Melissa Gericke

INTERVIEW PART III

It seems, except in exceptional instances (the Phone Sex Valentine), you avoid tapping into the who’s who and what’s what of pop culture. Are there pitfalls of meaning in pop, or is it all just too artificial to reference? Your thoughts…

Yeah, I don’t know, it doesn’t interest me really. I feel out of the loop with all that stuff, so it’s hard for me to involve it in anything I create because I’m not a part of it. Maybe if I were surrounded by it more it would appear somehow.

How successful have you been in giving your work exposure? Do you find that your images are compelling to a broad audience or a small community? Any hopes in the future for gallery shows?

Not really at all. I tried and I have had a couple shows in the past but they weren’t “successful” and no one really knew about them. I keep trying but I could be doing a better job I guess. I couldn’t really say who’s interested and who’s not. Some of my close friends ask questions, or respond to it, and that makes it seem to me like they’re interested. My family gets offended usually, so uh I guess people react, some people care, some people judge, and some people just sort of ignore the images. I am hoping for an upcoming show, I just applied to a couple galleries in my area, but no one has responded yet. So we will see.

Have you collaborated with anyone else? Was there any collaborative experience you greatly enjoyed? What happened?

Yeah, a couple people only so far, close friends or strangers. There was one collaboration that I really enjoyed with an ex boyfriend, we did a lot of different things. He was very talented and respected my part in it, so I felt like whatever came out of it was pure and true. We really did some beautiful things. Paintings, drawings, structural things, and video. It was solid. I also did some collaboration with Bill Porter who sometimes uses dots/circles to create these double sided, sometimes holographic images. That was fun for me because our art was so distant from each other, so I had some challenges with approaching it, but in the end I thought they turned out nice.  If I’m a part of a collaborative work it’s usually a mixed media kind of thing. They can be lots of fun though because you’re merging two different perspectives. Never turn out to be what you expect usually.

What are your spiritual thoughts about the practicing of art?

There are so many ways I could answer this. For me I get in my zone, almost like an altered consciousness type deal because I’m so emerged. Its paradoxical because I am so concentrated that I become shaky and lose myself in what I am doing. I think it can be refreshing, bring you to a point of explosion, allow you to transfer things that aren’t always surfaced. I think performance art to me is by far the most spiritual thing I can relate to in the “art world”. An ex-bf introduced me to it, and honestly I think the greatest catharsis can happen with that approach. I’ve witnessed so many people performing and have completely felt every aspect of what they were doing. It’s so beautiful. I used to be friends with someone a long time ago who used to DJ and freestyle. Sometimes he would do this free form talk and start speaking in other languages. I mean he was really tapping into some crazy shit there. Any form of art that you can let go of yourself in is spiritual to me. If you can find something to lose yourself completely in, some things can form that will surprise you and allow you to experience yourself at full capacity.

Would you say there’s a central or primary purpose to your art? How do you think/feel you make that happen?

I don’t know how much purpose it has outside of myself, but the longer I continue to create things the more ideas I get that I think can be explosive to a community. I think I just need to keep pushing and see what happens from there.

What outside of art or your materials elicits inspiration?

Inspiration is silly. I don’t know how to answer this. Anything that can ignite something within me I guess you could say inspires me, and that could fall into anything and everything depending on how I’m perceiving things at that moment.

INTERVIEW PART II

What’s your thought about the symbolism of the moon? I see the moon’s image distinctly shows its face in a few titled pieces: Falling Into A Point, The Oath, and Finding The Origin.

Depending on the context the moon could represent so many things for me. On a physical level it aligns with my menstruation cycle which is pretty beautiful to me because a lot of times I see the moon as a symbol of the feminine path towards Truth. Underneath it is a constant reminder that I can be swallowed by the night, this never leaves me, and throughout my whole life I will be pushing through dark moments. Other times I see it as being a link to the Divine. So, really it all depends.

 

What purpose does a title serve for you? Is there a usual way you come to consider a title?

Sometimes after I look at it I just impulsively give it a title based on my first instinct, but I can’t even remember what they are now. I’ll usually just forget the connection I made with words and image because my minds so flighty. I just did numbered notations recently as a convenience for other people.

 

Do you keep on hand collections of images stored for future use, or does each collage form out of an immediate selection?

A lot of the images are sectioned out. I have a couple of bins that are filled with cutouts. Sometimes I’ll sift through them because they contain images that have caught my attention at some point. The most important images to me are usually on my desk or taped on my wall. They have more urgency. But some days I don’t want any of it and start the search again.

 

Where do find your images?

Everywhere really. A lot of science books, national geographic, medical books, doll magazines, porno magazines, cookbooks, gardening books, etc. Sometimes I pay attention to the publishing dates because the images change through time, and how the images are printed change too giving it a different texture.

 

Do you think humor plays a meaningful role in your work? If so, how would you describe it?

Immediately I would say no, but that one image of the guy with three arms holding his penis up by a rope is satirical to me. It’s sort of emasculating, which I thought was funny at the time considering what I was going through emotionally. If the images contain humor, most likely it’s going to be a criticism that is exposing someone or an idea.

 

Moths, honeycombs, butterflies, doll’s heads, hordes of insects, snakes – these forms recur often. As with the moon question, do they have essential symbolic meanings for you?

I can’t say that there is a set meaning to any of these things because then it would mean that it all ends somewhere and I don’t like to think that way. Nothing is really “set in”, so it is all usually based in it’s own context. I definitely feel like a lot of those images have archetypal meaning, and hit a cord in me like they would with anyone else. Moths and butterflies seem pretty obvious. The dolls are just so sweet. I like them because when I was little all my dolls were on the shelf, untouched, and they just sat and observed everything. They were really quiet but I felt like they had everything/everyone mapped out. They are like little spies. The hordes of insects are just for effect. Snakes are so sacred. Symbolically they are on another level for me. People judge the snake; like “oh that’s bad, stay away” same thing with Magick and anything occult like. But that’s the beauty in it, snakes are scary to a lot of people, so the ones that really know their importance will stay around and disregard the illusion surrounding it. The honeycomb became important to me when I heard a song where the artist says, “Then I’m, octa-gone in the wind with the pollen” and I made an association between the physical and spiritual connection honeycomb holds. Once I make a connection on a macrocosm/microcosm level the image has more strength and I will use the symbol more often because the meaning has surfaced, it’s not as cryptic as it once was.

 

And, while we’re at it with the concept of symbolism, would you say there is universal code between cultures’ use of symbols? Are you tapping into that spectrum?

I would say I am, to the best of my ability anyway. There’s still so much that I don’t know or understand. Sometimes I do think there’s a constant symbolism that reoccurs through a lot of cultures. A couple years ago I really attempted to make correlations across religions and certain symbols they used, to see if there was a pattern. It continues to be an ongoing process. To me there are primordial things that trigger everyone, but what/where/why/how/and to what extent depends on the culture or individual I guess.