James Mellick

Artist Statement

As I look at my portfolio page I realize how colorful, deceptively cheerful and diverse my art appears. At the same time there is a unique and identifiable style and attitude that runs through my work whether representational or abstract. The installations contain objects that are similar in nature but my sculptures are intended to be self-sufficient and stand alone when the collector brings them home. The animal allegories are self-contained and complete in design and not fragments of larger objects. Collectors tell me that the wooden companions give up new secrets every day.

I tell stories through art, music and writing. The stories are more parables motivated by personal values and observations of human behavior. I still believe in the idea of “Truth” with a capital “T”. I want to tell the Truth through the deception of art. I believe that the companionship of physical, beautiful art is redemptive, much like the companionship of a dog.

In the broader scope, the work can be defined as “animal allegory” but I primarily tell parables with dogs because they are our best friend (with deference to cat people). The question is, do we keep dogs close to us because they know us to well? Dogs take on the neuroses and faults of their owners. They truly are our “totem animals” from our human beginning. Perhaps we keep them close to us because they know too much.

Some of the work is based on humor which is a labor intensive and time consuming way of getting a good laugh, so I hope the Truth told is undated and timeless for future generations.

For commissioned work the interest is to please the consumer/collector while remaining faithful to my vision (the way I see things) and style. If a dog is commissioned, stories are gathered about the dog and the design is personalized as much as possible. I draw from many disciplines when designing and working symbols into the sculpture. I don’t like to repeat work because I enjoy the success of engineering and problem solving. I use furniture techniques to create my sculptured animals and animated sculptures.

This is a brief statement for me. The reader can find more about my work on my website or read the monograph by Karen L. Mulder; “Allegorical Strays: The Art and Craft of James Mellick” Image: Journal of Art, Faith & Mystery, Winter 2014.