Melissa Gericke


When did you start creating collage art? Were there any artists whose work prompted you to make them? And, on that note, do you identify with any eras of art movements beyond your contemporary one?

I think I may have made my first collage in high school, but I can’t remember what it was. I just remember from then on making them as gifts for people. Later on I made a piece that was sort of the jumping off point, things just spun off from there. It was meant to capture the Trinity. It was vibrant in color and aggressive looking. To this day I still view it as the piece that brought all the ones to follow.

I can’t remember thinking that someone else’s work prompted me. As things go on there are a lot of artists who I identified with, Hannah Hoch, Max Ernst, Hans Bellmer, Salvador Dali. I relate a lot to the Dada movement and Surrealism in both ideas and visual tendencies, and can indulge and gain momentum from any Religious or Occult art.

Does your community or location inform you about your work? Do you find that your occupation as a caregiver has a salient relationship to your style?

I don’t understand the first question. I mean I guess in a way my job has some influence because its an experience I have on a daily basis, so it’s bound to sink in. But I wouldn’t consider it as playing a central role in my collage art. It does show up in my drawings sometimes though.

Generally, how does a piece come together? Is it an act of intuition, that is, an instinctive operation, or do impressions and ideas culminate together from a preconceived notion? Do you have a particular time and place when you work?

I was trying to come to conclusions about this for a really long time. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered everything I make was usually just regurgitation. Like, if you give a baby milk and burp them and they spew out that spittle, that’s how my art works. I take in loads of information constantly making it difficult to process anything, that in itself is a constant CULMINATION and it’s through the collage art that a lot of things get put into place. Like a BINGE and PURGE reaction. Each piece comes together how I see fit, how I react to it is how I make a decision. But, something changed the other week and I randomly thought of a specific concept. That’s only ever happened either during the process or after, never before. It was so natural how it rapidly entered in.

Not really, I do it all times of the day, but I like it most when I have time to lose myself in it, because then there’s no pressure, no end, the time/future time is dedicated to purely making things. I always have a space that’s dedicated to making art because everything is out in the open.

I see that you studied neuroscience and religion. Do these lines of education inform your aesthetic and the choices that you make?

It’s just a part of my self-knowledge that I gain through any other discipline I learn about. The religious aspect is obviously relevant in a lot of my pieces, and that’s because I admire it so much. There’s so much symbolism there and it captures me FULLY, so naturally it flows into my art. But, learning about those things specifically had led me to see a lot of correspondences, how things can relate even if they’re viewed on opposite ends of a spectrum.

Many of your pieces have their dominant form centered in the middle. Can you tell me about that kind of formal choice? Is it a kind of iconography or cryptic portraiture?

It just sort of happens that way. The entire thing is a mess of relating symbols together, so I like for there to be a main source, and then all the details kind of just disperse throughout, adorning the central image.

Do you have any obsessions that find form in your work? What are your ideas about beauty?

To be honest this question really bothers me because I don’t know how to answer but I’m just gonna wing it, and a year from now I’ll probably think differently because things change. I don’t have any obsessions that I’m aware of. I find something beautiful if it’s shows resistance. If I saw a pile of shit on the street I don’t know if I would think it was beautiful, but if it was splattered on a toilet I might, there’s a certain vitality there that I’m attracted to. There’s a literal sense of an eruption, two things colliding. I love opposition, and putting inconsistent elements together makes a lot of sense to me. It contains both extremes in one. A contradiction that is Absolute.

Who is your ideal audience? Do you have any long-term purposes for your art?

I wouldn’t say I have an ideal audience, I’d like for anyone to see them because it could spark a reaction. Sometimes it’s nice though when someone who contains a sense of esoteric knowledge sees it, and you both know how much strength the image holds. I like sharing that silent reaction with other people. I just keep pushing through the Process, things come to my mind and I try to carry it out. I’d like to collaborate more with people I know or don’t know, see what turns up. But, right now I’m working on this one set of images and starting a short film with my friend Char. I can’t really say what’s going to happen beyond that.


A clenching of my mouth, or something in it.