Lily Meddings is redefining art for six-year-olds everywhere, combining her own interpretations of home life and pop art with the moody and amorphous visions of Picasso.
At the tender age of two, Lily stunned the art world with her series Aliens Love Underpants: A Toddler’s Napmare, translating the illustrations she had seen in the popular picture book.
Grasping the deeper essence of the aliens—the commingling of emotion that drives them to their constant travels through the emptiness of space, unsure what they are even searching for—she brought society a glimpse of itself in the funhouse mirror that is a child’s mind.
Lily took no pleasure in fame, preferring to withdraw from the hungry world and nurture her own creativity, concentrating on honing her technique. She released several pieces to private collectors during those years, including a provocative reversal on The Little Mermaid entitled “I Cut Off My Legs and Sewed on This Fish Tail,” as well as a dramatic series called “They’re all Dead and They Don’t Know It,” exploring the underwater old-folks’ home in Ponyo.
Rumors abounded that she would show up at parties, and delight unsuspecting audiences with a solo performance of an interpretive dance piece she had choreographed for ten, counting off each dancer as she went through it.
Truly a multimedia artist—constantly expanding her repertoire—Lily has recently penned several graphic novels: Bad Little Things (in which scar-faced DoDo witnesses the princess cutting off the queen’s head with a knife), Pregnant (in which a queen is unaware how she became pregnant, but comes to terms with the fact that it’s weird), and Do You Know What’s Sad? (Spoiler alert—it’s that “this girl died”).
Soon after, she further delved into mixed ink and paint works in several collections themed around patriotism, suffering, and animals.
In 2011, Lily took some time to focus on her family, after the birth of her little sister Helen. Breaking cliches at every turn, Lily refused to buy into traditional expectations of sibling rivalry. As Helen grew, she inspired from Lily many short poems, most notably the touching tribute, “If Helen Were Food, She Would Be Cake.”
Her genius at portraying the agony and ecstasy of human suffering, her exploration of birth, death and transformation, and her childlike delight in concepts such as sprouting wings to leave the material world behind, leave the viewer with a puzzling sense of wholeness in the midst of confusion.
In recent months, Lily began playing with bold colors and exaggerating her diminutive proportion to her mother, in a manner reminiscent of Frida Kahlo in her famous work depicting herself next to Diego Rivera.
She deftly portrays her yearning to be the baby in the carrier, melded with her desire to ease her mother’s stress, in the heartbreaking piece entitled “Always to be Assisted.”
Look for her on local refrigerators everywhere.