Melissa Ann Lambert creates a fascinating portfolio of digital art. Visit her website to find out more.
My paternal great grandfather was a sculptor who had work in Chicago’s World Fair (World’s Columbian Exposition). My maternal grandfather was an artist who made his living doing commercial art (illustrations for magazines, billboards, hand painting the pin striping on cars, and landscapes). My mother and her two siblings received straight A’s in art.
Realizing my talent at an early age, my mother bought me Jon Gnagy’s books (I was a fan of his show “You are an Artist” on television) and encouraged my talent. My father taught me to draw a house as if seen from above at an angle at the age of five. He also made a comment that I’ll never forget: “I used to have a rich imagination like you, but as we age, we all lose it.” I became determined at that point never to lose my imagination, and as I laid on the sofa listening to classical music, I imagined ballerinas flying and dancing in the air.
I didn’t realize it at the time, of course, but I was born with synesthesia. Everybody has hallucinations and sees auras and flashing light shows and hears, smells and feels textures, right? The synesthesia I experience is a lot more involved than that, impossible to describe. When I do art, I go into another dimension. At times it can be extremely annoying. And when I’m tired, I cannot “turn it off”. When I was a child, I could not see into a room because the auras were so strong. I learned how to control it, but when experiencing extreme fatigue it’s impossible to control. It influences my artistic process.
I was not exposed to a lot of art growing up, however. I did read voraciously, and that helped enrich my imagination to the point where I became a “book snob” – I didn’t want someone else’s visuals. I needed to create my own.
When my high school art teacher recommended I go to art school (Thomas Wendt, we are friends to this day) my parents discouraged it. On my father’s side, at least, being an artist was equated with being flaky and poor. I followed their advice and became a self-taught computer programmer; I prefer to teach myself rather than go to school.
In 2003, I became sick of “working for the man”. I started painting with pastels, watercolors, pen and ink, graphite. I started small, on sheets of paper approximately 26 inches. When I wanted to draw larger pieces I had a problem – my cats would walk on the paper! (I have a small apartment.) That’s when I made the decision to go digital.
I’ve been doing digital as well as ink, watercolor, etc. ever since (often I scan or photograph my works on paper and use them in the digital work). Science, mathematics, and music influence the work that I do. Without music, I could not create art.