MELISSA A. MITCHELL
Name: Melissa A. Mitchell
Location: Atlanta, GA
Bio: Melissa Mitchell is an Atlanta-based, self-taught artist, who has a love for vibrant colors, unique shapes, and bold dark lines. She attributes her Bahamian heritage, melodic sounds and the colorful world around her as her greatest inspirations. Since February 2014, she has created over 500 original art pieces, painted over 40 larger than life murals, has been featured in various articles including The Huffington Post and sold custom pieces housed around the world. More recently, she has brought her art pieces to life by turning her favorite paintings into unique head wraps, pocket squares, socks, bow ties, home décor and specialty textiles. Launched in 2016, her Abeille Creations’ head wraps have been seen on the likes of Lupita N’yongo featured in Vogue Magazine and she had an exclusive partnership with Smitten by Yandy Smith of reality television fame, to name a few. Last year, her work was also showcased in ESSENCE Magazine’s ‘My City, My Way’ tour stop in Atlanta, GA.
She specializes in creating one-of-a-kind pieces for homes, offices, and other personal spaces for her clients. She aims to curate pieces that evoke emotion, serve as a “light source”, speaks to the soul, but above all - inspire people to follow their passions and cultivate their dreams. Melissa is known as the “Kaleidoscope of Hope,” because she brings joy through her use of colors. Anyone that experiences something she has created will find comfort in knowing that there is nothing else like it in the world. She says, “Art has single-handedly changed my life and the way I live it. It is like love, you make it what you want. It makes you feel things you can’t always describe; so, you’re left to just relish in the beauty of it.” She is currently working on expanding her portfolio globally and developing significant artistic collaborations with other artists, corporations, major fashion houses and brands.
Social Media Handles: IG: @ABEILLECREATIONS
Describe your experience as a full-time artist and how you define your purpose.
I’m an IT professional by day and a full-time artist by night. I feel like my life has greater meaning with what I do outside of my “normal" career. I have chosen to balance the two to show what kind of superwoman a Black queen can be. I have mastered the art of management. And when I say that, I mean managing my time, energy, creativity, and ideas. I am always cautious and methodical about how I spend my time. My purpose is to inspire others to dream without measure. I want people to know that the sky isn’t even the limit. When I finally transition, the world will know that God personally tapped me on my shoulder and told me to leap!
What is your biggest factor in successfully balancing two careers?
My driving factor for everything that I do is faith. When I blindly picked up the brush in 2014, I trusted God that something magical would happen. Since then, I have created over 500 one-of-a-kind paintings all over the world. The mustard seed faith I had when I started has kept me and prospered me beyond measure.
Describe your biggest milestone your achieved since pursuing your art full-time.
One of my biggest milestones has been being selected by Essence Magazine and Ford for the “My City 4 Ways” tour here in Atlanta. They selected me out of the wealth of talent here. I actually traveled to New Orleans this year for Essence Festival with hopes to make contact with someone who would see my talent. I sold a few pieces, but the magic didn’t happen the way I had hoped. Literally weeks later, I received a DM on Instagram from a marketing executive from Essence asking for a high-level meeting. Apparently, someone had been watching me all year long and wanted to showcase little ‘ol me. This lesson taught me to not despise my humble beginnings. It taught me to keep working no matter who was watching. It taught me that God can shine a spotlight on you no matter where you are. This occurrence was just another confirmation that I am living the life God ordained for me.
How does your personal style/identity translate into your artwork?
Oh my! Honey I am the quintessential Kaleidoscope of hope! I filter life and art through my optimistic lens. I am colorful, vibrant, lively and full of cryptic codes. My art is exactly that. I use certain colors because I know their power and I even hide symbols in some designs. I want people to be drawn to my testimony and my relationship with God. I also weave in stories of African history and remind people of the richness of our heritage. My work is a direct reflection of time spent in self-reflection and saturating my spirit in all things artsy.
What are some ways/life hacks that have helped keep you motivated and helped you get through creative blocks?
I am serious meditator. I understand the power of self-reflection and shutting out the noise around me. I know the right incense to light, the right music to play and the right art to surround myself with to stay motivated. The best life hack is to NOT paint when your spirit isn’t in it. It’s that simple. Your art is a reflection of your soul. So, if it’s super clouded then your work will be the same. You determine what your art says by merely thinking a certain way.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP who is interested in pursuing art?
I urge people to stay the course and to do what works for them. Have a plan and stick to it. A mentor is good to have if you need a person to keep you motivated. You need to surround yourself with all things ART. Being a full-time artist is NOT easy, so research what that life looks like before you leap. It’s ok to work a full-time job AND paint full time. It’s tough but possible. Anything is possible if you truly believe.
What is next for you?
I recently launched on January 11th my first art book titled, “Views from My Kaleidoscope,” which is the perfect coffee table/inspirational book that’s a compilation of quotes, mantras, and beliefs on 90 glossy pages of my favorite paintings that makes the whole book an experience. In celebration of my new book, I’m excited to announce that I’ve collaborated with TILA Studios to host my Free book release event on February 11th from 11am-4pm. It’s definitely going to be a day to remember because I’m also debuting a never before seen art exhibition titled, “Knew Africa!”
What does being a "black girl who paints" mean to you?
Being a Black girl who paints is essential to my life’s journey. I want my narrative to inspire other black girls to walk tall in their callings. There is room for us all to win!