GGrowing up, Melissa Falconer held art close to her heart but had minimal interest  in pursuing the passion as a career. As she started painting more often for family and friends in her free time, her technique would improve and she’d eventually form her own style in painting. Gaining the recognition she deserved then made Falconer more anxious to begin pushing for her work to be seen by the masses, today she stands as a woman on a mission to make art her livelihood and push a message behind her work. Falconer aims to showcase the realities of Black culture through the eyes of a young Black woman in the millennial generation. I had a chance to have a one on one with the Toronto painter and find out how her journey in the past year has helped shape her talent.

Getting to the art in an exclusive with Melissa Falconer

RC: What is the message you aim to put behind your art? How do you define your art and how do you feel your art has helped shape you as a creative?

MF: I define my art as pop art, heavily based in pop culture and black culture. My use of bold and unconventional colours also makes it a bit Warholian. When it comes to my style, I definitely want to be different from everyone else, so I spend a lot of time trying to make each piece unique. I also want each piece to mean something, and not just to be a random painting, so my art has actually helped me become a more serious artist. Being a creative is more than just a hobby to me now. I feel like it represents who I am as a person.

RC: I love the message behind your art and what you aim to focus on. Black culture is such a pivotal aspect of mainstream culture and I think that it’s wicked to see a young Black woman thrive and not only capitalize on it but share the beauty of it without being exploitative.

Can you tell me a bit about your favourite painting(s) you’ve done so far and how you put a concept behind them? 

MF: My favourite piece is my “Lost Kings” piece of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. This painting was the first piece I ever made that actually had something meaningful behind it. It wasn’t just another portrait of a celebrity or something, but it represented a struggle of my culture, what it means to me, and how I want to express it. So it was definitely the beginning of how I was starting to define myself as an artist. This piece also marked the beginning of when I started to get noticed and gain exposure online as it quickly became one of my most shared paintings. So I’m definitely proud of that. My “Stay Mad” and “New Year New Me” pieces are important to me because they represent my personality a lot. I have a sarcastic sense of humour, I can be very dry sometimes, and I just like to say it how it is. So, especially with “Stay Mad”, it really encompasses how me, and probably many other black women, were feeling at the time. Basically, the concepts of my pieces come directly from what I’m thinking or feeling at the time, and I just say it how it is.

New Year New Me- Melissa Falconer

RC: Your work is definitely has a touch of Warhol to it but could stand as it’s own style alone. Do you draw a lot of inspiration from other artists or feel like you’d rather frame your work as your own technique?

MF: I have several artists who inspire me a lot. Markus Prime, Detour aka Thomas Evans, Semiskimmedmin, Jon Moody, Madam Muse, Rob Regis, to name a few. What I admire about these artists is that their style of art is unique to them and they own it so well, so that’s what I’m trying to do with my work. I try to always have unique colour choices and compositions that make me stand out. I want someone to be able to look at one of paintings and know ‘Oh, that’s an M.Falconer piece”. So because of that, there’s a specific way that I do things, in hopes that my style will be identifiable.

Muva Wins (Amber Rose) - Melissa Falconer

RC: You’ve had some acknowledgement from some big names right (Amber Rose if I’m correct) what’s it like to see your art stand out from thousands of others in that aspect? How does it drive your work?

MF: Yea, my work has been liked by Amber Rose. She liked the “Muva Has Arrived” painting of her that I made. I also got liked by Laverne Cox for my “Trinity of Femininity” piece featuring her, Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj. It’s honestly a great feeling to feel like all your hard work and talent is being appreciated. It gives me the motivation to keep creating because now I’m not just working for myself, I’m kind of also working for everyone else out there who appreciates my work. And I wouldn’t be where I am today without that support.

The Toronto creative continues to work consistently and not only has been linked to notable names but is gaining a fan base through major platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram. Pieces such as “Stay Mad” have been reposted with thousands of notes from fans beyond the Canadian border. You can view the makings of the viral painting which paid tribute and support to a model being discriminated against on the MAC Cosmetics iG post here. Falconer’s paintings are up for sale and you can keep updated with her newest works via Instagram, we can only hope to see more of this Black Girl Magic thrive in the near future.