Updated: Feb 1
Creative. Queer. Illustrator. Beekeeper. Newly marketing businessperson.
These are the words Paige Mulhern when asked to describe herself, & while they express her versatility, they cannot adequately capture the Wrentham native's energy or passion for sustainability. As Creative Director at Best Bees, Mulhern explores her connection to plant life, trees & animals, & her responsibility to protect nature through her illustration work & advocacy.
A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Mulhern developed a thesis on pollination as the language between plants and insects, exploring their poetry and synergy. At the time bees were a hot topic in the media and she was more than willing to meet new beeple (bee people). A chance encounter with Best Bees founder Noah Wilson-Rich at a party in Alston would lead to a gig with Best Bees painting two beehives at a trade show; a "one-time job" that would evolve into custom shop work painting and curating more beehives, before transitioning to graphic design work, growing with the company for almost six years while morphing into their Creative Director.
Mulhern believes her creativity has been prevalent since a young age, remembering a kindergarten drawing and the extreme detail she placed into a rug her family cat was laying on (a focus on tine details that would continue to inspire her work as she aged). That very creativity allowed her to further explore her interest in sustainability and her partnership with Noah Wilson-Rich, which would include assisting with his Ted talk on bee sustainability, would continue to allow her to explore the collaborative projects she craves. During our chat, she couldn't help but talk up Wilson-Rich, who may be one of the most fascinating people in Boston (a biologist with a PhD in honeybee immunology and a fascinating project described by Mulhern as 23andMe for honey, which sequences the proteins in honey to give a full breakdown of flower, tree and weed makeup of the honey).
A cooperative and collaborative team player, Paige then took on a speed round of 5 questions:
Che: What is the last good meal you ate, and where from?
Paige: My friend Jordi took all the vegetables in my fridge that intimidated me and made me an amazing dish; it was roasted red peppers, olive oil, green pepper, Iggy's bread with hummus, stir-fried Japanese eggplants. We bought the vegetables from Brookline farmers market and he brought herbs from his garden and a little red wine (For anyone wondering Paige prefers a light and dry red wine).
Che: Who is someone that inspires you right now?
Paige: My therapist. I advocate for mental health and they have helped me manage stressful times from covid to the election and the state of 2020.
Che: If you were able to steal any one piece of art from anywhere and not get caught what would it be?
Paige: I’d love to have the original Beatrix Potter paintings for Peter Rabbit, or a sketchbook even, or maybe even the first-edition print of Peter Rabbit. It's one of my greatest influences as an illustrator.
Che: If you woke up tomorrow as any fictional character, or with any superpower, who or what would it be?
Paige: I’d go with the superpower and I’d want to be a shapeshifter; I’d shift shapes into flying animals because waking up tomorrow as a butterfly would be ideal.
Che: Any exciting events or projects?
Paige: I've actually been saying no to freelance gigs to focus on refining my style as I'm at this crossroads with my work. Please keep your eyes out on my Instagram (@paigespaiges); check out Best Bees on Instagram (@bestbees) as we prepare some great content. Reach out to me. Let's engage and share ideas because that’s how I feed my soul. I want to nurture this community!
You can learn more about Paige at http://www.paigemulhern.com.