If you haven’t heard of the name Melissa Mitchell, a millennial Atlanta-based self-taught artist, please don’t tell anyone that, okay? Her artwork and designs are becoming a national household name. Mitchell has painted more than 500 pieces including full size murals, neighborhoods, home décor, and more since the commencement of her career in 2014. Mitchell credits her Bahamian heritage, vibrant colors, and music as her inspiration to paint publicly acclaimed art pieces that have translated into head wraps, pocket squares, book bags; birthing her fashion line called Abeille Creations. Most recently, Mitchell was the winner of Ford’s Driving Her Dreams Contest and also participated in the 16th year of Art Basel in Miami. She was one of three who displayed her work in partnership with Champs Sports for their sneaker gallery, where she designed the roll out for Nike.
Honestly, we wouldn’t expect anything less from this esteemed woman of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Shameless plug from our Editor-in-Chief who is also a member.
We had an opportunity to chat with Mitchell recently and are excited to share the conversation with our readers:
MillBuzz: Congrats on winning the Ford’s Driving Her Dreams Contest. How has winning the competition changed your life?
Mitchell: Thank you so much! Winning the competition was pivotal for my business. I have been afforded the luxury of technology to expand my business to another level. I also believe my faith and manifestation over my life has also contributed to my success. In September 2017, I told myself, “one day I’ll get a Ford Explorer” while browsing the Ford dealership. A salesman told me, “we’re not giving away any cars” and I responded, “you will make an exception for me”. That same person reached out to me to let me know they were doing a contest to win a Ford Explorer, and I was selected for ‘Top Female Entrepreneur’ on the list and was invited to be a part of the competition.
MillBuzz: What inspired you to begin to create art?
Mitchell: It snowed in Atlanta and I was stuck in the house because my driveway was frozen, and Atlanta does not have the infrastructure to manage snow. I heard a voice say “paint”, and I began to draw lines on paper, found some old paint in my home, and became an overnight success after selling them online. The inspiration comes from loss of family members, and life just not being what I wanted it to be. The only thing I could control was it being a paintbrush. A sense of self-discovery and spirituality drives my inspiration daily.
MillBuzz: What advice would you give to an artist that is interested in perfecting their craft that may be contemplating on converting their art into fashion?
Mitchell: Do your research! I’m big on people needing to find out the answer through their independent process. What I say can be true to my journey and different from another person’s journey. So, I stress the significance about doing the research for your personal journey in art. Also, embrace the process because a lot of people want to be on the fast track to get straight to success. In the meantime, it took me 11 years! You need to go through trial and error, and let God lead you to your destiny.
MillBuzz: Since having the chance to paint in the city of Atlanta, what are three cities or countries you would like to paint next and why?
Mitchell: I want to paint Morocco because they really have a dope aesthetic with vibrant solid colors. I’m fascinated with the Mayan ruins and all the hidden figures that are inside the walls of Tulum, Mexico. Finally, Egypt! I like to think about all our history and all the things we’ve gone through as a people. A lot of our cultural mysteries are trapped in our artwork. As an artist, I want to use my voice to bring people back to who we were. These three countries are strategic places to go for me to garner more inspiration as well as to leave a bit of my artistry too.
MillBuzz: What are three words to describe yourself and Abeille Creations?
Mitchell: Innovative, impactful, and inspirational.
MillBuzz: A-List celebrity actress Lupita Nyong’o looked drop dead gorgeous in your collection on the red carpet. Are there any other women you would like to see wearing Abeille Creations?
Mitchell: With Lupita, I sent some work to the stylist to translate the product based on their interpretation. For example, in London she wore it as a scarf around her shoulders. The second time, she wore it as a skirt for Vogue. I like people to interpret pieces that express their own voice. I admire artists that believe in the history of Africans, and have gone through self-evolution like Beyoncé, Solange, and Janelle Monáe. You can tell when an artist has experienced growth and are aware of who they are which translates in their style.
MillBuzz: The Abeille Creations covers head wraps, skirts, book bags, and more. What is next for Melissa Mitchell and Abeille Creations?
Mitchell: I would love to conquer the home décor world and delve more into clothing line collaborations. I aspire to do global product placement in movies and television shows as well. Stay tuned for a few collaborations set to debut in 2019!
To keep up with all of latest updates from Mitchell be sure to check out her site MelissaAMitchell.com and her social media on Instagram @AbeilleCreations.