Jaz Meier’s '70s-style Rental Is the Perfect Backdrop for Her Retro Illustrations
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour the charming '70s-inspired rental of artist Jaz Meier – otherwise known as Harley & J – in the northern NSW town of Lennox Head.
Like many creatives, Jaz Meier always knew she wanted to do something in the arts. "I think it's something that has always been within me since the very beginning," she shares with Bed Threads Journal. After studying visual communications at university and working for a licensing company, Meier has found herself working as a full-time graphic artist and illustrator under the moniker Harley & J.
Meier's playful and much-loved creations are inspired by the natural world, the female form, and a combination of '60s and '70s psychedelic music posters. Each artwork is usually a mix of warm and earthy hues, paisley prints, florals and motifs of the sun and moon, which work together to create a nostalgic vibe.
Having amassed a loyal following of well over 100,000 on her Instagram, Meier is kept busy creating art for bands, brands, and art lovers, ranging from illustrations for bees wax wraps and swimwear prints, to album cover art and concert posters.
Meier's love for the '70s has unsurprisingly seeped into her home's styling. The dining space features vintage cane furniture in the form of chairs, bar stools, and woven plant pots. Step into the living area and you'll be greeted by velvet seating in avocado green and burgundy tones.
Indoor plants are peppered throughout the abode as well as coloured glass decor in warm yellows. In the second bedroom, our Rust linen plays into the '70s colour scheme beautifully and helps create a cocooning effect in the space. The overall look is decidedly retro without being jarring.
In an exciting collaboration with Bed Threads, Meier has created a series of exclusive artworks to bring a retro touch to your home. Using an earthy '70s palette and nostalgic motifs, these works explore astrological symbols. Inspired by muses both feminine and floral, each print features a zodiac flower chosen to represent each star sign. "The female form is my number one inspiration and I wanted to represent these zodiacs in a feminine and soft way," she says.
Here, we chat to Meier about her exciting new print collection, her creative process, and how she makes her home warm and inviting.
Explore the Harley & J x Bed Threads print collection here.
Hi Jaz! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I am a graphic designer and illustrator. My main line of work is poster design, album covers, and textiles designs.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I think it's something that has always been within me since the very beginning, my mother is a beautiful painter and textile designer she has always nurtured my creative side from as early as I can remember. The art of making is something I am aware of every single day. I am constantly inspired by things around me, whether it's a vintage print I've seen somewhere in an op shop, a random photo, flowers at the florist etc. Inspiration is all around and I am constantly soaking it in.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I've been really lucky to always have known I wanted to do something in the artistic world. I slipped into graphic design easily, but it wasn’t until getting made redundant and my first heartbreak that I pursed my own work as as a freelancer. It really was the push I needed to put myself out there and since then I have not looked back. It's funny how some things in life, which seem so negative, can actually lead you down a positive new path.
Explore the Harley & J x Bed Threads print collection here.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
If it's work for a client it always starts with a brief. I'm blessed that most of my clients give me rough direction but generally trust my ability and direction as a designer, which I appreciate so much. It can be difficult to create something when you are too limited.
With personal work I am usually inspired by the world around me. I might see a photo of a figure in a certain pose and just instantly envision that form in my style/world. Some of my favourite and most successful illustrations have been completely random and have just happened organically.
We’re so excited to be able to collaborate with you on this series of Zodiac prints. Can you walk us through the inspiration behind the collection?
I’ve done a fair few zodiac series in my career but I wanted to do something different for this one so I've drawn each zodiac with her flower. The female form is my number one inspiration and I wanted to represent these zodiacs in a feminine and soft way. Nature is my second biggest inspiration so it made sense for me to combine these two great beauties together.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?
That you will not be able to impress everyone and to stick to your own true style.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
Going freelance! Although there are lots of cons compared to full-time work. The joy of being able to work for who I want to and when I want to has been such a blessing and great way for me to really find my own artistic identity.
Prior to going freelance, I was working for a licensing company doing Harley-Davidson tees. I loved that first job out of uni, but it gave me no artistic freedom. I often look forward to work which is such a nice feeling. I love the flexibility it has also given me as a first time mum to be able to stay home with my daughter but still earn an income.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Keep putting yourself out there. You will never know if you never ask. The worst thing someone can say is no and that no isn’t always a bad thing. It can push you do more and try harder. I’ve worked with so many amazing brands and I'm so proud of myself. I wish I could give a snap shot to young Jaz seven years ago when I started that it will all pay off.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
Two years here in Lennox Head. We moved down from nearby Byron Bay after three years there, and we spent a decade in Sydney's Surry Hills prior to that.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
We had just found out we were pregnant with our daughter Bonnie Blossom. After the hustle and bustle of Byron Bay we were craving something a little slower and intimate. I knew I wanted to be close to the ocean so it was vital for us to be able to walk to the beach. Our little villa is small but its just right for the three of us and being able to walk everywhere especially in those first few months of motherhood has been such a gift.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
We are still renting! However that’s one of the first things I do when I settle into a new place is imagine what renovations I would be doing asap. Hopefully one day not too far away that will be a reality for us. I'm craving a place that is truly my own that I can mould into my dream home.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
My love for vintage and the seventies shows in our styling. We are all earthy browns and natural wood tones. I have a few vintage pieces from my late Grandmother that are my absolute favourites. I love how timeless vintage decor can be, it is never particularly in or out of fashion and often as it was made decades and decades ago it's made incredibly well and made to last.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
Probably my Grandmother's vintage lamp. I so fondly remember running my fingers through the long tassels as a child. I have a few relics of hers that remind me of her daily.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I think we need a bigger couch now there is three of us to snuggle into. I'm always on the hunt for the perfect modular vintage lounge. That's the negative of vintage decor – it can sometimes take years to find the perfect piece.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
My daughter's nursery. It catches the afternoon sun and I love laying on her floor with her playing there each afternoon.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
For me personally it needs to be warm and inviting. I also think plants are essential in every room. Bringing a bit of life and nature indoors changes the whole dynamic of a room to me. Textures are a big one, too; velvet, wood, linens, rugs. They add that extra layer of depth to a room that I love.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
I have a big job in Times Square NYC finally coming to fruition after being delayed due to Covid that I'm so excited about. I can’t say much more than that though I’m afraid!
For more from Meier, follow her on Instagram at @harleyandj