Featured Artist Melissa West

Artsy Shark presents the portfolio of printmaker Melissa West, who tells stories through her artwork. See more by visiting her website.



My work explores the fine line between comfort and menace in our most common stories and shared experiences. My prints often depict the characters who populate myths, legends, and fairy tales, but transplanted into a modern or neutral setting. The tension thus created helps viewers see these familiar tales anew, and think about the ways they remain relevant to the modern world.



I am currently experimenting with using multiple printmaking techniques in a single print, for instance combining etching and relief print or monoprint with linoleum block. I hope this will further emphasize the complexity of human story-telling.



What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on a couple of linoleum block prints based on Moby Dick (my absolute favorite book). I’m continuing my set of Exploration prints, loosely based on the adventures of nineteenth-century Arctic explorers. And I’m also starting to work on a set of prints inspired by a walk I took across Spain last year, from Seville to Salamanca.



What inspires you?

I’d say there are no limits to what inspires me, but two main areas of interest are literature and the outdoors – which are in and of themselves huge categories!



What are your goals?

I’d like to be able to make a living solely through my art. And I’d like to have access to any materials or equipment I need to continue to learn and experiment in printmaking.



I began my art career as a painter, but have completely fallen in love with making prints: the technical, mechanical geekiness; the ability to take one image and make it over and over again, changing it and letting it push my ideas further and further; and the ability to be creative not just in the creation of the block or plate, but also in the printing.


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