Meet Melissa Ray: A "whirlwind" of creativity

By Kasey Carty-Campbell

Photo by Tim Goldman

Ask Melissa Ray what she dreams of doing, and she will tell you that she wants to go to Oklahoma to ‘shoot’ a tornado. This former meteorology major does not shy away from a challenge.

A visual arts major with a concentration in photography and printmaking, Melissa is her own force of nature as she balances her roles as a student, an artist and a mother by integrating the different loves of her life. “I find my inspiration everywhere, and when I look around I see possible photos developing all around me,” she said. Melissa has also shared this love of photography with her six-year-old son. “He takes pictures of common things, like the side of a cat food can and it is amazing,” she said. “Kids don’t judge anything.”

At KSU, Melissa has learned a variety of photography and printmaking techniques. “My time at KSU has opened my eyes to a lot of photographers, how they shoot and how they crop.” The dramatic development of darkroom photography connects with her love of the dramatic changes in the weather. Just like the process of darkened clouds overtaking a blue sky, “it is amazing to see my image emerge from a solid white piece of paper,” Melissa said. She also enjoys incorporating digital images into her printmaking projects.

“Melissa is very determined and confronts the challenges of using different media,” said Associate Professor of Art Valerie Dibble. “I have seen her grow as an artist, as she has grown in her personal expression and developed her personal vision.”

Melissa’s work can be found in the “Intersection of Cultures” permanent collection displayed in the KSU Social Sciences Building and has been displayed at the 2006 Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival. Melissa has also served as a photography intern for the KSU College of the Arts. “I have loved getting to know the other departments and the people in those departments,” she said. “I have met people I would have never had the opportunity to meet.”

As Melissa looks to the future, she aims to reach a wider audience of people through displaying her still photography on movie sets and in magazines. “I don’t shoot for my work to be displayed in a gallery. I want people to see my work but not have to go to a gallery to see it,” she said.

“KSU has prepared Melissa for anything she wants to do and she has prepared a portfolio that will allow her to pursue her dreams,” said Dibble. That dream will include the spontaneity and beauty of the whirlwind that is her creativity.

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