Check out the interview below to learn more about Kitchener Ontario abstract artist, Melina Panara and see more of her abstract art.
Interview with Kitchener Artist Melina Panara
How would you describe your artistic style?
I would describe my artistic style as Contemporary Abstract with an exploration of texture and colour.
What’s the main inspiration for your art?
Inspiration to me centers around colour, texture, and intuition.
What is the biggest goal you try to achieve with your art?
Achieving freedom of expression. Painting for me is such an exploratory journey and I love letting my intuition build the composition. It’s a rebellion against precision and logic, and an acceptance of freedom of creation.
What’s your favourite thing about being an abstract artist?
Mixing and applying colour. It’s amazing what you can mix up and build upon with primary colours. I also really love experimenting with colour application (watering it down very thin or slopping it on super thick so it appears almost sculptural). I feel like every time I paint, I fall in love with my palette. It’s magic to see all the past mixed colours layered side by side, or on top of one another. This mixing of past colours makes for a beautiful abstract composition on its own. That exploratory freedom and accidental beauty is what I aim for in my pieces.
Why abstract art and not other mediums? Have you always created abstract art or did you start out creating other styles?
I was trained formally in Fine Arts from the University of Guelph, so I’ve had the technical knowledge to paint in more realistic and subject-oriented ways, but abstract has more of a holistic experience than any other style. It’s a lot about the journey and leaving marks along the way, rather than focusing on the proportions or accuracy of depicting a particular subject.
If you could describe your art in three words, what would they be?
Textural, vibrant, & liberating.
What’s one thing people might not know about you and/or your art journey so far?
I have a very diverse artistic practice. Outside of painting, I do freelance graphic design (in my early 20s I worked as a full-time graphic designer) and I’m also a trained jeweller & goldsmith. Painting is a release for me and all the technical & precision work I do when metalsmithing. I design and handcraft silver and gold jewellery with a modern yet distinctive flare. I also think of my jewellery as wearable art that is meant to be cherished and worn. Painting is my break from working at the jeweller’s bench. It’s my chance to let loose and be free with my creative touch.
Did you always know you’d be an artist or how has your art journey progressed?
Since a very young age I was always sketching, making collages, colouring, etc. I love working with my hands and love being in a studio setting. It’s a chance for me to recharge and really connect with myself, which I find so special. I think making art has this amazing quality where you truly lose track of time. Not many activities have that charm. I guess you could say at a young age I often said “I want to be an artist when I grow up”. However, when I think of it, being an artist is really a mentality. So, in that sense, my mentality has never really changed, and I think some of the work I created before I was formally trained is just as beautiful and worthy.
In your opinion, what’s the most important personal characteristic needed to embark on a career as an artist?
Curiosity! Never stop wondering. Questions are the prerequisite to inspiration. Not every question needs an answer, but being in a state of wonder & awe is sometimes the best place to be. Explore your curiosities and see what happens, you might just create something that really pulls at the heart-strings and feels totally right.
What advice would you give up and coming abstract artists?
Constantly have your eyes open. Really observe things, even the small stuff that people tend to overlook. Like really look at the sky. You’ll notice way more than the colour blue and how the clouds don’t actually look pure white.
Do you have any favourite podcasts or books that you love and that have contributed to your journey as an artist?
“Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” by Austin Kleon. Highly recommend. Quick read, but super impactful.
What’s your most fulfilling and enjoyable experience as an artist so far?
When you get to share your creations with the world and see your work in other people’s homes & spaces. It feels like a piece of you will live on forever.
Where do you see yourself and your art in 5 years?
Continued exploration and growth. To me, being an artist is all about the journey, not the destination.