Meet PieceMaker artist, Melissa Fischer, of Fischer Fine Arts. Mel is a wonderful member of our talented team, and it's an honor to get a glimpse into her creative world. To see more of her work, you can head over to Mel's Etsy page here.
What's your real name? How did you come up with your shop name?
My real name is Melissa Fischer. My close friends call me Mel, so I chose to go by Mel as an artist, as it is indeed a personal thing to people. Fischer Fine Arts was borne upon the idea that not only do I love doing mosaics, but all sorts of fine arts, and my daughters, Charlee Fischer, age 26, and even Aimée, who is now soon to be 14 years old. Since this is indeed a family business, and that we will eventually incorporate different forms of art, it made sense to name the business as Fischer Fine Arts.
How long have you been creating mosaics? What was your first piece?
My first piece was a small votive candle holder. I made many mistakes from it, but learned a lot. I keep that piece as a reminder to myself of the growth it takes. I've been doing arts for my entire life, but mosaics for the past 10 years.
What other art do you do, if any?
A lot...many may not know that I have a background in theater as well as fashion design, jewelry making, drawing, music and water color painting. I love experimenting with combining different elements of these into certain pieces I do. Each of these draws from the other for inspiration and composition. At one point, I applied t go back to school for a degree, but was turned down on the basis that I should actually TEACH the course and that I was overqualified. It was a frustration point for me, as I feel that there is always something to be learned.
What kind of shows have you been a part of? Have you won any prizes or gotten some kind of cool recognition for any work?
Well, earlier, when I worked in retail as well, I won several awards for having the best window displays. I've done a number of trade shows before, both to public and to wholesale venues in different forms of my art. It's a huge amount of work to do these shows with an expense that is enormous. Some of the ones I've done ran into the thousands for expenses...not fond of having to do that again! I haven't really entered any competitions or juried awards for artwork since then...just never felt the need to. I just plug away, doing what I do. The best reward to me is when someone purchases a piece, saying it speaks to them in some way, and I love hearing their story. That makes me feel that what I do is then worthwhile and meaningful...best compliment ever!
What would be your dream to mosaic?
This one is difficult to talk about in some ways, as I've kept it secret for many years. I have met families who were affected by the Holocaust and WWII in various ways. For years, I have this piece I really, really want to do that has been stuck in my mind. It's not the sort of piece one would want to hang in their living room. Yes, it depicts horror, yes, it depicts a gruesome side of humanity, but I feel compelled to do it as those that have lived through it are now getting on in years and many have already passed. I feel it is our duty to share this with the world, lest they ever forget. This is the piece I want to create, so generations for many times over, understand that this can never be allowed to happen in our world again.
Is being an artist your full-time job? What other jobs or hobbies consume your time?
I am a full time artist, but a single mother. Yes, it's often hard to make ends meet, and we have to be careful in choosing what we spend our money on wisely. I've been offered higher paying jobs before, that would have taken me away from my older daughter and would not have provided the pure happiness I feel from doing what I do. It's a tough choice, but if things get really rough, then there is a fast food place of some sort down the street I could probably flip burgers in.
For hobbies, I have to admit I absolutely love gardening. Pretty much anything with nature, but it's nice to raise some of our own veggies, reap the rewards and cook them. I'm a very avid cook, gourmet has always been a fascination to me, too, and I'm pretty good at it. For the most part, any extra time I have is spent with my daughters.
Tell us ,briefly, about your family or your daily life or about the area where you live.
I now live in a rural town in Ohio. My daily life consists of having our cat keep poking my face until I get up, usually around 5 am. I make coffee, and yes, I'm a total bear without my coffee! Then the cat gets fed, I check emails and start planning my day. Then I make sure Aimée gets off to school. From there, it's pretty much work of some sort that I have to do until she returns home again. We touch bases on her day, and while she practices her flute and works on homework, I try and finish up any work that is yet to be done. We try to set aside nights where we actually watch her favorite tv shows together and/or just talk and hang out. It doesn't always work out that way, but most of the time it does. It's sometimes hard to walk away from work, but she needs her time, too.
What are some of your favorite things about being part of the PieceMaker group?
I wouldn't know where to start as far as what my favorite thing is about the PieceMaker group. I am a rather shy person by nature, but networking with these people comes so naturally! I know I am not alone in what I do, have people who get it and understand it, understand that the lifestyle as an artist itself is very difficult. The camaraderie here is amazing and supportive and inspiring! And last but by far from least, when you are so alone, it is so important to find the means to laugh, and these people provide that, too! To me, they are now my extended family, that's how much I love these people and what they do! These people are honest and open about successes, failures, learning, etc and it takes guts to say all that. I have such a huge regard for people who are wiling to share that much so we can all learn and support one another.
Please check out Fischer Fine Arts on Etsy, and feel free to write to Mel there about an custom work you might like done!