While Jennifer Mele has only been painting for a little over a year, it feels as though she’s been expressing herself through her art for ages. The Ewing resident found a deep connection to herself and those around her through her artwork, and she’s ready to share it with the world.
Mele is releasing her first collection of abstract paintings on Sept. 18 through her website, jennifermele.com. While she hopes to one day present her work in a physical gallery space, the online release is fitting for Mele, who initially shared her work on social media.
“It was really scary at first,” Mele said. “I didn’t want to show my work, and I started to do it on Instagram, just tiny, tiny bits at a time.”
Mele received positive feedback, which she says gave her a jolt of excitement to share more art as a way to connect with even more people.
“It’s not only a conversation within myself, but it’s a conversation that can evolve between me and the viewer. That excites me,” she said.
Mele grew up in Plainsboro and has lived in Mercer County for roughly a decade. She owns Creative Healing Practice & Studio, a private therapy practice in Lawrenceville, and her art is directly influenced by her work. Mele explained that as a therapist she’s required to be truly present in the moment with her clients, but she’s often struggled to be present in her personal life. For Mele, painting became a release.
“Having to articulate my experience isn’t always possible through words, and I notice when people view the art they get something from it,” Mele said. “It’s almost like I can feel they get me with maybe a color or just something that resonates within people, and I think that’s just so powerful to be in that space with someone.”
Her first collection of abstract paintings uses cooler tones on pieces of all sizes. Mele said her work has a primal energy, with tribal marks, varying textures and patterns. She pulls inspiration from nature—water, mountains, the earth—and blends all the elements together to allow the primal energy to flow into her paintings.
“The deeper I dig to let these natural marks and movements come out, the happier I am when I see it because it’s just happening,” Mele said.
Mele first fell in love with painting while attending a paint night class with friends. She brought some supplies and began painting specific pictures and designs by watching YouTube tutorials. However, she realized she was happier working in the abstract.
“I noticed I could do more detailed work, but it made me feel tighter—more like I had this inner critic in my body—and so over time, I really let go and let this inner conversation that’s happening below the surface that I don’t have words for just come out in the colors and the movement and the shape,” she said.
In addition to her artwork and therapy, Mele teaches yoga and runs a blog where she posts updates and writes about her artwork. She has plans to launch an e-zine that will feature interviews with other artists to find out what inspires them and how they work through their inner critics. Mele wants more people to get a look inside the artistic process to better understand the artwork all around them, as well as their own inner critics.
Mele will also be at Art All Night—a 24-hour art and entertainment event in Trenton—this November doing live painting demonstrations and displaying some additional artwork.
Mele has many projects in the works, but her main focus will be on helping make art more accessible to everyone. Art is everywhere, Mele said, and she wants more people to learn how to use it to their benefit.
“I feel like there’s been these myths that there’s this fine art community and galleries and this exclusivity that makes it feel like people can’t come near the work, and I want it to be intimate and accessible,” she said. “Life can be hard and we can’t always choose what happens, but we can choose to make our environment and our space so that it uplifts us and inspires us.”