It’s hard for most of us to turn a negative into a positive, but for Melissa Nikolic after dealing with a few health issues it gave her the chance to pursue her passions.
“For a long time I’ve been drawing on the side and then all these other things kind of happened, and I just needed time out to do the things I enjoy,” she says.
“I think I knew for a while that if I wanted to make a real go of it, my creative side, I’d have to get out of retail. Because it’s too demanding and you can’t do both.”
Creating blackskyblue has possibly been the greatest decision for Melissa as her illustrations were quickly selected for the inaugural Ginsberg Markets and to feature at The Pickers Union at their pop-up stall.
“I’m just doing what I love doing and if someone loves it then that’s great and if not that’s okay too. There’s always going to be people that don’t like it and that’s just the way the world is,” she says.
Chances are you’ve seen her highly detailed imagined characters on a shelf at your local store, in your Instagram feed or as a paste up at Little Creatures Brewery.
Drawn using sharpies, fine liner and ink, the monochrome images stand out amongst todays art prints of geometric shapes and colours. As for where these creatures come from, Melissa pins most of their influence on her love for street art.
“I’m influenced a lot by street art, and I’ve just always been drawn to that side of art,” she says.
“The little characters are hard for me to explain. They just come out of my mind, I don’t think too hard when I’m drawing.”
Aside from taking trips to Melbourne on her days off to check out the ever-changing street art, Melissa seeks inspiration from fellow artists, whether they be a graffiti artist in a laneway or one of the members of the Geelong Illustrator’s group.
“I always go to Hosier Lane, because every time you go there it’s always different and has a good vibe. Often there are artists there who are actually doing their works,” she says.
“The last time I was there I was actually chatting to a graffiti artist who was working on his piece there. I really just like that interaction as well. I usually just pick a street and see what I can find.”
As for what the future holds for Melissa, it’s hard to know. Given that she lives by the motto of take every opportunity that arises, you’re bound to see her little critters popping up everywhere.
“It’s good to just do it, not think about it and get it out there. And every little bit of exposure helps to build my confidence,” Melissa says.
Written by Amanda Sherring