United States
based in Kansas City . MO . USA
26 years . artist

I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri originally set on a path for studying Psychology. After college, I wound up in Germany spending most of my days painting. By them time I came back to the states, I was able to take on art as a full-time career.

Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
// Which media do you use to express yourself?

I primarily work in oils, although sometimes I’ll dabble in acrylics or inks.

// What is your biggest motivation to create? What inspires you?

I go in bouts of different things inspiring me. Sometimes inspiration can be found in the vivid points of nature like flower petals or contrasts of shadows and sunshine, but oftentimes I find a drive to create when I see that drive in others. Seeing an individual’s passion and a true desire for self-expression ignites a fire in me to do the same.

Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
// What is your creative process like?

It’s ever-changing and fairly inconsistent. I am a very impulsive when I create, so it’s not so much a process as it is an instant project. I’ve ruined many nice outfits by walking by a work in progress and feeling the need to work on it right then and there. I think a smock to throw on might be a good investment.

// What do you do in your daily routine to help maintain creativity?

It helps to keep my mind busy. I can find inspiration in the most unlikely situations, whether that be listening to a podcast, sharing stories with a friend, visiting an art museum, or reading about neurobiology. I believe the biggest threat to creativity is to remain stagnant in your routine, so I like to switch up my schedule.

Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
// What are you favorite works or projects that you have done? What was the motive?

Honestly, my favorite projects are the ones that drain me the most. Although late nights in the weeks before a show can be excoriating, I really believe they bring out my best work. At this point, you’re working from an unfiltered version of yourself and you don’t necessarily have time to over-think what you’ve done; you simply create without looking back. My last show in September involved about a month of little sleep, with my work invading my living space. It creates this immediate need and to get your brain out on the canvas.

Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
// Have you had a decisive moment in your career? How did this influence your trajectory?

My biggest turning point was when I finally became open with sharing work that made me feel vulnerable. I used to only create superficially “pretty” works, but when I finally expressed my more concealed sides, namely my experiences with synesthesia, I hit my breakthrough.

Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
// Who are your influences, inspirations, or preferred artists? How do they reflect in your own work?

I’ve always loved Impressionism and have found it to be a big influence on my work. Light is such an important element to pull a viewer into your work and artists like Monet and Van Gogh really explored that need.

I also love work that doesn’t give everything away immediately. Artists like Fredric Forest, Katy Ann Gilmore, and Allison Kunath create work that requires involvement. Its fascinating when you realize your brain sort of auto-completes another artist’s work through their implied lines and spaces.

// Do you think there still exists a bias in relation to women's free expression? Do you feel this in your work?

I think it’s definitely dependent on what the subject matter is and who is viewing it. With more outlets for artists and more circulation, it makes it easier for people to familiarize themselves with the concept. We’re not quite there with full acceptance but we’re definitely on our way.

Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
// What makes you happy?

Oh, there are lots of things that make me happy! Color is something that can make me swoon, but connections really fulfill me. I love to understand someone and have someone understand me. This is something I remind myself of when working on a piece; the whole goal is to impart your feelings to another individual. If you can get someone to experience your feelings as you were creating a particular piece of work, then you’ve truly done your job.

// What tips could you give to other women to help them bring their creations into reality?

Honestly, you have to “do you.” If you start to slide unwittingly into trends, you might have high success at first, but it won’t last. After all, art is an expression of your personal experiences and who you are as an individual. If you start to embody someone else’s work, not only do viewers pick up on that, but you’re not fulfilling your duties as an artist.

Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria
// Do you have a new project in the works?

I’m working on my next show at Blue Gallery in Kansas City, set for the month of September. It’ll be an exhausting next few months but I’m very excited!

Melissa McCracken por Projeto Curadoria