She rises

She rises.
Sometimes you push through despite the odds.

(Taken and processed on an iPhone.)

Creative Thresholds

Last year, in between my first and second surgery for thyroid cancer (I ended up having three), I came up with the idea of having a magazine-style blog called Creative Thresholds where I shared some of my work but also showcased some of my super-talented friends’ work. That was about 7 months ago and the circle of writers and artists has grown to include new artist and writer friends.  I’m constantly amazed and thankful for their generosity and creativity.

The July issue just came out (CT comes out the last Thursday of the month), and, as usual I’m excited! This issue includes

question bridge image option 1

Critiquing “Question Bridge”: Representing Black Male Identity in America: An incisive essay about Black male identity in art, particularly the Question Bridge project, by Christopher Hutchinson

Brent Houzenga 6

Honorarium: Brent Houzenga’s multi-media art that transforms the images of those long dead.

rothko experiment B1.1.2a

everytime i write i feel myself disintegrate, written by Daniel Boscaljon, with images from me–the first in a series of posts called Letters to You

Maxwell Sebastian 3Maxwell Sebastian explores his ambivalent relationship with Atlanta in Dispatches from Atlanta: Love and Hate in the South

Inspiration Here and Now

Aja's drawing, GAG poetry reading flickr large 1024

Sometimes it’s the little things.

Today I did a poetry reading for the “Read, Write and Doodle” Guerrilla Artist Group youth art sessions at Mooresville Public Library. I’d been a little apprehensive when I’d been asked to do it, wondering if I’d have anything 12-18 year olds could connect with.

At the end of the session, one of the girls, Aja, came up and handed me an illustration she’d made of one of the poems I’d read. I was completely surprised, just as I’d been when I heard two of her classmates bring themes from my poems into their own writing exercises in class.

But maybe I shouldn’t have been. One of the topics of class was the question of inspiration. Most of the time we think of the lofty or moving or powerfully emotional as being inspirational. Or maybe we see a particular person or his or her work as inspirational.

But the truth is that inspiration has an aspect slightly more mundane as well. No act of creation takes place in a vacuum. It’s always situated within a specific place and time, which is never short of opportunities for interesting ideas—if we’ll simply notice and take the invitation.

Today the students took what was at hand in class to write their stories. Aja used it to draw her picture. To swing the circle ‘round, they’ve all inspired me to write this post tonight—when I’d not planned to write today at all. Thank you, Aja. Thanks to the rest of your classmates as well.

What I Remember

What I Remember

What I Remember

I used to want an iPhone simply so I could take photographs. The fledgling mobile photography community (primarily iPhoneographers) fascinated me with their freedom and creativity in regard to photography. I actually didn’t get an iPhone for several years–and it’s turned out to be just as I thought it would.  To put it in the words of a post at Life in Lofi: Iphoneography: “I have a camera. Sometimes I use it to make phone calls.”

I took this shot on Sunday, and later found out that this building used to house my great great Grandfather’s store (it’s now an antique shop). Blood remembers, even when it’s forgotten.

And so it starts…!

FB profile pic 4:30:13

After resisting having my own personal website for years, I’ve succumbed. It’s here. And I’m a lot more excited about it than I thought I would be. Not just from a business point of view, but from a personal creative one as well. I’m hoping to share many of my projects in process, something that will definitely push me further conceptually and creatively.

Things are still under construction, so please be patient. And thanks so, so much for stopping by!

To the future!

                                                                                        Melissa

ART

From time to time we catch a glimpse of who we think we “really” are, the exhilaration and excitement of recognizing something that seems ourselves and yet larger than ourselves at the same time. It is this “something” that fuels my passion both in the process of art and in its subject matter. Art—in process and product—can be revelatory. That revelation may be uncomfortable, or even disturbing, but it always has the power to transform.

I’m primarily a digital artist. I take a photograph in the moment—capture the feel of a place or the look of a person—and I build something new from there by adding in layers of other photographs I’ve also taken. I work intuitively, and the final result is almost always a surprise compared to where I thought I wanted to go in the beginning of a project! But that is part of the fun. And the revelation.

My work has appeared in shows in the US and Canada, the journals The New Post-LiterateEmDash, Eyedrum Periodically, and the upcoming anthology Luminous by Synclectic Press. I’ve also been a cover artist for Sopher Press and I’m featured with the Guerrilla Artists Group.

Digital Art (including Vispo): 

 

Eternal Childhood iPhoneography Series:

The glimpse we get of the self that is larger than the self, the self that can be discovered through the eyes of our inner child when we give her or him space to play….

 

Exhibitions

2015

Element, Brick Row Gallery, Cornelius, NC

2014

The Power of Labeling, The Incluseum, online exhibition

Zalop: Illusory Correspondence Art, Eyedrum, Atlanta

‘Convergence’, Brick Row Gallery, Cornelius, NC

Big Art Comes in Small Packages, Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery, Orillia, Ontario

2013

Small Works Invitational, Brick Row Gallery, Cornelius, NC

2010

Plastic Exhibition, Eyedrum, Atlanta

Slick Willy: BP’s Oil Slick, Archetype Art Gallery, Atlanta

Madison Area Open Art Studios Visual Poetry Exhibition, Madison, Wisconsin

VISPO, Eyedrum, Atlanta

Bibliography/Media

2015

Exhibit shows art ‘elements’, interview, The Herald Weekly

Erotic Faith: Desire, Suffering, & Transformation in the Incarnational Theology of Wendy Farley, Mari Kim, Ed., Upland: Sopher, 2015, book cover  forthcoming

2014

The Artists of ‘Convergence’ Opening Friday at Brick Row, interview, DavidsonNews.net

2013

Lovely Tents of Jacob: the Vagina in Scripture, Erica L. Martin, Upland: Sopher, 2013, book cover

2010

Artist Spotlight: Melissa D. Johnston, May 9, 2010, The Art Gardner

Ten Minutes with Visual Poet Melissa Johnston, interview, Ennyman’s Territory

 Collections

Works held in private collections in the United States and Canada.

 

WRITING

Melissa D. Johnston’s writing has been published in various journals, including Word and World, where she won the 2005 Doctoral Essay Prize with “Making Space: Silence, Voice, and Suffering.” Recently her poetry manuscript Encountering Crows finished as a semifinalist for the Joanna Cargill Coconut Book Prize for a First Book given by Coconut Press.

Her current book project explores bipolar experience, both her own and that given in others’ memoirs. She chronicles the intersection of societal norms of punishment (and reward) with the experience of those living with this mental illness, offering critique and a fresh perspective of society’s understanding of violence, relationship, and love.