Works by Melanie Statnick project a childlike aura. In part, this is the result of the artist being a mother and working with youngsters in several programs in communities across the region.
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Works by Melanie Statnick project a childlike aura. In part, this is the result of the artist being a mother and working with youngsters in several programs in communities across the region.

Statnick's art shows childlike innocence

By Tyler Kes
Staff Writer

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For Melanie Statnick, the artist whose works are the focus of the latest Nash County Arts Council exhibit, art is more than just a hobby or job.

It is a way to disconnect from the world and let the creative process flow through her.

“It makes me happy, really,” said Statnick, who lives in Wilson. “It is part of who I am. Art and writing are everything to me. It is just what I do.”

Statnick uses a mix of pen, ink and water colors for the majority of the pieces in the gallery, although she uses plenty of different media when creating.

“I am kind of getting into illustrating, but I kind of consider myself to be mix media,” she said. “Just a little bit of everything.”

To some, Statnick’s art looks sort of childlike, which she said was partially intentional and partially due to her work with kids.

“I teach children in two different aspects,” she said. “I teach children on a spiritual level in Raleigh at a family program, but I teach children here and at Nash Community College. I don’t know, I just sort of have that connection. I have my own son, so I guess it is just what I do.”

As a practicing Buddhist, Statnick said there is something spiritual and healing about creating art.

“There is a lot of art therapy programs that are going on right now,” she said. “It is really big. I guess being able to reach out to people that way and for yourself, it is a way to express what you cannot put down in writing. It is just so much a part of me that I really cannot imagine doing anything else.”

The combination of spirituality and creativity is part of the reason Statnick said she enjoys writing and illustrating.

“It becomes very meditative for me,” she said. “When I am into my art, or I am drawing or painting, it becomes a very meditative experience that is very relaxing. It is not specifically a religious aspect, it is more on the other side. It becomes a good distraction from the every day, I think.”

Distracting oneself from the everyday struggles is important for anyone, Statnick said, not just artists, but with artists it allows them to work through whatever emotions they are dealing with at the time.

“That sort of meditative experience is sort of borderline with that art therapy, so it is a way to get out what you can say to somebody or write down,” she said. “Artists always have some sort of hidden meaning to what they do. It could be right out there and very blunt, so everyone gets exactly what they are saying. Either you are feeling very angst or your happy. Regardless of what kind of work it is, there is always some kind of something behind there the artist was trying to express.”

As an artist, Statnick said there are other artists that she looks up to and is inspired by, but not because of their art styles.

“I do not think there is any one in particular,” she said. “There is a lot of people that inspire me to be more creative on that childlike level. More on an illustrative, controversial level there is Banksy. I really like him a lot. There is just kind of a variety, but nobody in particular.”

Even though Statnick previously has done two exhibits at Nash Arts, she said the whole process still is exciting, if a bit nerve-wracking.

“It never gets old,” she said. “It is really exciting, just having that exposure, and allowing people to learn a little bit about you. I am very much introverted, so that is a way to put myself out there without putting myself out there.”

When it comes to artist’s receptions, like the one Friday night, Statnick said her instinct is to fade into the crowd.

“You want to back up a little and blend into your art even more,” she said. “I get very nervous.”

When getting ready for a gallery, Statnick said she has difficulty picking what pieces to show.

“I have a hard time picking almost every piece, because there is that inner critic that starts out saying ‘This is not good enough,’” she said. “And then you look at it and you’re like ‘No.’ You just keep going at it and working with it and then eventually you are like ‘Yeah, this is awesome. I am totally going to put this in.’”

The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays until Aug. 29.

A reception featuring a meet-and-greet and light refreshments will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the gallery at 100 E. Washington St.