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.) thanks! 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 well. 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 canvas. A: Why do you have “a hard time” selling your wares in boutiques? 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, www.melncolydesigns.com 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 www.myspace.com/missmeln. 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 email@example.com! 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 vision. 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.
VOYANT MAGAZINE OF LUXEMBOURG INTERVIEW
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.