Lucidly dreaming about floating is a common experience in my subconscious – suspended in viscous air, not quite falling, able to swim, fly, or even breathe, but instead floating for what feels like an endless amount of time. This otherworldly state of mind is perfectly visualized in the not-so-meek paintings of Miranda Meeks.
This Utah-based illustrator’s soft illumination and subtle shadows are a staple in her aesthetic. A hazy depth of field allows for an ambiguous environment of snow, rain, fog, or even endless fields of flowers to engulf her protagonists. The atmosphere is still, like in the deathly quiet moments before dawn, with a calming palette of grays and subdued colors. Miranda uses a variety of media to achieve her end products, including oil paint, graphite, watercolors, and even digital painting programs.
Her imagery is known for its mystery; transformation, growth, and death are common narratives. Paintings are ripe with iconography such as fungus, skulls, insects, and serpents. Many of the protagonists are veiled in some fashion, with hair, hands, and floral elements obscuring the faces of her lead characters, almost as though they are in mourning. Antlers morph into snakes and hair shifts into smoke, melting away into the abyss.
As a child, she loved drawing from animal books and producing her own hybrid “weird monsters.” She later discovered the work of Tim Burton and Alfred Hitchcock, and her eerie aesthetic developed further. Her goal isn’t necessarily to create art to disturb, but to cultivate a world where beauty and mystery can coexist.
“I find the juxtaposition of combining darkness with beauty very intriguing, and I hope to create a similar experience for my viewers. I also appreciate when there’s a narrative behind an image, which encourages the viewer to ask questions and to maybe even create a story in their head about the image.”
While Miranda’s personal work is wildly successful, it shouldn’t come as much surprise that she also works as a professional illustrator. She’s been freelancing since she was in college at Brigham Young University, but these days she specializes in book covers, producing artwork for clients such as Subterranean Press, Dragonsteel Entertainment, and Popshot Magazine to name a few.