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Feature Article


And Wherever You Go There You Are

Melissa Ireland


Many years ago when living in Hawaii and California 

I spent as much time as I could between “make a living” necessities 

by painting Spiritual and ethereal paintings. I loved this realm and 

the room with the door marked “infinite supply of images” in my inner most

being was a welcomed place to be. 


At the encouragement of a friend, and a lifetime of courageous leaps 

into the unknown, I decided to move to New Mexico. This of course, was quite

the detour from warm beaches, palm trees, and moisture, to a dry, and cold

though visually stimulating environment. 


As I merged with the pinions, cedars, and sage, I noticed inspirations in the 

forms of rusty metals and discarded items in the desert. It was 1990 and I began by

picking them up and putting them together in interesting ways. The first pile I 

accumulated was mistakenly hauled off to the dump with other trash on garbage

pick up day but I continued anyway.


I never imagined making three-dimensional artwork before but was curious as to what

I could create using a totally different set of tools and I always knew that the infinite

supply of Spiritual images were always there anytime I wanted to visit.


The pieces grew larger and larger, from a tiny ornament to hang on a friend’s

car rear view mirror to eventually sculptures for a 5 star resort where some were

6ft tall and weighed over 100lbs.


One day as I was drilling and putting together one of my sculptures I burst

out laughing. Here I was, using different tools to create something totally different from the Spiritual images I was used to and as I stared at the sculpture I noticed that 

the shapes of the piece I was working on, even though it was wire and rusty metal, 

it still had the qualities that I had been expressing in the paintings.


One was made of paint and air (I had been an airbrush painter) and the other

with discarded materials found in the desert, but the energy in them was the same.

Both had a dedication to beauty that I love so much but they spoke two different

languages in that interpretation.


This reminds me of something that I many years later heard Deepak Chopra say…


“The self does not go, nor does it come, for space and time derive their meaning 

from consciousness alone. Where can the self go? When all that is, is within it. If a

pot is taken from one place to another, the space within it does not move from one

place to another, for everything is forever in space”.


On some level I had been curious to see and experience something I had never

experienced before. Moving to New Mexico and making art from discarded materials

could not have been more opposite than painting Spiritual images in Hawaii and yet,

I had gone nowhere. 

© Melissa Ireland

© Melissa Ireland

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Melissa Ireland

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