Space 15 Twenty - Studio Visits: Elise Mesner

Studio Visits: Elise Mesner


This week we stopped by the studio of Elise Mesner- Detroit native, painter, illustrator, fashion/costume designer, stylist, and photographer.  Known for creating picturesque dreamscapes, both in front of and behind the camera, as well as on canvas, she proves she is not afraid to immerse herself in any mediums in art. 


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? 

 Friends, family and sunshine are everything. Well me, I’m a sweet one. A happy lady with big windows -- little house. Curious, kind, nurturing, mindful and wildly quirky, quick to laughter, good on my word and snappy, green thumber. I’ve been told I have an old world charm and psychic intuitives. Completely spatially unaware and lose my sense of direction very easily, even more frequently in CA. Always snacking, daydreaming, painting and loving the hell out of things. ENFP-A and Decan 1 Aquarius so that’s that stuff. Grew up in Detroit and lived in Michigan my entire life up until recently moving to Los Angeles for the sunshine and H2O. 

What first drew you to photography? Was this always something you saw yourself doing or was it a path you stumbled upon?  

First memory was my dad giving me a giant engagement/wedding album when I was a young teen. Filled with photos of my parents together (which I’ve never seen as they were divorced when I was very young). Those images melted my heart and photography became something else from that moment on. I began documenting special moments and ideas. However, never really planned on becoming a “photographer” and that title still sounds bizarre. But, always stayed on the road to doing what I enjoy, what makes me happy, and kept on, keeping the bond. I suppose photography right now is one outlet among many that I like to create in. I tend to grow an interest in something and it will consume me.  

What themes do you explore in your work?  

Fashion, color compatibility, visual scents, plants, humanities, movement, sunshine, architecture, critters, more plants, food play, happiness, still life, textiles and texture, seductivity.  

What are some of your favorite shoots?  

Early shoot back in 2011 “SunnySprinkles” Sprinkles on unexpected foods like sunny-side-up eggs. Sprinkles on your dog’s nose. Sprinkles on all kinds of things. Also, a new series I’m working on called “No Vanilla - Be all in, or get out.” *Stay tuned*  

Can you brief us on your creative process?  

Prefer to intuitively work with available materials, on-the-fly locations and processes that feel right in the moment without prior planning. I started with making a vision and putting myself there, *right smack inside the vision* Charles Dickens wrote something in his novel Dombey and Son that I completely adore: “He did each single thing as if he did nothing else.” Full on dedication and follow-thru is SO important to me. I like to slow things down, enjoy and value my time while each task is handled with urgency and full attention. Without a sense of urgency, desire starts to lose its value and to have that great urgency, it’s important for me to be “in the now” and in the “right now.” Clearing distractions, eliminate unnecessary activities, having a work space you enjoy working in, squishing all the ideas you love together like a little pancake and dumping syrup on it, eat it up style.  

Who are some of your biggest inspirations? 

 Grandparents: They were born in a time when if something was broken they would fix it, not throw it away. They’ve inspired a solid trudge in my step. Aunt Cat: Adored tiny things, small vases/containers and itty bitty pretties. She inspired gratitude in life’s small treasures. Old co-worker Kalen Jellen: she told me to “calm down” and I’ve been calmed down since. Always inspired by the calm. Thank you  

Do you have any favorite emerging artists?  

I’m going to be an aunt this summer. Let’s just say I plan on buying this little one all kinds of art supplies -- have this aura he/she might be an early emerging artist. And will he/she will be my favorite, of course. I wanna see those little hands coloring with crayon slobbers.  

 Describe a time you felt like you were in a creative rut. How did you get yourself out of it?  

Never felt a creative rut nor experienced creativity as a rut, it’s always been an out-of-rut experience and a form of relaxation, and a really happy place I can always go to. I collect myself there, I know myself there. It’s home.  

What are some of your favorite places in LA? 

 My bed. The kitchen. The outdoor patio. Shall I say, I love my nest completely, aside from all the Malibu Beaches and all the nature out here. Completely love how within a short trip CA offers every terrain. I really fancy the Huntington Library and Rose Bowl Flea Market. Too many restaurants and outdoor markets to name: Gorging on Casita Del Campo’s cheese enchiladas and Night + Market Song’s Mango Sticky Rice, Bulan’s Papaya Salad, Flore’s Raw Coconut Shake, Cindy’s Fried Chicken and Chocolate Cake, as of late.  

Lastly, what are you looking forward to?  

Eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and my lips to pucker. 

Photos by Iris Ray 

Follow Elise on Instagram! 

Elise Mesner