Identity: How to Explore Your Message & Expression

Labels cannot be avoided. At my show recently at the Village Gallery, I came across many people that wanted to talk about who I am/ was; what my art was identified as and how I identified myself. One person that really stuck in my mind was this younger girl that interviewed me about each piece while carrying a sketchbook of her own work. Clearly, she was an artist. I asked her how she felt about the paintings and she said, "Well, they are very colorful. So I would assume that the works in this show come from extroverted artists." Interested, I asked her to expand, only for her to continue to say, "Art has much value in it, a depth and aptitude of color that creates value and expression. Most artists are introverts because they understand how to use these dark colors and balance them in their work. These artworks themselves, don't use much black, if anything they don't use value at all." Nameless An Exploration of Form-Mel BIkowski

This stung me at my core. Number 1, my personality was being stigmatized by the way that I use color in my artworks and number 2, honestly, I really needed to work on value.

So how does this apply to exploring my identity? Well, I took my time to think about what she said and I questioned and explored the information.

First and foremost, I am not an extrovert. She had that wrong. By definition, I am an introvert (according to MBTI standards), but I don't define myself as one.When I am out and about (which is not very often) you won't find me in sitting in a corner mumbling to myself, "oh I'm an introvert, that's why I can't talk to you." lol.  And you know, to be honest, I think a lot of introverts get really stigmatized. My closest friends will say that I am loud, talkative, and zany. Much like an extrovert would be if you were to judge someone by the textbook definition. But, my friends would also say, that I need my space. My alone time. They will say that you can certainly find me recharging or thinking about something out of this world. My mind is hyperactive. Filled with ideas and I do not really need other people around to feel energized and thought provoked. I mean, maybe if that person was Albus Dumbledore or my husband, who I am lucky to share a space with and lets me rant for days about nonsense even if he doesn't agree with anything I am saying. (An example- last week I told him all about my past life reading and how it applied to me now. With open eyes and an open heart, he just smiled and took it in. lol) & on top of that, one of my favorite mottos of all time is "Work Hard in Silence. Let your success make all the noise".

And Second, How do Bright Colors get categorized as Extroverted? Is it because they can be the life of the party, loud, in your face, sometimes zany in artwork? Is it because Introverts are stigmatized to be dark and foreboding? It's possible!

Art Print- Flower Magic- Mel Bikowski

I think for the most part, we need to look at labels as we look at the light on the moon. The Moon Exists in Space. It reflects the sunlight. Much like ourselves as humans reflect information and identity. We are merely borrowing from our knowledge and reflecting it. The labels and identity traps are meant to guide you in exploration to define and see who you are. To help you gravitate towards the knowledge that will allow you seek your highest good. That is why we need to be careful with labels and as artists NEVER LET THEM DEFINE US.

So back to the girl and my artworks. I could of just stopped her right there and said, no way, jose. I am an introvert. I am on the MBTI scale as an INFJ. **BIG HMMPH** or I could of just listened to her and looked at what she was saying about my artwork and how she labeled it and decided to use it as a tool for clarifying if I am conveying the message that I am trying to convey.

As an artist, we delve in and explore identity. I find that we observe it. We see it and redefine how the world can view these perceptions. But to start, we need to see whether or not these labels are fitting for our artworks, our message, ourselves. And it's A-OK to change the way you see yourself and it's definitely A-OK to change identities. Labels and Identities do not define our work. Who we are as people and what we are interested in does. We as artists are like the moon- faithfully shining down onto Earth an expression of our Muses, which for the moon, is the Sun.

So moonchildren, what are you going to reflect outward today?

 

Wildly,

Mel B.

How to Practice Self Care on the Full Moon & Invoke Creative Intelligence

Full Moon in Taurus- November 3

Happy Full Moon to everyone reading this blog. This is my first Full Moon that has cycled around to rest. As you all know, I am taking a break from the full moon workshops, but looking forward to picking them back up when I am done with hibernation. Currently, I am swimming deep in the depth of Self Care <3

Mel Bikowski_2017

Empress/Emperor Self Care

Are you feeling anxious and sleepy? Has exhaustion taken you over? Are you worried about the New Year or are you excited for it? Are you reflecting on everything that has happened in the last few months? Well, you are not alone. The Taurus Full Moon comes at a time where we can take a moment to invoke awareness at where we are needing rest. Where do you need to be a Cosmic Parent to yourself? Accept those random hugs and gifts from the people you are connected to and remember that there is no time like the present to start a self-care practice.

