Interview With Visual Artist, Melissa Williams of Misprint.

"I am bringing people's visions and dreams to life, and purely seeing the joy on their faces when their personal request becomes reality is such a beautiful, emotional experience for both of us, and is also extremely rewarding as an artist" -Melissa Williams

Melissa Williams is a freelance artist (operating out of Melbourne, Australia) that has used her impressive eye for color to create epic art for musicians, retailers (which has given her an insider look at the entrepreneurial side of the business), and everyday consumers.

By taking a grassroots approach to marketing and working directly with her clientele, Melissa is able to produce pieces that have both aesthetic and sentimental value to her customers; Something that has been critical to her prolonged success in the freelance business. These relationships allow Melissa to feel satisfied by the pieces she is able to bring to life by collaborating with her clients.

Her visual style which can be described as a dazzling mix of psychedelia juxtaposed with beautiful elements from nature and spirituality, are impressive statements and representations of the power of Melissa’s artistic vision and dedication to her craft.

"Another World"

Prox: Tell us about yourself. How did you discover your artistic talents and what drove you to seriously pursue them?

Misprint | Artwork by Melissa Williams.

Fusing the digital and the organic, the spiritual and the make believe. Painterly hand drawn imagery, photography and digitally created collages, all remaining deeply rooted to nature.

Melissa: Hello. I am a full time freelance artist and graphic designer from beachside Carrum, Melbourne Australia.  I work from home in my studio and have 10 years experience working in the industry. 

I have always loved art since I was a little girl. I was always doodling, drawing, and sketching. Mum would find me curled up in a corner somewhere creating sculptures out of toilet rolls and plastic tupperware containers and would tell me off for using all of the sticky tape once again.

During school, I would sit at the back sketching my teacher with a ball point pen, my notebooks were filled with doodles and portrait sketches of peoples, so naturally I chose an artistic path and decided to move into the world of art and graphic design.

Prox: Who and what impacted your artistic tastes early on in your career? Was there a particular moment that really shaped the way you viewed or appreciated art?

Melissa: My discovery of modern digital art many years ago was what seriously changed my life. I was very much into painting and drawing and everything hand-done. I rarely touched the computer until my final year at uni where discoveries of Android Jones, Cameron Gray, and Linn Olofsdotter drove me to learn the computer skills that would bring me to where I am at now. 
I was completely blown away by these artists and their intricate, detailed, and unique styles. I had never seen anything like it before. Their works paralyzed me and left me completely speechless. It was this passion and inspiration that drove me deep into a world of computer generated art and made me fall in love with the medium over and over again.
However my love for hand drawn art did not die when I discovered the computer, as you can see in my work, all of my pieces are digital collages which allow me the freedom to incorporate my hand drawn motifs and sketches, my paintings, photography, scanned imagery and fabrics.

Prox: Working as a freelance artist, you’ve developed quite a bit of range in what you’re able to create. Is it ever difficult to jump from one project to another where you could be working in a entirely different medium than the last project?

Melissa: The work I do is all very illustration based. I do however work on a huge range of styles yes, from minimal graphic design website work, to simple logos, brochures, to detailed intricate album covers, bed linen, kids designs, tattoos, posters, flyers signage, branding identity, T-shirts, and more. I do have an obvious style to my work, but no, I have never really had any issues jumping from one style to the next.  I always have several projects on the go at the same time, its actually quite helpful for me moving from one brief to the next as it allows you to put the piece down for a while and re-look at it again with fresh eyes.  This is most important for me because it is always then, after the absent time, that you pick up mistakes and parts needing improvements.

"Year of the Rooster"

"Timing"

Prox: Out of every medium you’re capable of producing in, which genre is your favorite? Why do you think you favor this particular discipline and how are you better at expressing yourself in it?

Melissa: I would have to say digital art is my favourite. It gives me the freedom to combine my hand drawn sketches, paintings and photography all in one piece. And the amount of detail you can achieve is remarkable. 
All my pieces I print on cotton canvas and waterproof vinyl. I print at a large scale allowing all the intricate details to be seen, and also giving more impact to the work making it more of a statement piece.

Prox: What would you say are some of the greatest challenges and rewards of working as a freelanced artist? Have you ever worked for a company and studio as a basis of comparison?

Melissa: During my 3 year Visual Communications course at Monash, all my projects were steering towards a textile illustration style, I was using a lot of fabrics and patterns and illustration was my main focus. After uni I secured a job at Linen House, a textile and manchester company in Moorabbin.  I spent the next 3 years at linen house designing for companies such as Target, Big W, Myer and Adairs; Linen House taught me everything i needed to know about textile design and it really opened my eyes to the world of design. 

After this I travelled the world for a year, becoming more and more inspired by the beautiful art different countries had to offer. It was then I decided to move out on my own into the world of design, so I started up my own little freelance business and moved from company to company in-house freelancing, getting a feel and learning different skills and techniques from each place. After 2 years of this, I had enough clients to purely work from home, and had, had enough of people telling me what to draw and when, so I settled in, quit the agency relief work, and this is when 'Misprint' was formed.

