We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Mursch-Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Moody was a product of the pandemic; I wanted to be able to platform and connect creatives with each other and opportunities without having to leave the house. I was already exploring how to start a business or some sort of larger project by taking a business course, and instead of creating a pretend business in the course I decided to pick something that was feasible like a zine. I also liked the idea of starting something that can grow and evolve into something different other than just a zine. I would Moody to become a space, a bar, a gallery, an event, or whatever is possible!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I attended Peck School of the Arts at UW-Milwaukee where I originally pursued graphic design because I found the combination of business and art intriguing. I eventually realized arts programming where I could plan and administer arts-related events to help build community was where my heart was at. After some exploring of mediums and majors, I ended up graduating with a BFA in Studio Art focused on Fibers and a minor in Art History.

Today, my practice exists between the realms of fiber arts, zinemaking, poetry, and curatorial programming, but mostly in zines and curating. I find myself at the intersections of race, sexuality, and gender in my identities as a mixed chicana queer cis-woman, which I explore in my work. Regardless of the vehicle used, I aim to share my identities and vulnerabilities and platform those of others in hopes of creating community and connection.

It took so so SO much exploration and action to get where I am today. I was at a loss for about a half a year after graduating from art school; it’s a challenge to transition a creative practice that is at the forefront of your life as an art student to mostly being a side practice to your job. On top of that, it took me awhile to discover that making new art and displaying my own pieces wasn’t necessarily what I had hoped to do. I felt so much more fulfillment from organizing and making my own events and community platforming happen, but when I couldn’t find an organization or location to do that, I started doing it on my own! I reached out to spaces in the community to host shows and started my own publication. An important note: none of this made any money or had any funding! But it was the work I put in to then gain other opportunities down the road.

So be patient and carve out the spaces you want to see but can’t find. It’s hard! It will take time! It’s all so cliche and the same thing you always hear, but it’s because it’s true.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Breakfast/Coffee: I eat light in the morning, and my favorite lite breakfast fare is at Interval Coffee. They also have my absolute favorite coffee drink in the city – a cold brew oat cereal milk latte! My favorite bagels are the rosemary sea salt from Ruby’s Bagels, only available on weekends but worth the wait.

Get outside: I looooove a nice long walk by Lake Michigan going through Lake Park and down onto Lincoln Memorial Drive. Biking this would be equally as fun. I also love a walk by the Milwaukee River in Riverwest or kayaking down it in the Third Ward/Downtown.

Music: Go record shopping at Lilliput Records -it’s woman-owned and ran by my best friend! They have CD’s and DVD’s if you’re not a vinyl collector too. Local acts and visiting artists are always playing around the city. My favorite venues are Turner Hall Ballroom and Cactus Club.

Lunch: I’m not much of a lunch person, but a trip to the Milwaukee Public Market in the Third Ward is perfect if you’re not sure what you’re filling and are with someone looking for something else. They have everything from sea food to Mexican to Middle Eastern to pizza to vegan and more.

Books/Zines: For a smaller city we have a lot of places to find any book you’re looking for PLUS zines and comics. Boswell Books on the East Side has every big title, Downtown Books has all used books of any variety, Woodland Pattern in Riverwest showcases tons of local work and small presses (especially poetry), and Lion’s Tooth is the place to go for zines, graphic novels, and comics. Also check out Niche Books and La Revo Books for BIPOC-focused collections.

Other Shopping: Maranta Plants is Milwaukee’s only black and brown owned plant shop. They have a very fun Saturday Market outside their shop on weekends with nice weather. I’m a big thrifter, and Value Village is my favorite spot to dig in in the suburbs of Milwaukee.

Dinner: If you want Thai takeout you have to get Thai Kitchen on the East Side – my absolute favorite curry! Hungry Sumo in Bayview is the spot for sushi. I’m a huge fan of small plates and tapas which are great at both La Merenda and La Movida. So many good pizza places in Milwaukee, like Riverwest Pizza and Classic Slice. Casual Italian is the best at Nissan Dorma in Riverwest – try a panini!

Cocktails: You have to check out Foundation Tiki Bar when in Milwaukee for tropical, fruity cocktails! Other favorite cocktail bars are Mothership and Burnhearts in Bayview.

Movies: Two of the most beautiful movie theaters I’ve ever been to are in Milwaukee: The Oriental with it’s historical architecture and embellishments and The Avalon with its starry sky ceiling in the main theater. They also both show classics and new films.

Art: Last but not least!! The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of my absolute favorite architectural buildings AND art museums (and I’ve been to many art museums around the country). I especially love being in it in the winter seeing the frozen lake from the warmth inside. Other favorite community-based art spaces to visit are Yours Truly, Walkers Point Center for the Arts, and Real Tinsel.

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?
The birth of Moody was only possible due to SO many other people, but one crucial source of guidance was my mentor Monica Miller. Monica is a champion of the intersection between art and business AND mentoring creatives toward whatever goal they may have, and I am a direct product of that. Thank you, Monica!!

Website: moodythezine.com

Instagram: @moodythezine

Other: personal website: melissamurschrodriguez.com personal instagram: @mmurrod Moody TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@moodyzin3 Moody Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/xgm1you57jmiv9vb940x2yrfu?si=uOICsWfbSKG6sPLGQzhJqg&nd=1

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.