Wednesday, August 31, 2011


When it comes to working with DRIP we love to experiment with unusual materials. One such material is salt. We dyed it for a pervious show and decided to play with it during a recent rehearsal. The object was to discover how many unique ways we could use it while having as much fun as possible.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I was walking out of Publix one day when I saw this in the sky.

It was like something was casting a shadow across the heavens. It wasn't smoke from an aircraft, it was more like some of the atmosphere was actually removed. I'm not sure what the cause of this event was, but it certainly made for a unique photograph.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Sea Bird Sanctuary

On a recent trip to Indian Shores I was able to go to The Sea Bird Sanctuary. It is a rescue center for injured birds. It is unique in that it is a mostly outdoor facility that is home to hundreds of recovering birds. In addition to the captive animals the sanctuary also attracts a great deal of wild birds who seem to be visiting loved ones.

All the elements mix together for a lively experience. The birds seem unaffected by the human traffic and their chatter fills the air. I had been many times before with my family and it is a place I always enjoy visiting when I go home.

A Brown Pelican. 

I caught this little guy looking straight up at me through the mesh fence. 

This is a large Black Vulture - one of the wild birds that roams freely through the sanctuary. He was playing with the leaf in the middle of the path until I began to walk towards him. He abandoned the leaf in favor of inspecting me. 

This is a close up shot of a White Pelican. I love how the streaming sunlight illuminated the interior structure of her pouch. 

Another close up of the White Pelican. I wanted to focus on her pale blue eyes. I can't help but think about how closely she may resemble a pterodactyl. 

A very proud Red-Shouldered Hawk. 

This beauty is a Red-Tailed Hawk and she seemed quite happy to pose for me. 

Such striking features. It was very inspiring to be so close to such a powerful bird.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


At one point I found myself at the foot if the stairs of my apartment complex. I had my camera with me and I just sat in the grass grabbing anything of interest within arms reach. I found a leaf with a hole near the top right corner. I held the leaf in my hand and raised it up toward the tree before me. I let the hole in the leaf match up with the sunlight coming through the multitude of leaves in the tree and I was able to capture this shot.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Return to Ripley's

A short while after my first trip to Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum I found myself back again. Curtis's father Edward is the Vice President of the museum and he was meeting up with Harrod Blank, a man known for his art cars. This venture to Ripley's also produced another fascinating trip to the warehouse. I was lucky enough to tag along.

A model head depicting the pseudo science of Phrenology, the belief that mental capacity and character traits can be deduced by the shape and configuration of the skull. 

A small statue protecting his isolated shelf.

A row of skulls; only the the second one remains decorated.

Two life size African statues covered in enormous nails. I sat on the floor when I took this shot to emphasis their larger that life presence. 

A beautifully adorned tribal skull. 

This adorable dog stands over five feet tall and is made entirely out of clothes pins. Even the collar is made from the hinges! I love the scruffy cheeks and the gentle curving pattern on the neck. 

Harrod explaining Edward how to operate his Music Car while Curtis and his friend Shane look on. The Music Car is a drivable Volkswagen Beetle completely covered in a variety playable musical instruments. There is even a small stage and microphone attached to the roof of the car! 

A wax statue of Phineas Gage. Gage was a railroad construction foreman who in 1848 famously had the misfortune of having a tamping iron driven completely through his skull. Miraculously, he survived the incident and went on to live actively for another twelve years. As a result of his injury and behavior change scientist began to have clues as to how the brain functioned. 

This is a wax statue of shark attack survivor Rodney Fox. Fox was bitten and suffered extreme injuries 1963. His is often regarded as weathering one of the world's worst non-fatal shark attacks and received an astonishing 462 stitches. Remarkably Fox recovered and was the creator of the first underwater observation cage used regularly by shark researchers. Today Rodney Fox is one of the world's leading experts on sharks. 

Wax replicas of Arnold and Angelina.

A multicolored prop set up on a gray wall.

Edward and Harrod sitting in the enormous chair in the museum.

And of course, one more shot of Curtis in the Throne of Passion. 

To learn more about Harrod Blank's Art Cars please visit

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Full Circle

July 29th, 2011 marks the one year anniversary of this wonderful site Currents and Color. It all started in some dive bar as we celebrated David's upcoming tour with The Blue Man Group. David is the Musical Director for DRIP as well as The Blue Man Group. Blue Man offered him an opportunity to tour around the U.S. with the show and he jumped on it. All of his friends decided to show their support by having a party for him at one of the local bars around town. Everyone had a great time that night and at one point I ended up siting at the bar next to Thomas Thorspecken. I had known Thomas for a while. He is a fantastic local artist who goes around town capturing the city of Orlando in his sketch books. He had actually come out to sketch DRIP events and rehearsals in the past.

