Melissa J. Szymanski

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Some people are do-ers, I am a do-er that draws so I guess that makes me a draw-er! Quite simply, I love to draw! Charcoal, pastel, oil pastel, and now my medium of choice, Prismacolor colored pencil. I have been drawing since I was able to hold a crayon. As the youngest child in a family of 16, drawing calmed me. My artwork proved to be a wonderful way for me to ease the daily tensions. I soon discovered that drawing had one more advantage, it "drew" attention to me in a positive way! In a large highly talented family....competition was fierce. I wasn't the funniest, or the prettiest, or good at sports, nor was I musically inclined. I didn't like to read, and math did not come easy. I was the artistic one and I was good at it. I had found my niche!

I was born and raised in Metz, Michigan which is a speck on the map, if it shows up at all, located 13 miles west of Rogers City, Michigan on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron. I have a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan which is just about as far south as you can go without leaving Michigan. I majored in drawing, metalsmithing and sculpture.

People, pets and places tend to be my subject matter.

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Artist statement

I am currently working on a show for September 2012 First Friday Art Walk at the OTC Art Department in the Gillioz Theatre Building. The show title is "Taking Flight". Creating colored pencil drawings is a slow and intentional process which lends itself to very tight and controlled representational artwork. In working on the drawings for Taking Flight, I have tried to push my boundaries with the medium and break out of that "pigeon hole". The result is a series of looser drawings that I cut out and rearranged, giving them a very sculptural quality. My subject matter has always revolved around nature. I find inspiration everywhere in the everyday simplistic norm of life, in the colors and textures of a wet rock on a sandy beach, the shine of a candy wrapper with melting confection oozing on the hot pavement after a parade, or in the twisted remains of a once beautiful butterfly, that has fallen out of a steaming car grill and is laying on the curbside. What inspired me to do Taking Flight began with a life change. Having been raised in a large family of twelve girls and four boys, as the youngest, I witnessed the constant changes in our family dynamics. Our nest was ever changing! Recently, I also made a change by moving out of my home state of Michigan to the equally beautiful state of Missouri and for the first time am away from my family. Taking Flight relates to my experience of growing up and finding my way in the real world. Regardless of my age, I’m leaving the nest behind, and learning to fly, even if it's upside down. In my newfound freedom, I am questioning my participation in my own life. Will I be an active participant in determining my own destiny or an innocent bystander just sitting back and watching the events unfold? Will I fly or will I fall? My question for you as the viewer is simply this, "Will you follow?"

Portfolio images