Elise Mesner is a Wonder Woman.
Detroit native and L.A. transplant Elise Mesner creates art from the ordinary, extraordinary and everything in between. Exceptionally skilled, sought after and respected in the broader art community; it's refreshing to see that Elise's wild creativity and zesty attitude is not lost in her work or words.
In this photo series, Elise takes our Saturn Returns Tomato and Dharma Lucky 7 tassel from starched bedroom to the pool side, stomping and kicking with every step. In the aftermath, we took a moment to talk cherry tomato's, gumballs and the compelling call of ones inner wisdom.
Words by Alex Birch, Images by Elise Mesner
As a photographer, illustrator, fashion designer (the list goes on), how do you describe your practice? What do you consider your primary focus?
Purely organic practice, and the best way for me to synopsize... each interest or project is like a tree branch (but you don’t know it’s a tree until you step back and look at it). As if this practice was much like growing a giant garden filled with herbs, vegetables, and perennials. An ever expanding line-up of creations, flowering and growing happily together. Overall, photography has been the centerpiece for a few years now but the shasta daisies generally like water during the summer only if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week, and the little tlacolula pink tomatoes might need a long nightly conversation.
You actually began your work in Detroit but moved to LA a couple years ago. Can you tell us about the move? Did you notice a change in your work?
Yes, 33 years in Detroit and almost 2 years now here in LA. I’ve never shushed the inner wisdom of my intuition. West coast was calling loud, so I came baby. I believe our spirits know what’s right for us, what directions to take for our highest good and the good of others. The inspiration brought to LA and the nexus point of my artistry will always be with me wherever I go. The maturation of style will grow, and I’ll embrace the tiny rains, constant rays and the cool night air we have here. I look forward to every part of it.
Your imagery is never as simple as it first may seem. Often playfully transforming objects from their original form or use, what are you looking for in a shot?
I’m looking for all the miracles. I enjoy discovering ways to play with what I find most meaningful in the simplest or complex of subjects. Magnifying beauty, listening to the rhythm. Allowing myself to be amazed over and over again.
Can you tell us about some of your daily rituals or routines? How do you approach a new project?
Rituals are gems of life! Living in the present moment wisely and earnestly ritual. Thought rituals... Thoughts are completely formidable. Deed follows word and word follows thought. And where the thought is mighty and pure, the result is mighty and pure (forget where that chain of wordage comes from). Keeping the end in mind ritual! Trust yourself. At the root, at the core, there is pure sanity, pure openness. Don’t trust what you have been taught, what you think, what you believe, what you hope. Deeper than that, trust the silence of your being. I am just gathering anything and everything that resonates with me; eliminating any noise. Peaceful, loving and fearless as a great approach to everything.
It’s like love at first sight. It’s like cherry tomatoes in your white sheets. It’s like yellow gumballs on aqua cement. It’s like Radical Yes boxing-shoe gloves in the blue sky kicks. It’s like dip your hands and feet into these babies, all the way.
What does being radical mean to you?
My little sister Caroline just had a baby boy named Conrad and we all said his nickname will be “Rad” so I can’t help but smother that entire word usage into that little ball of sugar beans, radical. “Radical” is such a solid soul, full on mojo maker.