“…what is happening on the inside emotionally , why do we do the things we do and what motivates us to behave the way we do. Who do we see ourselves as and how others perceive us. In my paintings I tend to juxtapose ideas that normally would be in opposition, i like playing with these layers of thought. The ultimate goal is to make people think beyond the painting and absorb the information in a personal way.”
5 Questions with the Liberty Gallery Featured Artist for February
Artist Reception to be held Feb 5th from 5-9 PM inside the Liberty Gallery on the corner of Main & Washington in downtown Spokane. Melanie will be featuring her “Young at Heart” Series.
What’s your art background?
I have been making art as long as i remember, my father was a cartoonist and he would buy me a new set of markers every year, we would play drawing games and collaborate. My parents always encouraged me to keep making art. Art became my favorite subject in school and possibly the only subject i really excelled at. In 6th grade I began attending a tiny private art school for a couple hours every week, this is where i really started to learn the technical aspects of art, we started with charcoal and then it was pastelles and finally I made my first oil painting which was probably in 8th grade. Through highschool the art room was my oasis I spent more time in there than any other classes to my deans dismay. I went on to study art at The Milwaukee Institute of art and design and the transferred to The school of the Art Institute of Chicago where I almost finished my degree, but decided a year early I didnt need it to be an artist.
What role do you think the artist have in society?
I really do believe that artists make the world a more beautiful place. Not only because of the phisical beauty of art but because of the positive effect it has on the public in an emotional way even if it is art that makes us question our values it has still moved us. I dont know many people who would rather sit in a room with blank walls instead of a room full of art.
How has your work changed over time?
My work has matured over time, i used to paint figuratively but without any context other that the physical characteristics of the human body. Life experience and travelling altered my mind and inspired me, i began to think deeply about humans and nature and sometimes use things that were not human to make humans think. My painting style has also evolved and morphed into many very stylized materials and techniques
Do you have a favorite local artist that inspires you?
Well I am new to spokane so I am just starting to meet my fellow artists here, but I would say that Shana Smith (who also ironically grew up in the same city as i did and even went to the same schools and had the same art teachers), is such a talent and i admire her natural ability to paint like a master.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
For 15 years I was picture framer started at a mom and pop shop and worked my way up to an art conservation center in Chicago. Then I bought a flower shop in michigan so flowers became part of my creative process. I currently work retail , but I am also starting my own wedding floral business here is spokane called Starving Artist flowers, its all about creating amazing unique floral for really realistic prices. I also have a jewelry business called Nucleus jewely, I make fused sterling silver contemporary artistic jewelry.
See Melanie’s work along with many other artists tomorrow night February 5th First Friday from 5-8pm. We will have live music and complimentary snacks during the artist reception.