10 years of Sydney Love

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Be mine, Valentine! 10 years ago this Valentine’s Day, I packed up my life and moved to Sydney. I was 18, fresh out of high school and so excited to start studying my design degree in the city. All through studying for the HSC there was only one option for where I wanted to go afterwards; I was laser-focused on getting into the degree I wanted and definitely didn’t have a plan B. I sold my car to finance a MacBook and moved to the city with not much more than that — my new computer, my clothes, and some big dreams for what Sydney would bring me. I got very skilled at living on a shoestring budget, but to this day, cannot have canned tuna because of the flashbacks to my student days.

Fast forward 10 years and this February 14 is looking remarkably different to that Saturday in 2009. Being on the other side of my degree as a working designer, and just last year heading back to my former university to teach (!) was the most lovely full circle experience, being able to work in an institution that gave me so much as a teenager, and to now being able to contribute to the education of up and coming designers is surreal. I met Joshua just a couple of months after moving to Sydney, so my love affair with my new city was quickly running parallel with my real life. Joshua popped the question just 18 months later in front of the Opera House (my favourite Sydney landmark, naturally) and almost all of my poignant memories and big occasions from our relationship have been connected to Sydney — from our first date, to first kiss, birthdays and holidays.

Being offered my first book deal in 2015 for ‘Hello, Sydney!’ was so special, being able to write and illustrate such a massive project about my ‘home’ city was an experience I’ll never forget. The reception to Sydney spring-boarding into subsequent titles, Melbourne and Australia… and hopefully, more to come! Just last October, hosting my latest book launch at the beautiful Art Gallery of New South Wales was an exceptional milestone for me, to experience such a huge career highlight in such a quintessential Sydney location was a dream come true.

The last 5 years we’ve been so fortunate to have spent time in New York and California in February. 5 years of a New York Valentine’s Day (a city where they really do not do things by halves!), seeing the Empire State Building lit pink for the occasion, red roses on many street corners, and candy (all the candy!) almost everywhere you turn. 5 years of visiting Palm Springs during Modernism Week, and growing our business presence in a city we’ve come to love so much. This year will be extra special, as my show ‘Palm Springs Love’ opens on Valentine’s Day as part of Modernism Week!

I've been supremely lucky to have had so many sunny experiences in my 10 years of being a Sydney-sider. Most of them I never could have imagined or even hoped for. We're working towards some big changes in the not-too-distant future, so I'm certain the next 10 years won't be quite the same — or even based in Sydney — but this 10 year Valentine's Day anniversary felt like the perfect time to create some tokens of affection for some of the cities that have contributed so much to me. It's sappy, I know, but if you can't be a sap on Valentine's Day, then when can you?!

Three new enamel lapel pins are available in the store now on pre-order; I’ll be sending out all orders on February 06 before shutting the shop for the rest of the month while I’m in the USA. Here’s to love!

Megan McKean1 Comment