Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Interview with Melanie Cossey
Melanie Cossey is a british columbian artist and writer who has achieved a well deserved recognition for the quality of her works in several media.
She was kind to accede to an interview :
José - With what age did you discover your interest for drawing and painting ?
Melanie - From very early on I loved to paint and draw. I come from a very artistically inclined family, my father, his mother and her uncle were all artists. When I was in kindergarten I won first place in a hobby contest the school had. In later school years I was asked to display my work in the shopping mall as part of a district wide student art show.
J - Did you have support and if so, how was or continues to be important to you ?
M - I remember year after year receiving art supplies for birthday and christmas presents. Many of them were "how to draw" "how to paint" books and kits. When I wasn't painting I was writing stories, sometimes illustrating the stories. My dad did a lot of art work with us. We made all sorts of things. My dad built a potter's wheel out of a discarded man hole cover and bought a kiln and we made pottery in the basement. My life was surrounded in art. Now my support comes not only through my parents, but also my husband and those in the galleries who believe in me and my work. I have a lot of people helping me and guiding me along (sometimes pulling me) and it helps keep me motivated and believing in myself.
J - When and why did you decide to take a more serious approach toward Art ?
M - In the fall of 2005. Something changed. After highschool I didn't pursue art. I went to school and became a dog groomer and then I started writing professionally. My art time was reduced to a hobby I did once a year or two. One day I was showing some work to a friend online and he thought it was fantastic and wanted to hook me up with a print company. Around that same time some other friends were encouraging me with my work.
J - What made you think that you were ready ?
M - My sister, my hubby and I were at an art show and looking around at the art they said to me, "you know, your work is every bit as good as this." From there I decided to enter a show , my first, unjuried. I sold my first painting there.
J - How did that changed your relation toward Art ?
M - It gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to do anything I put my mind to. Right away I got two commissions and then I was on a roll. What are your favourite subjects ?
I love to paint still life objects, things with shine and reflection and things that have an emotional connection to them, such as food. Food has it all, emotion, shine, reflection, colour. Its the perfect subject.
J - Do you prefer a certain medium for a certain subject ?
M - Aside from flowers being done in pastel, no I don't. I like the different effects one gets from the various mediums. A candy apple looks different in pastel than it does in acrylic. Different aspects are highlighted.
J - What advices do you give to those who desire to pursue a more professinal approach to Art, namely how to get into exhibitions ?
M - Its all about networking. Get yourself out there in the public eye. If you are exceptional as an artist you will get noticed in short order, but those artists are rare. It takes lots of leg work and marketing yourself. Hook up with a group of artists and find out where they exhibit. Attend their shows and get known in the art world. The art business is up and down all the time. You have to develop a tough skin and keep at it!
J - Thank you for sharing your time with us and we hope to see more works from you soon
Melanie's work can be seen at her website.
This is the start of a line of interviews with artists and people related to art.
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