Hi, I'm Melissa.
Short Version: Self-taught abstract artist inspired by nature and the absurdity of late stage capitalism. Currently domiciled in Southern California but soon to return east with fiancé to start the next chapter. Also likes: cats, plants, Chris Isaak's Wicked Game, exploring, cooking, forested mountains, lunch, matcha lattes from this one place in Costa Mesa that never has any parking, and cracking wise.
Long Version: It's hard for me to write these types of artist bios because it requires one to take oneself much too seriously. I still cringe a little bit when I tell people I'm an artist, but that's what I am. Lots of inner child/shadow work still to be done I suppose, but we're making progress!
I like to make colorful abstract pieces. I like to use acrylic because it dries quickly and impatience is a cornerstone of my personality. I started painting because my kindergarten teacher told my mom I had an eye for color, and after 19-20 years of doing nothing with that information or my time except wish that I was good at something or that boys liked me or that my tummy would be flat like the pop stars, I walked into an art store and picked up some cheap paints.
To my surprise, I stuck with it. I got better at it. I got better at not feeling guilty about charging people for it. I showed my work in a bunch of small galleries. I won a "best-in-show." I was living in DC in a small apartment with my cat. I worked in an art museum and a record store. I went to concerts at night. I curated an Instagr*m lifestyle. It was all a bohemian dream.
Then I followed my heart to California right at the onset of a global pandemic. I don't think I could begin to explain how it felt to try to succeed as an artist in a new area where I knew no one while the world was burning; but luckily I don't think I have to because pretty much everyone lost their minds at least a little bit during that time, too.
So I stopped painting. Well, I tried painting different things in different styles with different hashtags on the posts. I put together a virtual show. I spent $35 after $35 on entry fees for email rejections. Then I burnt out so badly that I had to literally hide away all my supplies because of the severe dread looking at them all sitting there unused caused me. A friend had once asked me "Isn't it hard to sell your original work? To say goodbye?" My response was "No, because there are always more paintings to be painted, and inspiration is ever-present and infinte" (or something similarly eloquent, I'm sure). I lost all my inspiration and the paintings stopped coming. Blindsided. What a nightmare. Things went dark for a while.
I was pretty dang depressed, I tell ya.
Long story short, a trip up the PCH and a tiny yellow detritivore saved my bacon.
She was restored! She was reinvigorated! She was renewed! Inspired! She was excited about painting again, and paint she did. One special side effect of this whole roller coaster ride was that I became surer in my "artistic voice" than ever before. The artistic voice is an elusive concept and always a point of contention and generator of imposter syndrome throughout my career. So finding my footing was a pleasant surprise result of the Californian Metamorphosis of Melissa.
All that being said, I still can't take myself seriously. I think that was the answer all along.
Big projects are in the works. Sign up for the newsletter (which I send out rarely and sporadically). Follow me on Instagram (which I update infrequently because I hate it so I'm trying to be better about the newsletter). And thanks for visiting!