30sec film artists Vol.17 – Melissa Crook

“I like drawing nature and animals to bring a bit of that peace to me in the city”

Melissa Crook : From a young age, Toronto-born Melissa Crook has been interested in depicting nature with elements of fantasy. She started drawing at the age of 5 when her Mom taught her the basics, and has never stopped. Her degree in Design has influenced her art by being able to recognize the effectiveness of simple visual communication. Her highly detailed subjects are often isolated on blank backgrounds, and are inspired by classic literature, the gothic novel and folk tales. Ever the active imagination, she has always found beauty in the unconventional, or was otherwise inspired to give the conventionally beautiful, a subtle touch of darkness. Her work aims to evoke the viewer’s own imagination, as well as offering a glimpse into her own mind.

Melissa Crook – 30sec film artists Q&A

What’s your favorite thing to do when you are alone?

I like my own company. I of course love to create my art, read and watch movies.

How do you usually get inspired again after working on a big project/painting?

I usually take a little break after emerging myself in any piece or project that is lengthy. After a week or so my ideas for another piece get so strong that I can't help but start the next piece. Often I can't sleep at night because I'm so excited by a concept and I know it's time.

Do you collect things?

I have a bit of a frame collection going, you never quite know when you might create a piece that would be perfect for it. I've even painted something with the frame already in mind.

What's the last great book you read?

I really enjoyed "The Forgoten Garden" by Kate Morton. It's a historical somewhat gothic novel that shifts back and forth between two woman who are living in different time periods. It's haunting and incredibly well written. It's not for everyone though as she tends to start her novels slowly. She dedicated a whole paragraph just to discribe how tea swirled and darkened in water.

What’s your craziest dream?

This might not be my craziest dream, but for as long as I can remember I've had reoccurring dreams of being chased by a bear. It's been a while since I've had one now. I recently drew a black bear to try and get over my fear, and I think spending time looking at one for so long may have actually helped.

What do you fear the most?

In terms of my art, I fear that I'll loose the ability to do it. Every time I start a new piece for a split second I wonder if I can still draw.

How do you come up with ideas?

Most of the time they just pop in my head. But sometimes it's coming in contact with an animal or just walking in nature. I saw an octopus in an aquarium in B.C. once and I was surprised my how beautiful and intelligent it's eyes looked. So I painted one when I got home.

What project/art are you hoping to create but haven’t got chance to do yet?

I bought a deep set wood panel a while ago and I really want to experiment with working on wood. Not sure what medium I'll use yet which is why I have not tackled it yet.

Artist’s bookshelf

The Forgotten Garden
The Forgotten Garden: A Novel