I’m driven by my (queer, trans, Viet, non-white) communities and the ways that we care for one another through our spirituality. I am especially interested in popular, accessible spiritual practices that provide us with a language to describe ourselves. I use elements of tarot cards and astrological symbols in my work, such as the room decor I created for BAM’s pride party, which featured giant stuffed animal representations of astrological symbols (Cancer, Aries). I wanted to invoke the language that queer communities develop through astrology to describe ourselves and our experiences, as well as the playful nature of astrology as a means of expression (like teasing your friend for being a crybaby Pisces). I also draw inspiration from my daily meditations, where I envision my body and often see tentacles, wings, or portals. I started to create an iconography to represent these visions (like a 6-pointed squiggly star) and as a way to understand my body outside of mainstream narratives of transness. Through my tapestries, I evoke an understanding of my body’s divinity and its connection to higher powers and larger trans communities. While I’m still drawn to this work of self-representation, I am interested in extending these healing practices to my communities through wearable pieces. I want to help others access playfulness and childishness through my textile work. I’m invested in the process of re-parenting or self-parenting—how do I assist others in exploring what they needed as children (or as adults) and create a physical manifestation of this desire? I design home and body objects that invite the viewer to develop their own self-parenting rituals. For example, my harnesses and face masks feature multiple long straps to mimic protective acts like swaddling a baby or buckling a seatbelt. I’m interested in the ways these wearable objects can give us a sense of safety and allow us to embody an ideal self.
Melo Davis (Melo Baby) is a Brooklyn-based textile artist, musician, and theater technician of Viet descent. Through tapestries, oversized stuffed animals, and playful clothing, he explores the ways we can translate a spiritual understanding of our bodies into tangible objects. Davis has shown work at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the Fellowship in Stagecraft & Production and designed sets for Everybooty (BAM’s annual pride party) in 2019. He has performed at queer festivals around North America (Fed Up Fest, Slut Island, After The Gig) as well as local venues and theaters. During his year-long residency at the Silent Barn, he co-curated multiple events showcasing queer musicians, comedians, visual artists, and poets. He is currently working on large scale tapestries for upcoming music videos and gallery installations.
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