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Melanie Viola: The variety of artwork is what makes this job so interesting

03. 06. 2024

Melanie Viola, a talented artist from Berlin, turned her passion for photography into a successful career. She has been making art full-time since 2015 and her work combines traditional photography with digital art, allowing her to capture both serene landscapes and vibrant cityscapes. How has she managed to turn a hobby into a life’s calling? What inspired her to leave her office job and throw herself into the world of art?

Can you start off by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about yourself?

I live in Berlin, Germany, and my profession started a long time ago as a hobby. I always took a lot of pictures during my travelling, excursions and so on. People often asked me why I don’t sell them. I never seriously thought about it for a long time. Then I bought more and more photographic supplies, carried a lot more cameras, lenses with me and it took me longer to plan my stays for shooting the pictures I was thinking of. Also it was a creative diversion to my office job I have had. Then I have started my first steps to sell images in 2009 and was extending it over the years. Since October 2015 I am a full time artist (photography and digital art).

Going back to the very beginning, what has shaped your artistic style? Were you inclined towards art as a child?

No, as a child there was nothing about art in my life or being creative. No cultural excursions except the ones in school. Later, when I was a teenager I found myself reading a lot and getting interest in theatre and art. It was then when I started dreaming of something „other“ than the mainstream.

But, well, it should stay a dream for long years, as the reality led to an office job. But it developed then that I started with photography more intesively.


My office job had indirectly led me to professional photography and art, primarily as a creative balance to everyday office life!


What I can say about my artistic style is that I walk through the world with my eyes open and to capture it with all my senses… and at a certain point I wanted to do more than just photography. So I tried to create art I would myself fancy to have on my walls. That’s how it all began!

 Who are some of your biggest creative influences?

There is not really ONE special person who has a creative influence on me it was more a road of different styles and artists when developing my own kind of individual style over the first creative years. Now it is more about implementing my own style to existing trends as well as creating works independently.

Could you discuss your creative process from inception through to the final design?

I would like to answer this question on the basis of travel photos.

The preparations for travel photography start at home with consideration of the location and best time (because of the lighting mood, position of the sun, etc.) as well as legal research and obtaining any necessary permits. A good position must then be found on location and a little prayer for the right weather can’t hurt either. Due to the crowds in some cities (e.g. Edinburgh or Prague), it is always necessary to plan photo tours at late night (or very early in the morning) in order to get beautiful impressions of the city. In Venice it was a good idea to set off at 3 a.m. to capture also the sunrise. 

Once the shots have transferred to the computer, I start sorting them out and ranking the preferred motifs. Then the RAW data is processed according to my ideas, the files are organized and indexed. The finished image is then ready for publication.

Your artwork ranges from photographs, to quotes, to abstract illustrations. Is it possible to say whether one of these directions is closer to you?

 It’s not so easy to put into a few words. I am drawn to urban landscape and the lines I find in architecture. On the one hand I like classical photography of typical street scenes or landmarks with the challenge to make them unique or stand out to be noticed next to the huge amounts of other images of the same cityscape. On the other hand I love it to design with these photographs decorative and modern artworks. I am keen to explore opportunities that will allow me to combine photography and art in the way I feel happy with.

The basis, of course, is always the self-taken photo. But there are also so many other themes, such as my abstract paintings or inspirational quotes, which I also enjoy working on.


The variety is what makes the job so interesting. There are still so many things I would like to do with my footage that I still haven’t managed to do.


 

Can you pick one design of yours that is your favorite? Why did you choose this particular design? Do you have a story from when you were making it?

 This work from early 2016 is one of my classic collages and also hangs above my desk. New York City is one of the most interesting and impressive cities for me. I had just recovered from a serious thrombosis at the time I was working on it and had only recently become a freelance artist.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to fly for two years because of the illness and so I lost myself in this design with all the memories of that trip. Here you can see typical city views such as Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan skyline and the typical traffic. I’ve also integrated some NYC-related words with lettering and added details with a brush. The dynamics of the scene are also created by the horizontal and vertical structures. The color mood rounds off the design as an urban city scene.

Have you had a point in your career when you didn’t quite get something right?

 Sometimes I just don’t achieve the result I wanted. Then I just move on to something new, because the to-do-list is endless. At some point, it usually works out when I return to the abandoned work the next time. In some cases, however, it stays without result.

What is a career dream you want to achieve?

 Well, I always wanted to experiment with colors and materials to create “real” paintings, not just digital artworks. I would need an extra space for this, which is not possible at the moment. So, this is a goal latest when moving to Italy in maybe 5 years. I already have lots of ideas about what I would like to try out 🙂

What advice would you give to an aspiring artists?

 Stay focused and have a lot of self-discipline. It is not just being an artist and have fun, you have also a lot of „office-work“ to do, like accounting, rights research, market analysis and so on. You have to set your own goals and keep and eye to your finances as the earnings for independent artists could be very irregular. When not creating any commissioned artworks (like me) you always have to look for new companies/possibillities offering your artworks.

What’s the future looking like for you? Any big projects coming up?

 I have just returned from a four-week trip to Japan. Now I have to edit the vast number of photos so that I can publish them. Later, I will continue to add to my existing series with some even more individual edited shots of that trip, such as „urban vintage“, „minimalist skylines“, „urban monochrome photography“ or „colorkey“ as well as some modern styled artworks – or maybe some very traditional collages… let’s see what the images will let me do with them.

Furthermore a trip to the US awaits me this year. The main focus will be on cityscapes. I will be doing a lot of research on this in the near future so that I am able to visit as many places as possible for taking my planned photos. It will have been a very travel-intensive year then with a lot of impressions and feelings, which I hope can be transferred with the photos and artworks to the buyer.

 

Take a look into collection of Melanie Viola 

Natalie

Social media manager, photographer and creative head. My superpower is that I can retell all the lines from Harry Potter.



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