April 30 2009

ACCESSTV Interview
Please follow this link to watch the interview.

JUNE 5 2008 

Interview with Melyssa Nielsen by Andrea Dorrans for Parlour Magazine

A: I want to ask about your current inspirations, I'm
looking for specifics (like Russian Constructivism, or
Japanese pop-art, or the newest --- album, etc.)
M: *Currently I'm really inspired by the art of Japanese
Rope Bondage. Alchemy. Outer space. Surrealist films.
My favorite Surrealist film makers are Maya Deren,
Jean Cocteau, Jan Švankmajer, and Alejandro Jordowsky.
I've been reading a lot of Anais Nin books lately. I
couldn't put her diaries down. She has even inspired
me to keep a current diary. I am collecting her
Hardcovers. Especially this one series. They are
designed by Milton Glaser. You know the famous Graphic
Designer who created the I heart NY logo. The layout
throughout the book is so amazing! Such a pleasure to
read. I will always and forever be inspired by Bjork.
The Japanese artists Tadanori Yokoo and Jun Takahashi
are incredible. One of my friends runs the record
label Audio Dregs so he sometimes sends me links to
download new albums. All the artists on his label are
amazing. I've been listening to this one Album remixed
by DJ COPY out of Portland non stop for the past week.
He took a bunch of old Bone Thugs in Harmony tracks
and made them something else entirely. I am very lucky
to have such amazingly creative friends. Unfortunately
most of them don't live here, they are scattered
through our planet. But they are a huge inspiration to
me. Whether it be their music, animations, comics,
illustrations or neon colored silkscreens. Every so
often I get a package in the mail which contains their
latest works. My studio is like a gallery. I have all
their posters and art all over my walls. I think Im
gonna have to start hanging the posters on my ceiling
soon! (laughing) 

A: Your current collection, Muse, contains three pieces,
why so few?
M: *The Muse Collection actually contains about 12 pieces
so far. My website is still getting updated with full
content and product shots. Sometimes being independent
has its ups and downs. You have to go with the flow.

A: Yes! Tell me about the ups!
M: *the ups depend from day to day. its usually the
little things... 

A: like ...
M: *like getting a letter in my mailbox from a friend
(customer) in Japan saying how much she loves the
piece she just ordered. or having the sunlight shine
through my windows and wake me in the morning. or
staying up in the wee hours of the night because i
just can't stop creating. but mostly following your
own voice - paving your own path. to be independent
you really have to be self motivated and there is a
whole lot of responsibility! 

A: Tell me about the importance of having a connection
with the customer?
M: *i put a lot of love into my work. i make it, i design
it... my work means a lot to me. If I could hand
deliver all my pieces I would. It is so nice when I
get a order from someone local. I often meet up with
them for coffee or a glass of wine. It is so nice to
have dialogue with the people who appreciate my work.
In the end I find I make new friends in the process.
Quite often "friends" send me emails or sometimes even
packages in the mail. Overall it is really nice to
have human interaction. 

A: Can you make a living at jewellery design?
M: *Absolutely! I do a lot of freelance design work as

A: The current state of arts in Alberta?
M: *Right now everyone is on this art trip. It's nice but
I think quality is better then quantity. I think
Alberta is starting to be a little more recognized
which I am very happy about. I was born and raised in
Calgary so I have observed the community for many
years. It is also very nice to hear that our
government is supporting the arts in Alberta. I
believe there are many talented artists here. It is a
shame that they have to go elsewhere to "be"
something. But at the same time I completely
understand. Everyone has to make a living. There are
many artists that are leaving Alberta because of the
rising costs and a lot of established artist run
centers are lost because the rent is increasing. 

A: You’ve said you consider jewellery to be wearable art;
do you consider clothing wearable art, and how are the
two different ...
M: *I believe there are some fashion designers out there
that produce works of art. The difference would be the

A: Why do you have “a hard time” selling your wares in
M: *I have a hard time because they slash my price point
in half right away. I put a high value on what I
create. Plus I like to have direct contact with my
customers. As Melncoly grows I know this will change.
Eventually I will sell my work in boutiques that are
in my target market. 

A: Tell me about this online boutique idea ...
M: *My current website, will be a
online boutique. I am currently looking for a web
designer to collaborate with. I have to reach my
target market and I believe this is the best way. Most
of my customers are in major fashion capitals.  

A: Tell me a little about missmeln …
M: *ahhhh missmeln is my music project. last year i did a
few collaborations with other artists. i am a singer.
i write music and other times i just hit record and
see what flows. my favorite collaboration was with
Japan's Satanicpornocultshop. I am a huge fan of their
work. I emailed Ugh through myspace and asked if he
would be interested in making a track. He was really
into it. He wants to do some more tracks in the coming
months. You can check out my music at I also did some vocals with
Brooklyn's Mixel Pixel while I was living there last
year. I would love to put out a album. Music has and
will always be very close to my heart. It is a
different form of expression for me. I would really
love to work with some musicians from edmonton. There
are some really great bands out of Edmonton! Like
Shout out, The Whitsundays, Whitey Houston and The Wet
Secrets. There is one thing in common with these bands
and that is Lyle Bell. I think he is a genius! 

