©Melissa Nelson

©Melissa Nelson

Who are you?

I am a textile artist from New York. I was born in Hudson Valley and have been living in New York City for thirteen years,

When did your interest for fashion come about?

I think originally it came from watching movies at a young age. I loved Beetlejuice---that is how I discovered who Issey Miyake was!

Have you always worked with silk? Can you speak a bit about how you learned the technique and why you are so drawn to it?

I have been working in the vintage and vintage textile world for a long time and I was always particularly drawn to silk because of the textiles I saw and how it draped. Silk is one of my favorite fabrics to wear so when I began hand-painting it was the first fabric I wanted to try. There are so many different washes of silk and it is the best fabric that doesn’t bleed the paint.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I paint inspiration from both of the places I am from---the countryside and the city. It could be such as a flower garden, a piece of work at The MET, or my roommates dog. I draw a lot of inspiration from my surroundings and travels as well.

What about designing is liberating?

The freedom that comes with hand-painting in general! When I paint on a garment there is so much room to make mistakes and those mistakes become part of the textile. One painting may have darker brush strokes or may bleed thicker than others so it ultimately makes each piece one of a kind. The idea that there will be only one like that in the whole world is liberating.

As a woman in the industry, what have your experiences been like?

I have been so fortunate to work mostly with other women. All of the pop-ups, shops and collaborations I have done with women have been so supportive and communicative so I feel very fortunate to have positive outcomes.

Have you ever had your clothes commercialized? If so, where can we buy your clothes?

I sell at Horizons Vintage in Brooklyn! I am also currently online (Ljuka-nyc.com) and at a summer pop-up in Montauk curated by Tarin Thomas. As well as Sal Las in Miami.

What is the goal you aim to achieve with your practice?

To continue to paint sustainable pieces and collaborate with more artists and designers in different forms and medias. I would also love to paint costumes for a ballet or dance performance in the future. Ultimately it would be ideal to work and paint and sustain my life with my art.