Welcome to Melissa’s World…
Artist and SBCC alum Melissa Mathieson is hitting her stride and living her dream, just shortly after graduating from Concordia University in Montreal with a BFA in Studio Art. Her 3D artwork is in great demand, and she has some major clients that include Deckers Brands, Atlassian, MailChimp, and Paperboy London. She has been profiled in various art publications, and has a strong following on social media.
“Santa Barbara City College was life-changing for me,” Melissa says. “Their art program is wonderful, and all my professors were extremely knowledgeable and encouraging. I was able to really explore by taking a broad range of courses. I fell in love with – and learned so much from – my art history and studio classes.” Melissa traveled to Paris with a group led by one of her favorite professors, Joy Kunz, through SBCC’s Study Abroad Program. “It was the most amazing time! The experience broadened my horizons and helped me grow as an artist.” After that trip, she decided that traveling would always be an important part of her life, as it enables her to experience other cultures and gain fresh perspectives that feed her creativity. She graduated in 2017 with a degree in art and decided to transfer to a university.
Just as attending SBCC was the start of a new life chapter, having moved to Santa Barbara from her small hometown on California’s central coast, so was going to university – in another country. Melissa loves living in Montreal and finds it inspiring. She says that Concordia University’s art program was excellent, though she missed the encouragement and camaraderie she had at SBCC. “At SBCC, I was able to gain confidence that I didn’t have before, which helped prepare me for university,” she explained. “And since our professors had a lot of experience working in the field, outside of teaching, they were able to share ways to build a viable art career.”
It wasn’t until recently that Melissa took a deep dive into 3D animation. She had tried it at the university, but wasn’t able to devote the time that it takes to learn the craft. “It was really hard! I realized that I would need longer than a month to immerse myself and get proficient. It stayed in the back of my mind, though.”
Then the pandemic hit, and suddenly there was time. While at home in quarantine, she taught herself how to bring her creations to life in 3D using Blender, a free open-source 3D creation suite. While many users create life-like worlds, Melissa’s art is whimsical and highly imaginative. And it’s clearly a hit with creative directors searching for fresh ways to enhance their brands.
Melissa’s 3D animations have even made the jump from screen to environment, projected throughout the city of Tokyo for an illumination light festival. This recent work for a company called Mapp JPN is another highlight of her career so far. Melissa said, “Ever since I was young I have been so inspired by Japan’s massive innovative art culture, so for me to be part of it leaves me in awe.”
Melissa is enjoying her success with 3D animation and knows she will always continue to learn and grow, finding new mediums and ways to apply and build upon all that she learned at college. She would also love to create children’s books. “I’m excited to be working in my chosen field, and enjoying creating artwork from home – it’s a dream come true!”