April 18, 2019

Get Ready to Dream: Meryl Pataky,
Neon Artist

It starts with a dream. Meet Meryl Pataky, neon artist and part of the creators and movers of this generation that dream big, share their art with the world, and inspire their communities.

Meryl Pataky is a neon and mixed media artist based in San Francisco, CA. Informed by her education in fine art sculpture and inspired by the organic elements she works with, Meryl creates neon installations that subverts cultural expectations of the medium to explore deeper meanings and concepts. She is passionate about supporting women in the arts, and produced an all-female neon exhibition called “She Bends: Women in neon”

It all starts with a dream. The spark of inspiration that propels you to pursue your best life. What inspires you?
I'm very inspired by the other creatives in my community, mostly painters. We all help each other out and give each other advice.

What do you love most about creating neon pieces?
What I love most about neon is that it teaches me a lot about myself. I'm not a patient person in my everyday life so it's almost like I have to be a different person when I step into the studio in order to get along with my material. Neon is fun because I work with fire and electricity and people call me a mad scientist, which I don't mind.

If you could make a neon sign of a shoe, which silhouette or style would you create?
If I had to make a neon sign out of a shoe I'd make a big punk rock boot.

How do you define “success” vs. “fulfillment”?
I don't think that there's a difference between being successful and feeling fulfilled. I think if you feel fulfilled you are successful. My creative practice gives me a lot of fulfillment but obviously my personal relationships as well. I also teach children and they really brighten my week up.

What is your “Get Ready” jam?
Music is such an important part of entering the world and being a creative and my jam kind of depends on my mood. Right now Justin Timberlake is my main man. What Goes Around Comes Around is my favorite song to bend to in the studio.

What's your shoe attitude?
My shoe attitude is comfortable. These chunky sneakers are so me, because I'm comfortable and cool.

    How is it being a woman in a male-dominated industry?
    Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is tough sometimes. There's a lot of men but we navigate through.

    One time I told somebody I was a sculptor or a builder and they asked me "Isn't that a man's job?" I think it's an everyone’s job. We're all building something.

    We love your focus on supporting other female artists with your all-female, all-neon
    exhibition, She Bends. Why is highlighting other female artists so important to you?

    I think it's super important for women to encourage and support one another and to empower them to be the best versions of themselves. It was important for me to curate She Bends: Women in Neon because because it showcased females all over the world that have immersed themselves in a male-dominated field and they are changing the face of how we see this medium in the world of art.

    How do you practice self-care?
    I think it's important to practice self care but I'm not always the best at it. You definitely have to make time for it. Sometimes all that means is taking a break from your work and sit down to relax or meditate. My favorite self care practice would have to be watching TV and having a beer.

    Are you a dreamer?
    I think it's so incredibly important to have dreams and to be a dreamer and have ambitions in life. Shoot for the stars. Some of the best minds and inspirations and inventions have come from people who have big dreams.

    The dream I have for my career is just to be happy. Success isn't necessarily financial or based on how many likes you have but rather you're happy with yourself and the things that you're creating.

    What can we expect from you in the next year?
    I'm planning more She Bends: Women in Neon shows, being in the fires as much as possible, and a couple of art shows here and there. One thing that I really want to try in the next year is glass blowing. I've tried it once and you'd think I'd be really good at it because I work in glass but it’s not true. I want to practice a little bit more and really get good at it.

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