A: What projects are you working on right now … and in
the future?
M: *currently I am designing a exclusive bridal
collection. the melncoly work is evolving. the work i
am doing right now is more dressing the whole body.
also connecting the whole body with my own style of
chain adornment. i am also directing a music video for
E*rock at some point this year. film is another huge
passion of mine. i've been sitting on this video for a
while. but in the last year or so i have learnt to not
be so rushed. at times i feel very disconnected to
this modern world. 

A: Collaborators, dream collaborators ...
M: *the work i am creating currently will be photographed
by todd duym. he is a photographer/director based out
of vancouver/new york.  he just finished taking
pictures of patti smith. i am very excited to see what
we come up with for the project. I have some other
interesting collaborations coming up as well. but my
lips are sealed until they are set in stone. my dream
collaborator is bjork. i have always admired her. i
would love to design a collection with jun takahashi
(UNDERCOVER). I love the use of light in Inez van
Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin's photographs. But
mostly my dream collaborators are the ones i meet
along this path of life or the next.  

A: Where can I buy your designs?
M: *Through me at! 

A: I heard you once met the Queen ….
M: *when i was living in london i got this gig working at
buckingham for the queens summer garden parties. on
the last day she came out to greet us all. she came
out with prince philip and all her corgis.
It was awesome but it was also super crazy because the
day i worked happen to be the day of the london tube
attacks. after i got off (around 7pm) i walked out of
the palace gates. there were thousands of people
walking out of the center of london. i had to walk
towards trafalgar square to meet my friends. they had
the streets blocked off to traffic. it was all very
surreal yet fabulous at the same time.

A: What is a modern renaissance woman to you …
M: *being open to creation in different forms. not
setting limits. following your own heart, voice and

A: There is a potent sexuality to your work, the way the
chains hug the curves and accentuate the lines of the
body, tell me about this intimate connection ...
M: *When I design my main inspiration is my human form.
Jewelry does embrace the skin and for me if something
does not move with my body I don't want to wear it. I
do not want to take away from the natural beauty of
the human form. I wish we lived in a world where all
we had was jewelry to adorn our bodies. I think
Melncoly looks best on a blank canvas. 

A: What is it like to be based in Alberta compared to a
major city?
M: *I find I am very focused in Calgary. I don't follow
fashion trends. In ways I shy away from the fashion
industry. Don't get me wrong I love fashion. I believe
you are who you are wherever you are. When I was
living in Europe the phrase "it doesn't matter where
you are but what you are doing" always passed through
my mind. I just wanted to get back to Canada to
create. However I do miss Paris very much. But my
connection to Paris is more the way of life. The
evening I arrived in Paris I went for a walk along the
Seine. I dressed my eyes on Notre Dame for the first
time yet it felt strangely familiar. It was as though
I had seen it everyday in a past life.


November 7, 2007


1. What influenced you to become involved in this
craft? How did it happen.

*I started making jewelry when I was a teen. I would
stay at home and watch movies and play with chains and
such. It's funny how things haven't changed much over
the years. When I returned to Calgary from London back
in 2005, I was working in my studio this one night
trying to make some jewelry for myself. I created what
is now my Signature Teardrop Earring. When I would
wear it out, friends would ask me where I got it. Then
the next thing I knew I had a number of orders. It
just kind of grew from there.

2. (Without being too technical) Can you describe the
physical process in making a piece? 

* Well it really depends on the piece. Mainly I
measure the lengths of chain and connect the pieces
together. I then balance the chains so they sit
properly on the human form. This is key to my work.
Some of the pieces are very time consuming. 

3. What is it about this process that you find
artistic (why is jewelry making art?)

*I treat each piece like my art because it is what I
have created. I create each piece myself. Jewelry is wearable
art and when I see my work on the human form I see the
lines where I intended them to be. Jewelry is one form
in how I express myself. 

4. What is creative process in designing a piece like?
or How do you find inspiration?

* Most of the times I play around with the chains.
They are what inspire me. It's like they speak to me
and tell me how to hang them. Other times I look at a
woman's or man's body and actually see what I would
like to see on the human form. Then I sketch it in my
drawing book.

5. Are you inspired by other forms of art
(architecture, photos, paint, sculpture, etc)?

*I am inspired by avant-garde photography and film. I
am heavily inspired by my friends animations and art
such as Paper Rad, e*rock, Ola Vasiljeva and Rob
Corradetti. Within the fashion industry I am drawn to
the work of Jun Takahashi and other Japanese creators.

6. I noticed some of your pieces are tear-shaped,
often hanging down, perhaps implying a sadness? And
some necklaces branch off and cross over themselves
back to the original chain as if each necklace were a
narrative line of conflict/resolution. Do you
incorporate any kind of themes like these into your
work. And if so, what does your art say, and how does
it say it?

*That is very beautiful Sean. I would like people to
think what they wish about my work. It would be a
shame for me to fill in all of the blanks. With this
collection I am mainly trying to focus on bone
structure. I think the most beautiful areas on a woman
are the neck and back. People often think because of
my name, Melncoly that it has meaning of sadness. It
stems from a name I have had with me for a very long
time. My nickname is Meln (shortened form of Melyssa
N.). Melncoly is just an extension of my nickname.

7. How does apprenticing keep you inspired? And do you
recommend apprenticeship to other artists eager to
learn and trade in art?

*I think apprenticeship is great, but you have to know
what you want out of the experience from the start.
From my experience, I had what I was looking for
already within myself. It is important as creators to
know what you stand for and to always be directed
towards your own voice.

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