Get to know the artist behind our gorgeous Summerfest mural, Byada Meredith! Byada has been an amazing team player since we began working with her on this project and the Shorewest team could not be more excited to share her interactive piece, titled “Summer is Finally Here, it’s Time for Fun and Sun! Let’s Take Some Time to Play and Dream in Our City by the Lake” at Shorewest Children’s Fest Day at Summerfest! Keep reading to learn more about this talented artist.
Shorewest, REALTORS®: Byada, where were you born and how does that influence your work?
Byada: I was born in Thailand on an island near the city of Bangkok. A very pretty place but everyone had to work hard to make a living. My family had a farm and a restaurant, so we were always busy doing something. This early life taught me about growing things, animals, nature, and life. It is a very traditional place so I began to learn about painting at the temples and through the community I learned about print-making and the batik process for textiles. I also learned about manga and anime when I got a little older. All of this came together to influence my art today.
SW: What brought you to Milwaukee/Wisconsin?
B: After I finished primary and high school I enrolled in an art and design university. During this time and after I had several international art shows and tried to travel as often as possible. A friend invited me here for a vacation and while checking things out I came through the midwest and [it] reminded me of where I grew up. I didn’t know about winter yet though! I stayed for a while and then went through the citizenship process to change location to Wisconsin.
SW: What would you say to young artists who want to pursue an art career?
B: Oh boy, there are always a lot of lessons to pass along to the next generation of artists but thinking back, I didn’t really listen to anything told to me! Seems like everyone has to learn their lesson in their own way. But I would say that the main thing is to never stop making art, just try to find a reason every day. There are different kinds of art for different things – like commercial, digital, fine arts, etc. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t fit into this one or that one, keep going and you will find your place to grow.
SW: Where do you look for inspiration?
B: I don’t know if I really look for inspiration, [but] if you open your heart a bit it is all around you, sometimes in the person next to you, or a stranger watching clouds, maybe a beautiful fallen leaf, or the light on a building wall… it is all around us!
SW: Where can people find your work across Southeastern Wisconsin?
B: I have a handful of murals scattered around the city and my paintings in a few businesses here and there. The best place to find locations of stuff is probably my social media. You can check …
SW: What story does your mural (the Summerfest piece) tell the audience?
B: This mural piece is not telling a story so much as it is just trying to remind people and the young ones to always remember to have fun and find the joy in the simple things like family, home, and our lovely city with its lake and its parks – full of nature like the butterflies and the flowers in this piece.
SW: What makes you feel connected to Shorewest’s theme of children and family?
B: In the culture where I grew up, family is very important. Everyone lives together with their parents and grandparents, especially on a farm. Kids play together and work together, we all eat meals together with everyone and learn about life from the people next to us that love us and have learned a lot about the world. It gives us a connection that stays with us through our whole life.
SW: How does your artwork help you connect with Milwaukee and the local community?
B: Well my artwork is actually a reflection through myself of this place and the people I meet. I am telling the story of what I see and feel around me for anyone who wants to check it out!
SW: What do you hope people take away from this piece?
B: What I really hope people can get from this piece are good memories of spending time with their families and having fun days of summer down by the lake, and maybe meeting some new friends and having new adventures.
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