Glasgow is always alight with creatives. And right now, the west end is exploding with a slew of new venues, ventures, talent and fresh ideas. We feature the brightest stars here, the brightest new artists in Glasgow.
Interior and environmental design graduate Melanie Chiswell is going places. Maybe it’s a spark you see buried deep in her detailed black ink brush marks or the verve shown in her use of primary colours that make bold, modernist statements on a fresh canvas. Perhaps you’re drawn to the shape of the oval sun in her uplifting first series of paintings, called simply, ‘Good Things to Come.’
Whatever first draws you to the work of 25 year old Melanie, there’s a lot to uncover.
From original paintings to canvas commissions, 3D visuals, large scale murals or smaller print and greetings card designs, Chiswell is blowing up Glasgow walls with interior artworks you’ll love. Read on to find out why you might want to invest right now in some of her unique dot, pattern and line-work art.
Who is Melanie Chiswell?
Based now in her native Glasgow, she graduated in 2020 from a unique design degree programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. She is using her work to explore perspectives, interiors and architectural spaces. If that sounds a lot, her beautiful canvasses simplify it all. “I hand draw everything in acrylic paint and pen” she says, before touching on how much she loves using black ink to create depth, strength and more perspective in her paintings. She’s strongly influenced by the Bauhaus movement, so expect clean lines and geometric forms. But her clever use of colour can’t be forgotten either. In a print called ConnEct she uses blocks of warm pinks, strong greens and soft curved lines to accent and brighten the focus around a blissful burst of colour that will get into the dark corners of any room.
Original canvas pieces like this are usually created first in A3, then shared with her online followers. It might result in a piece becoming a limited edition print, which, if you’re quick, you can pick up at her Etsy store.
Sometimes though, her interior inspiration comes together like a fantasy and she creates a series of artworks around a particular theme. In lockdown, she was looking to the future with ‘Good Things to Come,’ and later, in ‘Mystic Journey’ she began channelling an ethereal vibe, influenced by her love of R’n’B artist Jhene Aiko and her 2017 album ‘Trip’. In this stunning series, Chiswell’s work evokes the world of dreams, visions and unfolding dimensions.
Another series, called ‘Fall’ explores the fertile colours and shapes of a changing season.
Melanie also enjoys the storytelling aspect of all the new works she creates and this becomes especially important when working on a commission with a new client. A peek at her Instagram page will show how some canvas projects are individual commissions for clients drawn to Chiswell’s deft brushwork and vibrant colour palette.
Architecture is a Great Inspiration
Melanie’s relationship with architecture is far reaching. An enduring influence on her own artwork, away from her studio, she works as a design assistant at an architectural company in the southwest of the city. But she’s always been drawn to the wildly impressive buildings that Glasgow boasts. From the dome-shaped Mitchell Library in the west, to the neo-classical decorum of GOMA in the city centre and magnificent Charles Rennie Mackintosh inspired ‘House for an Art Lover’ at Bellahouston Park, Chiswell grew up with breath-taking, landmark buildings all around. By far though, Melanie has always been most wowed by the futuristic architectural splendour of The Riverside Museum.
“One of my favourite artists is Zaha Hadid,” she says, about the hyper modern, Hadid designed space. And even better is that it’s home to her favourite electronic music festival each year too.
Tempted to Travel
Melanie’s love of buildings sparked a desire to explore a variety of architectural styles. One of her favourite cities is Barcelona. This is a place she loves to visit and become immersed in the Gaudi skyline and culture.
At time of meeting Melanie for this interview, it was another rainy afternoon in Glasgow. But nothing really brightens those skies like dreaming of Barcelona beaches and extravagant Gaudi colour, texture and free form.
“Barcelona is such a modern city. It’s [seeped] in Gaudi, everywhere you go,” says Melanie, “even amongst a block of flats. It stands out and it’s very special. People are very forward-thinking and I can see myself living there one day.”
You can see the Gaudi influence in much of Chiswell’s work. There’s a fusion of traditional patterns and details with flourishes of colour and modern shapes.
Melanie has a twin sister and, though not an artist, she is super supportive of Melanie’s work. She takes pictures and reels for her Instagram page and socials. She documents her work from the start of a project and all the highlights on the way!
I’ve got an idea for a picture I want in my home, how do I get my hands on a commission?
If you love Melanie’s style and fancy some artwork in your home that is really a bit of you, get thinking about colours, styles, themes and form that you like. If that sounds a bit technical, just think sparkles, Scottish beaches and French 76 cocktails (OK, That’s just me!) But do get thinking and contact Melanie to collaborate.
She might need to know a bit about your favourite bands, films, interests or memories for the mood boards she’ll create as part of the inspired painting process but the finished work will be a really unique treasure.
Having something commissioned to fit exactly into your home and your life, with the colour piqued just so, and subtle, nuanced hints of all the things you like best is really pretty special.
For more of the best new artists in Glasgow visit our Culture and Arts Pages