Infected By Art Book - Season 2

Melissa Gay

Member Since October 2013


Artist: Melissa Gay


About Melissa Gay

I'm a Nashville-based illustrator for clients such as Baen Books, Llewellyn Worldwide, Hay House, Apex Press, and a shocking number of game companies. My work has won numerous awards, including ASFA's Chesley Award for Best Gaming-Related Illustration (2018). My illustrations are in many Gold and Silver ENnie-winning and fan favorite games, and they've been featured in ImagineFX Magazine, io9,, and many Infected By Art anthologies. I am co-founder of the Birdwhisperer Project, member of the Changeling Artist Collective, and moderator for One Fantastic Week. My goal is to communicate a sense of childlike wonder to the viewer. To a child, reality itself is magic, and magic is everywhere! Recurring themes are flying things that should not fly (whales, sheep, etc.), visions of deep space as if seen in a dream, and moments of surreal otherworldliness in a terrestrial setting. I have come to recognize it as coping with my own mental health issues, this desire to break the shackles of depression and soar, regardless of circumstances! Even my post-apocalyptic paintings have hope in them. A former scientific illustrator, I am constantly seeking the perfect balance between precise detail and hazy obscurity to better engage the imagination of the viewer.
Name: Melissa Gay 
Joined: October 2013
Projects: - The Birdwhisperer Project-- -- which I co-founded with Amanda Makepeace in 2016 is dedicated to spreading the love of birds and bird art and to encouraging personal stylistic development. Each month all participating artists create their own vision of the selected reference photo of that month's bird (all photos used are public domain or contributed with usage rights). The individual vision of each artist makes each piece unique and special. Artists of all media, ages and skill levels are welcome to participate. - Crowd Futures is a project by Arizona State University's Center for Science and the Imagination, in which authors were paired with artists to create partially crowdsourced stories and illustrations. I illustrated "We Have Always Died In the Castle," by Hugo-winner Elizabeth Bear in a style and media chosen by internet voters. April 2018. - Encounters With the Imaginary, vol. 3, is a project I am particularly proud to have participated in. Each artist doesn't just illustrate the stories, we write them as well! It is my first-ever short story! - I Dream of Space, a collection of my space art, is an ongoing project! Described by Toni Weisskopf as "romantic spaceships," I approach space art as if I am seeing the scenes in dreams, by building up the ships through layering accidental textures and illuminating the happy accidents I find within. Now that I have had the happy experience of Encounters vol.3, I am writing vignettes to go with each piece. - The Olde Fae card game from the Changeling Artist Collective is a project that comes straight from the heart. Each member was allowed to pick a thing from nature and illustrate a pair of fae based on that thing (one Seelie and the other Unseelie). I chose dandelions. I wanted to put an unexpected twist on the concept of Seelie and Unseelie, so I put in both paintings the seeds of their opposite Court. The Summer Dandelion is full of youth and beauty and exults in the summer sun, but in her there is also the haughty vanity of youth, an glint of cruelty in her eyes, and even the smiles of the young have a sinister, gobliny tinge. The Winter Dandelion, while an image evoking death and loss, is full of age and wisdom, and her face is lined with compassion. It alludes to everything I fear about growing old-- cataracts, loneliness, loss of mental faculties, thoughts and memories blowing away half-formed. But on the other hand, we know of dandelions that those puffs that blow away in the wind hold the seeds of future generations, so it is with hope she faces her fate, tinged with sadness, but also with dignity. (I told my model to think of watching her babies go away to college, and her expression made me cry!) It was difficult to paint, but also a pleasure. - I have been accepted into an artist residency program in the summer of 2019, and I am practicing my plein air landscape painting in anticipation! As a detail-oriented and hyperactive person who would love to paint every leaf, every blade of grass, I have developed quite the arsenal of tricks to "trick" my brain into settling down and fixing on what it is about each vista that resonates within me the most. I'm compiling a journal of my plein air adventures, with associated wisdom and/or folly. - Coffee Angel enamel pins-- my first-ever Kickstarter, completed this year, along with a tiny booklet of rather silly coffee recipes!
Location: Nashville, TN

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