Artist Interview: Melissa Parks

Name: Melissa Parks
Name of Business: Anjellz Wingz
Creative Influences: Mindy Lacefield, Suzie Blu, Joanne Sharpe, Kelly Rae Roberts
Preferred Medium of Creativity: Mixed Media

Brief Bio
I am married to Dan, mother to 6 children (we’re a blended family; Dan has two boys from a previous marriage and I have 2 girls and 2 boys from my previous marriage). I have lived in Florida for most of my life until a move in 2011 to Cookeville, TN. We decided if we were ever going to make the move, then it needed to be now! Tennessee is just so beautiful, I find inspiration everywhere. Right now, I am unemployed, which Dan tells me is the perfect opportunity to launch a creative biz. I’m pretty chicken but am sticking my big toe in the pool. (I think!)


What is one of your earliest creative memories? 
When I was about 10, my neighbor took an oil painting class. She painted a picture of a clown (a la Red Skelton, for those of you old enough to remember him). I was fascinated that you could do that! My mom bought me the canvas, oils and brushes and encouraged me to paint. I copied the clown painting and was very pleased with the result. And never painted another oil painting until 2 months ago when I took a class and painted a Rooster! (which I love and is currently living in my kitchen) 

 Did your creative habits make a smooth transition into your adult life?  What did the evolution look like? 
I was always creative, but for some reason, never thought that my artistic side would be something I should pursue as a career. I know that my parents would have encouraged whatever path I chose, so I think I just didn’t consider my “crafty” side real “art” or art a vocation. I never took any art classes in school and it was just something I did for fun. Once I had children, I loved to sew for them (my poor children have multiple embarrassing pictures of matching outfits, both boys and girls!) and I painted on wood, t-shirts, tennis shoes, etc. I even had some of my t-shirts in a local boutique, but again, I didn’t see it as anything I could do as a business.
Then I got divorced in 2000, and as a single mom with four kids, I just stopped doing anything creative. I earned my Master’s degree during that time and really devoted myself to my career.

If you had a creative hiatus, what event/circumstance brought you back to your creative lifestyle? 
I remarried in 2004 and my kids were pretty self-sufficient. I have a golfer husband, so I needed to find something to do on the weekends when he was golfing. I had seen some of Kelly Rae Roberts designs in a local gift boutique and was smitten! This was probably around 2007 and I happened to see her book “Taking Flight” at Barnes and Noble. That was the beginning of my obsession with mixed media!

 How has GOD been a part of your creative process/lifestyle? 
I love to add pieces of the Bible in my mixed media work, which totally freaks out some of my friends! But I see it as taking old Bibles that I find at garage sales and thrift stores and releasing the Truth out into the world. I especially love it when I find a Bible that has notes in the margins. I just love to add these to my work.
I believe that any creative work is holy, proof that we are, indeed, made in His image. The first thing God felt was important to have written about Him was that He was a CREATOR. So when I create, I feel that I am just reflecting God back to Himself.

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