Melissa Gale Fox is most known for her diverse yet visionary concepts she incorporates into her work.
She took an interest in art at an early age while attending lessons through still life oil painting taught by her neighbor Carolyn Seale. Oil was the first medium she used as a child.
Melissa began working with acrylic noting it was easier to work with and dried faster thus relieving her eagerness in the drying process. A well-known piece and Family favorite called (Mona Lisa’s Dream’s, 2018) meticulously resembles that of Leonardo DA Vinci’s (Mona Lisa,1503-1506). In honor of Melissa’s Comanche Indian heritage, She put feathers on her head and bubbles in the background to lighten the mood of the piece.
Melissa uses numerous techniques making it look simple to shift from one to another. A technique called “soak Staining” invented by Helen Frankenthaler captured her attention while working under the instruction of her sister, Dr. Lillian Love Kennedy PHD.
She also enjoys the work of the visual artist by the name of Gerhard Richter, particularly impressed by his Abstract Expressionist techniques.
Melissa finds great peace and solitude while painting,” she states, also mentioning “the uninterrupted thoughts are what inspires me to create my most accomplished pieces”.
Melissa enjoys finding new techniques and ideas for paintings that are not yet fully exposed.
Hello Melissa! How did it all start in the world of Art for you?
Mellisa: I guess I could say it all started at the age 11. I had a neighbor by the name of Carolyn Seale and she was always painting. I would walk to her house a couple times a week and she started taking notice of my interest in painting and offered to give me a few lessons in still life painting. Carolyn was always painting beautiful portraits in oil so oil was my first medium to paint with as well. My Mother and my older Brother painted so I also watched them growing up. My Mother painted in oil but I was also fascinated and still am with my Brothers drawings.
Tell us about your artwork, medium, style, subject matter etc.
Mellisa: Originally I was drawn to very detailed painting and as I grew older discovered the freedom of abstract painting. Abstract painting is “like shooting from the hip”. When I begin a new abstract piece I don’t have a set plan or even a vision I just follow whatever my brush leads and that’s the freedom of abstract. The fun in painting abstracts is seeing what ends up on my canvas. I also enjoy mixing mediums while working on abstracts such as mixing acrylic paint with charcoal, chalk, or even spray paint to get the different textures and effects.
What is the process from start to final artwork, do you envision it from the beginning or is it a different process? And how do you know when a work is finished? Also, do you have some rituals to get in the zone, like listening to music?
Mellisa: I like the setting to be quiet when I am painting. I do not like any distraction of any kind. I prefer things quiet when starting because then I am open to whatever ideas come to my mind. I just begin to follow where the brush leads. The first thing I choose is the color I am going to use and then I just begin. If I am painting a portrait then obviously I have a detailed plan and know pretty much what I am going to do. I am consistently, and always thinking about balance. I think it may be the Libra in me, but in the back of my mind balance always stays present.
What is your favorite artwork from some artist you admire, and if you could pick one that you’ve made and why?
Mellisa: I really don’t have a specific favorite Artist as they each have their own personality and story but I will say that a couple that has really caught my attention the last few years are Gerard Richter and Helen Frankenthaler(1958-2011). Gerard Richter particularly for his diversity in his Art from his beginning work to his more current abstracts I feel he is a genius just by knowing what it is he is striving for and for his pushing and pulling technique he uses with the paint. I love that. Helen Frankenthaler I admire for her minimal style and the technique she uses called “soak stain”. I feel her art shows the peaceful place she was in her personal life in certain pieces of which is my favorite. Sun Mountain (1968) shows such simplicity. The piece titled Passport (1953) is another that I like.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
Mellisa: I am not necessarily trying to communicate anything particular with my art but I and many other people have taken note that depending on my mood, situations at hand in general in life and things like that tend to transpire into my pieces. Breaking everything down to the perfect mark or shape. I had a dream once that I had the perfect shape, in the perfect color, size and spot and everyone that looked at the piece felt euphoria. I think it can be done and has been done for that matter.
What is the most recent piece you’ve enjoyed working on the most and why?
Mellisa: I just recently finished working on a 3d hanging sculpture made from paper Mache, plaster and silicone. I wanted to do something with an idea that I love and that is bringing the subject off of the canvas so to speak. That’s what I did here.
Your family’s all-time favorite is your “Mona Lisa’s Dreams, 2018”. Tell me more about that, and what inspired you to make this artwork?
Mellisa: I wanted to paint Mona Lisa and so I began work and as I was painting her I had two goals in mind the first was to give her a Native American twist and the second was to lighten the seriousness of the Original piece. My Great Grandmother was full blood Comanche Indian so that is where the Native American twist came into it and then the bubbles were to lighten the seriousness as to me she looks like she needs to be having a little more fun and so I feel it made her look a little less serious. This piece is my Daughter’s favorite.
Do you have a real-life situation that inspired your artwork?
Mellisa: Watching my Mother as well as my older Brother painting while I was growing up. I must say the most inspirational real life situation that has taken place would be attending my sisters Graduation in Dallas Texas. In 2019 she received her PHD in Arts and Aesthetics from the university of Texas.
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?
Mellisa: I am currently working on an online Exhibition that I plan to have at least 30 of my original pieces on display with the option to purchase. This will be my first online Art Exhibition I’ve done so I am excited about that. The link will be posted on my Facebook page, Instagram page, as well as my online portfolio. (mentioned below). I have been invited to a few Art Expos for the near future as well as a page or two in the upcoming worldwide art books. I have had some interesting opportunities arise here lately and am very appreciative for those as well as this one with you guys!
Do you see your art serving a purpose beyond art?
Mellisa: I hope that one would take with them the drive I have inside me to always create. Whether it is a painting or a sculpture I am at work on , I have to create to feel. If a piece of my work can just cheer a person up or be the perfect piece that brings them pure joy my job is finished.
What are you currently working on and what is next for you?
Mellisa: I am not sure what is the very next for me as I am as mentioned always driven to create. I am looking into “off the canvas” ideas. I love that concept. I would love to invite you guys to follow me on my social media sites I have listed below, and from there you will be able to attend my first virtual Exhibition it will be thru Artavita. I hope to have up at the end of April 2021. The Exhibition will have my original pieces and they will be for sale. I have never sold any of my Art as I have gifted some but I want to get into that aspect of the Art world as well.