top of page

January 2024 - The Art World: Melanie Mills - What’s Old is New - RecycledOdds

By Victor Saenz

Melanie Mills presents one of her art pieces

Upon meeting Melanie, I'm in awe of her openness, ease, and joy. She possesses an air of childlike curiosity and an open demeanor that translates to her work. Melanie is the first recycled artist I have ever met, and I was immediately intrigued by the medium's process and how it's used in form and function to communicate expression.

Melanie Mills is the creator behind RecycledOdds. The name came from her affinity for turning trash into treasure. She takes everyday and rare discards that she finds in swap meets and walks about town and transforms them into works of curiosity, humor, and provocation. "I don't have any formal artistic training," shared Mills. "The only art classes I had was in high school. I grew up around a few artistic family members who taught me to play around with ideas and materials." I went to Melanie's installation at Black Wall Gallery and was treated to a visual expedition of matter-of-fact humor and thought. It was a captivating experience. The juxtaposition of these materials used is quite fascinating. You're transported to playful worlds of imagination when you view her art. "There is a constant need within me to create," shares Mills. "It's a combination of wanting to move energy and invoke feelings and thoughts from myself and the viewer." When she's not creating, she feels stagnant and unhappy. Art is her form of self-therapy.

Over time, Melanie feels that her mixed media assemblage art has become more refined and less clumsy. She has created work that will last and not fall apart easily by picking up wiring and bonding techniques. She has also been dabbling with lighting effects for more unique outcomes. Melanie is experimenting with new techniques for her assemblage work and continues to learn painting and drawing skills to become a better artist. “My favorite art is mixed media assemblage work,” says Mills. “I love the endless possibilities that come with mixed media. The idea of creating magical, little dimensional worlds that can transport the viewer somewhere is exciting to me. Additionally, repurposing discarded items to create these adventures is even better because it keeps more waste out of landfills.”

Mills' artistic influences vary in degrees - from the beauty of nature to the macabre - depending on her mood and the item she uses as a focal point. Other influences include both living and past artists, as well as music. She also admits that when it comes to the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico is an influence on her art. "The landscapes, sunsets, and all its colors and splendors are inspirational when I do more nature-style work," shared Mills. "I also love the diversity of people and cultures in Albuquerque. Inspiration is everywhere!"

Of all the shows Mills participated in, The Recycled Art Show in Santa Fe is her favorite. For her, it was like finding her tribe. "All the vendors are upcycling things into artwork," states Mills. "I got to see some of the craziest and most imaginative pieces! It's so much fun to talk shop with people who love doing the same thing I do!" But there needs to be more for Mills than just recycling items. She likes to see imagination in art. "I enjoy how art transports you to another place," Mills admits. "I'm a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and whimsical artwork." Her ability to create her pieces allows her to express herself through her art. "I'm predominantly an introvert, but I express myself without words. I believe we don't allow enough space for nurturing our imaginations. Through my work, I want people to feel a sense of awe and wonder." She hopes that what she produces inspires others to daydream a little longer.

For those inspired to do what she does, Mills has some advice for those unsure about taking the plunge. "Try it! You don't want to regret not pursuing art later down the road," stresses Mills. "If you need to be creative, there's a good chance you'll find art that speaks to you and that you'll enjoy doing. It doesn't have to be 'good' art to be good art."

You can find Melanie's work on Instagram at @recycledodds2_adult and on Facebook at RecycledOdds.



tWitch Cover Story
bottom of page