100 Creatives

36: Melissa Cody

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.

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."

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.

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.

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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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton