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Conversations with Melly Trochez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melly Trochez.

Hi Melly, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
First generation American, daughter to Honduran immigrants, I identify as Latinx and/or Afro-Latina. I grew up in the San Gabriel valley went to schools in the SGV. I knew I wanted to pursue art after taking an Art Honors course in H.S. I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted to do in art, I didn’t know professional artists personally so it was more about a realization that I needed to be a creative and find a way to sustain my passion. I pursued a degree in Fine Arts and graduated from CSUF in 2004 with a BFA with an emphasis in drawing and painting. I was fortunate to have inspiring mentors (Kyung Sun Cho and Jade Jewett, to name a couple) and colleagues during these years that helped guide and hone in on my path along with exposure to a variety of art practices and artists. After graduating, I didn’t immediately get accepted to grad school so I submerged myself in exhibiting, I had a couple of solo shows at Frank Pictures at Bergamot Station along with many group exhibits.

In 2009, I decided to revisit the idea of pursuing graduate studies, at this time I had more clarity and vocabulary to support my craft. It was here where I found myself at a crossroads to choose between an MFA or an MA, I found interest in entering a career as an Art Therapist. For a variety of reasons it made the most sense to me to become a therapist and I received my MA in 2011 through LMU in the Marital and Family Therapy Dept./ Art Therapy specialization. Since then, I have continued to work in community mental health, utilize my specialty in Art Therapy and provide supervision for clinicians and other para-professionals. I continue to work as a freelance artist, exhibit work in galleries and co-founded Quiet Please pop-up along with artist Leo Eguiarte.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Prior to Graduate School, I would say the road was VERY bumpy. There were many successes and celebrations however in between those highs there were many days of uncertainty, anxiety, and depression from not knowing what to expect from one day to the next. Many times not having enough money to pay for supplies, my studio and then there was the pressure of not knowing sometimes what body of work to create next or just not having the stamina to paint every day all the time. There can be a lot of pressure for artists to make “sellable” work or just to be marketable to a gallery.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My work is very focused on layers, most pieces have a sculptural sensibility where there are areas that are heavily collaged or sewn. I enjoy textiles, paper, yarn, gems and the use of glitter. I believe that my interest in psychology has influenced my work as I attempt to capture an experience by reflecting on subjects for many hours. I typically work in bodies of work related to a specific theme, one recent body of work was focused on beauty and the shared experiences of many women, specifically women of color. Another theme has been along the experience of immigrants and the challenges around working, belonging and being seen. My work has centralized around experiences of communities of color and the oppressed.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Community is essential to all professions, I am open to collaborate, to even brainstorm ideas which can lead to inspiring many opportunities and bridges. I feel best supported when working with people who have good intentions and good vibes.

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