Melissa Smith is a Nashville-based artist who creates bright and bold mixed media art that is firmly rooted in abstraction, inspired by the natural landscape, anchored by a love of color, and guided by an intuitive creative process. Her abstract works on paper and canvas are made with acrylic paint supplemented by materials such as gouache, oil pastels, crayons, colored pencils, graphite, fabric, paper, and more. Her work often incorporates collage techniques, as well as additive/subtractive methods of layering materials, to create tactile, visually-interesting surfaces with a personal artistic vocabulary. Smith creates art as a means of expressing and making sense of the world. Each piece is an outward reflection of an internal dialogue, or inner space, in an explorative practice of meaning-making through composition, color, form, and texture. She believes in the integrative power of abstraction in the arts to elicit responses, summon feelings, and convey thoughts which may otherwise be difficult to articulate. Committed to this belief, she hopes to create works that cultivate personal and communal discoveries—be they aesthetic, emotional, or spiritual; works that lead to new and invigorating journeys, for herself and for others. Smith earned her BFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MA in Teaching with certifications in Visual Art and History from Roosevelt University. She served as a high school art teacher, community arts instructor, and museum educator for more than a decade prior to transitioning to a full-time artistic practice. Since moving to middle Tennessee in 2019, Smith has become immersed in the region’s vibrant art scene and regularly participates in art fairs, markets, and exhibitions. She currently works out of her home studio in East Nashville. Smith’s work can be found in numerous public and private collections across the United States, as well as collections in Canada, France, Germany, and the Dominican Republic.