1xRUN welcomes back multi-talented Melissa Villaseñor for her second installment of letterpress prints in a new ongoing series, Shelter In Place! Last month, we published Melissa’s first-ever printed editions as part of International Women’s Day, and this April, even though life has been turbulent yet quiet for most of us (and SNL is off the air) the fine artist and comedian has stayed busy doing Instagram live feeds drawing, making music, voice messaging fans, eating pizza, and watching movies. Through the madness, she finds that creativity in all forms helps keep her mind at ease. And above all, sharing comfort and hope with the world is especially important during this time. In our exclusive interview, Melissa reveals the inspiration behind these new editions, her shelter-in-place routines, fun ways to stay busy, and her favorite things to watch. Read on to find out more about our latest releases with Melissa Villaseñor…
1xRUN: Anything immediate about this collection you would like to highlight?
Melissa Villaseñor: These drawings were all created during this time of being in quarantine. The seed of them is gloomy but I keep pushing to make them hopeful. I am alone, but thankfully with my dog and at home safe, but I feel for many, and my brain rushes with ideas and images as I feel a greater range of emotions these days.
1x: When were these pieces created?
Villaseñor: These were all created over the past three-four weeks.
1x: How did the ideas for these pieces come about?
Villaseñor: They all are hopeful. I share them immediately ’cause I want my fans and folks to see the little light and hope.
1x: What materials were used and how long did these pieces take from start to finish?
Villaseñor: Bristol paper, Faber-Castell pens. Usually within an hour or two.
1x: We’ve been keeping up with your daily #MelissaHobbyTime live streams with different activities each day––How important has it been to try to stay busy over the past few weeks?
Villaseñor: It’s been helping me and helping others. Some days are harder to show up with energy, but I show up and usually end up feeling happier and more productive, and it’s just nice to connect with fans. And right now I am sending them voice messages on Instagram chats to reply back! I have the time and I know I have the silly brain to help them step away––even for a moment––to make them smile.
When this happened, I stepped up because I know my purpose is to help others. So I made that hobby list, and all my hobbies that I love to do on my free days from SNL and stand-up gigs, these are the things I do that bring me comfort. I thought, why not share them with folks out there? They may feel comfort, too, and maybe I’ll even spark an interest in a new art form for them to try!
1x: Along with drawing and creating visual art, you also recently put out an album. Does it help to stay creative in those different ways?
Villaseñor: It really helps me. Everything helps each other. When I feel real low and hurt, a drawing can soothe me and help. Sometimes a joke is what helps. If those don’t help, I bounce into a music bubble and write a song. I am fortunate to be able to swim into these different worlds, and it all feels cathartic.
1x: What are some of the ways you’ve been trying to unwind and relax the past few weeks?
Villaseñor: I’ve been watching movies and shows and eating pizza! My family has been doing a weekly zoom karaoke night or trivia, and that’s nice to laugh and see them. I have been hanging out with my dog Penny who is an angel! Sunday I take off to rest my brain, and this past Sunday I watched Pixar’s Onward, which I loved a lot! I also watched a couple episodes of Adventure Time (did voices on that show in the past nbd hehe), and Over the Garden Wall, which was also on Cartoon Network, and boy! The animation and art is so beautiful! It’s also very funny and sweet. Those felt very good for my kid soul.
1x: What musical and visual artists or have you been liking as of late?
Villaseñor: Been really enjoying these two sisters that are artists @heidiroo_art and @preemoreno. They are sisters here in CA, and they just make such cool and cute art! I love the accounts I follow on my art page (@melissavart) ’cause artists are pumping out so much right now and it makes me feel a lot of comfort knowing we are in our shells making some magical stuff. Also, I dig the New Yorker cartoons. With music, I’ve been listening to Tarantino movie soundtracks as I’ve been drawing or making breakfast, and classic rock has been good too. Today, I did my Owen Wilson impression livestream and worked out to 80s jams, and that felt good, too. I’ve been stepping into childhood music and movies––it helps keep things innocent in a time of heavy weird things.
1x: What movies have you been watching?
Villaseñor: Rewatching Lord of the Rings! It’s been so long since I’ve seen them all! So Two Towers is next! I also want to watch movies with some new impressions I’m trying to learn! Also! Been reading a sweet book by Brad Montague called “Becoming Better GrownUps” and it’s so sweet and good. Also its awesome because he has his art in there mix with stories.