July 14, 2008

Melanie of ShayGon Designs

As you may know, I am celebrating my 40th birthday by doing an event to raise $40,000 for the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation. For the next two weeks we have a beautiful, exclusive trio of artwork up for grabs. Melanie of ShayGon Designs has created a trio of paintings that will go to the high donor for the next two weeks. Here is a little bit about Melanie.

Tell us a bit about yourself I’m commonly known by my middle name: Melanie, however, I use the name “Shay” with my artist endeavours, which is short for my first name “Olusegun” (pron: O-lu-Shay-Gun). It’s a very Caribbean thing to be known by several names! I love words and names with meanings and my first name is no exception. It means “God will help me to conquer”… that has proven to be the best kept “promise” in my life so far… I was born in London to Trinidadian parents and I still live there. I am legally trained and have worked in the legal profession for the last 10 years. For the past 5 years, I reconnected with my creative talents. For as long as I can remember, I had a bond with colours, I associated everything with colours –and still do. Through my creations, I laugh, cry, think, mediate, provoke debate… but most of all, I’m free to be myself.

Apart from creating things, what do you do? I write poetry, and dream of my future with my fiancé

What first drew you to become an artist? My need for “me time”. Since my university days, I had fallen into a spiral of work, work and more work and that drove me away from spending time on myself. Painting and doing anything artistic allows me to breathe. I feel calmer, more in control of my life and I gain the greatest buzz and sense of achievement from completing an art piece. So for all of those reasons and more, I found my first love again.

Please describe your creative process I paint whenever I feel like it. I create all the time. Inspirations come in every shape, form and size. It could be something I’ve read; a movie I watched; a scene played out on my daily journey to work etc. so many things inspire me. I walk around with a small sketchbook in my bag and sometimes I write a note to myself or draw an image, then when I feel like it, I paint it. There are countless moments in a week when I’ll grab a scrap piece of paper on a desk and draw an idea. A wonderful use of corporate time! I love acrylics, oil, pastels and a simple HB pencil. I also love wire, beads, crystals and gems.

Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and/or web sites Oh… wow… how could you do this to me… ok I’ll close my eyes and just go: Colour Purple - (film and book; Purple Hibiscus –book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; The Temple of My Familiar –book by Alice Walker; To Kill a Mockingbird –book by Harper Lee; Beautiful Surprise –song by India Aire

What advice would you give to aspiring artists / business owners?
• Never neglect the paper work. If you’re completely hopeless at it, seek professional advice. Ignorance isn’t really bliss.
• Go with the flow. There’s nothing more powerful than an expression of the heart. So create what you feel.
• Enjoy it. The moment you start stressing over a piece is the moment you should leave it alone. It’s like saying words in anger: the result is never good. Take a time out and only go back when your heart says it’s ready.

How do you promote your work? Mainly word of mouth –although I am my worse promoter. I’m very bad at “getting out there” or soliciting sales because I’m apprehensive about blowing my own trumpet. I guess it’s one of the reasons why I took so long to take my art to the next level. So I'm going to rely on you to help me out! Keep spreading the word.

In ten years I'd like to be...(is my boss reading this?) Do you have time and space for my dreams because I have MANY. I’ll try to keep it to the top three: apart from being a wonderful wife, mother, and an even more “fan-tabulous” Auntie, I would love to own a small art gallery selling the creations of local artists and running an after school art club (not-for-profit) and know that the name ShayGon Designs is synonymous with “colour expressions of life”.

Please visit ShayGon to see more of her “colour expressions of life”.

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