spent the majority of my life in the Southern United States. I was born
in Huntsville, AL in 1970 and have lived in Texas, Oregon, and Georgia
as well. All of the locations in which I have lived have given me some
interesting perspectives on the human race, and perhaps unusual perspectives
I ever started school I had learned to read. I even wrote a story or two
with the type of illustrations that only a child can fully master. And
then I started school. I recall so very clearly being in elementary school
and having art class with Ms. Dempsey. She always had kind words for me
while I was painting or making things from clay. The art program was canceled.
I couldn't understand why. It wasn't until I was older that I learned of
the policies that cut things like art out of early education.
think it was while I was in the third grade when I was deemed "above average
intelligence" by the powers that be. I was placed in a class for "gifted"
students, and at least there we were
allowed to do creative projects. This was my very first exposure to what
our teacher called junkyard art. We were taken outside, encouraged to pluck
garbage and shape it into something new. I was obsessed with this concept
to the point where I didn't want to do anything else. I kept asking to
be sent outside so that I could find more stuff to work with. At first
my teacher indulged this, but my extreme enthusiasm probably got a bit
out of hand, and eventually I was no longer allowed to roam about collecting
up bits of broken glass to make my "works of art."
disappointment, it would be literally years before I would begin to make
things again. In 1985,
I changed my name. Basically I took the name Eden from a song that I liked
and made it my own. I did this upon moving from Portland, OR back to my
hometown of Hunstville, AL. In Oregon I had been encouraged to write as
a creative outlet. I don't know how many stories, poems, and songs I have
written since then. Most of them were lost in the various moves that I
would make later on. Back to Eden...music has been critical in my development.
And music dominated my teenage years. I have more lyrics memorized in my
head than could reasonably be necessary to know. From Johnny Cash in my
early years to bands such as The Smiths, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees,
The Pixies, Joy Division, The Cocteau Twins, Oingo Boingo, and many others.
after moving back to Hunstville that I became involved in theatre. This
was a major turning point. When the Magnet Program for the Arts was implemented,
I wholeheartedly applied and was accepted into the drama program. The support
of teachers Vivienne Atkins and Ron Harris taught me to explore art. Looking
back, working on the sets always was a source of great joy for me. I met
Natalie West while I was in highschool. She is a wonderfully gifted
artist and her works have always been a source of inspiration.
from highschool I was involved with lots of local theatre projects and
even joined a band. "The Cooties" was my first band with longtime friend
Derek Marlow, who also happens to be an artist (and currently in the musical
project known as The Fire Time). The moderate success of "The Cooties"
along with a number of other factors prompted my dropping out of college
in 1992 to move to Athens, GA, legendary home of REM and the B-52's. I
had this vague notion that I would move to Athens and continue to work
on music. Boy, was I ever wrong.
struggle to just pay the bills kept me out of the artistic loop once we
moved. It never occurred to me that I would ever be that broke. However,
living with Cousin Jennifer Miner and Christian Fedoseyev made this seem
more fun than traumatic. Oh the Ramen Noodles! I finally got a great job
at the UGA library, and then I had time to look around and see what Athens
had to offer. Artworks by Howard Finster were everywhere in Athens, and
I have to admit that they captivated me. It was at this time that I met
Catherine Sciaccotta. Her unique crayon drawings invoked something in my
soul that I will never be able to forget. A trip to New Mexico to visit
an old highschool friend who had changed her name to Aria Da Capo sealed
the deal. Aria had taken up sculpture in extremely mixed media. All the
memories of my younger days, deep in glue and paint came flooding back
tenfold. And I started to work in art once again.
my first real exposure to the internet. A sort of practical joke with a
friend had me signed on to the IRC, or internet relay chat. That's where
I met my compu-guru. He really encouraged me to learn more about computers
and to explore the art that I was doing at the time. He even sent me a
really nice pen that I used to draw with all the time. During this interlude
I was back in Huntsville briefly, and then went to Atlanta where I was
fortunate to get a job in a frame shop so that I could learn more about
art. From there it was back to Athens where I worked in a silkscreen shop.
That was a horrible job, but I learned a lot. :-)
I am back in Huntsville *again* and in college studying graphic design
as a "just in case" sort of measure. But the dream is of course to be a
self-supporting artist. And hopefully my learning to write HTML and putting
up a website will help me realize this dream. It means more to me than
just about anything. And I am lucky to have a boyfriend that understands
this and deals with the countless hours painting and living online to hopefully
achieve my dream.
of my paintings are primarily from dreams and from what I think the materials
want me to create. Mixed media is definitely where I find the most fun.
It is like a puzzle where the pieces just want to be linked together. Almost
always there is music playing in my mind while I paint, and frequently
the titles of these pieces are taken from words
in songs. Usually I find something that needs to be made into an artwork,
and I concentrate on it until I see what it could be. I really like the
band Sebadoh to paint to. Nick Cave and Mercury Rev are also great bands
for visual inspiration.
course there are the Great Masters of Art. From Michelangelo to Picasso
to Kandinsky to Freda Kahlo to Maxfield Parrish to M.C. Escher to the aforementioned
Howard Finster. But predominately it has been the great people that I have
been lucky enough to know personally who have influenced me the most. Including
my mom! Not to mention the unwavering support of Brother Andrew and Sister
Janie and their father who has since become my own.
include possibly putting some of my earlier drawings on my website, and
maybe some of the photographs I have taken too. Definitely more paintings
will be added as will the lithographs that I have done (special nod to
master printmaker Michael Crouse here).
I have been asked
if there is a message that I might want to leave the world. Only appropriately
I take a message from a song, "Live the life you love, and use the god
you trust, and don't take it all too seriously." -Love and Rockets.
Melissa Eden Campbell
the Purple Aardvark Gang