“Making art this way feels like exploring a desert made of dreams, filled with characters I’d like to meet from folktales that never existed.” – Melissa Lakey
HeyThere Projects is presenting a new art show by local artist Melissa Lakey. “A Desert Made of Dreams & Other Tall Tales” features colorful mixed-media paintings and drawings on paper, canvas, and wood. Lakey is a contemporary visual artist and illustrator based in Yucca Valley, California who is originally from Idyllwild. Her colorful figurative and landscape-based works are inspired by the desert where she lives, as well as a childhood of watching westerns and dreaming of becoming a cowboy.
Moving to the high desert in 2015 brought Lakey back to artmaking after a long hiatus. “The wide- open spaces, the expanse of the sky, the sunrises and sunsets” inspired the artist and she felt that there was enough space to explore art again.
“My work is a celebration of everything love about the desert; the long purple dusk of summer nights, the way the air comes alive with the anticipation of rain, the starry skies, and the all the hardy, magical plants and animals that thrive here.”
Lakey notes, “For me, making art is about happiness. I choose colors I love, and subjects that make me smile: floating cowboys, three-legged pink coyotes, and roadrunners with grins on their faces. I work in gouache, ink, acrylic, oil pastel, and colored pencils, sometimes using all of these materials at the same time. I usually begin without a plan, so the painting surprises me as it emerges. Making art this way feels like exploring a desert made of dreams, filled with characters I’d like to meet from folktales that never existed.”