Everyone needs to know Melodie (Melo) Allegre, half Cuban, half French – my cousin, currently finishing her Masters in Fiber Art at Savannah College of Art and Design – an emerging artist whom I love and adore as a human being and in her artistry. Melo is a beautiful woman inside and out – a natural artist in every way – from the way she thinks creatively and to the way she uses color and pattern. I’m really excited for her future and I know whatever medium she chooses will be a fulfilling and successful path that only an artist can dream of. I’m looking forward to using her fabrics and wallpapers in my next project in Wellington, Florida. We sat down for an interview so you all could get to know Melo.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Central Florida and Miami. I always claim Miami as my hometown because of my cultural background.
What’s your favorite fragrance?
Aqua Universalis! I almost can’t even smell it anymore I’ve been wearing it so long. Its florally, crisp and feminine but has a musky undertone that makes it very grounding. I also like making my own essential oil blends; they make me feel yummy and safe.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working on your craft?
Theres so much! Surfing and yoga are two other obsessions when I’m not creating. I get really antsy when too much time has passed, and I haven’t been able to surf. I really want to get better at it. I started surfing 5 years ago and it made me fall in love with myself and life; it changed everything. Spending time with my family is so important. too. The older I get. the more I value family. I feel like the luckiest person in the world because my family is so supportive and loving. Culture, movies, books, music!! I’m in love with it all.
Where is your inspiration coming from when you pick up a pencil, a paint brush or any art medium?
I like to create things that ground me and bring me back to myself. A lot of my inspiration comes from nature and surf culture. I like to work with the idea of depicting felt worlds rather than seen worlds – to blur fantasy and reality. I also love working with color; there is limitless expression and power in it.
What was the first art piece you did that made you know you wanted to keep exploring and learning the craft?
The first painting I made that turned into a pattern was Sea Legs… It’s an abstraction of surfers going in and out of the water situated in a psychedelic landscape. Even though there are tweaks I would make as it was my first go around at repeats and digital surface design, I love it because it taught me about the power of repetition and seeing past work limited to the boundaries of canvas.
Who would you say has influenced you and why?
Shanan from Eskayel has been a huge influence. I started working there recently and she’s so good at what she does. It opened my eyes to the world of possibility in textile design. She’s been a great mentor for me, and I think for most people on her team.
What part of you do you feel comes out the most when you are in your artistic flow?
I’m just beginning to discover the answer to this question… But I know I feel the most authentic version of myself when I nurture my creativity. When I make something, I’m proud of good energy and sense of alignment pours in.
Where do you see your art being used? Homes, galleries? What medium? Pillows, bags, fabrics on canvas?
I envision the textile designs inside homes on wallpapers, pillows, fabrics, and beyond. I also recently started making irregular shaped objects and I love how those are turning out. I’d like to develop a product line of soft sculptures. The most important thing is that the work I create can be used in people’s daily lives – I like to think of people experiencing them in that way.
What do you do to stay grounded and centered around your work?
I started a meditation practice about 3 years ago that has transformed my life and my work completely. Emptying my mind through concentration and awareness exercises, then allowing myself free rein by utilizing all my senses though visualization has amplified my creative vision.
What would you tell your 15-year-old self that you didn’t know?
Hmm… honestly, I’ve rewritten the answer to this question a million times. I have no idea, nothing seems just.
What would you say has been the most challenging part of this process and why?
Sometimes I have this nightmare that my creative juices have an expiration date and that I’ll run out of ideas and become uninspired.
How do you work on overcoming it?
Not listening to those voices because I always end up pleasantly surprising myself. I think we all are capable of so much more than we think. Also, the meditation practice keeps me sane and the voices in check. I’m just getting started with all of this, so I feel really hopeful about the future and completely focused on realizing my dreams.
Follow Melo on Instagram @monkeymistakes.