And please, keep in mind that you do not have to break the bank to start a self-care practice. Most of the things that I do myself for self-care are found in my kitchen cabinets.

Before I start on my self care process, I always journal and hear the messages from the full moon, but then it is time to have some fun and relax and honor my mind, body, and spirit.

The Ritual Process goes:

  1. Light an Incense of my choice (some of my favorite ones are created in house at Crystal Fox in MD)
  2. Cook a delicious dinner (lately, I have been so busy with school, I treated me and my family to fancy homemade dinners from Green Chef!)
  3. Sage my Home with Flower/Sage Bundles from Aquarian Soul
  4. Take a bath. (my favorite for this past year and my go-to is a Salt, Basil Bath. It is easy to do- Just boil some fresh Basil from your fridge- pour the water into the bathtub and then put 1 cup of Sea Salt in there)
  5. Lather Up with my favorite go-to Lotion Products
  6. Snuggle in my favorite blanket on the couch or walk around the neighborhood moon gazing with my family and my dog
  7. Unplug from the internet & my cellphone (hugely important lately- I think I went almost a whole month last month without my phone in the daytime & rarely used it in the evenings)

Invoke Creative Intelligence

So, how is self care linked to creativity? It is scientifically proven that self-care, silence, and resting enhances our creativity. It gives our nervous system and our mind a moment to recharge. It also gives our energy a moment to restart and come back to the present. It refreshes and prepares us to be ready for our new projects whether that means painting, poetry, starting a new business, entering a new relationship, or creating a vision board of some sort. Creativity is the source of almost all actions that we do in this life.

I think that for me, Self Care reminds me that I am merely a medium and Creativity is the source. Much like Pen & Paper is the medium where I write down my poems or Acrylic and Canvas is the medium where I paint my paintings. I am merely a reflection of the source- Creativity. Energy. And hey, have you ever tried to paint, draw, or create with shitty mediums? It SUCKS.

So clean yourself up-rest- enjoy your time this full moon.

 

Love you Lots,

Mel B.

 

 

NOTE: 4 more open studios happening in my studio this year. Mark your Calendars and come hang out <3

November 8 November 15 December 6 December 20

Pisces Full Moon Celestial Eats Ritual September 2017

Art Print-Lunar Gaze- Mel Bikowski

Pisces Full Moon Celestial Eats Ritual

For the past couple of months, our community meets at my studio in Olly Olly to meditate and discusses astrological techniques to create routine and mindfulness in our lives.  Every full moon, we gather together to share our energies together, discuss our own lives, and share different ways that we stay true to our selves. It is amazing to see the community grow. It is amazing to see the people return and continue building our intentional art community. I hope that we continue to grow and that this article helps you on your journey through the Pisces Full Moon.

I guess the question on everybody's mind is, Why Astrology and Art? For me, lifestyle is everything when it comes to constant creativity.

When we connect to a specific lifestyle and live an authentic one that is true to our spirits, we can become alchemical beings. We become empowered to create or destroy, live in harmony and remain anchored. For me, Astrology helps me remain mindfully aligned with what I need. It is special to me to share my studies with the community. Besides, why not throw themed dinner parties about the planets? hehe. That is creative on it's own!

Today for the Pisces Full Moon, I planned on having a potluck dinner and meditation to discuss the basic properties of Medical Astrology this full moon at my studio, but personal things came up and I had to cancel it. Dreamy Pisces wanted me to rest- soak in a bathe filled with lavendar- and snuggle with my little Pisces daughter.

It is important to establish routine because it allows me to dream and still live. For me, one of the best ways to ground myself is by eating. I love to eat, cook, be merry, and share dinner with my loved ones. As a dreamer, I honor my intuitive self, my fluid compassion, and my connections by coming together for a meal. Besides, Pisces rules our interconnection and there is no better way to remember that we are all connected and one than sharing a meal and laugh.

