I think social media plays a massive part in our art. The Instagram stories are performance art in a way. Very spontaneous and improvised.
The stories are only seen for a certain period of time which also makes it more fun and temporal. It is great to be able to share the process of our art making. It makes people closer to Meëk.
Your line work focuses on distorted and abstract shapes, forms and figures. Tell us more about this approach and your pareidolia?
Pareidolia, is a prominent theme in our work. We want people to interpret our images for themselves, that is a reason to why our drawings are often abstracted and distorted. We don’t feel the need to give too much away. I think the audience creates the artwork, without them there would only be two meanings.
Your art is influenced by Graffiti art and any object with a surface – from broken glass shrapnel to the skin of a banana- is an empty canvasses. What has been your most unusual canvas and are there any hidden works in public spaces yet to be discovered?
Recently we found a large black piece of glass getting dusty. We cleaned it off and used a yellow acrylic pen to draw all over it. It was quite a strange surface to draw on because it makes double lines when you look at it from an angle. The yellow becomes luminous because of the color of the glass. Another surface was a window on a train. I started drawing on the window and cleaning it off because I didn’t have paper and I felt like drawing. I had a camera, tripod and a camera timer with me, so I decided to create a stop motion animation. I still had 10 hours on the train and wanted to do something that would make the time go faster. So I drew around 800 drawings on this window which created an animation whilst the train was moving.
There are definitely some meek drawings around the world that people haven’t discovered yet. They could hide in a corner or even under a table or on the hidden side of a rock on a mountain.
Do you have a specific routine when you’re in studio producing new work? What do your surroundings look like in your studio space? Shared or private? Size? Location? Quiet or fuelled with sounds? Messy or neat?
The only thing I need when I work are my headphones and a good playlist of music. I like working in a room with a specific light because my eyes are very sensitive to fluorescent lights. I like working in a space that is clean. Our studio is everywhere.
Tell us about your most demanding work in terms of scale and effort. What work was it and talk us through the process – the timeline, the energy, the inspiration.
Music videos and animated films are the most demanding. Animation is intense work, filled with thousand drawings. Sometimes the two of us can sit for up to ten hours straight. Only creating a couple seconds of animation. It depends on the movement of the subject and how detailed the drawing is. Our inspiration comes during the breaks, sometimes I go for walks in the park or drive somewhere just to look.
Claire has mentioned she likes to spend hours on something to such an extent that she eventually dreams about it. Are the Meëk characters in your dreams?
No, our Meëk characters aren’t in our dreams but after I work on something they definitely appear.
What would you say are the general themes and motives of your work?
Birds, ants, eyes, primary colors, shapes, a three-pointed crown, multiples of 3, anxiety, shadows, camels and the desert…
‘The Meek shall inherit the earth’ and ‘Meek sees everything’ are regular statements in your work. Talk us through these statement and your fascination with the eye.
‘meek sees everything’ like children of the world we have spongy eyes that absorb and observe everything. Meëk isn’t just for me or you. Meek is you, me and us. “The world is ours”, this quote influences people to open their eyes, their mind. The eye is a symbol of every sense that exist, even without an eye you can see. The eye is merely a symbol of observation, listening, smelling , thinking and so on. It’s a symbol of consciousness. Something or someone is always watching, just be aware of your surroundings and keep it in your subconscious. Meëk sees everything, your intuition sees everything.
“The meek shall inherit the earth” is a biblical reference. Although we don’t have a specific religion this quote fits with our philosophy and concepts. Meek means gentle soft and humble,
What projects which you’re currently working on are you most excited about?
Ummm… At the moment we are working on the world. It’s a bit busy at times, depending on the space. Usually, the world is a patient and slow place where the trees take long to grow, the sun takes a while to set and the people take long to relax.