melissa-the-artist

Melissa The Artist

Melissa Amato

“Stop, Drop and Roll” was the theme of the poster that was our assignment in the 3rd grade.  I remember being so proud that I received 2nd place and I was most proud because I won against a boy.  In 4th grade, I recreated “Starry Night. “  It would be quite some time until I revisited my right side of my brain in this fashion but, I am glad I finally did.  Fast forward 13 years later, and I found that what started out a necessity for the moment had turned into my lifelong passion.

I have held many different jobs in my life.  I even received an award at my high school reunion for the most jobs a person had in 10 years.  I have always wanted, nay, needed direction.  I yearned for it yet did not realize that it was under my nose the entire time.  I changed my major so many times, I lost count.  I have had the big girl job and the part time job.  But, the one activity that I go back to each and every time is my artwork.  It is true what they say, painting is therapeutic.  I just sit there listening to music and no one has control over what I create.  I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck, there are no deadlines and there are no rules or instructions.  That freedom is intoxicating.  That freedom is why I do what I do. 

I have always loved to doodle.  Growing up I was scolded for doodling on all the notepads in the house.  Now that I am almost 36, I am still a doodler.  I have just become a little more organized.  I have about three large sketch books filled with ideas and core ideas for paintings.  Some days I will sit and just sketch and sketch.  When I am commissioned for a piece of artwork, I do have a process.  I come to your house and take pictures of all the areas of the room.  I take note of the colors and materials and fabric in the room.  When I get home I sit down with the camera and my sketchpad with consideration of the direction/theme in which the client would like and I sketch.  My style is whimsical and sculptural.  I combine my style with the theme/direction of the client.  The sketches are signed off by the client and I begin painting.  Why do I let them have any creative control?  Because this is something that they will be looking at every single day and I want them to absolutely love it. 

My first mixed media material was mirror.  I learned the hard way that mirror is extremely sharp when shattered into little pieces and I have a few scars to prove it.  It’s beautiful in a painting but you have to be extremely careful.  Gloves are your friend.  I have recently begun working with clay.  I am very happy with the result of clay on canvas.  I have used a variety of other materials such as jewels, fabric, sand and wax.  Pretty much if it isn’t nailed down in my studio area, I will use it in a painting.  And oil paints are my most favorite because of the richness and vibrancy of the colors and slight sculptural aspect of the paint if applied thickly.  The use of such random and wonderful objects makes my work unique. 

Even though I try not to look at others artwork for fear that I will subconsciously plagiarize their work, I love Kandinsky and Van Gogh.  If I had to pick any artist or artists that my work would look like, I would say Rothko or Van Gogh.  These are not necessarily my heroes although I do appreciate their work and contribution to the art world.  My inspiration comes from strong females such as Alice Paul, Joan of Arc, Lucy Stone or Amelia Earhart.  Their strength and devotion allow me to believe that the impossible is a possibility. 


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