Abstract Painter, Mahoney Artwork
Melissa Mahoney is championing her new motto this year - "Think big, paint big." After over 20 years in the graphic design industry, she took her career a new direction and is shifting to a full-time painter. Tackling a highly competitive art environment, she distinguishes herself with textiles and scarves, and by embracing traditional Japanese aesthetics centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.
Learn more about the inspiration for Melissa's works here.
How do you think your passion for art was cultivated?
Growing up, my family used drawing and painting as a babysitting tool, and I loved it. When I paint, I get lost in it and escape in it- like a runner's high. It's a chemical shift where you can forget that you are doing it. When I'm finished, I feel replenished and fed through creating my work. It became clear along the way that this is where my joy was derived from.
What has been the key to success in pivoting your career?
It's all about persistence and relationships. I've had some of my design clients for 10-15 years, because they know I'm a trusted ally who can help them make tough decisions. With art, it is so fun to make a direct connection with the person who collects your pieces. Cultivating relationships helps to foster ways to share my artwork. There is so much competition out there, and I'm not afraid to make a cold call. It's important to keep going after what you want, and some of my projects took years to get. It's easy for someone to give a fast "No," so you have to find the win-win and the express the value you are bringing.
What tips do you have for women just starting out in their career?
Think bold! I wish I had thought about bigger projects and taking more risks sooner in my career. I had the mindset that I had to pay my dues first and was conservative in risk-taking. My new theme this year is "Think big, paint big," and it took me a while to get here. I would advise that you think about your end goals and work toward them without limitations and don't put them on hold.
What is it like to be an artist within the backdrop of Silicon Valley, where everyone is focused on new technology?
I get really energized living in this environment. I love being near people who are life-long learners, and it seems like that's the true culture here. It's nice to be around people (artists or non-artists) who are interested in what they are doing and continually innovating.
What do you find valuable about being a part of the CLUB?
I've been a member of the CLUB for 3 years, and I've found that bringing together motivated women from all industries innately creates new opportunities. Being around a group of women who are motivated gives a feeling of abundance, of let's all do better together and share information. I like the variety of the events that are held with the CLUB and that there are people at all stages, both those looking for mentors and those who are veteran mentors themselves.