A Hickory artist had one chance to have her work featured on billboards across the nation. Melissa Crosson submitted a bright and cheerful work she completed during the pandemic lockdown.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect to win. Even though being an artist is about creation, one can face a lot of rejection. However, it’s important to learn that one must keep trying,” Crosson said. “I received a call on a November morning from Wendy Hickey (with ArtPop) telling me the news and I screamed and cried with excitement.”
One of the billboards that features Crosson’s painting “Harvest” can be viewed in Hickory at the intersection of Lenoir Rhyne Boulevard and U.S. Highway 70.
ArtPop Street Gallery is a nonprofit organization that features 20 artists each year in public spaces and on billboards through the group’s Cities Program. The program has been in operation for nine years, ArtPop Street Gallery Executive Director Wendy Hickey said.
“Only one submission is allowed, which made it very difficult to choose. I decided to use a piece I made during the lockdown that I hoped would bring joy to the viewer,” Crosson said. “I wanted something bright and cheerful, so I wanted to have a lot of color to emphasize that positive energy. I also wanted to create artwork that I felt was relatable because we were all very isolated. I thought a good way to represent that we are all tied together is through patchwork design. That is where I came up with the patchwork style.”
Crosson’s painting features shades of red, orange, yellow, greens, blue and purple. Her painting is reminiscent of a quilt. The art has multiple smaller sections of patterns and colors with bold black outlines. The patchwork design comes together to create a larger image. The overall image of the piece is a person harvesting plants under a sunny sky with clouds and rolling hills in the background.
Crosson found out about ArtPop Street Gallery’s Cities Program after joining an art group that was held through Zoom called Contour Corona. The group was led by Charlotte artists Jean Cauthen and Emily Andress. Cauthen and Andress were both previously featured in the program.
Crosson said Cauthen and Andress told her about the program and encouraged her to participate.
Crosson said she is beyond grateful for the opportunity and that she has worked hard for her accomplishments. Crosson said this past year has taught her that it is important to put yourself out there to be seen. “I learned it’s important to make things happen rather than hope and wait for things to happen,” she said. “I have learned to be proud of who I am, what I am capable of and to try and share that with others with confidence.”
Crosson said creating art helps bring her happiness and as a result she feels it also gives joy to viewers. She said her style varies and each piece she creates starts as an image in her head that sparks excitement. Once she gets an idea she lets it flow through her brush onto the canvas.
The artworks featured in this year’s show can be viewed at www.artpopstreetgallery.com. Crosson’s other creations can be seen at www.mcrossonfineart.com. Her Etsy shop is www.nomadicartist.etsy.com.