How did you come to do the work that you are doing?
I like to say that art found me as I call my purpose a “beautiful accident.” I tell the story of how I was bored at home in Atlanta during the snowstorm of 2014, searching for something to do with my time. In the midst of solitude, I heard God say clearly, PAINT. I laughed initially, but I started to doodle on scrap wood, then paper, then eventually canvas. I knew then that I was on to something. I began to share my “snow story” on social media and people started asking to buy my pieces of art. Within months, I was selling art all over the country. I began painting with acrylic paint on paper and wood, then began to use traditional canvas. I branched into painting cloth, leather, shoes, bags, jackets and other wearable art in 2016. My life has been changed forever.
To me, art became my freedom, far beyond just purpose. It’s a place where I am free to roam, create, and just be. There are no restraints, there is no judgement, there are no boundaries— art is LOVE. I choose art, because God chose me. Out of all the people on this planet, He gave these patterns and color combinations to me. No matter how similar other works may be to mine, they can never compare, because they didn’t come from me.
I have now built an art empire from simply choosing to dream bigger than my last dream. It is my goal to see my art everywhere from buildings, to planes, to monuments, you name it. I won’t stop until it is a reality.
How has FAMU helped you with your success?
FAMU is one of the key factors to my success. More specifically, my FAMU network has TRULY been my thriving force. My very first piece of art was purchased by a fellow Rattler. With every campaign, contest, product, and launch, my FAMUly has been instrumental in all that I have done. I can always count on them.
What would you say to FAMU students who may be considering this kind of work?
I would encourage students not to focus on whether or not their desired market is oversaturated, but instead zero in on what makes their craft unique. There is a reason God gave each of us a talent and it is our duty to leave it all here on earth.
What’s the key to being successful in your present role?
The key to being successful as an artist and
How did your time at FAMU prepare you for your career?
FAMU has given me so many tools thanks to my training in public relations, serving as a presidential ambassador, being initiated into the Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., serving in SGA, helping with campaigns and the list goes on. My time at FAMU truly prepared me to be the mogul I am today because I understand aspects of the world of business learned in and outside of the classroom.
What do you love about your artistry?
I love that I can be myself with my art. I like to call myself an “Abstract Creator.” I take bold colors and mix them with sharp lines to create one-of-a-kind pieces. I am a painter, who loves to paint with great passion and expression. I gave birth to my company Abeille Creations, out of a need to put all my creativity under one roof. The name Abeille means “Honey Bee” in French and Melissa means “Honey Bee” in Greek. I wanted my brand name to capture the essence of who I am and my work ethic.
I think what sets me apart is that my work is highly expressive and emotional. Because art served as a conduit for my freedom and happiness, I always leave a piece of myself into anything I create. My pieces evoke great emotion and compels the viewer to want to know more. I am most inspired from music, memories, social interactions, history, love, happiness, you name it. I am most inspired by colors. I love to see a blank canvas transform into something magical.
How did you get here?
I got “here” by making a conscious decision to be great every single day. I have not let closed doors and obstacles stand in the way of my desire to be great. I got “here” by having an incredible support system, awesome network, and some powerful ancestors who live through me daily.
Tips for success?
Here are some practical tips for success:
- Believe in your talents
- Stop worrying about “competition”
- Learn the power of NO
- Use your resources and network wisely
- Understand that every opportunity is not an opportunity to take
- Cherish your “alone” time as preparation time
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Get your rest and listen to your body
- Spend time researching your craft as often as you can
- Choose 3-5 scriptures to live by, and quote them daily
- Write out your goals often, read them, and speak them. The power of manifesting is in your ability to run after your dreams relentlessly.