Vancouver based artist Melissa Burgher is a contemporary animal and landscape painter. Growing up in White Rock with her large and colorful family taught her the importance of hard work and taking care of others. Her time living in different communities and working on various farms with animals helped Melissa to develop a love and respect for all things sentient. She began painting early and in grade 12 was sponsored for art school. After art school Melissa spent many years in northern areas where she encountered varying ways of life, rugged landscapes and wild animals. From this experience she developed a love and respect for the wild and untamed Canada. While living and working in the north she owned horses and engaged with the landscape by riding in the snow or doing overnight hiking trips. She soon decided she wanted to do more for her communities and went back to school. She completed a psychology degree at UBC in 2017. In the past four years she worked in Vancouver’s East end with vulnerable families, worked in Ladner with people who have autism and was a recreation assistant in a psych ward. Melissa began to get more serious with her painting three years ago and has sold works across Canada and Internationally. She is currently employed as an Aboriginal Infant Consultant and works full time as a visual artist. She hopes to try and make a difference for those she serves in early life. She often credits her artworks energy, strong colors and shapes to the experience and teachings from many of Canada’s coastal First People’s.
Her work often focuses on landmarks that represent knowledge and animals that symbolize traits and strengths. Her focus is to portray nature’s resilience to harsh and changing environments while also discussing ways nature can provide insight. She combines both plein air and studio painting to achieve something that is both reminiscent of the real yet strangely surreal.
My current theme in painting focuses on landmarks that represent history and origin stories through color and movement. The story I aim to tell in my image making is about nature’s resilience to harsh and changing environments. I combine both practices of plein air and studio painting to achieve a look that is reminiscent of something real but with a twist in how I see the world, full of connectedness, color, the divine and metamorphosis.