21 Under 31 | Melanie Florio

AT ARMS LENGTH, OIL, 47 x 41.
AT ARMS LENGTH, OIL, 47 x 41.

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

BORN: San Diego, CA.

ART EDUCATION: Bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts from Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Beach, CA.

STYLE: Colorful twist on realism.

MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THE WAY YOU WORK: “I put down bright colors first.”

FIRST ART SALE: “When I was 16, I got a portrait commission for $1,000.”

SECOND-CHOICE CAREER: A detective. “I think it would be amazing but kind of gruesome.”

OTHER PASSIONS: Hanging out with family and friends.

QUIRKIEST TRAIT: “I compulsively check to see if I have locked my car.”

BIGGEST FEAR: Being perpetually alone.

FAVORITE STUDIO MUSIC: Old-time jazz and singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: “Lela Harty, my art teacher, always told me to remember KISS: Keep
it simple, stupid.”

FAVORITE ARTWORK BY ANOTHER ARTIST: Anything by Jerome Witkin or Maurice Sendak.

PRICE RANGE: $100 to $4,000.

NEXT BIG GOAL: “I’m having a children’s book, Bear Crimbo, published this year. I did the illustrations.”

CREATIVE SPARK: The light behind people’s ears.

I’LL KNOW I’VE MADE IT WHEN: “I feel like I’ve already made it.”

GALLERIES: Wendt Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA; www.melanieflorio.com.

Featured in our annual “21 Under 31″ article in September 2008