Meream Pacayra is an illustrator and painter from Guadalupe, Cebu. Her work is inspired by the everyday mundane things, but her work is anything but mundane. Ranging from colorful and bright treehouses to Filipino dishes to whimsical characters. There's magic in what she does and she does it all with the use of watercolors, acrylics and graphite.
In this edition of Campfire, we talk with Meream about the inspiration behind the art she creates and what is was like for her to work on our limited edition Valentines Gift Note.
Hello, kindly introduce yourself.
Hi, I am Meream. I live for cats, colors, and coffee. These used to be cats, crafts, and coffee but I haven't been crafty in a while so... :)
I am a mostly self-taught illustrator/painter. I grew up drawing and I've always been interested in it but I didn't pick up the pencil again until five years or so ago. I have a degree in Psychology, work in marketing as a copywriter on top of offering services as a freelance illustrator.
I love your treehouses! Bright and whimsical comes as a central element in your work. Where do you draw inspiration from to create such happy pieces?
Thank you! Apparently, I like to paint things that scare me and in the process, make them less scary or appear happier. For example, I am scared of heights and of bugs that lurk amongst the leaves of plants. So I paint happy treehouses. I also can't swim so I paint seascapes. I am joking, kind of.
In all seriousness, this may sound boring, but the mundane and the normal inspire me. I like to frame everyday scenes with a storybook filter and this often leads to the whimsical and escapist tones of my work.
I see your works in some of the places we love to visit around the city. Could you tell us a little bit about them?
I did food illustrations for the meal kits of The Adobros. The meal kits were especially helpful during lockdown in the UK since Filipino food lovers could just have the ingredients and recipe delivered to them. I also worked on a Filipino-themed postcards for The Fisheye Shop and Rooms in El Nido. There's also the Menu boards for Juiceria.
They say a mother plays no favorites but amongst your treehouses, which one do you see yourself living in?
I've sold most of my treehouse paintings but I refuse to let this one go: https://www.instagram.com/
What rituals, if any, play a role in your creative process?
The over-encompassing ritual seems to be "agonize > walk the agony off > drink coffee > do/start." An idea needs to stew in my mind before I can start the creative work. I need to agonize over it for days or even weeks before I can start the first draft. Pre-pandemic, I would take walks to iron out the kinks in my ideas or give myself consolation over what art-related agony I may be feeling. These days, I pace in the living room.
What creative materials or media have you come upon lately that you can recommend to other artists and creatives?
I recently got myself an iPad and I am slowly learning Procreate. It's been fun/difficult/new, I recommend it to any traditional artist who wants to dip their toes in digital art.
When working on our Limited Edition Valentine's Gift Note, what did you enjoy most about the process?
I like the general "dark and moody" vibe of the project. I usually paint bright so it was a nice change of pace to do something dark yet elegant. I enjoyed adding the Payne's Gray background washes after I painted the birds and flowers.
What is your Elemento Candle of choice and what do you love about it?
Sanctuario. Subtle and earthy are right up my alley and when it comes to candles, incenses, oils, my only requirement is that it be safe for my cats.
You can see more of Meream on Instagram: @boredandcrafty
Our special gift note is included for free with every order. Shop our candles here.
Need help deciding which candles to get? View our handy guide to setting the mood this Valentines with our candle pairing recommendations here.