Meet the Artist: Melissa Gay

www.melissagay.com

I adore tales of mystery and imagination that send the adrenaline flowing and the heart racing, whether they be ancient folk tales, classic science fiction, or modern urban fantasy! I tend to gush and use a lot of exclamation points when excited, and illustrating the things I love excites me a lot!!! I feel I have so much more to learn, and my goal is to be a lifelong student, always observing, always pushing the boundaries of my artistic comfort zone (which is very small, so I tend to push it constantly).

Since first attending JordanCon in 2014, Melissa has become a mainstay of the JordanCon Art Show family. Stop by her booth and say hello!

How long have you considered yourself an artist?
All my life, really. I was always That Kid Who Can Draw to people at school-- until high school, when I was sent to a really hard college prep school, and I had to take notes instead of drawing in class all the time!

It was a shock to the system, but I just could not let drawing slip out of my life. So between classes, I started drawing my roleplaying characters. The first one I drew at that school was an Elf Magic-User casting a Fireball spell, 'cause that's just how I roll. Soon after that, I was drawing all the time again.

There was never a time in my life when I didn't want to be an artist, though I did go through a long period where I thought I would never make money at it. (Does that ever stop?)

What was the subject and title of the first piece of art you ever sold?
Strictly speaking, it was an abstract-expressionist flower arrangement of refuse on Styrofoam that I made when my brother and I were “helping” at the family flower shop. I am fairly sure my mom threw it out as soon as my back was turned, but she spun a yarn about a lady coming in and inquiring about it. But my asking price was met -- TEN CENTS!!!!!!!!! What a heady rush! (I was six.) Oh, the title? I'm positive it had one, and it was something like, "CRYSTAL PARADISE."

How did you first discover art, or that you wanted to create art yourself?
I'm sure people come into it in different ways, but I was just wired that way. If I saw a ballpoint pen (my medium of choice), I would pick it up and ask for some paper. All kids draw, but there was never a time when I wanted *not* to draw. My brother grew up with the same influences, but he never cared to draw past childhood.

Which artist do you find most inspirational? Why?
JMW Turner. I have to do these literalistic, tight renderings or I can't seem to sell the idea I'm trying to get across. But Turner just put down pure light, and it totally goes right into my heart and communicates. I feel like a proverbial toad in the well looking up at the moon when I see his work, and it makes me stretch higher.

Are you a fan of The Wheel of Time? If not, what is your favorite book or series?
I always seem to like the first book in any series the best, because I'm all wide-eyed with wonder and beset with possibilities!

What's the one thing you most enjoy about attending conventions?
I love, love, love interacting with fans. It is so great to be around people who are as in love with fannish things as I am!

What do you see as the primary link between writing and art? (If you think there is one.)

The Dork Tower (on writing)

Thank you, John Kovalic, for putting it so succinctly. It's about writing, but art is just exactly like that, for me. ;)

If you could create your masterpiece, what would it look like?
It would have my ideal perfect blend of golden atmospheric messiness and hyper-detailing. I kinda want to go paint something now… :)