We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie Loon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk for me has been more about following calling, and having the guts to follow through in the present when you don’t know what’s next. Walking through the doors that open, and making the leaps as they come, be that changing industries or just focuses. I think it’s a risk to call yourself an artist or any kind of creative: mustering the audacity to say you as a human are one, that you make things or try to tell stories in a way that gives something to the world, whether it makes you your living or not. But the only risk that doesn’t reap a reward is to avoid them altogether.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Portraits steer my illustration, and I like to think of them as a sort of digital Monet by their detail and sense of kismet chaos. I’d like to think that my signature is found in my sense of movement, both in the lines I draw and the way I write and edit stories. Whether I draw or write, I want a sense of “it’s all coming together” emotionally. More often people tell me they notice my color choices, or how a story I’ve painted makes them want to go somewhere or eat something because of how I wrote about it. That’s the best! I need to do that more. I don’t think of myself or my dreams as any kind of empire. I think about it like, What if the finish line was now? What if I didn’t have more time beyond now? Was it honorable? Maybe that’s morbid, but I want to know I did my best today with the opportunities I have. Right now that’s all of the above, but also helping run retail stores and consulting on design and editorial for environmental and history projects. My challenge to myself is about being honest, about not dimming romance for life, and accepting human limits with compassion. So the measure of the work for me is by how I can in good conscience do my best or share the purest essence of what I see. When it’s about conscience, I think the path presents itself rather than demanding I strategize how to build it on my own. That’s not really a dream anyway, now is it? I want to sing my part in humanity, not a job title, and I want to do it to the fullest.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Both my best friend and I grew up here, so this won’t be a very flashy list! If everything was open again, a week (mostly) free of responsibilities would have to include 10 Speed Coffee, Blu Jam Cafe, Woon, Will Rogers State Beach, and likely joining the regular neighborhood cleanup with Overdue who I go with every weekend. 🙂 The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are too many to name, but Ziza Bauer knows she is and has been my shepherd. She was my first boss as an intern at Darling Magazine. I have a personal peeve about calling myself a “creative,” but if there’s anyone who helps me let that go and show up with my best as a writer, editor, and artist, it’s her. She is my example of a double edged sword of empathy and integrity, however the circumstances change.
Hannah Rexinger, Ana Sierota, Lawrence Yong