Things to Think about for Your Pisces Celestial Eats

  1. Energy- Pisces energy is connected to Water. How is water balanced in your body? Do you have excess water or are you dehydrated? What kind of foods do you eat that you might feel link to keeping your body hyrdrated?
  2. Energy Center- Pisces is connected to the Sacral Chakra- What food is connected to your desire? Are those foods comforting you? Are you avoiding an emotion because of a specific food?
  3. Medically/Physically- Pisces is connected to our feet, toes, lymphatic system, and adipose tissue. Are you having Sinus Trouble? Do you need to get a foot massage? Some of the biggest nerves in our body end in centers in our feet, let's honor that mindfulness.
  4. Food- Pisces is Fluid, Watery, and Intuitive. It is important to ground ourselves today. Eat foods that are rich in iron like kale, broccoli, lentils, quinoa, tofu, lean beef, egg yolks, whole-grain cereals, barley, dried beans, beet , spinach, onions, pumpkin seeds, etc. Eat foods that help heal your lymphatic system like lemon, lime, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, seaweed, or aloe vera.
  5. Dreams- Pisces is connected to our Dreams, Desires, and our Karmic connections. What do you dream to one day eat? What do you desire that is lacking on your life? How can you let go of something in your life to make the shift to closer to what you dream?
  6. Rest- Dreamy Pisces is all about rest. desire. relaxation. When the moon is full in a water element, I always take the time to rest in a bath. One of my favorite baths to take is one that was suggested on Hoodwitch, The Basil bath.

My Ritual Today

Today, I woke up from rest and snuggled my little one. We ate Cookies and Almond Milk to honor what both she and I desire, which is sweets, of course! (hehe) I'll journal and do a Pisces Full Moon Tarot spread to check on my intuition. Then I will probably go home to enjoy some time with my family and find myself in a Lavender Bath. I'll check in on my body by wearing comfortable shoes and the color of the sea. I will drink blueberry & aloe tea. Make a salad heavy with Iron, Berries, and Vitamin C. I will enjoy some chocolate and I'll avoid anything that might make me feel more floaty and emotional than I already feel today. And I won't make it too serious of course, because nothing in this world was created to be taken to it's extreme.

Pisces Full Moon-Cayce Bikowski- Mel Bikowski 2017

I hope this all reaches you with some insight into your own lives and please, feel free to join us on October 5th for the Next Full Moon Meeting happening at Olly Olly or join us in our Facebook Group, Intentional Art Community- Full Moon Meditations.

 

Happy Full Moon. Wildly, Mel

Nameless, An Exploration of Form Opening Reception- August 5, 2017

Nameless, An Exploration of Form-Village Gallery- Opening Reception

August 5, 2017- Lotus and I did it. From idea to manifestation, this show blossomed. Massive, explosive rainbow beam love and gratitude sent to every single person that was able to come out to the opening reception! It was a night to remember with beautiful conversation, great music, and new and old connections. I cannot thank you all enough for the massive love and support that has oozed from the community!

This colorful and vibrant show is something that Lotus and I have wanted to share with you all for some time. The mere title of the show "nameless" is a larger understanding of our own friendship, energetic connection, feelings, and desires that have been manifested through the perspective of visual artists. The emotion and inspiration that has led us to this point in both of our lives has only manifested a dialogue between ourselves, the painting, and the viewer. A conscious connection. An elicit emotional wave of beauty and harmony that resides within us all. A reminder that we are all very much connected in this life and throughout all our lives. You inspire me to create and I hope that I inspire you as well.

A special thank you to the musicians that did the opening as well. Shadow Farm is an amazing intuitive band and my husband, Darius Twin, put on an amazing set. He has intentions of posting it to his podcast, DammStr8 sometime this month, so keep a look out: here.

Biotic Aura_36x36_LotusHeartsong-Mel Bikowski

I think I need to specifically send out a specific shout out to my dear collaborative friend Lotus Heartsong. Without her friendship and the magic of our connection, this show would not exist. Her presence in my life has been more than special to me and it holds a very special place in my heart to honor creation with her. Community blessings to all. I am still glowing from the reception and I am sure that Lotus is as well.

