All Images Courtesy of Melissa A. Mitchell | via Denim J Studio
We went years attending the same university and sharing many acquaintances, yet she and I have never formally met. I found myself researching more about her and her art through social media. Unless you have been living under a rock, Melissa A. Mitchell is the founder and owner of Abeille Creations. Her wearable art has been seen on business mogul, Yandy Smith, Academy Award winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o, and a host of others throughout the world. She is the leading example of what it means to BE THE BRAND; redefining the way Creative Millenials should be positioning themselves and their brands in today’s loud and boisterous market.
Watching her journey, her bold moves and faith filled testimonies have not only inspired me, but something that I look forward to being a part of day-to-day. Even if it’s only through her Instagram and Facebook feeds. She is an unmistakable Queen and I adore her for it.
Please allow me to introduce The COLLECTIV honoree, Melissa A. Mitchell.
Crystal Lariece (CL): How would you describe your personal style and how has it influenced your art and designs?
Melissa Mitchell (MM): My Personal style is very expressive. If I feel like an all black ensemble, then that’s what I go for — I want to wear 4 different prints, I will do that too. My love for freedom has spilled over into the way I create. I have ALWAYS been obsessed with color, African culture, and music–and my art is a combination of it all. To me, Fashion and Artistic expression are both synonymous with FREEDOM. Both allow me to live without limits and further solidify my identity as a creative.
When I became an artist, I knew that It wouldn’t stop with paint. I am a quintessential creative, with an obsession with expression. Eventually, I decided to combine art and fashion. I have always been one to think outside of the box, so it was a natural transition to combine my art with what I wore. When I first began painting, I kept saying “ man this would be dope as fabric.” Eventually, I decided headwraps would be my first project, and then I began to commit to creating wearable art in every capacity.
CL: As an entrepreneur, what has been your greatest challenge in developing your brands?
MM: My greatest challenge has been maximizing my TIME. I am still balancing a 9-5, so I have be mindful of how lost I get in my pieces. One night I was up painting until almost 5 AM and had to start getting ready for work a little after 6 AM. Some days I want to create for hours on end, but I have to be aware of my schedule and timing of it all. When you are building, you have to plan your days accordingly. I only “busy” myself with things that will add to my momentum. As a business owner, you’re best weapon should be discernment. You will know what deserves your time, and what you should pass on.
To me, Fashion and Artistic expression are both synonymous with FREEDOM.
CL: Describe your Creative Renaissance. When did you realize your creative purpose?
MM: I always describe my purpose as a beautiful accident. I was home during the snowstorm of 2014, searching for something to do with my time (since I was frozen into my house). I heard God say clearly, PAINT. I laughed initially, but then I began to doodle on scrap wood, then paper, then eventually canvas. I knew then that I was on to something. TO me, Art became my freedom, far beyond just purpose. It’s a place where I am free to roam, create, and just be. There are no restraints, there is no judgment, there are no boundaries— art is LOVE. I choose art, because God chose me. Out of all the people on this planet, He gave these patterns and color combinations to me. No matter how similar other works may be to mine, they can never compare, because they didn’t come from me.
Another aspect of my purpose, has a lot to do with how I have dealt with grieving loss and disappointment. I speak openly about my father’s death in 2010 and just needing life to make sense after that. My father had a larger than life persona and would always urge my sisters and I to live BIG lives. When he passed, I chose to honor him by carving my own path and making sure earth remembered my name when I left. So when God gave me art in 2014, I never looked back.
CL: Millennial Creatives are often faced with ridicule when it comes to pursuing a non-traditional career path, what would be your best advice to those who are ready to take the leap, but is fearful of failing?
MM: I can’t speak to totally taking a leap to doing my “thing” full time, but I will say it takes courage to do anything your heart desires. I live life as if each day were my last day. People think that’s cliché, but it really has to become a way of life. We have to be mindful of how we want to be remembered and what lasting impression we want to have when our name is mentioned. My dad lived by this and even up until his last breath, he has his bible open, speaking life to another pastor. When you pour yourself out into the earth, your name will live forever.
So I urge every millennial to take the leap to LIVE and things will begin to fall in place like never before. One will never know until they try!
As a creator, I have learned to:
- Keep my vibrations high. My work is reflective of my internal state, so I’m always feeding my spirit man.
- I keep my company (friends circle) limited and share my ideas with a trusted, select few.
- I choose to trust my gifts and not worry about what others are doing. As an artist, its important to stay true to yourself and believe in your gifts.
[A]rt is like love, you make it what you want and it makes you feel things you can’t always describe; you’re left to just relish in the beauty of it.
Melissa Mitchell is an Atlanta based abstract artist, with a love of vibrant colors, unique shapes, and bold dark lines. As a self -taught artist, she pulls inspiration from her Bahamian heritage, melodic tunes, and the colorful world around her. Since February 2014, she has created over 350 original art pieces, painted over 25 larger than life murals, been featured in the media and has work sold in stores. She has also turned her favorite paintings into unique headwraps, pocket squares, socks, bow ties, home decor, and specialty textiles. She specializes in working with clients, to create one-of-a-kind pieces for homes, offices, and other personal spaces. She aims to create pieces that evoke emotion, to serve as a “light source”, speak to the soul, but above all—–inspire people to follow their passions and cultivate their dreams. She is known as the “Kaleidoscope of Hope”, because she brings joy through her use of colors. Anyone that experiences something she has created will find comfort in knowing that there is nothing else like it in the world.
Melissa says, “art is like love, you make it what you want and it makes you feel things you can’t always describe; you’re left to just relish in the beauty of it. Art has single-handedly changed my life and the way I live it”. She is currently working on expanding her brand globally and developing significant artistic collaborations with other artists, corporations, major fashion houses and brands.
Visit the official site of Melissa A. Mitchell and Shop her hand painted pieces and wearable art here!
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