Through art we can change the world

Will we see a feisty female character at TAE18? Read our interview with artist Mel Langton to discover why she loves taking part in the Twitter Art Exhibit, and what she’s planning for her next entry.

In this post Adam Brant (@brantus on Twitter) chats to TAE artist Mel Langton. Mel is a friend from Adam’s school days who went on to become an artist (we’ll skip over how many years ago they first met, but we can confirm it predates Twitter). Read his interview with Mel to find out how knights, feisty female characters, ink and Photoshop relate to her work, and where you can discover more about her art.

A photograph of Melanie Langton with one of the three ‘Knight’ sculptures she was commissioned to paint in 2017.  The Knights were commissioned as part of the Lincoln Knights Trail. This art trail fundraising event saw 36 painted sculptures installed across Lincoln city centre during 2017 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln, and the sealing of the Charter of the Forest.

Mel was born in Leicester (UK), and now lives and works in Lincoln (UK). Mel has donated art work to two previous TAE exhibitions, and is currently planning her third donation.

When did you start making art work?
I’ve been drawing and creating art work from as far back as I can remember. Through the years I’ve had an interest in a number of different art forms (from illustration through to fine art, graphic design, textiles and jewellery design). However, when I moved from Leicester to Lincoln to study at De Montfort University, I chose to specialise in graphic design and illustration. I graduated in 2001 with a BA (Hons) degree in Illustration.

What inspires you to make art work?
Creating new artwork excites me, and my interests in music, lifestyle and alternative culture are huge influences within my work. I also have a particular passion for depicting strong and feisty female characters, which relates back to my days on the track playing roller derby.

Two artists who I greatly admire are Chris Conn Askew and Glenn Arthur, who both create beautiful neo traditional art which I only wish I had the patience to sit down and do!

What can people expect from your art work?
I like to create artwork both digitally and using more traditional painting techniques. I adore vectors but I’d say I’m currently at my happiest using pencils, brush pens and acrylic inks, sometimes using Photoshop on certain pieces for final editing.

I would describe my work as realistic, colourful, bold and edgy. I think that my favourite pieces are those that show strong, inspirational female characters (even though they may face their own struggles and are by no means perfect).

I like to work on a relatively small scale and would say I vary rarely create anything any larger than A3 size (although I’ve recently completed painting a number of theatre sets which terrified me due to their enormous size!).

Do you work as a full-time artist?
I currently work three days a week within the art team of a textile print company. The rest of my time I work as a freelance artist taking on commissioned work, and creating artwork which I sell online and at shows. I exhibit my artwork in both solo and collective exhibitions.

I’ve also been involved in creating work for two public art trail fundraisers, delivering art workshops at schools, and occasionally co-curating art shows. The most recent art show I co-curated was another charity fundraiser.

How did you first hear about the Twitter Art Exhibit (TAE)?
I first heard about the TAE through a very old friend who had tweeted a picture of his piece for the show, and I immediately wanted to find out more! I’ve taken part now for the past two years (in New York in 2016, and Stratford upon Avon in 2017).

Untitled
Mel Langton’s entry for the 2017 TAE
Ink pen and acrylic inks on paper
16cm x 12cm
2017

Why did you decide to submit an art work to the TAE?
I love the concept of the TAE and that it unites artists from across the globe. It feels like an honour to be able to have my work seen alongside so many other artists who have taken the time to create and donate a piece that will help raise money for a charity.

What has been your favourite thing about being involved with TAE?
It’s great to think that if my postcard sells it’ll help somebody that I may never even meet. I also feel great pride and excitement to be a part of a global exhibition which is growing year on year.

Are you planning to submit a postcard for TAE18?
I will definitely be submitting a piece this year and plan to start working on it in early 2018. I would like to try and challenge myself to produce something quite detailed this year, so keep your eyes peeled!

Would you encourage others to take part in the TAE?
I would certainly recommend artists to get involved as not only are you helping a good cause, but you are potentially getting your art work out on a global platform.

Where can people discover more about you and your art work?
They can visit my website www.mellangton.com, and also follow @MelLangtonArt on Twitter, and @mellangtonart on Instagram.

I’ll be having a solo art exhibition later this year, with the focus on a number of new pieces, and there is also another collaborative art show fundraiser in the pipeline. The exact details and dates are still to be confirmed so please follow me on social media for updates!

Our ‘meet the Twitter Art Exhibit (TAE) artists’ series of blog posts is an opportunity for you to discover more about the artists behind the TAE. All artists taking part in the TAE donate their own original postcard sized art works for sale each year. Their support, enthusiasm, talent and fantastic art enables the TAE to continue raising valuable funds for good causes.

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