Melissa Payne Baker is a southern artist painting out of Atlanta, Georgia. She has been published in Traditional Homes, House Beautiful, Southern Home, Southern Lady, Cottage Journal, The Atlantan, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, VIE to Nashville Arts.
What’s your creative specialty?
Abstracts on canvas and hand painted glassware
How did you start?
Growing up in Mississippi, I was surrounded by creatives in my family. I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't creating and dreaming but I never dreamed I could create for a living. After receiving a marketing degree from University of Mississippi, I headed to Atlanta to manage an interior design firm. For ten years I learned as much as I could about business and interior design and I still pour that knowledge into my art, marketing and business. My friends and I used to get together for wine and to paint, we called it our art nights. My best friend always encouraged me to sell my work but I had no idea how to get started. After she passed away suddenly I was asked to donate a piece of my work to an Atlanta private school art auction. At the auction there was a bidding war and then I received my first commission the next day. Also, from that amazing evening I caught the attention of one of the largest art shows in the Southeast at Spotlight on Art. From Spotlight on Art I received a call from my first gallery representation. My friend was smiling down from heaven, I know. Fifteen years later I am still going strong in galleries throughout the Southeast. It has been an amazing creative journey and I hope it is just the beginning.
What do you do to get recharged?
Interior design is a passion of mine and it inspires me with layers of texture, patterns and color. When I have an "artist block" I go for a run or relax with a good interiors magazine or book. Artist blocks are very strange and you can't force your way out. I love the days in the studio when the block has lifted and the magic happens, those days fill my soul.
What’s your favorite thing about creating?
The feeling I get while creating is the best. A sense of accomplishment, my way of bringing beauty to the world. I love the escape, hours can fly by and I have been so immersed in creating it is like the world melted away. It is a beautiful meditation.
What advice would you give your younger creative self?
Don't be afraid. There is a power within your work to bring joy to the world. Not everyone is going to love your work but there are so many that will and you will touch their hearts. Put yourself out there, meet all the people you can, study all of the beauty that surrounds you.
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