We caught up with local art angel, Mel Stringer to chat girly facts and the inspiration behind her artwork for upcoming fem first exhibition, Praise You (launching Thursday August 22 at Lightspace, Fortitude Valley). Anyone familiar with Brisbane art who know that Mel Stringer is an absolute veteran. As a women who inspires many with her creations and encourages pride and diversity across all body shapes and sizes, Mel Stringer is an artist we’re absolutely head over heels for.
WHO IS MEL STRINGER? I'm a 32 year old Australian artist based in Missouri.
YOU'VE SEEN INCREDIBLE SUCCESS IN THE LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ART AND DESIGN SCENES FOR SUCH A LONG TIME! HOW DID YOUR CAREER KICK OFF? I have been creative from an early age, having a cartoonist father helped with that. After I finished high school I worked for a year then convinced my parents to let me move to Brisbane to study art. They let me! I started making and distributing zines like Girlie Pains and involving myself in group shows. Livejournal and Deviantart were a great way to meet other likeminded artists, some of whom I've finally met since moving to the US!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE IN ONE SENTENCE? Equal parts sweet and sour, cute and tough curvy girls.
TELL US ABOUT THE ARTWORK YOU CREATED FOR PRIASE YOU. It was inspired from a recent trip to Joshua Tree and other desert-like places in the USA. It's a cute witch hanging out with an armadillo as the sun goes down.
WHAT DOES THIS ARTWORK AND THE CONTEXT OF THE EXHIBITION MEAN TO YOU? I wanted to create something peaceful with a little edge and a little bit of cute while showing off some curves. Also, I spent a lot of time painting it. It went through many transformations. It finally revealed itself to me and I had to stop putting down paint and know it was finished.
YOUR WORK REPRESENTS WHAT WE SEE AS AN ULTIMATE CREATIVE EXPRESSION OF BODY POSITIVITY, SHOWING THE BEAUTY OF PEOPLE ALL SHAPES AND SIZES AS WELL AS THE QUIRKS OF THEIR PERSONALITY THROUGH YOUR CUSTOMISED CHARACTERS! HOW DOES IT FEEL TO CREATE CHARACTERS, AND BE SUCH A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL FOR THE INDUSTRY AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE THIS WAY? First and foremost I create for myself and am inspired by my own body and other body types similar to mine. To know I inspire or encourage people who may look similar is really encouraging. I wanted to create art that I wanted to see in magazine pages and hanging on walls.
IF YOU COULD LEAVE ONE LASTING MARK ON THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE, AND WHY? Just be kind to people.