SLIT: When did you know that you wanted to be an artist? Was there an "aha!" moment?
MD: I knew I wanted to be an artist in the first grade. It was because I used to wake up early when my grandfather was going to work, he would put on POPEYE. Back then there was a man who would introduce the cartoon by sketching out a little something of Popeye's. I saw him do it and I knew then I was going to do THAT when I grew up.
SLIT: Who's art do you prefer: Picasso or George Herriman (creator of "Krazy Kat")?
MD: BOTH, cause I feel a little like the both of them
SLIT: Who are your artistic influences? Have you always been interested in art? Does it come naturally for you?
MD: my grandfather would oil paint. I thought it was amazing. It comes naturally. I knew at an early age we had no money for school so I would exercise myself by copying or imitating other artists trying to get the same results. It helped
SLIT: How does Tucson compare to Los Angeles for you? Has living in Tucson caused a change in your artwork?
MD: Tucson is smaller. The art community even smaller! Living here in Tucson has changed my art. I was working in Los Angeles for other people. Here in Tucson, I work for myself....it feels good.
|Mel painting a blacklight mural|
SLIT: Do you play an instrument? Have you ever been in a band?
MD: I used to play they xylophone. It reminded me of my two favorite things: piano and drums. No band. Just late drunk nights with the family singing "we all live in the yellow submarine!"
SLIT: Do you need music to create?
MD: I don't need music to create, BUT it helps. It's like voodoo
|"Venus de Melo"|
SLIT: Have you ever created a comic book? (if so, please describe)
MD: I have created short stories....comic strips. The ideas come from real life situations that I find funny. I recently created some images in honor of the New Yorker's event on Oct 3rd. The images are of a Mexican crossing the border on a bicycle during "El Tour de Tucson". They are currently being shown @ My Addiction Gallery inside the 6th & 6th corridor
SLIT: How has your work changed over time?
MD: My work is more focused and complete. I'm learning to edit the ideas. Listen to what people dig :) Then I give it to them.
SLIT: Do you have favorite colors? Mediums?
MD: I love blue and white. Mediums......acrylic, spray paint, oils. Most of all my BIC pen for sick iLLustrations
SLIT: Do work from sketches, or are you more spontaneous?
MD: Big time spontaneous. It makes it adventurous for me as an artist and I think people have fun watching magic happen. I call it freestyle, but it aint for free.
SLIT: Favorite artists? books? movies?
MD: Bob Ross, Picasso, Dali, Von Bode.....because they jumped off the edge. Bob Ross cause of the fro. Books: Bible, Secret Societies, Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River. Movies: Good Fellas, Wizards, Willy Wonka
SLIT: What inspires you?
MD: Everything inspires me: words, sounds, questions, people, scenes, riding the public limousine, only having two weeks to complete a solo show, opportunity, almost died. You name it I can be inspired by it. This exercise taught me to be my own sales rep, manager, pr.
Thanks for choosing me to be the interviewee. peace Howard
Visit Mel's website: mrocla.com