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Art & Life with Melissa Walter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Walter.

Melissa, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
In 1998 after graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a BFA in studio art, I began freelancing for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory as a science illustrator. Eventually I came onto the team full time also as their graphic designer and social media administrator. For almost two decades I created visual narratives about our Universe. When I decided to step away as Chandra’s graphic designer and social media administrator (I still create illustrations for the team), I thought that working with astrophysical phenomenon on a daily basis would be behind me. However, as I began a series of abstract geometric illustrations for my personal work, I started to connect the details of the shapes I was creating to the traits of objects in space. After that series of seven works, I realized that Astronomy was a wonderful source of inspiration to draw from…which I have been doing ever since. I’ve created multiple large-scale installations and many flat works inspired by objects in our Universe, astrophysical theories, and science topics in general.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My work is abstract and often incorporates visual geometric ideas. However, I don’t restrict myself to a specific medium. Recently I’ve made a number of pieces using ink, hand embossing, and cut paper. Currently I’m working on a series incorporating string with metal and shadow.

I’ve thought about that question of what I want people to take away from what I create. In the end I decided that I can’t control how someone views my work. And I have no interest in doing that. I’m creating a visual language that makes sense to me, one that I’m compelled to create. I would still be making these pieces even if there was no audience for them. Does it feel good when people connect to my work, and maybe even the topics they draw from? Of course! But once the work is out of my studio and out in the world, it is no longer mine. And that makes sense to me. I’ve never felt that drive to control my message. I just want to make good work.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
When I think I about the concept of success, I realize that it is never static and always fleeting. So rather than thinking about it in a specific way, I prefer to put my energy towards always evolving my art in better directions and finding better and more challenging opportunities. My hope is that if I continue to focus on those goals I’ll continue to feel positive about the direction I’m heading no matter where I am in the journey.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Currently I had a piece at Quint Gallery in a show called “Distant Light” that was curated by Shawn von Bigbee, which is closing May 19th. I also have my most intimate pieces on view at Vivid Space with photographer, Lexi Campbell, in a show titled “Geometric Milk” that was curated by Katie Ruiz. I will be giving an artist talk at the closing reception on May 26th, 1:00pm – 5:00pm. I’m also excited to be participating in a group show curated by Kara West at the Central Library Art Gallery called ” A Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes” that is opening May 26th, 12:00pm – 2:00pm. Following that (yes there is more), I was invited by artist, Amanda Lynn, to create an installation piece for this year’s KAABOO Del Mar. And the final project on the schedule (though more can always be added) is a site-conditional installation at ICE Gallery in the late fall at the invitation of gallery owner and artist, Michael James Armstrong.

You can see all my upcoming events on my site: http://www.melissawalterart.com/events/. And you can sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bCqPX1 

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Brian Baxter, Michael Andrew, Michael James Armstrong

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