Motivated by experimentation with angles and negative space, Minnesota artist Melody Tudisco creates both edgy, bold jewelry from oxidized silver and gold and wall pieces from manipulated and painted copper.
“My world is made up of textures and layers,” she states. “As a child in the country, I spent hours looking for and picking up rusty nails on our sandy hilly driveway after a rainstorm. My dad would pay me a penny a nail. Two cents if it were a larger nail, or a piece of wire. I can still see the rusty textured layers; the burnt orange, sienna, and sometimes a hint of blue-green patina. This corroded metal intrigued me and still does.
I am energized by the reaction and the texture that is created on metal when I torture it with heat, pounding, or paint. Metal doesn’t move easily and I love the coaxing of it to give it a tactile life. I become impelled to produce structure and density where there once was smoothness. Of all my tools, my favorites are an old railroad rail and a chewed up copper mallet. When I use these tools they create my personal marks and textures that are individual only to my work.
With my work, the concept is what is most important to me, not elaborate technique. My thinking is based on metals and their layers. The colors that can be built up and scratched or sanded away to reveal another texture. I consider myself a contemporary constructivist. Softened like a lingering abstract memory, I fabricate my enthusiasm for natural vistas with my sculptural paintings and jewelry. I can’t say I always know ahead of time what my artwork will reveal, but I know I have no choice but to look beyond the surface.
I would like to thank everyone who has found a piece of rusty metal on the ground and saved it for me.”
Melody attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the University of Minnesota. She refined her technique through study at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts and the Edina Art Center. The artist maintains a studio in St. Paul’s Lowertown arts district, and works as a studio assistant with her mentor, Minneapolis jewelry artist Judith Kinghorn.