Symbology

M.K. Chester met a lot of crazy talented folks during her time in creative higher education. They have always inspired her to find her own creativity and she’s stayed in touch with many artistic-minded colleagues and former students. When we discussed an individual cover for ICEHAVEN, she got excited to be able to reach out to that group for a symbol (a set of symbols, actually, spoiler alert) to represent the communities in this series.

We’d like to introduce Melissa Gamez. She raised her hand to help and jumped from our creative process into hers to produce symbols for our dystopian communities. Kim and I love the results (we’re thinking t-shirts and hats y’all!) and we loved working with Melissa.

Tell us a little about how you ‘became’ an artist!

I’m not sure I would call myself an artist, but rather a designer. Since I was young, I have always been interested in art and design. I studied architecture for my undergraduate degree because my university did not offer a fine arts program and it was the closest I could get to art. But this ended up being a great decision, because architecture taught me how to actually see my surroundings and interpret them both visually and physically. It also taught me photography, color theory, and other fundamental design principles.

Who are your favorite artists/designers?

I am drawn to artists that explore their media through a unique lens, whether they be traditional artists, designers, or architects. I am completely entranced with the architecture of Antonio Gaudi, the whimsical sculpture of Niki de Saint Phalle, and the refreshing graphic design of Stefan Sagmeister. I am also a huge fan of the paintings by Hieronymus Bosch.

What kind of tools do you use? Do you work only digitally or use other mediums?

I mainly work digitally in the Adobe suite to create my artwork. I also incorporate digital photography and sometimes traditional, hand-drawn elements. Most of my work is digital, but I also incorporate hand-drawn 2D elements when possible. I’m very interested in the endless possibilities and visually rich creations of combining analog and digital technologies.

Your daughters are also interested in art – tell us a little about them!

Both of my daughters have been exploring art since they could fit crayons in their grubby little hands. Since my husband and I are both involved in creative endeavors (he is an architecture professor), our children have been surrounded by art supplies, whether they liked it or not, so they really didn’t have a choice. J  My daughters are both now teenagers and still exploring art. My eldest daughter is a junior at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. Even though she has chosen to pursue a career in science, she spends all her free-time drawing and painting when she is not studying. In fact, her rendering skills have surpassed mine and she has won several Scholastic Gold Keys in art. My younger daughter who is about to enter high school is more focused and interested in manipulative arts like ceramics. I’m excited to see where her interests take her.

How did you become involved in creating art for Icehaven?

I used to work with the amazing Marty Chester at the Art Institute, and we have kept in touch as we have moved on to new ventures. When she reached out that they were looking to collaborate, I jumped at the chance because I know what a talented writer she is.  Besides being a professor at Queens University in Charlotte, I also run my own graphic design firm. I love working in creative environments, but it’s even more rewarding when I get to work with great people.

To learn more about Melissa and her work, visit: www.GamezCreative.com and www.queens.edu/faculty/melissa-gamez.html

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