 

Nameless, An Exploration of Form will remain up for viewing from August 1-30, so if you have time and are in Fairfax, I urge you to go check it out!

Address: 3950 University Dr. Fairfax, VA 22030

 

Nameless: Opening Reception Photographs

My brother who so graciously came up from Norfolk to be there with us took my camera and snapped a few shots. Here are a few of the snapshots he took of the Opening Reception:

SPECIAL NOTE: There will be special events happening all month as well, which you can check out the list, here

Thank you most of all, the reader, the art lover, the vibes are more than felt of your sent love and support. <3

 

Reminder:

To keep up with other things that

are going on at Olly Olly, where Lotus and I both continue to journey with creative community- follow their FB page, Lotus's FB Page, or my own FB page.  I

have monthly meditations at my studio at Olly Olly every month. The next one will be a special workshop that I will be leading myself on my Wedding Anniversary, September 6th. You can find more information about the meditations in the FB group, here.

The main intention of these meditations will be to focus on the journey within. and continue to immerse ourselves into strengthening our community connections. As we approach the jewels within ourselves, I find it’s a really cool way for us all to raise the vibes of community in our NOVA area.

 

Contact me with any questions, here.

Thanks for all the Fish Opening Reception- Del Ray Artisans- June 03, 2017

Nereids' Song-24x48-Mel Bikowski 2017

Thanks for all the Fish- Opening Reception

June 03, 2017- Thanks for all the Fish  celebrates the exceptional volunteers that keep Del Ray Artisans floating. The exhibit showcases the artists best artwork and the exhibit is definitely a great pit stop in the NOVA art scene. I was one of the many members that got honored and invited to participate in this invite only group show.

I was lucky to be able to attend the opening reception because it landed on a Saturday and Saturday's are much more easier for me. I was greeted at the door by Ms. Donna Gallo, my darling artist friend and colleague. I stayed there for a while chatting with her about music, art, feelings, and life events. She is as exposed as her artwork is and I can't begin to explain how much I adore meeting her through Del Ray Artisans.

The opening was filled with live music, art, and many supporters. In the middle of the event, the curators, Josh Oliviera Martin and Kathy Turner took a moment to thank the artists for their work and thank the patrons for their support in keeping Del Ray Artisans alive for 25 years.

Del Ray Artisans is truly a pillar of the community. I am lucky to be part of such a wonderful organization and although, I can't say that I know everyone as well as I would like, each and every person that is a member to the gallery oozes with service, love, and light.

Pictures of the opening can be found on the Del Ray Artisans Flickr page & if you are looking to see the exhibit it runs until June 25th.

A list of the artists that can be found are:

Veronica Barker-Barzel, Rebecca Barnes, Melanie Bikowski, Ron Blank, John C. Bordner, Kathryn A. Brown, Andrew Cariaso, Michele Reday Cook, Sean Crumley, Linda Elliff, Gordon T. Frank, Joe Franklin, Donna Lee Gallo, Gale S. Goldfarb, Heike Gramckow, Rachel Grodsky, Lesley Hall , David Heckman, Patricia P. Hickey, Bonnie Holmberg, Dawn Wyse Hurto, Kim S. Joy, Tom Kelly, Nancy S. Kline, Theresa A. Kulstad, Stephen Lally, Brandy Lellou, Miles Liss, Marlin G. Lord, Linda Lowery, Judy Lynn, Rusty Lynn, Liz Martinez, Milagros Mateu, David McClure, Betsy Mead, Eileen Marie O’Brien, Joshua C. Oliveira, Kurt Peterson, Zade R. Ramsey, Katherine P. Rand, Karen Schmitz, Rita Schooley, Dale Spivey, Pat Stacy, Kathy Stoner, Karen L. Thomas, Kathy Turner, Pamela Underhill, Lydia Walter, Tamara Wilkerson, and Tracy Wilkerson.

 

Grown Up Arts Camp Del Ray Artisans 2017

Grown Up Art Camp- Del Ray Artisans- Find Your Center Workshop

To make a note, keep an eye out for signing up for the Art Workshops for Grown Ups Art Camp happening at Del Ray Artisans!

