Experimenting and working with different techniques and their combinations is a longstanding fascination. It is in the process of working through a drawing, and relying on disparate ideas along the way, that bring together a painting or sculpture. One of the most active parts is in the development of the idea, drawing whether by hand or a CAD program. Integrating thought experiments and making them into a toned down visual helps strip away any unnecessary components.

Using my own inventive wax and blowtorch process to draw on large roofing sheets of copper led to teaching myself how to weld on YouTube. The chosen Youtubers were carefully vetted over time with a few mishaps. Although, classically trained as a painter and printmaker, it was the most fun to learn by watching and learning from a video in the studio. Working in copper, aluminum, iron, bronze and hot rolled steel have produced welded, laser cut, poured and casted pieces. 3d printing with a LulzBot in plastic to flesh out macquettes for printed steel and aluminum has brought out a range of pieces and new ideas such as Man v. Bot. However, there is always a return to oils and the sheer joy of moving paint around.

When friends began to get married, fertility pieces were made as gifts; a nod to my Louisiana roots and brief entanglement with voodoo rituals. Small colorful paintings of bellies with chicken wire frames morphed over time with the growth of families into a mantlepiece series of trophies. The trophies are celebratory parental prizes of family and child accomplishments. A lace pattern laser cut egg in hot rolled steel combine the feminine and masculine with a gender free basis to balance delicacy and strength . Playful ideas with a quiet minimalistic egg shape are based in stone and frequently installed with birdseed and earthly elements such as sand.

Stripping away any extraneous parts is essential to my work and stems from a long lineage of the study of Japanese landscaping, architecture and culture; which has been handed down from an academic family and perpetuates throughout my work. This reductive approach contributes to longevity in enjoying the work.

Melissa Turner Drumm