“The art that I create is deeply personal and cathartic, a reflection of myself beyond how I currently exist. Instead of seeking emotional validation from my audience as I had in previous moments in my career, my work has evolved to become an exercise in understanding myself for myself. Specifically, I am looking to my childhood years and familial relationships – I am creating works to recapture important childhood memories or feelings. I am questioning how I became who I am today, deriving thematic and aesthetic inspiration from artists like Elizabeth Murray, Mika Rottenberg, and Claes Oldenburg and utilize Surrealist automatism, a method of artmaking in which the artist relinquishes conscious control over the art-making process thus allowing the final product to be determined by their unconscious. Doing so allows me to create work that feels natural and childlike, a decision that helps connect my work to my interest in childhood nostalgia.”
Melina Tsalikis’s work explores the nostalgia associated with childhood memories, especially that which has been deposited in easily recognizable vessels such as toys, beds, and others. Her works deals explicitly with the past, and how that has come to influence the person she has become today, while also allowing her, in moments of reminiscence, to fall back into that childhood and find joy and comfort in the familiarity of the objects.
In we used to hang out here, she re-establishes her late grandmother’s bed as a vessel for their memories, and a bandaid that helps deal with the grief of losing a loved one. She states: “we used to hang out here” deals with the passing of my grandma this summer and how myself and my family are handling grief and keeping her presence alive through the spaces she occupied, like her bed/bedroom. I lived 28 years of my life with my grandmother, she helped raise my siblings and me, and while she is no longer occupying spaces at home I carry her and her stories with me in how I act and think as an adult.”
Melina Tsalikis was born in Miami, Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Art from Florida International University. Melina is now back at FIU working to earn her MFA in Visual Arts. Her work is inspired by the aesthetics of her childhood in the late 90s and early 2000s.