As we sat there chatting I began to tell him about some of the art that I make. He seemed surprised. He knew I worked at Starbucks and DRIP but he said that he had never seen any of my personal artwork. I laughed and rolled my eyes. I explained the irony of being a Graphic Design major from the University of Central Florida who was never taught web design. Thomas's eyes lit up.

"Do you like to write?"
"Well, yeah. I mean I've had a live journal for a while but I'm not really sure how to combine that with my art."
"You should make a blog website like the one I have! I'll even help you set it up!"

And just like that opportunity strikes like lightning. I wasn't sure where this was going exactly, I just knew this was something I needed to do. Thomas and I made plans to meet up later that week at Infusion Tea just down the street from the Starbucks that I work at. I spent the time in between racking my brain thinking about what I wanted to do and what I should call my website. I was driving around town talking out loud to myself for a few days trying to come up with a fitting title. Suddenly the lightning struck again, only this time it rolled off my tongue: Currents and Color.

I liked the way those words seemed to fit snugly together. Currents because I want the ideas to flow out of me. I want the process to be natural and flexible as well as relevant to my life and artist development. Color because I am an artist and this world is full of beauty.

The day came and I met Thomas at Infusion. The parking lot was bustling because of the Farmer's Market that they host on Thursdays. Thomas had already been there for a while sketching in his book. We found a table inside and I set up my computer.

Thomas explained how the site worked and how to set up the preferences. Everything got set up pretty quickly and I was thrilled with how user friendly the site was. Then Thomas proudly exclaimed "Ok, now you are ready for your first post!"

For all the thought that went into the title I didn't have a clue where I wanted to start with my artwork. I opened up iPhoto and began scanning for a picture. I found the one I had drawn of my friend Kenn at Steak n' Shake. It was a silly little sketch I made while we waited for our food but I thought it was a good place to start. Thomas showed me the best way to edit photos to make them ready for the web and before I knew it I had made my first post.

I felt like Prometheus had made a special trip down from Olympus to hand me a matchbook from his personal stash.

Over the next few weeks I sat in front of my computer posting artwork until I felt I had enough ready to share with the world. I made my website public and the journey has been astounding.

In its simplest form Currents and Color is my artistic diary. Most people I know would categorize me as a talker and they would be right. However, there is another sub-surface aspect of my personality that doesn't normally come out in conversation. The observational and analytical sides of my personality are typically kept to myself. However, through my website I am able to organize my thoughts and my artwork in a way that is accessible intellectually and emotionally.

In addition, actively sharing my work has helped me to feel more well-rounded and in touch with my place in the world. For a long time most people only knew me as "that girl who works at Starbucks" or "that girl who helps out with DRIP". And for as many times as I would explain all the things I was doing I felt like most people saw me as another college graduate who didn't have a job in their desired field. The truth of the matter is, I work at Starbucks to support myself, I work at DRIP because I am in love with the company and what I do there, and I am an artist in my own right so I have a website to share that with the world.

Before if someone said that I was "that girl from Starbucks" I would have just shrugged and said yes. Now I proudly say "My name is Melissa and I am an artist. I do a lot of things".

As I began posting my work I was surprised at how much variety started to surface: collage, two different types of printmaking, digital art, illustration, painting, and poetry. I have a few ongoing projects such as Feet and Photoshop World. And perhaps the biggest surprise of all: writing.

I never really considered myself a writer but after my best friend Amber encouraged me to start a journal, I haven't been able to stop. Even more surprising to me is that above that anything else on my website I seem to get the most compliments on my writing; which is something I wouldn't have explored had I done a traditional graphic designer website.

At one point I was at Thomas's house celebrating the two year anniversary of his website Analog Artist Digital World . On the walls were some stills from the Disney animated movie Pocahontas. I found out that before he began sketching around town that Thomas had been an animator for Disney. I couldn't believe it. As a kid I had wanted to be an animator. Those 2-D hand drawn movies have such a special place in my heart. As I got older and the market for hand drawn dwindled in favor of 3-D I decided to go into Graphic Design. After all theses years not only am I still creating but I have a former animator and brilliant artist helping me with my website. Full Circle.

Thomas and I at the Holi Festival in March 2011

Thomas I can't thank you enough for all your help! This website is such a huge part of my life and it is making me a better artist as I continue to grow! 

To view Thomas's website please visit