One Defense – The Creative Act!

“Against the ruin of the world, there is only one defense—the creative act.”

Kenneth Rexroth


A spidey sense that ANYTHING could happen blankets my hometown of DC, and the sensation that the lights could go out at anytime — on progress, on human decency, on sanity — is real. Once flabby convictions are now standing tiptoe, and among artists the desire to cut the bullshit is a no-brainer. It’s more than ok to dust off the ol’ 60s feminist slogan “The Personal is Political” because with technology, galvanizing forces, (good and evil) the mantra is doubly true for all of us. The world is on fire and a challenge to artists, to bear witness and give voice has been thrown down. There’s no place for the ho hum. The pitch, pace, and intensity among the creative class is revving with an urgency the likes of which my American generation has never seen. Right now, all around the world, spontaneous happenings and exhibitions are channeling shapeless anxiety into fervent gestures of resistance. Artists and non-artists are literally “taking it to the streets” with banners, performance art, pop-up shows and social media memes to fight for their brand of equality and justice. Diverse groups, cutting across race, class, gender and sexual orientation are rallying together as if their lives depended on it. Although dismayed, frightened and angry, our mass efforts are moving the needle if slightly.

These are harrowing and heartbreaking times AND they are ideal times for creation and reinvention. Like pressure points along the meridians of the body, the points of killing are also points of healing. Intention is key. As Thomas Carlyle said, “No pressure, no diamonds.” When the news of the world feels paralyzing, I remind myself that stress and pressure can be assets. Art needs something to push against… otherwise we’re dancing without a floor.

News From The Studio

Thank you Jack Rasmussen (Director and Curator) of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington DC, for your generous support that made my first solo museum exhibition “Make You Love Me” at the Alper Initiative for Washington Art such a sweet success! It was a true honor show in tandem with the amazing artists who occupied the other galleries in the museum including Alex Katz, Martha Wilson of Franklin Furnace, Squeak Carnwath, Sylvia Snowden and Carol Brown Goldberg.

Here are some images of my work from the exhibition!

Goddess of the Burning House (2016) 96 x 84 x48 in Steel
Photo: Greg Staley

Corpse Pose 1-12 (2016) wood, acrylic, wallpaper, lights
Photo: Greg Staley

Fools Fortune #4 (2016) 36 x 60 in
Us and Eternity (2016) 32 x 14 x 24 in
Photo: Tim Davis

Reina (2016) 14 x 16 x 14 in.
Medicine Ma’am (2016) 8 x 6 x 20 in.
Photo: Greg Staley

Make You Love Me installation
American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center 2016
Photo: Greg staley

Make You Love Me installation
American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center 2016
Photo: Greg staley

See exhibition catalog here »

One of the most rewarding aspects of the “Make You Love Me” exhibition was the opportunity to work with artists, from all backgrounds, during a special Guise and Dolls Workshop presented as an extension of show.

With Alexandria and Maggie.
Photo by Colin Mason

Upcoming Events

I’m very excited to announce that I will be producing an exhibition titled Progeny, which will feature the work of my students. On March 4th, I will begin the first of a series of classes in preparation for the show coming up in November. Stay tuned!

To register contact

Art as Alchemy

Petit Oracles
Clockwise from top: Goddess of “Oh Yes I Did”, Goddess of I Got This, Goddess of Taking No Shit, Goddess of Badassery (2016)
Ceramic,vintage textiles, brass, crystals, thread, wood, fur, zippers 24 x 12 x 10

Petit Oracles are guardians of desires. These prayer idols personify interactive power. Each doll is unique. The body is made of vintage fabrics and the zippered stomachs are filled with ceramic eggs. These power figures are infused with divine feminine wisdom. The materials are “alive” with history, making them literally charged with ancestral spirit and power.The owner seeks advice from these spiritual effigies by gazing in the mirrored head of the doll, asking a yes or no question, and blindly choosing a ceramic egg from the zippered belly. The answers are given by the color of the egg, red or green, indicating yes / no / stop / go. This meditative exercise enables the owner to focus on his inner-self and to get in touch with divine feminine wisdom.

Petit Oracle Minis now available for purchase in the Museum Shop at American University Museum and

Sheila Cutchlow with her “Petit Oracle Mini”.

If you are interested in collecting my work drop me a line at

Are you looking for a unique way to reimagine your future? Hire me to teach your group “Figurative Alchemy”. In this two day workshop, participants will conjure their dream destiny though the creation of an avatar doll. A powerful tool for self-discovery, positive manifestation and team building. For information and bookings contact

Until next time…
May the sun shine on your conquest this day!

As Always,
Melissa Ichiuji

February 23, 2017