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Artist Interview with Melissa Martinez

I have known Melissa over the years through the art community in downtown Phoenix.  We have grown to know each other better recently during our time as members of eye lounge over the last two years. We were coincidentally pregnant with our children during the same time. We found support and encouragement in each other as artists during our transition into motherhood. We realized that with persistence and hard work, you are able to find a balance between being a parent and an artist.

What are your major influences?

Love, sadness, beauty, and nature in all its perfection and imperfection.

How has becoming a mother changed your work/work style?

Most of my work revolves around being a mother and the experience. I also think about how children would perceive and interact with my work. I’ve thought about how it can be fun for them too. In this respect my work has become more whimsical and interactive, for the most part. Also, as any parent knows you have less time to make work because you’re so busy being a parent. So when I work I have to be quick and efficient. I used to spend hours dreaming of projects. Now, I must make decisions quickly and get to work.

How has your previous work experience influenced your own art? 

I was a designer for museums for years. When I think about an exhibit, I design the whole thing I don’t just make the art work. I think many artists just think about completing the paintings or sculptures for their exhibit…but I want it to be an experience, entering a new environment or world that takes you someplace else. I want it to be a more visceral experience than just looking at picture on the walls. I want people to have a feeling in the space.

When did you first discover that you were an artist?

 I’ve  always loved to make artwork and craft. When I was a kid my best friend Tracy and I loved horses we would come home from school and draw horses all night long. In school we would skip lunch/recess and our ceramics teacher would open up the classroom so we could make enormous pots and dishes. It was wonderful!! In high school I’d do the same thing, I would go to the sculpture room and make stuff. The high school art teacher gave me and a few other students a key to the room. When I was looking to go to college I didn’t know what I wanted to study. My dad recommended business school so I studied business at ASU for 3 long years. I hated accounting, calculus, economics etc. I took art classes for all of my electives, wonderful sculptor talked me into ditching the business program and joining the crazies in the art department…I don’t know if that was a good decision, I’m broke! Maybe someone in the medical or engineering school should have recruited me… Two and a half years ago I quit my job to make artwork full time. This has been a dream of mine for a long time but, I think I was to scared to give it a try. What if I fail? Constantly runs through my head. I have tried to quit but this thing has a good hold on me…

What is next?

Super cool public art projects, I’m so excited about them. It’s nice to finally be making a little bit of money too! I’m also attempting a couple of new endevours. I’m trying my hand at making jewelry. I’m using recycled crystal chandeliers to make earrings and necklaces. It’s going pretty well but it’s a craft that takes a lot of practice to perfect…I’m still learning. I’m also buying and selling vintage furniture on ebay. This started about a year ago when I realized that my vintage white sofa wasn’t going to work with a toddler. Also, the two chairs I had in my living room were serious child hazards. So, I listed the chairs on ebay and sold them for more than I’d purchased tem for. This allowed me to buy new chairs and have some cash left over. So I sold my dining room table, and bought a new one on craig’s list…this has kept going I recently sold my first $10,000 worth of furniture.

Future Exhibitions:

InFLux Glendale Westgate opening June 22, 2013

Tempe Public Art – Hardy Streetscaping – Complete Spring 2014

Jewelry –

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