Hi Melissa, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I grew up in the Bay Area and have always made art. I decided to major in printmaking at the University of Colorado, Boulder mostly because it was a medium I hadn’t worked in much, but I ended up having a real affinity for it. Post college I moved back to the Bay Area and went into teaching visual art to children for about 10 years. After having my own children, I started block printing again and it spiraled into my own little business that I love!
Have you always been an artist and how did you decide to make this your career?
Yes, I would say that I have always been an artist. I have always loved using my hands and creating things. I really decided to sell my own art as a career after having my own kids. This all happened in an accidental way. I started making prints again as an outlet, but some friends and family told me I could be selling my work. From that point on I worked to make it happen. I was really driven for two reasons; first, because I love making art and that sounded like a dream. Second, to be my own boss would afford me the flexibility to take care of my kids. I really couldn’t be happier that I am able to do this as my work!
Describe your style as an artist. What medium do you use?
I would describe my style as graphic, clean and minimalist. I make both abstract and illustrative pieces using block printing and screen printing processes.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspired from many things, it could be a pose or a shape I see. Sometimes a life experience can be the catalyst to create, and sometimes when I’m falling asleep I get really good ideas for interesting images. There’s something about being in a lucid state that often allows good ideas to emerge.
What’s a typical workday look like for you? Tell us about your process.
I don’t think I have a typical work day, which keeps things interesting. I really only have the mornings to work on my business as I take care of my kids in the afternoon. Orders are top priority, so if I have orders to fill I will work on completing those. Also, business related elements: keeping books, purchasing materials, making sure there is inventory, photography and website work (I’m behind on those right now ☺). However, in between orders I spend a lot of time drawing and most of what I draw I never use. However, when I have design that feels like an interesting one I start the process of making it into a print. That means carving blocks, or burning screens, picking colors and actually printing the images out.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Musicians? People that inspire you?
There are so many amazing artists, but to name a few I love Maurice Sendak, Gauguin, Keith Haring, Nathaniel Russell, and Sally Mann. I also love South Pacific and Inuit designs.
Where can we see your art?
In the Bay Area you can find my art at Rare Device, Concept 47 SF, Marion and Rose, Bay-Made, Dandelion Post, and Poet and the Bench. You can also find some pieces at Ginger 13 in Honolulu HI, Urban Scout in Reno, NV, Fail Jewelry in Austin, TX, and at Folio Press and Paperie in Santa Barbara. I also do Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco and Urban Air Market along with other pop-ups around the Bay area.
What are the next steps in your career?
I would really like to start making some bigger more complex pieces and offer more variety in my products and sizing. Some of these things will need to wait until my kids go to school a little longer ☺.