Melody Owen is an ecologically minded artist and writer raised in the mossy, green state of Oregon. She has an MFA in Electronic Integrated Arts as well as a freshly minted MA in Environmental Arts and Humanities. Her mediums include collage, curation, video, and installation.
Her interests have coalesced around concerns about the rapid destruction of the environment. She is especially interested in animals as subjective beings with their own embodied forms of language and culture – as well as how recent developments in technology, especially virtual worlds, may provide an opportunity to rethink normalized assumptions about ourselves in relation to the rest of the natural world.
Have you designed a stamp before?
No, I haven’t. But when I first started making things, I used to do a lot of mail art. I curated two mail art shows in the 90s. One was on the theme of “circus,” the other on “crowns.” I used to carve linoleum type stamps to do mail art in those days too. But this is the first time for me making this type. Exciting!
What was the most interesting or fun aspect of designing a poster stamp? What unique challenges did it present?
It is always nice to try a new format. The main challenge for me was the size, making something so small. It has been a while since I have thought on that scale.
Tell us about the art. Did you create something new for this stamp?
I was recently in New Orleans for a few weeks and made these four collages I call “Hibiscus Mutabilis,” named after a tree leaning over my friend’s porch whose flowers bloom white and turn red over a 24-hour period. I got the materials to make the collages from an old man running a bookstore in the French Quarter who pulled these falling apart books from the 1800s out of a pile and just gave them to me. They seemed to fit the bill.
I try to make collages that pop like 3D. Collage is a potent medium to make work that explores edges and borders – especially those between humans and animals. I am interested in challenging normalized assumptions about “reality” and anthropocentric ways of thinking. I am also working in virtual and digital worlds with the same ideas and questions.