A World of Colour with Melissa Grisancich April 09 2023
Melissa Grisancich was born in 1987 and grew up in a small beach town called Mount Martha in the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. Now based in Melbourne where she currently lives and works as a multidisciplinary artist. Her main focus is painting and applies this into sculpture, repurposing vintage objects and forms of craft and tapestry. Melissa is known for her bright and bold style that reflects her influences of 60s and 70s record covers, her Italian heritage, object collecting, renaissance and romanticism, vintage posters, ephemera, comics and cartoons. Melissa has shown her works throughout Australia, Europe, Japan and the USA.
Red, Blue, Yellow & Green explores Melissa’s pure joy of painting. From still life to Portraits Melissa has created a body of work that truly celebrates colour in all forms.
Melissa's show Red, Blue, Yellow & Green opens on April 14.
Interview by Mel Parker. Photos supplied by Melissa Grisancich.
Welcome back to Outré! It’s such a pleasure to show your work again. What can we expect from you this time around?
Thank you! I’m truly excited. This show is particularly special because it’s more versatility in my style of painting. [Outré directors] Louise and Martin had more direction on what types of works they were after based on key works I’ve done in the past that they really enjoyed - these are my portraits and still life works.
PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Danischewski / @mdanischewski
The title of your upcoming show is ‘Red, Blue, Yellow & Green’. Do those colours hold a particular significance to you?
Yes! They are the four colours that are continuous in my work. I feel like the show is a nod to my colour palette. Narrowing the title down to those four colours was hard too.
You’ve had a few shows with Outré, how do you feel your creative practice has evolved since you last showed with us?
Oh my, yes it has! Painting is something that will always continue to evolve and I feel that you can only progress further as you go - this comes from learning new techniques, refining my style and also getting better at proportions and composition.
Your work often references your Italian heritage and images from childhood - what were some of your earliest artistic inspirations and influences?
One artist that I was heavily influenced by was Caravaggio, especially when I was in high school. His paintings of that era really opened up my eyes to the use of light and dark and depth of warm colours - the emotion the paintings evoked really resonated with me too. ‘Narcissus’ was and still is one of my favourite paintings. When I got into art school, I was definitely drawn to Alex Katz, Marlene Dumas and Marcel Dzama, which really took me away from oil painting to acrylics and flat use of bold colours.
Have you always been creative? What are some of your earliest memories of creativity?
My earliest memory would probably have to be the sewing machine I was given when I was five years old. I made clothes and animals from my drawings. I was given so many ‘How-to’ books and my grade 3 teacher used to sneak me origami books in my bag after school. I had encouragement here and there to be creative. I think painting came along with it over time.
This show includes some portraits, which we’re very excited to see! Do you approach a painting differently if it’s a portrait compared to a still life?
I definitely do, I think it really helps to get to know who you’re painting. You can tell in a portrait when the painter doesn’t know their subject. There’s that warmth missing or something - I can’t explain it. I have chosen these four portraits in particular. I’m drawn to their personalities and I think painting them really preserves that part of them.
What was your preparation process like for this show in general? Has your process changed over the years?
I don’t know if I would really recommend this but I really like to mull over a show for a while, I need time to get ideas that I am certain will work. Half the time of making the work is in my head. It sounds like I’m procrastinating but I think it’s how it works for me.
I don’t really keep a sketchbook and I never have; however, something that has changed is that I plan paintings on the iPad. This really helps me choose different colour variations and also makes it easier to experiment with scale, and saves me wasting time and paint when I’m about to make the work.
In addition to being an accomplished painter, you’ve worked with a plethora of different mediums, including ceramics, resin, woodworking, and making your own terrazzo, just to name a few! Are there other mediums you’d like to try your hand at?
I would love to go back to some form of sculpture again. I majored in sculpture at TAFE and it was a great break from painting.
Describe your perfect painting set up!
One giant mess of paint tubes on my studio table, a huge jar of paint brush water, a decent little speaker for music (mine has a mini sub woofer on the back by the way). Natural light facing my easel and my dog Tino under my feet.
Any final thoughts? What can we expect to see from Melissa Grisancich in the future?
I am excited to get this body of work out there and hope it will be enjoyed! I will be curating later in the year and doing some commissions.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Melissa! See you at the show!