Behind every artist is a muse; behind every successful man is a hardworking woman – and it takes a strong foundation for couples to thrive together in an ever-changing industry to help each other grow and stay on top of their game. I met Melissa through a good friend of mine, L aka Naturel, a couple of years ago – and I have always admired how she balanced motherhood & family and hustle as an artist. Melissa’s artwork – “clean lines, minimal content and solid colors” – also reflects her energy: avant-garde – a modern woman who is not compelled to “choose”, but “juggles” different aspects of her life, and never settles for anything less than great.
How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?
I love to clean and organize pretty much everything. I’m a little bit of a minimalist as well. Those habits are such a big part of who I am that it carries over into my work. My artwork and design usually reflects clean lines, minimal content and solid colors. If you ask my family and friends, I’m a total Virgo! Even though it’s not always achieved – I crave some type of perfection in anything I do.
How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?
My mother is the reason why I even pursued art and design. When I was young, my teachers, principals and my mom created avenues for me to water my talent – they were all women. My mom pushed me to go to art/design school for college and showed me I can make a living off of my creativity. I am inspired by all women, I feel like I celebrate who we are when I create, it’s for us.
“I don’t think too much about staying relevant because that tends to fog up creativity.”
” Artwork comes from within, and it’s hard to create if you are thinking about what everyone else wants from you – staying ahead of the curve is putting a piece out with a “fuck it, take it or leave it” attitude.”
Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?
I love pop culture and fashion, so keeping up with trends doesn’t feel like a task. There are so many resources available like social media, blogs and just walking around your surroundings. I don’t think too much about staying relevant because that tends to fog up creativity. Artwork comes from within, and it’s hard to create if you are thinking about what everyone else wants from you – staying ahead of the curve is putting a piece out with a “fuck it, take it or leave it” attitude.
How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?
I’ve said it before, I’m a Virgo but I’m also a mother – staying organized helps me achieve those goals; it’s a part of who I am. My king and I made a culture of creativity at home and so as tired as I am, it’s always in my face. Hanging out with our daughter stirs up all types of inspiration for us.
“We’re not built to know it all, so we constantly learn from everyone around us.”
How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?
Mentors are very important. We’re not built to know it all, so we constantly learn from everyone around us. My very first mentor was my mom, instead of introducing me to a conventional career path, she introduced me to art & graphic design. College had a very intimate setting so I had a lot of one on one time with my professors – too many to name but they all made a good impact on my career path. There was a point in my life where I entered the world of makeup artistry, beauty & fashion. I learned so much from the artists and photographers I worked with. Currently, I am blessed with loving and living with a huge inspiration, my king –Naturel. I can’t wait to work with and learn from other artists and designers – my list of mentors will never end!
What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?
No matter how difficult things get – because it will get pretty unbearable sometimes – push through! Faith, hard work, and passion breed good results even if the results aren’t immediate. You can plan life all you want, but you can’t control what happens. Everything you go through – good and bad – leads up to your dreams and goals… so don’t give up!
Place that inspires me the most… There isn’t a specific place but where I grew up (PG County, Maryland) has a lot to do with the pieces I cultivate; some are inspired from the music, street culture and experiences I’ve had. As far as art and style, I find inspiration traveling, decorating my home and even shopping – as crazy as that sounds! Lol.
I feel most powerful when… I feel good, look good, and hold it down for my family!
I love what I do because… I can wake up every morning and decide what I am going to do with my day.
Best advice I have ever received… Love and take care of yourself first and you’ll be able love and care for others.