I personally will be holding an artist talk/meditation about how to center ourselves and tap into the energy of our creativity on Saturday July 8th from 10am-12pm. Please be sure to register soon because the spots will fill up quick!

Talk Show- Olly Olly- May 20, 2017

Talk Show Olly Olly Fairfax VATalk Show-Olly Olly- Opening Reception

May 20, 2017- Talk show  immersed us into a 1970's glam jam! There was gold glitter, shag carpets, and of course, beautiful art from local artists in the Fairfax Area. You can find a list of the artists on the Olly Olly Website!

Much of the artwork that was on display reminded me of the continued importance of love. The talent that oozes from the community around the Northern Virginia area is a beautiful example of support and encouragement.  My husband had been out of town, so I had thought that i might not be able to make it to the show, but Jessica Kallista, the curator of the show, urged me to come along and bring my daughter.

Talk Show Olly Olly Fairfax VA

My daughter's energy added to the energy of the show because it showed that she was included as well as myself in my role as an active Mom. The art and intellectual world is not casting out suburban mothers from the world they might of been immersed in before. I chatted with some new friends and some old friends. Cayce's best friend, Davi even came to play.

Unfortunately, Cayce's bedtime approached quickly and I did not get to stay around for the Talk Show interviews. But a lot of them are posted on the Olly Olly FB page and can be reviewed there.

It truly feeds my soul to come out of my art cave and jump into a world where community, art, and raising the vibes of our world is the focus. I felt as if this exhibit challenges the separation of the art world to the other worlds that strangely enough, I feel the art world is a bridge between. The bridge begins with exhibitions like these and I am the lucky one to have a studio here at Olly Olly.

I love that Northern Virginia is filled with such talented gems and how much Art is supported here.

Overall, it was a really nice exhibition that runs from May 20- July 8 and can still be viewed by appointment.

To keep up with other things that are going on at Olly Olly, follow their FB page. I myself am starting monthly meditations at my studio at Olly Olly on June 9th and look forward to those that attend.

The main intention of these meditations will be to focus on the journey within. We will approach the jewels of creativity that we have within ourselves. Plus, it's a really cool way for us all to raise the vibes of community in our NOVA area.

Full Moon Meditation June 9th

Chalk Mural Painting-La Bella Strada, Italian Street Painting Festival- May 14, 2017

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La Bella Strada Italian Street Painting Festival

Artist Mel Bikowski

May 14, 2017- La Bella Strada Italian Street Painting Festival made Mother's day chalky, jazzy, and fun! My family came with me to join in on the festivities as I was one of the many artists that was invited to participate in the community event that helped raise money and support the Del Ray Montessori School in Del Ray Alexandria.

What started out as a chilly day quickly turned into a warm day of fun and laughter. My daughter quickly joined in on the fun and I was lucky to have had my brother tag along to take some pretty good shots of the festival that can be seen in the slide show! There were some little wrens also hiding in the lamp posts near my mural that were looking down on us and watching us play and paint. A few girls came and interviewed me for the La Bella Strada FB Page and I got a chance to talk about what inspires me when I paint. It was pretty cool to see kids so interested in the art as well as the artists!

My mural was based around my love of Mermaids (of course) and I built an ecosystem that I would hope would let all the little mermaids from my imagination feel snuggly and happy to swim in. It was pretty cool to have such a large canvas since I had been dreaming about large size canvases to paint on lately.

I've been working with a lot of Ocean & Air Magic lately in my personal spiritual growth and learning a lot about myself. I'd say that my paintings are really becoming a happy hiking journey through the imaginative ecosystem of my subconscious and I am really excited to debut what I have been working on at my Art Exhibition, Nameless on August 5th. But I'd say that my mural for this chalk event allowed me to give everyone a sneak peak of where I have been diving deep into and swimming around in and it probably even attracted another mermaid or two onto the streets of Del Ray (hehe!!).

Many of the other artists that support the Del Ray Community were also there to paint their own squares. Some of the talent that surrounds our community is just jaw dropping! I love that our Northern Virginia is filled with such talented gems and how much Art is supported here.

