michael d melet


I was born in Flint, Michigan. When I was 8 years old, my parents enrolled me in a pottery wheel class at the Flint Institute of Art. That is the extent of my formal art instruction. But my appreciation for art took flight when I was very young and was heightened during my 30-year career in the retail fashion industry. Art has a large presence in my heart, head, and home. My wife Kay and I have enjoyed assembling a considerable art library and eclectic art collection.
Although friends, family, and acquaintances have long known me as a collector of art, my identity as a creator of art, which dates back as far as I can remember, has until recently been a private affair. For most of my life I’ve been a “closet artist,” primarily working in pencil or pen and ink, and sketching endlessly.  
I credit my powers of observation to my father, who taught me at a young age to soak in my surroundings and notice small details. But my work has always been about more than reproducing the look of an object, building, or landscape. What is out there also lives in us. I constantly feel moved to express, through my artwork, the feelings that places, people, and objects evoke in me. As Henri Matisse said, "I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me.”
Until 2011, with few exceptions, every sketch, drawing, and doodle I created was for my eyes only. Then I was asked to show my artwork at Buckham Gallery in downtown Flint. My first show. My coming out. Since then I've become increasingly aware of the way my work looks to others and the messages it communicates. This has led me to evolve as an artist at a quicker pace, and to increasingly experiment with a variety of media and techniques.
I hope my art is inspirational, magical, convincing, and comfortable to live with. When a piece of art or a book becomes pure décor, it ceases to live its intended life. To paraphrase Paloma Picasso: “As a child, everything is magical. As an adult, you realize how much work goes into creating anything magical.”
I am frequently asked how I know when a particular work is finished and complete. I used to feel that point came when I signed my work. Then I found I could relate to Willem de Kooning, who reportedly considered himself unable to “finish” a painting.  He only stopped tinkering when his work sold.