Meet our designer of the month, French sales assistant and illustrator Mélanie of MYINKI. Her designs are as sensitive and sincere as our interview with her.
Self-taught, bright, and a little melancholic, it was her mother who gave Mélanie the desire to draw. She eventually traded in her pencil for a brush and discovered a new world of self-expression through shape and form. Painting is like her diary, her way of putting her inner experiences down on paper.
Residence: Montélimar, France
Occupation: Sales and marketing assistant
Equipment: Computer, paper, watercolour, felt
On Spreadshirt since: End of 2018
Thank you so much for agreeing to answer our questions! When we read your username MYINKI for the first time, we immediately thought of ink. Do you use real ink for your creations?
Actually, the designs I put online on Spreadshirt are mainly made on Illustrator because I wanted to offer quality illustrations that make a more professional impression. Some are made directly with the software and others are made on paper and improved on the computer. I thought that my watercolor or pencil works would be difficult to translate onto clothing. Illustrator is difficult to master, but I have managed to tame it even if I don’t necessarily know all its secrets. I’m thinking of working on a graphic tablet to develop my Spreadshirt designs in the future. Outside of Spreadshirt, my other creations are made on paper with felt and paint. I really like the contrast of black and white. The themes aren’t necessarily dark, but simply convey emotions. The name Inki evokes the art of drawing in general.
When did you start creating designs?
I have been drawing since I was 13 years old, but I didn’t start creating felt designs or using Illustrator until I discovered your site. I’m not necessarily looking to be well-known, but just to offer my version of art and my artistic representations. I wanted to stand out by creating original designs for people who are looking for originality.
Well you’ve certainly managed that! What steps do you follow when you create a design?
In my opinion, there are not necessarily any steps to follow in the technical and formal sense of the word. I think, I feel, I act and I create. To give you an example, when I am overwhelmed by my emotions, I will ask myself why I feel this feeling and in what ways, if any, I will be able to illustrate it in portrait form. My designs are often centered on my feelings, but I do steer clear of egomania in that I never draw my own portrait. It simply brings me life. My feelings lead to more precise research, which leads to ideas and designs such as Turbulences for example. Many faces, many emotions, a kind of personal schizophrenia. Other designs such as Geisha come from thematic ideas, and Mine is about femininity, love or hatred. I could say that my works represent fictional and personal feelings, universal and spiritual themes.
Looking through your gallery, we noticed that none of your designs feature men. Feminist statement, uninspired by men, or is it a marketing strategy?
That’s a good question, I have to admit. Am I angry with the male gender? I don’t think so, except with my father maybe. I spent a long time drawing my first love from a thousand and one angles, but it was maybe because of a broken heart that I rarely made portraits of men after that. I prefer the finesse of women’s features, which isn’t about me being a feminist, however. For example, at home, alone with my pencil and paper, I like to draw eyes and they are often those of a man. I think I draw more women because I mainly represent my own emotions. I simply transpose them onto a face other than my own. There is no marketing strategy behind it since I think men could also enjoy my designs. Some of my designs are relatively mixed. So everyone can feel free to love what they want without judging themselves or others.
That makes sense. Does that mean that the women you draw are completely imagined?
In my early days, I drew my friends, my family and my loves. Concerning my designs, you may laugh, but I create an imaginary portrait with the expression of one woman and the mouth or nose of another. I seek harmony by focusing mainly on the emotion I want to convey. Of course, I sometimes stop to think about a person I want to represent by staging them around a specific idea, such as my Animal design.
There is also a manga-esque vibe in your work, a hint of Asian inspiration in your creations. Where do you get your inspiration from?
It’s funny because my mother often tells me that I look like a manga character, but I don’t think it has a real impact on my creations (even though I love Asian food). But I recognize that Asian culture has something peaceful about it and has relatively strong symbols of femininity, wisdom and perseverance. As for my inspiration, I love flowers so much that I have loads of them tattooed. Unlike my black and white designs, I tend to paint in color, and the Japanese feeling is more noticeable. Life and other artists are generally inspirational, especially if you are very observant person, but my biggest inspiration is definitely people. People who think, people who smile, those who cry, those who laugh, those who love and those who are in pain. And my experiences are also the source of my inspiration. Beyond that, I create according to my desires. I really like patterns and minimalism. As Boris Cyrulnik would say, “The gaze of the other is not neutral. It is a perception that causes an emotional alertness, a feeling of invitation or intrusion.”
Speaking of quotations, in your gallery, you introduce yourself as a “young art lover with a charismatic style”. How would you define a charismatic style?
It may seem pretentious at first glance, but by that I mean the ability to captivate, make people dream and surprise people through artistic representation. I would say that I am charismatic because of my spiritual awareness, my maturity, my creativity, and my empathy—all of which make me a sensitive person.
We definitely get that sense from your designs. If you had to choose one of your designs, which one would you choose and why?
I like two in particular. The first is Geisha because it perfectly represents the beauty of the woman who ignores beauty, who tries to make sense of emotional upheaval. However, Breath expresses the apnea I had for a few years when I was experiencing lots of tears and suffering. It is a message of hope, a call to life and living.
Time for our last question: what are your plans for the future?
Well, I won’t lie— I would like to gain visibility and publish designs that people like. I would also like to create more colorful designs.
I’m also thinking about reorienting myself in the kitchen. I love cooking and arranging a beautiful plate. It’s also very artistic, in the flavor but also in the choice of plate and the arrangement of the food. It would be a dream come true to someday run a restaurant-meets-art gallery. I’d love to host an exhibition space to artists of all kinds and give people the chance to taste original cuisine.
Well, we look forward to one day tasting the fruits of your artistic universe. Thank you for your very sincere answers. We wish you every success!