She is part of the Panama Art Factory, a collective of over 30 artists creating a wide variety of work. Her small studio is tucked upstairs and filled with all the materials she uses to create her unique style of art which combines traditional photography techniques, collage, screen printing, drawing, assemblage and more.
Melissa takes most all the photos that appear in her artwork and uses historic photographic techniques to produce the final pieces. Her unique style has caught the eye of bands, private art collectors and Vogue Italia which featured her work in their online magazine PHOTOVOGUE.
She just finished an artist residency with YoloArts where she was able to share her love of art with at-risk youth (ages 13-17), “It was little rough in the beginning, but we ended up loving each other by the end.” She continues to work with YoloArts in their I SEE YOU program designed for homeless students of all ages.
In keeping with her experimental nature, she recently added mural artist to her portfolio.
“I was invited by the all girl graffiti and skateboard group Few & Far to help paint part of a collaborative mural in Rice Alley. I think they thought I’d be upset because my space was the smallest section, but it was my first time, so to me that it was huge! I just thought – OK, you’ve got to start somewhere – and jumped in with my brushes.”
Melissa has worked on several murals since then and has realized she really likes working big. She would like to do more public art, but it is hard to get your foot in the door.
“You can’t get public art unless you’ve done public art. It’s sort of a vicious circle. So, go do murals, ask local businesses if you can put a sculpture out front. No ones going to just hand you your first project.”
I haven’t mentioned yet that Melissa LOVES music as well as art. She’s been part of the Sacramento music scene for years as both a fan and promoter. She started TUBE in 2012 as a way to highlight local Sacramento bands and artists.
“I started Tube with the thought that if people knew what was going on in Sacramento, maybe they’d stop leaving! All my friends were making art and playing music, but once they started doing well they’d say, ‘I gotta go to New York. I’m doing well, I gotta go to LA.’ I was like, stay put and this place will be awesome!”
The printed version of TUBE is a short run publication with a screen printed cover, between 32 and 52 pages and usually has a theme for each issue (punk rock was the focus of the last issue). Although TUBE’s goal is to promote the Sacramento art and music scene, their reach has been growing.
“When we started it was all Sacramento. T hen we got the chance to interview Steve Drodz of the Flaming Lips. When that happened, we just got bigger bands and bigger bands and bigger artists – it grew really fast in that way.”
TUBE has even been getting some notice abroad, stores in London and Berlin will soon be carrying the magazine. Melissa’s goal is for the printed magazine to be free.
“We have to charge for books right now and barely break even. But I would love to figure out a way that they could be free.”
One of the things that makes TUBE really unique is that when you subscribe to the magazine, you receive an original piece of art or music from a local band along with the magazine. So SUBSCRIBE people!
The TUBE crew also curates art and music shows in Sacramento. I just have to point out again… these are ALL volunteers. They recently teamed with the Crocker Art Museum is curate “Vaudeville at the Crocker ArtMix.”
Another recent show that got a lot of attention was “Life on Mars.” a curated art show inspired by David Bowie’s song of the same name. Although scheduled before his death, the show took place after his passing and drew large crowds of fans paying tribute to the performer.