Melissa Diaz is an artist and a licensed, registered, board certified art therapist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BFA in Painting from The University of Central Florida and an MPS in Art Therapy & Creativity Development from Pratt Institute. In 2010, Diaz founded, Open House BK, a community arts initiative that provides free/affordable pop-up art events, exhibitions and therapeutic arts workshops. As a Creative Arts Therapist, Diaz has experience utilizing art therapy, play therapy and mindfulness practices with adults, children and families. She has worked as a therapist and teaching artist in shelters, schools, museums, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings. Diaz has presented widely on the topic of art therapy application, at several institutions, including, Pratt Institute, School of Visual Arts, University of Central Florida, University of Wisconsin and Blick Art Materials. In her artwork, Diaz creates interactive installation art as a source of community engagement. In 2015, she was awarded a residency at The Marble House Project, there she explored the integration of installation art, art therapy and environment. She has exhibited widely throughout NYC and nationally, in both gallery and alternative spaces. In all her work, she considers space, relationships and holding environment.
As both an artist and art therapist, I consider space, relationships and holding environment. My artwork is an ongoing exploration of inner and outer habitats that reflect elements of nature, growth, transition, and coexistence. I am interested in portraying the tension and ambiguity of micro and macro environments. Within these environments, I aim to form a transitional space which welcomes play and introspection. Transitional Space, coined by psychoanalyst and theorist, D.W. Winnicott, refers to a space in between subjective and objective reality, a space of pure creativity and play.
While I organically inhabit this experience in the studio and therapeutic space, I hope to cultivate it further within the exhibition space. I do so by use of playful arrangements, choice of material and inviting the viewer to engage with the work through the act of imaginative play. By utilizing simple/child-like materials, I encourage accessibility of art making, demystifying of the artist and transformative powers of creativity. I also strive to create interactive components that foster social engagement, highlight universalities and form a sense of communal transitional space. My work forms a relationship with the surroundings and the viewer, paralleling my framework as an art therapist.
Videos on works and process:
Brooklyn, NY 11215