Art Attack - Melissa Ferreira

Melissa Ferreira
Art Attack - Melissa Ferreira

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For artist and art educator Melissa Ferreira, a self-professed wan¬derer, creativity comes in many forms. She’s a seeker of new expressions who is led first and foremost by her keen intuition—and sometimes led in unforeseen directions.

“My decisions could seem radical to those with more tradi¬tional lifestyles,” she says of her deci¬sion to move to France from her native United States at the age of 45, after divorcing her husband of 19 years.

The pain of her marriage break-up also led her to begin sculpting dogs, which she sees as inspirational. “My attention was better spent on dogs because their unconditional love, steadiness, and gratefulness seemed like the best place to put my energy,” she explains.

Ferreira describes her sculptures as “cute and ugly repre¬sentations of dogs.” The bulk of the materials she uses can be found laying around anyone’s home: paper, old bags, glue, flour paste, and pencils. This is a concrete choice. Ferreira wants to ensure that her creativity “isn’t a slave to having access to the right materials.”

Her inspiration comes from books and neighbourhood dogs. It could be the tilt of the head or a certain posture that moti¬vates her to create. Just like a child will see an animal shape in the clouds, Ferreira will sometimes see the shape of a dog in, say, a chocolate box, and begins a construc¬tion from there. Much of her work starts with pure improvisation. Ferreira first attended the University of Massachusetts with the intent to work in sociology or psychology, but soon realized she could serve others through art. She then honed her skills at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she returns yearly to teach. Ferreira also teaches in the town she now calls home, Pont-Aven, France.

“I live in my own little bubble and am really happy there,” she says. “My art sustains me. I’m not driven by external grati¬fications like awards. I don’t even think to apply.”

Commissions begin at $400. Visit melissaferreira.net for more details.

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