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FAMU alumna brings abstract art to campus

By Katherine Brinkley-Broomfield | Lifestyles Editor
On November 6, 2017

Founder and creator of Abeille Creations, Melissa Mitchell with a piece she
calls "Power."  Photo credit | Jean Altidor Denim Media 

There are many words to describe the journey that each person takes in life. If she had to choose, Melissa Mitchell, the artist behind “Abeille Creations,” would summarize her life in three words – manifested, colorful, chosen.

Melanie Mitchell said that these descriptions perfectly describe her older sister.

“Those three words describe Melissa perfectly because that is what she has been her entire life – speaking things into existence, having a lively personality and being favored by God,” Melanie said.

Melissa was born and raised in Miami, and now resides in Atlanta as an abstract artist. She always had an affinity towards anything that allowed her to stand out.

“I have a deep affinity for bright colors. They bring me hope and allow me to spread cheer. Color provided me healing through life’s up and downs, so I am forever grateful,” the Abeille Creations artist said.

The love Melissa has for outward expression proved to be the condition to cultivate her artistic interpretation.

“I like to say art found me. I tell the story of how I was bored one night in 2014, from the infamous snow storm and I started doodling on scrap paper and then eventually painted it,” Melissa said.

Abeille Creations, was launched in 2013 before she began painting. Melissa said, “that it was like God knew I needed to be prepared for what was about to happen artistically.”

When coming up with a name for my company, I wanted to brand myself without using my real name. My parents very deliberately named me Melissa, so I wanted to honor that,” she said. “In the 80’s, my dad was studying the productivity of bees and wanted me to be equally a hard worker.”

“Melissa” means “honey bee” in Greek and “Abeille” means “honey bee” in French.

Melissa said it’s no mistake that she possesses the same work ethic of a queen bee and that everything in her life has been manifestations she’s prayed for.

“For everything that has transpired in my life, they have all been direct reflections of the prayers I’ve prayed, the tears I’ve cried, the life I’ve lived, and the dreams I’ve written out,” Melissa said. “I possess the faith of Sarah, Ruth, and Esther. I know that my life is a culmination of manifestations and prayers that my ancestors have poured into.”

Melissa’s first piece of art was sold in 2014 over Instagram. She said within months she was selling art all over the country.

“I began painting on with acrylic paint on paper and wood, then began to use traditional canvas. I branched into painting clothes, leather, shoes, bags, jackets and other wearable art in 2016.”

Melissa said when she first began painting she kept saying “man this would be dope, as fabric” and that it was a natural transition to combine her art with what she wore.

Art was the last thing Melissa imagined possible for her and credits Florida A&M University as her stomping grounds for where it started.

She didn’t have a choice when it came to school, but after attending every homecoming since 1986 she knew FAMU was the perfect place to make her dreams come true.

Melissa is a third-generation Rattler, and received a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a minor in Graphic Design, and a Master’s degree in Public Management.

Melissa’s two younger sisters, Monique and Melanie, also graduated from FAMU.

Founder and creator of Abeille Creations, Melissa Mitchell with several pieces of her art. 
Photo credit | Jean Altidor Denim Media 

During the 2017 homecoming, collectively they gave the Michael A. Mitchell Creative Arts Scholarship to its first recipient, Debora Castor.

“This scholarship is special to me, because it not only reassured me that my talent speaks for itself, but it also motivated me to keep moving forward with my talent because my hard work does pay off,” Castor said.

Castor is a graduating sociology student who said Melissa and herself have been supporting each other through social media and that she was inspired by Melissa’s work ethic. Melissa will also be mentoring Castor over the next year.

 The “honey bee” creator said her father taught her to leave a legacy, so your name will forever live on the earth. “Long after we are gone, the world will know the Mitchell name,” she said.

 “We chose to include my father’s name to honor his creative legacy on FAMU’s campus. He paved the way for us, left big shoes to fill, and was committed to being a blessing to many, many others,” Melissa said.

 Melissa believes leadership comes in many forms and has always been at the forefront of the crowd.

“I don't know where I would be without my sister. She's a role model because of her heart, mind and her spirit. She is one of the most giving people I know and my biggest cheerleader,” Melanie said.

Melissa urges every millennial to take the leap to live and believes that things will begin to fall in place like never before if they do so.

 “Overall, I want people to know that anything is possible if you have the guts to go after it. You can’t expect God to do the miraculous with your life if you’re unwilling to chase after your dreams daily. I am a living witness that ‘little is much in the Master’s hand.’ You will never know how far you can go, until you start,” Melissa said.

The Rattler’s Edge Hair Salon, the Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum, and most recently, the FAMU School of Allied Health are all home to some of Melissa’s art.

More information about Melissa and her art can be found at www.melissaamitchell.com or on her Instagram at @abeillecreations

 

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