Melissa Belanger


Melissa Belanger

I'm a Midwest girl originally from North Central Wisconsin. I now live in Hudson, WI and have a studio in a converted 1914 carriage house. My background is in art education and graphic design. Currently, I do visual merchandising for a local art gallery. I've always been inspired by objects with a past. My figures incorporated vintage items and funky finds. A few years ago, my little 3d figures started turning into colorful textural 2D paintings. Paintings are now my main focus, but I still do the occasional figure/art doll. I am inspired by the charm of the small town I live in and its proximity to "big city" sophistication. I think my paintings embody this spirit: cheerful simplicity with a retro modern edge.


Like most artists, my artwork is influenced by what I know.
The mid-century modern design and 60’s kitsch that I remember from my 1970’s childhood reappears in my paintings; reinvented to evoke a contemporary cheerful nostalgia. Viewers can easily see themselves in the wood-paneled bucolic suburbia of my paintings with their vibrant unpredictable color schemes and inhabitant’s knowing sideways grins.  

My paintings are inspired and informed by my collections and past sculptures. My studio has become a repository of forgotten toys, dime store novels, obsolete objects, gaudy textiles, and shiny eye candy. Their shapes, colors, and patinas excite my senses! When beginning a piece, seldom do I make a “rough sketch”, instead my paintings often evolve in reverse: the “rough draft” being a small sculpture or figure made previously. When sketched, they quickly become paper cut out shapes, which move around and are traced onto a textured canvas until they become a pleasing composition, and then the painting begins. The patterns are layered in as the figures start making demands for dress designs and animal companions. Paint is applied generously, repeatedly and precisely until the effect is pleasing and the painting has decided to be finished.


Lives and works in Hudson, WI

  • 1996University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, BA