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Melissa west

My work explores the fine line between comfort and menace in our most common stories and shared experiences. The place where they meet is sometimes fraught with tension, sometimes filled with magic. 

In my prints I often depict the characters who populate myths, legends, and fairy tales, but transplant them into a modern or neutral setting. The tension thus created helps viewers see these familiar tales anew, and think about the ways they remain relevant to the modern world. 

We might be able explain events with facts, but we still feel compelled to tell stories. The human experience is always dense and multi-layered. I try to capture that complexity in my work.


Selected Exhibitions:

  • 2021

    • 450 Pieces -- Radius Gallery, Santa Cruz CA

    • Traces -- Danville Art Gallery, Danville CA

  • 2020

    • Women Eco Artists Dialog: The Legacy of Jo Hanson -- Yolo Arts, The Barn Gallery, Woodland CA

  • 2019

    • Human/Nature -- Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz CA

    • Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice -- Pajaro Valley Arts, Watsonville CA

    • Masters of Santa Cruz -- Stockwell Cellars, Santa Cruz CA

  • 2018

    • Love Magic -- Vertigo Coffee Roasters, San Juan Bautista CA

    • ARRT & the Pursuit of Hope -- Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz CA

    • Climart -- Academy of Art University Cannery Galleries, San Francisco CA

    • What Nourishes Us --Pajaro Valley Arts, Watsonville CA

    • SPOKEN/UNSPOKEN: Art as Response/Artist as Catalyst --Porter College Faculty Gallery, UCSC, Santa Cruz CA

  • 2017

    • Resistfest -- presented by Indivisible, Santa Cruz CA

    • Local Artists Present --Salud Para la Gente, Watsonville CA

    • California Society of Printmakers 104th Annual Exhibit --Piedmont Center for the Arts, Piedmont CA

    • Melissa West: Steamed Up! --Michaelangelo Gallery, Santa Cruz CA

  • 2016

    • Ink | Paper | Print --Felix Kulpa Gallery, Santa Cruz CA

    • PRINTED! --Santa Cruz Public Library, Santa Cruz CA

    • Home --Pajaro Valley Arts, Watsonville CA

    • Print Mint --The JanRae Community Art Gallery at Women’s Cancer Resource Center, Oakland CA

    • California Society of Printmakers 103rd Annual Exhibit --Piedmont Center for the Arts, Piedmont CA

  • 2015

    • Streams, Rivers, Bay to Sea: Water - An Essential Element -- Michaelangelo Gallery, Santa Cruz CA

    • Pressing Matters VI --San Geronimo Valley Community Center, San Geronimo CA

    • Of Ink and Poetry -- Pacific Grove Art Center, Pacific Grove CA

Film Placement

2004 Bee Season , Fox Searchlight Pictures



2018 Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions Wellfleet Press --50 block print illustrations

2016 Witchcraft: A Handbook of Magic Spells and Potions Wellfleet Press --50 block print illustrations

2011 Pilgrimage Magazine Action & Rest; Volume 36, Issue 1, May --cover art

2011 Pilgrimage Magazine Between the Living & the Dead; Volume 35, Issue 3, January

2010 Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts Anthology #5 , October 2010



California Society of Printmakers

WEAD, Women Environmental Artists Dialog



1980 B.A. in Studio Art, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley MA



Melissa West 
451 Tuttle Ave. 
Watsonville CA. 95076 
831-319-0206 (land line — please no texts!)

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