Artist Spotlight: Melvin G

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Anne Neilson Fine Art is excited to introduce to our viewers a talented artist who is featured in our exhibition, Rooted (May 31-July 15), which focuses on a diverse set of Southern, emerging artists. Morgan Elvington Walker, who also goes by Melvin G, is a native and current resident of Florence, South Carolina. Describing her aesthetic as, “colorful and controlled chaos,” Morgan explains how her work is inspired by her father’s experience with Parkinson’s disease and her three year old daughter’s experimental and chaotic drawing methods. Her father’s increasing awareness of his “lack of control” over his writing and her daughter’s youthful unawareness where she has not yet learned to control her writing both have had profound influence over Morgan and her artwork. This distinct theme of chaos balanced with control remains a constant thread throughout her work. To learn more about her background and artistic inspiration, along with enticing pictures of her captivating works, continue reading the interview below!

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Morgan’s father, an inspiration to her artwork

When did you start your career in art?

I began my art career in the Fall of 2015. I have loved art from before I can remember, but I never really considered doing it as my job.  I went to school for interior design at Winthrop University, then studied art and art history at Clemson University.  When I graduated, I went into interior design, and then fashion.  After having my daughter, I continued to design for my jewelry line (Melvin) with my aunt and do the window installations at Capitol in Charlotte.  After about a year of traveling back and forth, I decided to take a break from working. Six months later my husband bought me a large easel for my birthday, and put it in a spare room in our house. He told me to go paint as a creative outlet.  I began painting more and more, and I fell in love with it all over again. Now I can’t imagine a day without it.  I am literally doing it every break I have, and with a three year old and five month old maybe I should be resting.

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Morgan’s 3 year old daughter, Liza

One thing you couldn’t live without?  

My family… and espresso.

Describe your artistic process and preparation:

When I first got back into painting I was discouraged because I did not like about 90% of what I was creating, so I was not doing it much.  I was talking to a friend who is also a painter.  He told me to just paint as much as I could.  I might hate most of it, but I would love some of it.  Then I could eventually take everything I loved and make something great out of it.  It was probably some of the best advice I have ever received.

With my abstract pieces I do color studies to come up with my color schemes.  Sometimes I do exactly as I planned, and sometimes I completely veer off course.  I usually end up liking those the most.  I always listen to music when I paint, and as silly as it sounds, I let the music take over my every move. I can always tell what type of music I was listening to when looking at a piece.

 What are you currently listening to?

Every song from the show Big Little Lies. It is possibly the best soundtrack I have ever listened to. My husband and I love music, and It is constantly playing in our house.  My playlist always includes Ryan Adams, The Rolling Stones, The Lumineers, Nirvana, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Coldplay, Neil Diamond, The Black Keys, Bush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ray LaMontagne, David Gray, Bon Iver, The Hollies, Pete Yorn, any and everything Motown, and most songs from the 50s (that is all my parents listened to while I was growing up.)

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Big Little Lies

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

Safe Haven. My morning devotional was talking about how heaven is our safe haven. The world is a crazy, scary, beautiful, yet ugly place. Knowing our forever safe haven is heaven, a perfect, pure, beautiful place with only goodness, is so comforting.  When looking at it, especially on a hard day, it reminds me that everything will be alright.

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Safe Haven, 24×18

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)?

Professionally: I made a portrait of Oscar de la Renta out of red, yellow, blue, black and white thumb-tacks.  He and his family came to see it, and he signed it.  It was such an honor to meet him (even though I do not really remember what he said because I was so excited and nervous.)  Definitely one of the top five best moments of my life.

Personally: Every single time I can get a work goal accomplished being a full time mom of two little ones.

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Morgan and Oscar de la Renta in front of her thumb-tack portrait

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?

Stella McCartney. Her career, her family, her friends, I would not mind trying it on for a day. Maybe even a week, but not right before fashion week.

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Your all-time favorite artist and/or your favorite emerging artist?

Cy Twombly and Jean Michel Basquiat are my all time favorite artists.  I also love Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Pablo Picasso and Joan Mitchell. My favorite emerging artists are Laura Deems and Dorothy Shain.

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Jean Michel Basquiat

Dream commission?

Reese Witherspoon.  Always loved that Southern belle, now even more so after Big Little Lies.

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What are you working on now?

My upcoming series was inspired by Leon, a man I met on the streets of Charleston.

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Sneak peak of Morgan’s new series inspired by Leon!

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 What do you want your audience to know about your work?

 I want my audience to take away what they felt when looking at the piece.  I try to keep my titles very simple.  The abstracts are usually just the colors of the piece in Italian, and the faces are the name of a loved one.  From my experience, when I title a piece, the viewer is always looking for that.  I would much rather them see what they are feeling.  And with that, depending on how they are feeling, it can change for them each time they look at it.

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years.

To be five years better than I am today.  To challenge myself to get better and grow each and every day.

Thank you for reading, and come see Morgan’s work in the gallery before the conclusion of the Rooted exhibition on July 15th!

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Annis Crown, 20×16

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Verde Acqua e Rosa, 23×30

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SPF 1000, 12×18

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Rosetta Peacock, 24×18