Melissa Castleman - Artists Bio
I've always wanted to create and I've loved drawing since I was a kid so when I finished school the
natural thing for me to do was to go to art school. Art school in my case happened to be Sunraysia
Institute of Tafe and a Diploma of Fine Art - Visual Art. I only stuck around for a year though as I
had a huge urge to get out of Mildura and go and see the world which is what I did, well I saw bits
of it anyway. On returning to Mildura some four or so years later I somehow ended up re-enroling
into the second year of my course then from there onto the Bachelor of Fine Art offered by LaTrobe
University. All up it took me around 9 years from start to finish with time off and part time study
and I think it was 2004 when I finally recieved my BA. I met some lifelong friends as fellow students
and lecutures and would have to say that I had some of the best times of my life there.
Since graduating I haven't really created much of my own art, I've created kids and done the odd
bit of oddball craft at home though. I am very lucky though to have a job within the arts helping to
run art and drama programs for adults with intellectual disabilties at ArtRageUs Studios This keeps
me in touch with art around town, gives me inspiration and keeps the creative juices flowing. I have
never stopped having ideas they just haven't come to fruitition, but hopefully now that is going to
change. It seems in all the different guises my art has taken over the years I can see that the basic
theme has always been the same. That is our essential elemental, emotional and spiritual existence
as human beings and our mortality, not death though more our finiteness and infiniteness.
When I look back on all the art I've ever created I can see a common thread that holds it all together.
The themes of mortality and the essence of our very existence, our place in time, where we are
turning back in on itself to ask "Where are we?". At once and at the same time being introspective
and yet looking to the world of the material yet mutable to somehow try and answer a question that
if it is asked directly ceases to have meaning. If it was an image it would need to be viewed from
out of the corner of your eye because if it was to be looked at directly it would simply not be there.
Hopefully I haven't gone too far down the path of being conceited and I'm not trying to be clever I'm
more simply than ever just trying to make myself feel whole through creating my art and to create
something that feels authentic to me and hopefully conveys the same feeling to others.
I couldn't throw these rusted nails out, I found them too beautiful and poetic so they sat in the
backyard somewhere growing rustier until something sparked in me. This is by no means a
comprehensive explanation but I like the idea that iron can symbolise humans potential to prosper
and capatalise. Iron is strong, hard and seems so alien to nature yet it rusts, crumbles to dust and
becomes dirt. Mortality, lifespan, mutability, finiteness and infinite cycles.
Nails have also been used in binding spells to bring the two elements of a spell together, I like the
feeling of that and it is the thing that can't be looked directly at but I'm sure exists. It's like a stage
we've had to go through, will go through again and an idea that our will can have power beyond the
physical. When I am making these I feel a connectedness and a story and a narrative is forming, I
imagine people from past worlds, tribal cultures and future post apocalyptic civilisations. They are
making bracelets for the children and necklaces for binding together a marriage. Making these
things make them feel connected too. These things that symbolise where we have been, where we
are and where we are going.
Previous work below
Wedding dress cocoon