In our second maker interview, we sit down with Melanie Biehle, our upcoming featured artist
, and talk about her meandering creative path, the best meal she's ever eaten, and the inspiration for her latest collection, Abstract Cityscapes
. Her show opens next Thursday, June 9th
. All images courtesy of the artist.
What do you make?
I love working with gouache on paper and creating details with pen. That's how I created most of the work in the Abstract Cityscapes show and how many of my pattern designs start.
Where do you live?
Technically Queen Anne, but super close to the Fremont bridge. I walk to Fremont all of the time but rarely climb that hill to Queen Anne. My family and I would love a chance to live abroad for at least a year. Australia sounds good!
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in a small town in north Louisiana. I've been living on the West Coast (Seattle and Los Angeles) since 1999. [Tiny cowgirl Melanie below!]
How long have you been making / designing?
I've made horrible paintings and collages off and on for 20 years. :) I started drawing in 2013, and in 2014 I began studying abstract art at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, completing courses in abstract composition, abstract painting, and abstract drawing. I’ve also taken online surface and print design classes and courses with Lilla Rogers Studio
and the Textile Design Lab at Pattern Observer
. You can read more about my creative journey as an artist here
How did you get started?
My path to art and design was a curvy one, beginning with writing and marketing, moving into photography, art direction, and graphic design, then finally finding my place as an abstract painter and surface pattern and print designer. I’ve done a lot of other creative work, like written and optioned a romantic comedy screenplay, used my Masters degree in psychology and years of marketing experience to help major movie studios in Hollywood market their films, and written about/photographed art and design for print and online publications. It wasn't until last year I began seriously focusing on creating my own art versus helping other artists and creative businesses market their work.
Do you have specific areas of inspiration?
My art and designs are inspired by the architecture and energy of cities, the adventure of travel, the fluidity, movement and the meditative qualities of oceans and lakes, and the mood boards in my mind based on 60s rom-coms, mid-century modern textiles from the 50s, and California surf culture.
What do you listen to when you are working?
Coffee or tea?
Coffee...and keep it coming.
Walk or drive?
Walk or bus.
Pen or pencil?
Paper or computer?
Paper first, then computer for my surface pattern designs.
Favorite place you've traveled?
Yikes! I'm not good with favorites. I'm going to say Siena, Italy and Paris, but there are many more cities that I love.
Favorite dinner you've ever eaten?
My 38th birthday dinner with my then boyfriend now husband at (the now closed) Mangarosa in San Francisco. It was a Brazilian Italian restaurant and I can't remember exactly what we had, but everything was delicious and the people who worked there were super friendly and encouraged slow dining. It was the first birthday I spent with my husband and it was full of super cheesy romance and food. I loved it all.
Favorite time of day?
Come meet Melanie on Thursday, June 9th from 6-9p!