Melissa Rudge - Painter
Melissa Rudge was born and raised in Madison Heights, VA. She graduated from Radford University with a degree in Art Education. After serving for two years as an Art Educator in Peace Corps Ghana, Melissa moved to Orlando, FL. Today you can find her teaching art to elementary school students and enjoying the Florida sunshine.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I knew I wanted to be an artist from a very young age. My grandmother was a very talented artist. She loved having a tiny protege. My mother was very supportive of my need to create. She provided me with a shed I used as a studio while I was living with her. It was awesome to have my own creative space, and I'm sure it was a great way to get my artistic messes out of the house.
How does your personal story/background influence your work?
Growing up in one of the most visually colorful areas of the east and spending time in Africa, where pattern and color influence every aspect of life, has definitely influenced my artistic style. Being raised as a child in the south, where manners and being polite were first and foremost, my need to yell about the things that made me uncomfortable was repressed by the fear of coming off ungracious. As I grew and realized some events, people, and ideas don't need to be sugar-coated, ignored, or just accepted, it was been very therapeutic to paint aggravated, annoyed, sarcastic women in bright, attention grabbing colors. I love when someone looks at one of my paintings and can totally relate to the emotion, saying "Yea, that was me on Tuesday."
Which of your works are you most proud of?
Any of my works where a viewer laughs, gasps, or exclaims, makes me very proud.
What is the hardest part about being a professional artist?
The hardest part about being a professional artist is becoming a professional artist. We live in an age where there aren't too many original ideas. Computer programs can make something you spent hours getting carpal tunnel over way better and more fluid. There are so many talented people doing amazing things its hard to be seen and keep your confidence.