We had the good fortune of connecting with Melonie Mulkey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melonie, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I grew up with two artist parents and a family that supported the arts. I didn’t have much as a child (in terms of material things), but being taught how to be creative with what we had, opened the door to tremendous possibilities at a very young age. Growing up I explored a variety of artistic endeavors including dance and theatre. When I graduated high school I decided to explore other art practices in college and double-majored in Photography & Sculpture in which I used all of my experiences in the arts to fuel inspiration for new mediums. Like many college students who can probably relate, I knew at the time that pursuing an arts degree was a big risk in terms of financial return, but for me, making art was a necessity and really what I have known my whole life. I decided to pursue an art career because art making taught me about problem-solving on many different levels, and I knew if I pursued a career in the arts, I could be a part of many rich experiences throughout my life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work investigates interior spaces and the layered histories that exist within the built environment. My artistic practice for the last decade consists of staging scenes for the camera and documenting the result in which I exhibit the final photographic print as the final piece. Currently, I am working in miniature and building sets of interior spaces that I light and photograph using a variety of cameras. I exhibit my work nationally and internationally, and am very excited to have a few works in Manifest’s 8th International Photography Annual (INPHA 8), which I anticipate seeing very soon in 2021!
I have been around artists my whole life and learned many lessons along the way, but the one that sticks out the most, and that has been told to me by many, is that failure is a part of the process and you have to fail in order to fully succeed. Once I embraced that in my artistic practice, I could allow myself to enter into a new creative self.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The St.Joseph River, The Rose Garden, Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Park, University of Notre Dame, The Snite Museum of Art, The South Bend Museum of Art, Friendship Botanical Gardens, The Lauber Restaraunt, The Crooked Ewe Restaraunt, and finally antiquing through the many amazing shops and hidden gems from Northern Indiana into Michigan.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A shoutout to my dear husband and partner, who has supported me, loved me, encouraged me, and inspired me to be a better artist, and has been by my side for the last 11 years, and a shoutout to my 20-month-old daughter who made me a mother and is teaching me the greatest lessons that come with the greatest gift of all: love. From one of my favorite books The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”