Long before I had the pleasure of meeting Melinda Josie, I admired her work. She often participates in Magic Pony’s group shows and I always gravitated towards her pieces. Her fanciful, but realistic portrayal of animals makes me believe in bears knitting and kitty kat picnics. Melinda’s website just went live and I have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get a copy of her new print, Fig Newton the cat. He’s the cutest cat I’ve ever seen! My print arrived on Saturday, hand delivered by Melinda herself. I’m so excited to have it framed and hung up in the shop. I know it’s going to make me smile every time I see it.
When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
Melinda: I don’t think I knew I wanted to illustrate until I started planning for college, but I always knew that I’d somehow be involved in some form of art. I still illustrate, but also enjoy doing fine art as well. That’s when I can feel truly creative.
You spent your childhood in the Muskokas, that must have been a big influence on your work. Do you enjoy living in the city now?
Melinda: My parents moved my family up to Muskoka when we were very young and I stayed up there until the end of high school. It was a great place to grow up, and really helped nurture my creative side. I moved to Toronto after college and love living here. It was an exciting change for my artwork.
What is the story behind Fig Newton? I love him!
Melinda: I love Fig Newton too! The real Fig Newton belongs to a friend that used to come into the gallery I worked at. She had posted some adorable photos of her Persian kitten on flickr and she inspired the painting, (which is actually tiny! The original painting measures 4″ x 6″). (On a side note: go to her photostream and have a look at this cat! It’s the best cat ever!).
What inspires you these days? There seems to be a domestic theme is some of the recent work I’ve seen.
Melinda: There are a lot of things that are inspiring me lately. I always try to keep looking for more things that inspire. I collect old books of folklore and children’s stories, (like Little Golden Books!). I love Midcentury and Scandinavian design, and collect furniture and housewares. Our house is full of inspiration! And that’s why a lot of my work lately has been related to all things domestic. I also love going to local galleries and discovering new artists. It’s always refreshing to learn about people who enjoy their work as much as you.