Melissa and Melinda Arendt
Artists Melissa and Melinda Arendt hail from nearby Cool, are twin sisters and share a pad in Sacramento. But when it comes to their work, the women bear little semblance. Explore the finer points of this variance, plus enjoy their new work (and buy some!) at the Arendt’s exhibition, titled Clusterfucks and Countryfolks, which opens this Friday, July 1, at the new Bows & Arrows in Midtown. SN&R spoke with the two artists separately via email.
Are you a “clusterfuck” or “countryfolk”?
Melinda: I am countryfolk and proud! I try to avoid clusterfucks at all costs.
Melissa: While I’ll always have a country-bumpkin heart, lately the “clusterfuck” is taking over.
What do you admire most about each other’s work? Any criticisms?
Melinda: I admire her work ethic most. She is at her drawing table every day, all day. Most of the time she is emerged in 10 projects or more at once.
Melissa: I’m very impressed with Melinda’s use of color. Art school forces you to make color wheels until you’re blue in the face, and it’s really paying off for her. My only constructive feedback would be to … aaahh, I don’t know!
You make rad local music posters. If you could make one for any artist, who would it be?
Melinda: The Kinks, in their ’60s heyday, for obvious reasons.
Melissa: Talking Heads would have been fun to design posters for just so I could hear David Byrne’s crazy ideas and attempt to execute them.
How’d you get the bug?
Melinda: I won a couple Smokey the Bear poster contests as a kid and have been hooked ever since.
Melissa: Our dad [was] always doodling strange faces every time he was on the phone. I wish I had kept some of them, because they were bizarre but really cool. Growing up our parents kept all of our drawings and paintings in “the museum,” which was just a cardboard box. We recently pulled “the museum” out of the garage a couple years ago and looked through it. Our work turned out to be really unimpressive, ha.
Who’s messier? More productive? Steals brushes?
Melinda: Melissa is messier and spills paint on her carpets daily. I definitely am more stressed, because I have a day job and go to school full time. So there just aren’t enough hours in the day for creative endeavors. I’ve been known to indulge in bottomless mimosas on the weekend and procrastinate. I’m the evil twin who steals paintbrushes, and then leaves paint in them.
Melissa: Sis gets stressed out big time, because she has a lot on her platter right now: She has a full-time job, attends school in San Francisco, has a boyfriend and manages to create her own art … so impressive! I’m the tool-stealer for sure.
Melissa, your landscapes are so different.
Melissa: I keep a list of people, places and things that I’ve come across that I would like to draw/paint. I decided that this new series would incorporate all of them and force them to mingle with each other, and also with groupings of colored cells, which I refer to as “clusterfuc*s.” Weaving a landscape of Easter Island statues through nebulas and a bunch of drunken partiers seems quite odd, but I think it’s aesthetically appealing.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Melinda: Hopefully earning a design degree will have paid off and I will actually be making money doing this.
Melissa: Though I cringe at the thought, I doubt very much that we will still be living together. … I hope I am able to stay here in Sacramento in five years, we shall see how things go. I’m quite fond of this place.
The Sacto art scene: What’s good and what needs to change?
Melinda: I think the scene has grown a lot in the last couple of years, but can be much larger. A lot of my favorite artists are displayed in boutiques and the like, which works, but there just aren’t enough gallery venues that are fitting for them.
Melissa: There’s an influx of excitement and energy surrounding the Sacto art scene right now. It makes me giddy. We have galleries that are embracing a new generation of artists that don’t paint kittens in baskets and bowls of fruit, and I like that.
Do you ever want to say “Eff it, I’m going solo!”?
Melinda: We have a ball together and putting the show together has been so fun, but I think the next one I will say, “Eff it, I’m going solo, sis.”
Melissa: I think gallery-goers will be expecting our work to be very much alike, but they will see two different artists showing two very different styles of art.