I was born in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1964. My father was an abstract painter, known for combining unusual materials such as polystyrene foam, house paint, mirrored glass and contact paper. I often accompanied him to the studio and took ceramic and woodworking classes as well. After high school, I moved to Philadelphia where I worked as an assistant to the artist Jerry Goodman. During those years, I sang in a punk band and postered the streets with hand-printed graphics and poems. In 1987, I moved to New York City. I taught nursery school and signed a lease on my first studio, where I still plan and produce most of my work.
I earned my B.F.A. in 1994 from the School of Visual Arts, where I was the recipient of the Chairman’s Grant and had the opportunity to study with Roni Horn, Peter Halley, Alice Aycock and Donald Kuspit. A few years after graduating, I began a second career in advertising and I currently freelance as a user experience designer. In 2002, I began to exhibit more regularly and I co-founded the arts organization TAG Projects. As an organizer and curator, I produced 5 successful exhibitions. Since then, I’ve shown in New York at venues such as The Queens Museum or Art, The Katonah Museum, Black and White Gallery and Repetti. I have also shown at Carnegie Art Museum in California, the ADA Gallery in Virginia, the Soap Factory in Minnesota, as well as the Solyanka Gallery in Moscow.
In 2010 I was commissioned to do a special project with Friends Seminary School, NYC. I taught a workshop and folded 1,200 pounds of clothing with students, creating a monumental sculpture for the lobby. For a solo show at The University of Maryland, I created a 3 X 5 foot clothing stack on a wheeled base, enabling students to take the piece for daily walks around campus.
© Derick Melander, 2011