36: Melissa Cody

Categories: 100 Creatives

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So as we count down to our annual Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.

Photo by Niba DelCastillo
Melissa Cody
Melissa Cody is a fourth-generation textile artist from No Water Mesa, Arizona; an area on the southwest corner of the Navajo Reservation. She studied Studio Arts, and Museum Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico and her work is currently in collections across the country.

"My current work is a fusion of contemporary geometric overlay woven together with historically referenced design elements," she says. "The goal of my current series is to reintroduce symbols that are now considered to be taboo, such as the "Whirling Logs" aka "Whirling Wind" aka "Swastikas," back into everyday tribal imagery where they once were."

photo by Niba DelCastillo, Weaving by Melissa Cody
I came to Phoenix with . . . Dollar signs in my eyes! As a kid in grade school I'd enter and sell my weavings at the Heard Museum Student Art Show. Now, since I spent my winter vacation weaving for this show, my mom allowed me the liberty of using the funds I acquired on whatever i desired. So this meant new Jordan high-tops, Walk-man, and a few cassette tapes to fill the waves. Major score back in the day.

I make art because . . . it's been engrained in every part of my life. As a 5-year-old sitting at the loom navigating the threads of my first weaving. As a student learning the protocol of the trade from my mother, aunts, and grandmas who have sustained my medium for generations. I create and weave these fibers to validate my existence and give my life direction.

photo by Niba DelCastillo, Weaving by Melissa Cody
I'm most productive when . . . I have a killer idea that i have to start on at that exact minute because if I wait too long to begin, I'll forget it and will have to wait for a new awesome idea to come along... or when I have a deadline to meet and my 8-hour work day suddenly turns into a 16-hour weaving marathon that runs into the sunrise. At those times I feel the most productive, satisfied, and fulfilled.

My inspiration wall is full of . . . photographs and images I've collected over the years -- mostly of my family and friends, artists whose work i admire, color schemes that remind me of emotions felt, designs and symbols that i hope to translate into woven form.

I've learned the most from . . . my mom who has steered me in the direction of experimenting and developing my own aesthetic preference. Ninety-nine percent of the technical knowledge that I've acquired over my 24 year weaving career has been the work of mother, Lola S. Cody. She's gifted me the opportunity to be a bearer of this wealth of knowledge that is not only significant to me and my family, but also my tribe and ancestors.

photo by Niba DelCastillo, Weaving by Melissa Cody
Good work should always. . . speak for itself and need no explanation. Sound composition will always come to the forefront.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more . . . creative minds willing to challenge the barriers of their medium. Also, more spotlight on local Native American artists who are creating work which reflect the current state of their people.

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas
99. Isaac Caruso
98. Brandon Gore
97. Kelsey Dake
96. Hector Ruiz
95. Caroline Battle
94: Jennifer Campbell
93. Jeff Chabot
92. Tiffiney Yazzie
91. Daniel Germani
90. Irma Sanchez
89. Daniel m. Davis
88. Kirstin Van Cleef
87. Emmett Potter
86. Sarah Hurwitz
85. Christine Cassano
84. Fred Tieken
83. Lindsay Kinkade
82. Ruben Galicia
81. Robert Uribe
80. Heidi Abrahamson
79. Josephine Davis
78. Travis Ladue
77. Taz Loomans
76. Mikey Jackson
75. Alex Empty
74. Joe Ray
73. Carol Roque
72. Daniel Funkhouser
71. Carla Chavarria
70. Hugo Medina
69. Cavin Costello
68. Claire Carter
67. Lindsay Tingstrom
66. Catherine Ruane
65. Christopher Crosby
64. Aaron Johnson
63. Brenda Eden
62. Colton Brock
61. Ernesto Moncada
60. Benjamin Phillips
59. Brad Armstrong
58. Angela Hardison
57. Tyler Quinn
56. Andrew James Benson
55. Charles Anthony Darr
54: Tiffe Fermaint
53. Eric Cox
52. Victor Vasquez
51. John Randall Nelson
50. Lauren Lee
49. Kyle Jordre
48. Julie C. Kent
47. Sean Deckert
46. Niba DelCastillo
45. Joseph Benesh
44. Ashley Harder
43. Dan Vermillion
42. Daniel Shepherd
41. James B. Hunt
40. Lori Fenn
39. Seth Gideon Fainkujen
38. Wayne Rainey
37. Christian Filardo

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