Meet our Friday Muse, Visual Artist Meg Gallagher

15 December 2022
By Fashion Quarterly

Fashion Quarterly speaks with visual artist and denim designer Meg Gallagher on nature’s magnetism and unearthing quiet confidence.

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Meg Gallagher in Marle's Journal, photo by @wildsouleclectic

With shows in Berlin, Milan and Sydney, collaborations with Kendall Jenner and Travis Scott, and a career designing for labels such as Camilla & Marc and Ksubi, Meg Gallagher’s professional success transpires from natural talent and trusting the process. 

Today, the visual artist’s ability to translate nature’s rugged beauty and shifting energy into contemporary landscapes has attracted collectors across the globe, bringing a grounding and sensual sensibility to the spaces in which they’re hung. 

“Every day I still can’t believe how lucky I am to do this for a living. It never gets old when a buyer sends me photos of their piece hanging in their home, it is such a beautiful moment. One I’ll forever appreciate.” 

Throughout each collection, Meg’s continuation of layered colour palettes and soft lines derived from her environment can be traced back to her rural upbringing on a farm in the peninsula of Ōtepoti. “They all have this organic energy that can be found in nature. I’ve always had this magnetic pull towards nature and the emotions it brings up.”

Surrounded by vast landscapes in a creative household where making weird and wonderful art was celebrated, painting was an outlet that provided Meg with a sense of serenity. “I was a bit of an anxious kid but when it came to creating art I always had this quiet confidence, it was something I found comfort in.”

When the time came to pursue a tertiary education, Meg was immediately drawn to the practical skills on offer at Otago Polytechnic – that, and the possibility of a scholarship to study in Milan (which she got) – and completed her Bachelor of Design majoring in Fashion Design before emerging as a denim designer. 

“Although I was heavily into painting and textiles, I chose to focus these skills into a career in fashion. So, all through my twenties, I worked for various brands as a designer. I specialised as a denim designer and when I felt the itch to paint again, I started using denim as my canvas. This helped me to create a unique style of my own and I started to sell my pieces globally,” says Meg. 

“I think I was destined to be a painter but in a strange way I think I had to be a designer first to become the artist that I am today. I still imagine my design career will come and go as the opportunities arise but painting is my forever focus as it feels really true to me.”

When working with clients on commissioned pieces, Meg loves learning about what emotions they want the artwork to evoke. “Naturally, this creates a level of emotional responsibility that can at first make me anxious but as soon as I start the piece, I just trust my gut instinct because the client trusted me to do this.”

As for her collections, Meg likes to consider what her community will benefit from coupled with what she’s naturally experiencing around her. To inspire her most recent collection Feels Good for Brunswick Street Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, Meg requested her social media followers to send in special images of nature that had helped them heal through a tough time. 

“It was such a cathartic process to create this body of work and at its core, was inspired by the passing of my daughter which made it even more meaningful.”

Currently based in New Zealand in a shared studio space called the Crystal Ballroom, Meg is spoilt for inspiration. “I’m constantly noticing new colour combinations that nature brings or sensual curving lines that hills create.”

Next up on the agenda, Meg will be deepening her processes by getting down and dirty with nature and making her own dyes and pigments out at her mum’s farm. There will be new collections and exciting collaborations to keep an eye out for, and bespoke commissions for a few fortunate clients who are building new homes. 

“I feel so lucky and I’ll never take it for granted that’s for sure!”

Meg's "FEELS GOOD” show is open to view at Melbourne's Brunswick Street Gallery

What do you do when you hit a creative block?

WALK AWAY…I’ll leave my studio, exercise, cook and then sleep on it. Usually by the time I walk back in the next morning I know what my next move will be. 

What’s the best career advice you’ve received?

Be the easiest person to work with in the room. Of course, you need a back bone and an opinion but no one wants to work with a difficult person, no matter how talented you are.

How do you relax away from work?

Hiding away in my little kitchen, track pants on, music loud, making dessert. 

What does your morning routine look like?

RNZ radio, porridge, bike ride with my son for school drop off then to my studio to make a huge plunger of coffee.

Where are your favourite spots to dine in Ōtepoti?

Woof bar for the best cocktails, then over to Pizza Bar.

Who are your favourite New Zealand designers?

Obsessed with Rachel Mills’ made to order business model and I love every luscious piece from Marle. I also love what Beach Brains have started.

What was your last designer purchase or favourite fashion find?

I’m a real vintage treasure hunter and found the perfect vintage 90’s Italian square toe boots recently.  The perfect cropped NOM*d cardigan has also seen me through my first New Zealand winter since moving back from Australia.

How would you describe your personal style? 

Casual but considered. I mix vintage and modern in all of my outfits, that way I feel less trend driven and more like me. 

Name three beauty products you can’t live without. 

For my wild hair Redken Curl Refiner Primer. For my freckles sunblock by Aspect and for night-time, the Blue Butter by Goldie Selene – the dreamy texture melts onto your skin.

Any podcast or book recommendations?

I’m soaking up Jay Shetty podcasts when I need a little brain boost while I paint. I just finished Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason which was a beautiful depiction of living with a mental illness.

Tell us about a recipe you recently tried…

I’ve been trying to use up everything grown in my garden, so I just made a bucket load of Fennel Pesto. It was delicious but I’ll need a break before I make the next bulk batch. 



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