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Meet Melissa Taylor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Taylor.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was born and raised in north Houston, and I was very lucky to have the opportunity to attend classes at the Glassell School of Art during my high school years on scholarship, which really catapulted my involvement in the Houston arts community. From there I attended the University of Houston, where at first, I debated between majoring in Graphic Design, Art History, or another artistic degree. I ended up doing a bit of both – I was eventually rejected from the very competitive UH Graphic Design block program, so I instead majored in Studio Art with a minor in Art History. I figured that I would use the rejection from the program to my advantage and study a variety of artistic media that I could utilize in my career, which has led to me being an active photographer as well as graphic designer. Nearly all that I know about design now, I either learned from mentors or I taught myself.

More broadly, I always knew that I wanted to apply my professional skills to the arts industry, which led me to work at Theatre Under the Stars for nearly three years. In addition to my work there, I also do freelance work for smaller arts organizations, including the Houston Cinema Arts Society and Rogue Productions. Additionally, I have just started a new role as Graphic Designer at the Alley Theatre, which I am super excited about!

Please tell us about your art.
A mentor once told me that it’s important to find a “niche” when you’re a graphic designer, and I consider my “niche” to be creating dynamic visuals for the arts industry – creating art for art, in a sense. Basically, I create graphic designs as well as shoot photography to promote works of art on stage, and uphold the identity of artistic organizations.

I think design can be used not only to bring success to arts organizations, but also to represent the art that is being displayed on stage or on view in a new light. I like to think my designs are allowing the public to interpret the art form in a new way, and in turn, lead them to experience the art form that they perhaps wouldn’t have considered experiencing otherwise. I always make sure that when a theatre-goer holds a playbill in their hand while they sit in their seat, the design on the cover accurately represents what they are watching in front of them. To succeed at this, there is a lot of research that goes into the productions as well as discussions with the directors and creative teams of the productions themselves.

In addition to my work in graphic design, I’ve also learned on the job how to capture the essence of productions through photography. There’s something thrilling about knowing that a production will only occur a finite number of times, and your use of the camera is what captures the memory of it.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
As a designer, I feel that my work is successful when it accurately reflects the work of art that I am designing for, and represents the artwork in an innovative way that brings new life to the work. I believe that successful designers are always following their passions and making sure they find time to create work that they really care about and that they think is important. Design is a powerful tool, and we should use it for good.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can see much of my work at The Hobby Center, where Theatre Under the Stars holds their main stage productions, in signage, playbills, printed collateral, etc. I’ve just completed my time working for them for the past three years, so I feel like I’ve definitely left my mark there – Especially with the design of the 50th Anniversary Season campaign which is currently being promoted (co-designed with designer Laura Hagen). In the near future you will begin to see some of my design work at the Alley Theatre.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Headshot: Photo by Brian Murcia

Production Photography:
Guys and Dolls: Theatre Under The Stars’ production of GUYS AND DOLLS. Directed by Nick DeGruccio; Choreographed by Julio Agustin. Costume Design by Colleen Grady; Lighting Design by Steven Young
Memphis: Theatre Under The Stars’ production of MEMPHIS. Directed by Dan Knechtges; Choreographed by Jessica Hartman; Scenic Design by Kevin Depinet; Costume Design by Leon Dobkowski; Lighting Design by Ryan O’Gara.
The Secret Garden: Theatre Under The Stars and 5th Avenue Theatre production of THE SECRET GARDEN. Directed and Choreographed by David Armstrong; Scenic Design by Anna Louizos; Costume Design by Ann Hould-Ward; Lighting Design by Mike Baldassari.

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