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Art & Life with Melody De Los Cobos

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melody De Los Cobos.

Melody, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I am a self-taught artist, art event coordinator, curator, and community organizer, among a few other things. As a child and young adult, I taught myself to make things out of the basic materials I had available to me. Having to use unconventional and recyclable materials motivated me to use my imagination and enhance my creativity skills.
Battling depression and anxiety for the majority of my life has been quite a life challenge. There were many years where I felt I wasn’t worth anything. My life goal was to be as selfless as possible and most importantly, make sure my sister and mother were safe. As an adult, I’ve had to learn so many basic skills that I should have learned as a child and young adult. As a result, I sometimes get quite overwhelmed with life. I’ve come such a very long way in the last 5 years. The one thing that always drives me to continue my path artistically and as an individual, is my passion for.

My passion for helping others, particularly artists and creatives has led me to organizing and curating art related events. I have been organizing and curating art events for about a year and a half. It is very important to me to help those creatives that don’t have any idea of where to start to share their art with the world. Part of my work as an organizer is to create those opportunities for my fellow artists. I have had the privilege with working with some amazing venues and projects like The San Diego Latino Film Festival, Iron Fist Brewing, Border X Brewing, and next month, I will start curating at the Digital Gym.

Apart from being an artist and curator, I also am the art coordinator for Love City Heights. With the LCH association, I can give back to the community where I grew up using my creativity, networking, and organization skills. There are only four of us at LCH. Carlos Quezada (Co-founder and community advocate), Brittnee Woodard (Co-founder and our social media organizer), Edwin Lohr (local resident and Mid-City Ambassador) and Me (artist/curator and community organizer). We all work so hard to bring residents, businesses, and community leaders together through art and community projects. We have had great success with the Avenue Mural Project (#theavenuemuralproject), where we work with business owners and collaborate with artists to bring murals to City Heights. Our goal with this project is to create San Diego’s first Drive-Thru Gallery within a one-mile stretch.

I am also a proud member of the Amigos del Rep, a Latino based volunteer group that promote Latino themed plays, music, educational and social events for the San Diego Repertory Theatre. Collaborating with such amazing theatre creatives has inspired me in so many ways! I find it thrilling to give my Latina artist perspective at our meetings because I feel some of my ideas help to elevate the projects we work on. Currently, we at the Amigos del Rep are working on a weekend of new play readings by Latinx playwrights called the 2018 Latinx New Play Festival. Very exciting!

I also have teamed up with an artist, Kathy Crabbe in Temecula, CA to start an artist movement. There are very, very few opportunities in the Temecula area for artists to show their work. They either have to travel north to Los Angeles, or south to San Diego to be able to participate in art exhibitions. With Kathy, I network with many artists through the bi-monthly mixers I host. We will soon be hosting our first group art show in the Temecula/Murrieta, CA area.
Yes, I am an extremely busy woman. Now, if only I could get paid for all that I do! That would be the cherry on top!

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
One of my main objectives in my own personal art is to share the experiences and emotions of my life, piece by piece. I guess it’s a way for me to not feel like I’m the only person in this world that is going through certain emotions. I put a lot of myself in each art piece I create, and I do grieve when a piece finds a new home. Having another human in this world appreciate the work, the energy, and the emotion I put into my art is so humbling.

I love to create my art pieces with unconventional materials. My favorite materials to work with are dried corn husk leaves, eggshells and book pages. One of my strengths is creating intricate flowers out of dried corn husk. It’s quite a process to make the flowers. I have to select the perfect husk to prep each piece. I flatten the husk as much as possible, then cut each petal individually using unique templates I create. I paint them with acrylic paint and assemble the flower carefully without breaking or cracking them. The result is worth the work I put into it.

I absolutely love when someone really looks at the detail in a piece of artwork and tries to figure out what material I used to create the piece. When I tell them, it’s made of corn husk, their eyes grow bigger in amazement. It’s the best feeling!

I also use the corn husk to create feathers for birds and angel wings, book pages or recycled paper to create flowers or butterflies, and eggshells to make mosaics, and create texture.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
From working and collaborating with so many artist, I think a challenge that artists face is not knowing where or how to start showing their creativity through their artwork. Find a group or art collective to join! Get to know other artists! Networking is such an important part of being an artist…at least in San Diego. There are many art related events going on every week. Don’t be afraid to chat with your fellow artists about their processes, inspiration, and technique. We can learn so much from each other.

I host a mixer event every other month called Mixer for the Arts at various locations in San Diego. I invite all creatives in San Diego to attend to meet other creatives. It’s quite a successful event. You never know who you will meet at these networking events. Big time movie screen writers, international muralists, gallery owners, and organizational board members just to list a few awesome creatives that have attended Mixer for the Arts.

Another big challenge facing artists today is keeping motivated to share their creativity. By motivated, I specifically mean financially. Many members in our society think artists can whip up artwork or a creative art related project with the snap of a finger and expect not to pay for it. We need to value creativity and art higher than we do now. Financially investing in art and artists will help us grow as humans and as a society. I have seen many artists stop submitting their art to galleries and art shows because they can’t afford the materials to fund their work and share their creativity with others. It saddens me.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can see my work on my Facebook page under ChicanaLilly Studio where I also post the events I organize. On Instagram, you can find me under @chicanalilly. Every artist appreciates the support in the sales of our artwork. But another way people can support my work is by attending and sharing my events!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Andy Gonzalez – photo of me creating at the San Diego Latino Film Festival

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