Of course, the community tree was by far my favorite artist piece. It was filled with kids circles and their favorite pieces of nature. The tree had so much light and color and happiness surrounding it. I could just feel the inspiration oozing off it and Mother Nature applauding and thanking the kids for the honored gift.

Overall, it was a really nice day.

I hope every other mother out there also had a nice day. Whether you are a mother of human, animal, community, movement, or the mom of your friends group, you matter and you are important. Your heart shines like a thousand bright stars on every person's soul that you come across. Your love and light has changed someone no matter how small the moment. So thank you. Thank you for everything you do and thank you the most to my mom, who has supported and loved me with what I will always know as the biggest heart and loudest laugh I will have ever known. <3

Nameless, An Exploration of Form Art Exhibition with Mel Bikowski & Lotus Heartsong at Village Gallery

Nameless_August 30th Flyer Nameless, An Exploration of Form Art Exhibition with Lotus Heartsong & Mel Bikowski

The Village Gallery 3950 University Dr. Old Town Fairfax, VA August 5-August 31, 2017 Opening Reception: August 5th, 2017

Press:

“Nameless-An Exploration of Form” is an art exhibition that is a full sensory experience of the collaborative and solo works of Lotus Heartsong and Mel Bikowski.

The paintings recreate and echo the cycles of nature’s patterns and best represent the themes of deeper spirituality in emotional depth, wisdom, harmony, and balance. The mission and story of this exhibition communicates an open-ended question in remembrance of the psychological form of our truest nature as spiritual beings.

Opening Reception: August 5th, 7-11pm//Free Entry

The opening reception introduces a space where art and music integrate to create a creative atmosphere. The band Shadow Farm plays from 7-9pm followed by Darius Twin from 9-11pm. Darius Twin is a Techno Producer and DJ.

www.soundcloud.com/dariustwinmusic

The Village Gallery 3950 University Dr. Fairfax, VA

 

Artist Bios:

Nameless Art Exhibit Photograph

Mel Bikowski is a self-taught artist that uses her intuition to build new perspectives and worlds that present an emotional depth and wisdom that is absent of ego. She spends most of her time painting in her studio space at Olly Olly in Old Town Fairfax, VA.

The nature of Mel’s art often reflects symbolic, harmonizing, and expressionistic abstract shapes and colors that represent a harmonious connection between the deeper spiritual life of humanity and nature. Her main inspiration comes from long hikes through national parks with her family. She believes that if we accept the life, death, and rebirth cycles that are within our lives, we can also build realities that live up to our purist creative potential. This  perspective allows ourselves space to live a deep and authentic lifestyle that is harmonious with our spirit.

Follow her Instagram & Facebook Page to keep up to date with snapshots of her studio. Her paintings and prints can be found on her website and you can follow her on Instagram or Facebook to keep up with the snapshots of her studio and artwork.

Nameless Art Exhibit Photograph

Lotus Heartsong

Lotus is a self-taught artist who focuses on intuitive abstract painting and is known for using mixed media on occasion. She considers her art practice meditative and feels that wisdom only comes truly from within. Her work is best described as psychedelic, aquatic, funky, and healing.

She just joined the Art Collective at Olly Olly and can be found most of the time painting there. The rest of her life is centered around family and positive community building.

 

Workshops

New Moon Meditation- Monday, August 21 7-9pm Crystal & Chakra Alignment with Lotus Heartsong

Body Paint Flow Workshop- Saturday, August 12 5-9pm

This workshop consists of physical movement, dance, and creation that allows the person to completely immerse themselves into the creation of their abstract art piece. The workshop consists of free dance, yoga movements, and other techniques to reestablish a sense of harmony between the creator and their materials, which will be paint and paper.

Entry Fee that Includes Supplies: $8.00 RSVP to the EVITE: http://evite.me/VTEU2yzfQN

Closing Art Party-Saturday, August 26 7-11pm

Everyone bring along your artworks, writings, or anything you are working on. We want to indulge our inner child and play together in an atmosphere of music & art while celebrating the closing of this art exhibition.