Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Karlin.
Melissa, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve always been interested in a lot of different aspects of culture and because of that, I’ve always found myself drawn to doing a lot of things. I’ve never really been one to completely focus on one element of a media or medium, as different aspects of them all intrigue and excite the creative flow of my mind. Like video and editing, graphic design and photography. Writing and editing. Though I’ve identified as a writer and photographer professionally for a few years and will continue to dive deeper into the exciting editorial world, at the moment I’m working on other creative projects through design and photography as well.
As an LA native who grew up in Santa Clarita but never fell into the bubble. I think this has really shaped how I explore the world through art, both creating work and analyzing it. I was constantly out and about in the city, but after two years at CSUN and having never lived anywhere else, I went to the UK to study film and art history at Oxford Brookes. After a year back in LA interning at an arts fellowship and volunteering with the education department at the Fowler Museum, I went back to the UK, this time to London! At King’s College London I studied Cultural and Creative Industries for an MA with the intention of working in museums. But it’s also opened a different door I wasn’t even expecting, as I realized I was really passionate about writing, particularly about culture and travel, how people engage with places that are not their own. It really began when I would tell people about my dissertation, which focused on how we engage with travel and the idea of the other as seen in travel television documentary shows through food using Anthony Bourdain’s travel series as the focus. I had a number of people say to me when they saw my passion for this, “have you thought about being a writer?”
And I’d be like, “No, that’s silly, I want to work in the art world.”
Oh, how a year of struggling to find your place back into Los Angeles can change everything. Though I did work at a few non-profit things here and there once returning to Los Angeles, including my most meaningful and favorite project to work on to date: Windows on Death Row, an exhibition that explored the death row system in America by presenting artworks made my those on death row and political cartoonists exploring the nature of this system. But it was hard to find something a bit more stable. Thinking about what I really wanted to do, I realized that all those folks were right. I wanted to travel, to explore, to engage with the world around me and help others to do the same.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Everything I do is ultimately to tell some kind of narrative and to present ways for people engage with ideas. I hope that in my articles, a reader can feel the heart, and explore thoughts and feelings with me, especially in travel, culture and music articles. I want to express the emotional experience of travel, while also inspiring the reader to want to explore as well. With photography, I want to showcase a particular feeling as well and show some kind of life featured.
I do what I do because of a single opportunity: to interview for an internship at a travel magazine (TravelAge West), I jumped at it. Since then, I’ve written for a number of publications and worked at Citizine in a number of roles as a writer for the website to managing the marketing and social media. After that I worked for nearly two years at travel marketing company working on custom publishing, managing publication cycles of direct mail and larger magazines. Here, I was writing and working to produce printed materials which was fantastic, but it wasn’t as creative towards the end as it was when I began.
Because of that, I am now a freelance creative for hire once again, which is where I feel happiest. I like to explore different ways of expression, getting to the heart of what a brand is and what the story is. Currently, I’m creating new branding for a law firm including logo design, print collateral and head shots for all, and writing for LA Music Blog among others. It is just a very exciting time to be exploring the world and finding new ways to tell stories whether it’s through words, photography or graphic design and print media. Because ultimately, editorial or marketing, exhibitions or videos, it’s all about conveying an idea and telling a story.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
To trust my passion.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Read LA Music Blog, and follow me on social media where I’ll share various projects as they happen (because I’m happy in multi-project land. It’s a land that looks like Octopus arms, you know, if you were wondering)
- Website: www.melissakarlin.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @meli64 // @informedwanderer
- Twitter: @meli64
Images are my own from various experiences and projects: London, Behind the Scenes of Music Video, “Start a War” by Klergy (with Valerie Broussard – pictured) co-directed with musician Klergy, logo is from the exhibition, Windows on Death Row, Ty Segall at the Teragram for LA Music Blog, Patrick Watson at the Masonic Lodge for LA Music Blog, A traditional Korean performance in Seoul (wrote about South Korea for TravelAge West), Ballet rehearsal from the Sarasota Ballet (wrote about Sarasota for Paste Magazine).