Artist Spotlight: Melissa Youngman of Junk and Craft Treasures
What Inspired You to Become and Artist?
I honestly don’t think of myself as an artist. I just love to create and inspire people to do what they love and have a passion for. I create with all different types of mediums and textures. I’ve always loved to create things with my mom when I was a child. Throughout school I took interest in band, newspaper and photography. For years we would go to thrift stores and garage sales and I would see things and think to myself I can upcycle or paint that. Then, I took a sign making class at a local place in town and I guess you could say that’s when I realized this is something I love to do and wanted to make and create for others. I started making signs, learning techniques and about different types of paints, started up cycling things I had talked about for years and just having fun learning everything I could possibly learn (which I still learn new things all the time).
What Has Been Some of Your Biggest Challenges?
One of my earliest challenges was to get over my own fears and insecurities of going into the online space and social media. I knew this was the direction I needed to go with my passion but to be filmed with my disability and opening myself up to people that didn’t know me was terrifying. I was born with cerebral palsy and I was afraid that people would make fun of me and be mean on social media. Cerebral palsy affects muscle coordination so I hold my hands differently and movements are harsh. Most of my disability affects me from the waist down but on camera you can see it while sitting and hand movements. I had a great mentor, Amanda, with Mettle Modern Design. She had the confidence in me to push me to do my first live, share my story and share my passion for creating. Looking back this wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I have met some amazing women and men in the creator space that I may not have ever crossed paths with. I have had women and men reach out to me with their personal stories and feel honored to have made a positive impact on them. If I’ve helped ONE person try or do something they may not have had the confidence to do I feel like my goal was accomplished. Another major challenge for me has been balancing everything. I had major spinal surgery back in December of 2021. I made the decision to really push my online presence. With that comes the balancing of time management. Getting a plan into place to have time for family and friends, fulfilling customer orders, selling products I love that I have become affiliated with, communication with customers and followers, our mystery craft box group among the many, many other behind the scene things with running a business was a challenge. I have to take time to focus on things that matter and things that I need help with. This was so hard for me to do and still is.
What Is Your Creative Process?
I take an idea and run with it. It may not always turn out like I want but it’s just paint. I can re paint, change it or sand it back and start over if I don’t like it. I take things I see and recreate them. So if I see a rusty truck and like the colors I may incorporate that into a background or design itself. My mind is constantly running with ideas on what to create next. I do write some of them down to get to eventually but 9 out 10 times I just grab materials and start creating whatever is on my mind at the time. I do look at other creators/artists for inspiration as well. We can all learn to create beautiful things from each other.
What Message Do You Want Women Artists to Embrace?
Be yourself and do what makes you happy and love. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, keep you from chasing your dreams! Try to make your dreams reality with determination, drive and passion.