Curious about Melasdesign? Read the following artist profile to find out about Mela. “Mela” is Susan Hicks. What follows is also a company profile. All about Susan Hicks = Mela = Melasdesign.
Susan Hicks graduated James Madison University with honors and BA degree with a concentration in textile design. A Best in Show award for student art in high school (for a psychedelic mini-installation) provided the initial drive to pursue an artistic future.
After working in graphic design and pre-press fields in the late 90's, she revisited weaving and explored fledgling Adobe apps and 2D art. Her paintings and digital work were shown regionally in Williamsburg and Richmond. Online offerings found homes as far away as Brazil. After moving to Alexandria in 2009, she began felting under Renate Maile-Moskowitz and exhibited fiber work at the Torpedo Factory's Art League Gallery.
In 2016, as strength waned due to the disease Myasthenia Gravis, less physical art forms were sought out. Using a tablet based app and stylus as drawing tools new doors to creativity opened, jump starting a foray into pet portraiture. Susan began offering her bold and colorful art for sale online under the brandname "Melasdesign." Where does "Mela" come from? Listen. If you had such a generic name, you'd probably think of a new moniker too! Just sayin' 😉
Melasdesign shops were opened in print-to-order sites RedBubble and Society6 featuring art for framing, surface design for fashion, and a wide variety of themes explored through illustration and digital art on wearables, tech and home decor. Her art found homes throughout the US to Canada, the UK, Central Europe, Australia, and New Zealand .....Even Finland! Yayyy Finland! Find out more about the shops.
Soon thereafter, Susan began learning the art of metal clay jewelry design under the able hands of teacher Paula Coupe, part of a very encouraging and giving group of talented artists in the Alexandria, VA area. Finally, a more illness-friendly way to create jewelry was found. Jewelrymaking has been an interest of Susan's since high school.
2017 ushered in the opportunity to settle in a small town with heart - Thomas, WV. Relishing the energetic arts community, it was time to get back to more "handmade" efforts. This direction is best represented in Susan's own Melasdesign Handmade Shop here on-site. In Thomas on Front Street, Thomasyard became a welcome sales outlet for felted goods, art prints, and sundry artsy gifts. The Artspring Festival 2019 counted as her first official gallery art premiere in the area. One of the biggest joys Susan has had in Thomas is seeing how her art and jewelry resonates with kids as well as adults in the area. Exciting!
Susan lends her efforts to drawing, mainly representational illustration, and painting, mainly abstract. Graphic design with Photoshop is on the roster almost daily. Through this 2D art, she explores traditional subjects, abstract art, pet portaits (cats, dogs, and one mouse), current events, "dark" art, dreams, and Halloween. Political satire is not out of scope. Additionally, Susan is a metal clay jeweler, creating art gifts and original, one of a kind fine silver, bronze, and copper jewelry.
"I am a non-academic artist at heart. I don't strive to fit in the confines of pre-defined aesthetics. I do what I have to do, because it oozes from my pores. If my work is chaotic, it's an honest insight into how my brain works. If it is pattern oriented, it is from years as a fiber artisan. All I ever want to do is bring a bit of joy about for viewers of my work. I am not going to follow "the rules" and sell images that look like everyone else's just to fit in. Do I miss the mark sometimes? Yes, but I do it knowing it's a step along the way. I must remain true to myself in a world where originality seems to be discouraged. I invite you to witness my journey."