I think the biggest challenge of a freelance artist is getting paid what you deserve to be paid. It’s a very hard industry, no one expects to pay much for graphic design... Some believe it takes 5 minutes and they expect to pay next to nothing for it.  

It’s also difficult because a lot of my clients are young musicians starting off their career with not much cash in their pockets. 

One of the biggest rewards I would have to say is working with clients on commission pieces. 

I am bringing people's visions and dreams to life, and purely seeing the joy on their faces when their personal request becomes reality is such a beautiful, emotional experience for both of us, and is also extremely rewarding as an artist.

"Sea of Energy"

Prox: There is an highly spiritual aesthetic in several of your creations. What has helped you cultivate your personal spiritual ideology and why have you decided to incorporate it into your pieces? What are you trying to convey to the viewer?

Melissa: A lot of my pieces do have a strong spiritual, consciousness expanding aspect to them yes. I think this is based on a lot of spiritual journeys and experiences I have encountered over the years, as well as extensive backpacking and trekking around the world to open my eyes to different cultures and practices.  

I am a true believer in living in the now, the present, and really focusing on your inner health and wellbeing.

One spiritual journey in particular that stands out in my life was my first 10 day silent Vipassana meditation course. Before this, my meditation practices weren't very successful, and I really wanted to become deeply involved in mindfulness, so I pretty much chucked myself in the deep end and completely saturated my world with it for 10 consecutive days in a little place called Woori Yallock, about a 3 hour drive into the bush from where I lived.  

It was a real shock to the system. At first there was the pain to overcome. Sitting on the floor for ten hours a day really does bring up a lot of problems and past injury obstacles! But as the days went on, I realized this ‘pain’ was being received as a ‘danger,’ and as as soon as I rid my mind of this danger, i was completely relieved of any discomfort at all.  The pain sort of turned into a type of pressure, I can't really explain it, it was still there, I was aware of it, but it wasn’t seen as pain and I wasn't feeling it as pain.  From then on, my sessions went from agony and stiffness and limping after classes, to pure bliss, tingles and walking on marshmallows.

The days to follow as I moved deeper into my mind, allowed me to feel within my body, to feel every tiny aspect of my skin, to feel the blood pumping through my organs, to truly understand my core self, and to really achieve a sense of control over my ego.  I was the voice above, looking down on all my little problems and issues. I could separate them and dissect them and arrange them as I pleased. I was still aware of them, but was never affected by them. This type of control brought me to places of true peace where my body, breath, mind and surroundings all aligned in such perfect harmony that I was sent to places of true heaven that I could never imagine.

After sessions like these, the outside world was so bright and clear and radiant. Colours had become rich and vibrant, sounds were so crisp and clear. It was like everything was in a sort of slow motion, but epically beautiful and intense. I would find myself staring at droplets of water in the grass for extended moments, and just sitting peacefully on the lawns of the compound listening to the sound of the wind rustling the leaves in the gumtrees above, and birds happily cheeping. I felt such a sense of oneness with the earth and connection with every living species.  It was this moment that I remember so vividly that really opened my eyes to the world of meditation and mindfulness. It’s pretty amazing what we can achieve from simply training your mind and accepting discipline.

I am more of a visual person, rather than a speaker, and it is only through my art that I can truly express myself and my inner beliefs and feelings clearly. I am not sending a single message or anything in particular through each art piece, it’s more of a general overall reminder, or a message of spiritual awakening. I want my artwork to emanate a peaceful aura, to generate a tranquil, positive mood for the space. I have people buying my work for meditation rooms or yoga studios, and some as an accompaniment to their crystal and precious stone collections or healing space. 

I try not to explain and describe my artwork too much, I want to keep it interpretative. My work has a lot to do with what the piece means to each individual; what it means personally to them and what they feel and see within the canvas. Everybody sees things differently and I guess that’s the beauty of abstract art. 

Prox: Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?

Melissa: I would have to say Android Jones is my biggest inspiration. As well as Cameron Gray, Alex Grey, Linn Olofsdotter, Pumayana, Andy Thomas, David Ho, Autumn Skye, and Clint Grierson.

All of these incredible people have shaped me as an artist in many, many different and meaningful ways.

"Abode of the Snow"

Prox: Favorite hobbies?

Melissa: Long walks in the sunshine on the beach with my two pups to clear my mind.

Travelling and trekking with my husband, discovering new places, and going on big adventures to see the world.

Also beach volleyball, piano, growing my own veggies and jewellery making.

Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?

Melissa: Always believe in yourself and practice, practice, practice.

Prox: Information on upcoming releases and projects?

Melissa: Nothing in particular coming up in the near future, but I am always posting new pieces and events on my website, Instagram and Artist Facebook page.

All the info and links are found here :)  www.misprint.com.au

Prox: Final Thoughts? 

Melissa: Thanks !! xx

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"Balance/Alignment"