From the time she was 4, Meredith Poston was drawing hands and skulls. You see, her father was a medical illustrator, and she became adept at copying his work.
“All I wanted to do was take my father’s pieces, study them and re-create them,” she says. “I wasn’t doing typical childlike scribbles. My parents always encouraged my art and were fascinated by how I was able to do such good work at an early age.” She was, she says, raised “in a creative bubble” and knew early on that she was an artist.
Poston spent her formative years attending special classes, school and camps for artistic development. In 2002, she enrolled at Western Carolina University where she double- majored in printmaking and writing. Prior to college she concentrated primarily on painting and drawing, but at Western Carolina she shifted her style to include printmaking. She became what she calls a “painterly printmaker,” a genre of art that includes monotype (drawings on a smooth surface of glass, metal or stone that are transferred to paper) and woodcut (designs cut into linoleum or wood and transferred to paper).
Several types of printmaking techniques exist, but Poston focused on methods such as monotype where she could paint a single image on one surface and transfer it to paper. The artistic result has combined qualities of both painting and printmaking, and allows for expression and images that only an amalgam of the two genres can produce.
This style expanded her artistic range and led her to appreciate Pop artist Andy Warhol and the “mentality of screen printing,” Poston says. She also drew inspiration from artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco Goya, among others.
“Viewing the work of other artists when I was printmaking,” she says, “inspired me to create in different ways.”
But after years of immersing herself in art, Poston burned out and discovered she needed time to recharge and heal from various personal challenges, including experiencing seizures that prohibited her from working on her art. A medical misdiagnosis in 2005 led her down a long and complex path of surgery, medication and recovery— a journey she is still on. To make matters worse, after she graduated from Western Carolina in 2008, she had to deal with the economic recession.
“At the time, I didn’t think I could create art,” she says. Her lifelong expectation that she would be an artist suddenly felt like a burden. She wasn’t sure how she could establish art as a career.
A move to James Island led her to her closest friend and future husband, and with a creative support system, she slowly returned to the creative fold. This period of rejuvenation brought with it an artistic shift. From printmaking and a focus on human and animal forms, Poston turned to abstract paintings of landscapes—a subject she previously loathed to paint.
“My work changed from being realistic to abstract. It spilled out onto the canvas and was cathartic for me,” she says.
Poston uses the phrase “spilling out” to describe her process, as though painting is more about spontaneity than rigid technique. On canvas, her work is fluid and textured, filled with brushstrokes that capture imaginative scenes. Response to her new style has been positive. She accepts commissions from businesses and individuals and uses social media as a platform for displaying and selling art. Anyone who meets Poston will immediately sense that she was born to be an artist.
“Sometimes I think I should have gone into law. But … no,” Poston says, shaking her head and laughing at the idea. She was born a creative person. This is what she was meant to do.
Scott D. Elingburg is freelance writer who lives in Charleston.