[Melissa Ulto]

Q: Tell us about your artistic aesthetic.

I am a visualist, VJ, filmmaker, photographer, writer and painter. Every piece starts with the impetus to create a visual representation of something that I am currently obsessed with. How does color move? What happens when light intersects with smoke and sound waves? How are we destroying and healing ourselves with images? Which images move products and which images move the soul? I am engaged in the samsara of the visual artist - the continuous cycle of creation and destruction of my visual world. I try to create anew daily, and in that creation, add to the continuing growth of beauty in this world. As a photographer, I'm drawn to capture excitement in motion - the moment of the high note, the high kick, the leap, the sudden smile, as if each is a joyful break in the clouds where the sun spill through. I started with a black and white Polaroid camera as a child and each time I grasp a new tool, I am that child again, playing with a new tool to make things pretty, make things new.

Q: Tell us how others describe your work versus how you see it.

Some people have said I capture their true smiles and a little bit of their soul when I shoot them. That's because I shoot and keep on shooting past the pose. Capturing a moment is much different than capturing a pose. Others say my work is like peeking into my mind, seeing how I see color and shapes, motion and light. My mind is a fantastical place and I seek to draw that out in the material world. I would say my concert and performance photography represents my ability to find peaks and motion in the performers at any given moment.

Q: Give an example of an obstacle you have recently struggled with or overcome.
I just came back from shooting interviews and aerial footage for a documentary in Israel. It was a trying time for me, as my life was chaos at home and I was in one of the most tension filled environments in the world. This year I lost my apartment, edited a film, my business was put in disarray as a result, published a book/DVD, fell further into debt, traveled to many places and generally felt depressed and confused about the world. Throughout, I've been reading Pema Chodron and found some bitter truths along with solace. I am remaking my vision of the world in a kinder fashion, and re-launching my websites in the next month. And of course, I'm looking for work. That, for artists, seems to never cease - the search for meaning and the search for patronage.

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