Melissa Smith is an obstinate and proud media geek. Because of her true love for superheroes or pocket monsters that many of us all hold dear, she started using her digital skills to explode, implode and splash into hyperactivity limbs, faces, bodies and robotic exoskeletons. The force of abstract expressionism gleans through these action figures, animating both Spiderman, Batman and Pikachu with incredible vital force!
You are a young artist, yet you managed to establish your own style so we were wondering if it’s a traditional or digital technique and also why you choose to manifest your vision in this manner?
My style has changed a lot over the years as I’ve evolved as a person and gotten older, and I’m mostly self-taught. This style that I’m using now is 100% digital, as I am still rather hopeless with pencils and paints. When I started making these images, it was at a point where I had established myself as a photo-manipulator, where you take photos and mash them together to create fantastic and surreal final images. I wanted to make art to reflect my love for movies and superheroes, and I started with a few manipulations that I could pull off (such as my Portal inspired image you can find on my deviantArt page), but I couldn’t figure out how to make images to portray a lot of the movies and comics that were inspiring me. I decided to try and make it more of an illustration, with no photos involved, other than as reference. It took some trial and error before I found a style that I was comfortable working with, and that I liked as final result.
How do you pick your characters? Are you interested in pop-culture, or do they emerge from your affective memory?
I seem to have this routine, even though I’m rarely conscious of it at the time, until after the image it’s made and uploaded to my various sites. A new movie or a trailer for a movie will come out. I will watch it, get attached and inspired by that movie or trailer, and the next day I’m making plans to express my love for it through my art. I was getting super excited for the Avengers movie for months, and used my art to vent some of that excitement. Then the Batman movie was on its way to theaters, so I made some Batman art. I recently started playing Bioshock, and fell in love with the art of that game, and a few days later, my Bioshock piece was done and uploaded. Then there are others, such as my Pokemon photos, or Deadpool, for which I’ve gotten a request from someone, or I feel they would be a nice addition to my portfolio.
Captain America (2012)
How do you see your artwork progressing?
In all honesty, I never really see where it’s going until it gets there on its own. I started out as a photographer in high school, on the yearbook team. I quickly got bored of taking photos that I found uninteresting, so I got myself into Photoshop, to make my photos more surreal, and strange. I’m still a photo-manipulator by heart, and have been for the better part of 5 years now.
I feel as if the next step for me is learning how to draw. I enrolled to an intro drawing class at my university this fall, because I love painting in Photoshop, but I think I would benefit from being able to draw something traditionally, and then paint it in Photoshop afterwards, or even get use from a tablet. I’ve done a few images this way in the past, and got a lot of satisfaction from it, other than wishing I was more capable with pencils and pens.
I noticed your description says you’re “extremely geeky”. What aspects do you think that make you a geek and what kind of geek are you?
I’m a proud geek. I grew up watching Star Wars and Dragon Ball-Z, playing Pokemon on my Gameboy Color, and dressing up like cartoon characters every year for Halloween. I spend most of my free time on the Internet, browsing art sites and blog sites such as Tumblr. I watch a ridiculous amount of TV shows and movies (I also work at a movie theater, so that has its perks for a movie-a-holic), and I read like I need books to breathe. Not to mention video games, which I’m a huge fan of. I love art, and I find that all these other mediums such as movies, or games, or books, are all forms of art, and I pull inspiration from all of them. So, I suppose you could say I’m an art geek…or a media geek, or both. I’m really not sure.
Battle Time: Finn and Jake (2012)
What characters do you like and influence you from pop-culture and why?
I don’t even know where to start with this question. Some of my favorite characters include, but are in no way limited to: The Doctor from Doctor Who and most of his companions, the Avengers team, Olivia Dunham from Fringe (because she is so badass), Finn and Jake from Adventure Time!!, the Big Daddies and Little Sisters in Bioshock, Glados from the Portal games, Hermione Granger, Castiel from Supernatural, Spiderman, and on and on the list goes. I could probably sit here for the next hour reflecting on all the fictional characters I find wonderful, fascinating, or interesting.