Updated: Jul 12, 2022
How long have you been creating art?
MEREDITH HAYES: Ever since I can remember I made art. A lot of it was illustrative, with a little hint of story in it, though I think I finally got the confidence to do full narratives (though still short) a few years ago.
How did you get into illustration?
MEREDITH: I’ve been interested in folklore since I was a kid and illustrating them feels like expressing my love for them. Spending hours on one page lets me obsess over every possible meaning of it.
You have a rare ability to both write stories as well as illustrate your stories. Which part comes first to you?
MEREDITH: The story usually comes first, but it changes. Like I had the story for The Blood Tax first only because it was a parody of medicine the past couple years and almost wrote itself. For Cornales I wanted to draw a tree spirit, then had an initially unrelated message I wanted to give, and they grew together.
What are your influences? Who or what inspires you?
MEREDITH: I've definitely been influenced by the time I’ve spent in folklore, and then from Jordan Peterson who made me think more about the meaning in them. I get a lot of visual inspiration from being outdoors, you can get a hundred perfect compositions and color schemes from a walk in nature. Also from other comics, and I’m a weeb for manga. Calvin and Hobbes, Mushishi, and stuff by Nagabe. They all tend to have a relaxed, meandering tempo with plenty of nature.
Do you create art with a specific message, or do you prefer art for arts sake?
MEREDITH: I believe all art has a message. I know contemporary critics sometimes view simply pretty art as vapid, but the more beautiful the more it tells me “you’re alive to see and enjoy this creation.” There’s a lot I want to convey through art, but if I only convey joy through beauty I’d be satisfied.
How long have you considered yourself a libertarian?
MEREDITH: I’ve been a libertarian since I was a teenager. I was homeschooled by the best parents, who happened to be Ron Paul fans, and with thorough history education it happened naturally. Through the years I’ve enjoyed my fair share of Bastiat and Rothbard and Spooner, but God-given life, liberty, and property rights were always my foundation.
What do you think the role of art should be in the libertarian movement?
MEREDITH: Art has always has meaning, and the more government controls the more the meaning is political. It’s become obvious there’s a war for both physical and mental control of people, and not just in the U.S. I am on the side of individual rights and voluntary interactions. It would be convenient if reasoning and evidence won the war, but just recent history shows me the people need emotion to really pull the heart part of their minds. Libertarians need to provide reasoning and emotion, and art assists in the emotion side. The story I’m working on now, which will be my first full-length story, hopefully will help with that.
Where can people go to purchase your art and comics?
MEREDITH: Everything is on Meresart.com From there you can read all my comics so far, and there are links to buy prints. You can also follow @meresimkinshayes on Instagram for the most recent stuff.