Sunday, March 29, 2009

Artist Profile: Melissa Beach - Scent of Rain Designs

Tell me a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Melissa Beach and I live in Santa Cruz, California. I live in a great apartment with my fiance and our four year old daughter. I am a senior at the University of California, Santa Cruz majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Art History. I began taking pictures with a Roloflex SLR (aka Rollei) when I was about 10. My father, grandfather, and several on my uncles are or were photographers. So when I expressed an interest in photography my dad didn't think I needed to start with a point and shoot. Once I learned to use a camera I never left it at home. I still use that Roloflex and it is still one of my favorite cameras.

surfer's church

Apart from creating art, what do you do?
When I am not taking pictures I am reading one of the 10-12 books and 30+ articles I have to read for my classes at UCSC each quarter. Intense! I pull myself away from work as often as I can to play with my daughter or hang out with my fiance who is still my best friend. When school is not overtaking my life my two favorite things to do are cook and grow my veggie garden.

reaching for sustenance

What first made you want to become an artist?
I remember going to my grandfather's home one Thanksgiving. He was a painter, photographer, inventor, and print maker and his house was covered in his works. Family members have told me that he was the artist behind the Otter Pops characters and he invented several board games and the 100 sided dice. He and my grandmother had luxurious taste so even though they lived in a modest apartment it was decorated with lots of velvet on the couches, a formal dining area. I remember their big lamps with all the crystals hanging off of them. The largest painting in that room was a gigantic tiger, painted with Gouache. That painting mesmerized me and when I found out my grandfather was the artist, I decided I wanted to be able to paint like that too. My grandfather died when I was about 13, and I didn't know him very well, but I feel like I did. My family often tells me how much my art resembles his. I like to think that he sends me inspiration and helps me along my own path as an artist.

plum zen - set of postcards

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I use four different cameras in different ways. My Nikon D70 is my main digital SLR. I also use a small Panasonic Lumix and, of course, my Roloflex. I recently began exploring Through the Viewfinder or TtV photography and I am using my grandfathers Kodak Dualflex 3 as my bottom camera and my Nikon D70 for the top camera. I love that I am combining our two cameras to create new pictures.

I am drawn to bright colors and the order of nature. I like the idea of a natural perfect ratio or Pi. So I look for that to show through in my photograph's composition. Mostly I want people to walk away energized by the colors but in a peaceful and somehow relaxing way. My black and white prints are also inspired by order and shapes as well as light and shadow. I like my black and white prints to be really dramatic as well as aesthetically beautiful.

secret garden

Most of my printing is done through professional printers who specialize in photography. Occasionally I get access to a real darkroom and I can process and print my own film. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more rare.

What artists have influenced you and inspire you to create?
As I mentioned before I am really inspired by my grandfather and my father who taught me to use a camera. There are several photographers who are on Etsy and Flickr and who have blogs that are very inspirational. When I am in a rut I love doing personal photo challenges. I've experimented with shooting 100 different pictures while standing in one spot or taking 20 pictures using negative space. Often some of my favorite photos come from these challenges.

leaf drops

Where else can people find your work?
I have a website which is just getting up a running, my Etsy shop, Scent of Rain Designs, my Flickr stream, my photo blog, and I write a craft blog, Elemental Stitches.

All images displayed in this post are by and copyright of Scent of Rain Designs, all rights are reserved.


Post a Comment

Our friends said: