This months exhibition is by two talented artists Mel Anderson and Helen Rhodes you can see their show in the main exhibition room and it is entitled Under African Skies we caught up with Mel Anderson for part two of our artists interview, scroll down for part one with Helen Rhodes.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m textile artist, Mel Anderson Design otherwise know as MAD, Wife and Mum to 3 teenage boys, not necessarily in that order. I work mostly in wet felt at my home studio on the Derbyshire/Leics border.
Why do you do what you do?
Working with wool is so tactile, I love the effects that can be achieved, I started with simplistic, bright, vibrant and iconic designs, but as I constantly experiment with different textures and materials the artwork has evolved and matured, like me!
What’s your background?
I originally trained as a Make-Up Artist and Hairdresser, however this required me to travel to where the work was, which became difficult when the boys came along. So I started painting things instead of people.
What art do you most identify with?
I love art that makes you look carefully to see how it’s achieved. It’s why I learned to felt. I love to watch people working and building up a beautiful image, whether it’s traditional painting techniques, ultra modern hole punched art or photography. I least identify with unmade bed kinds of art.
What’s your favourite art work?
I’ve always been drawn Claude Monet's work, I was really lucky to have visited Le Jar din de Monet in spring last year. I have previously created a felted version of The Scream by Edvard Munch, entitled ‘The Muffled Yell’ So may maybe I’ll try some felted Water Lilies next.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
As well as Monet’s amazing garden, his house and collection of Japanese art prints is stunning too. I’m hoping to use images such as the Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai as inspiration, for an upcoming ‘Sea 3’ themed exhibition in September.
What inspires you?
Nature, family, friends, other art and artists, innovative design and everyday things around me.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It can be! If I have deadlines to meet I work till all hours and miss catching up with friends and family. I love to listen to upbeat music while I work, all genres really. On a break I check my emails and have a virtual coffee break with friends on twitter and FB. I’ve made some amazing friends this way! Some of us meet up every so often, there are still some scattered far and wide I’d love to see. I met one of my best friends Helen Rhodes through twitter, we’re now holding our first joint exhibition together ‘Under African Skies’!
What do you dislike about your work?
Like many artists I suspect, the worst thing about it for me is self doubt. Although people think I often come across as being confident and cheerful, I get serious bouts of self doubt. No matter how many people say lovely things about my work, it’s always the few negative remarks that stick. I shouldn’t say it but I also find myself getting a little bored of the rolling out process at the end of the wet felting technique! Although it’s good exercise, I just can’t wait to see the finished product!
What do you like about your work?
I love researching, online and visiting galleries, the Saatchi Gallery is a favorite, and the actual design bit, laying out the fibres, getting the image right, experimenting with new techniques and media. All very satisfying when it goes right. And getting great feedback.
So a very exciting month for Studio 61 Gallery wonderful 70's inspired work from our artist in a window Joanne Reay who sold work before she could even display it and fabulous African inspired work inside the gallery.
Studio 61 Gallery is open 10-5 Tuesday - Saturday and 12-4pm on Sundays, theres always a warm welcome and tea and coffee is available.