Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Melissa Strawser, has been a Printmaker for almost 30 years. In 1995, she received a Master's-First Degree in Fine Art/Printmaking from Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, and lived in London for several years. At the Slade, she studied under Professor, Bartolomeu dos Santos and Stanley Jones. She was mentored by Robert Blackburn and David Shapiro of NYC. In 2000, she was invited by Barto to work alongside him after his retirement from the Slade, in his Tavira Print Workshop. When the owner paid double for her first bronze sculpture, she went to Tavira, Portugal, to work with him again-they worked together in Tavira Print Workshop from 2000-2007, continuing a Printmaking relationship of 17 years. Today, her print studio is named to commemorate him also coinciding with where she resides in Pennsylvania,
Barto Print Workshop. These art-humanitarian relationships in Printmaking and Art History played a major role in her life.
After returning home from London and NY, in 1998, Val Bertoia invited Melissa to work alongside him in his father's studio, Bertoia Studio. Val welcomed her into this art-mecca, so that she could continue Printmaking and Sculpture works simultaneously. She initiated coordinating art projects of international scope for Bertoia and today assists to Consultants@BertoiaStudio.com. Val and Melissa manage Bertoia sculpture restoration projects of all shapes and sizes. They work independently and together through preserving Sculpture and Ecology. Unique and encouraging, Val Bertoia, in 1979, asked nature for direction. Val followed the growing spiral for ecology and sculpture all his life. In 1998, the pathway had new direction with Melissa. They work together to educate and enhance Bertoia and Bertoia's Ecological Sculpture Pathway; so that groups can connect with Nature and Art. Schedule by Appointment, Bertoia Studio Tour, between 10 March and 6 November.
Melissa works in Printmaking and Sculpture because she loves working with paper. She enjoys how the 2D and 3D process develops her ideas. Melissa's Etchings on copper and Sculpture of copper represent interpretations of reflecting memories, refracting color and dreamscapes. She is inspired by nature and ecological environments on earth and of water. She is inspired by organic forms found in plants, animals, insects, amphibians, aquatic life and natural energies. Light, of all things natural, is what inspires her the most. The movement of light across the earth's surface intriques her and sonics through the senses play an integral part of her inspiration. Art is culture, and through travel, she continues to develop ideas which allow her to conceptualize how she sees things. Her prints are represented by Hartmut Berlinicke, also a legendary Printmaker (originally from Berlin) of Galerie Wildeshausen, Germany.
Melissa is privileged by a tradition of Pennsylvania Folk Art in her family, Strawser-Gottshall-Brunner. She is a 5th generation artist who understands everyday art of genetic make-up. She is thankful for the generous upbringing which gave her the means to understand how to see and how to make things. Ideas are combined with dreamscapes and rationality then all derived from her unique reality.
Thank you for your generosity of spirit as O'Hara said of
You have "it" and we both know it just means going on and testifying, like a religious mania...Of course, there are lots of, even hundreds of little rational things to do (from parties to meeting those who may help to practising constantly to...) but the main things seem to be combinations of dream and rationality...
This is just a little note to say congratulations for your courage. Good luck to you and your art forever.