Artist Spotlight Melissa Murphy

Learn about our latest artist collaboration with Melbourne artist Melissa Murphy. We spent time in her welcoming Brunswick shop, Suntop Plaza and chatted the joyful expressions of life in art and cooking.  Read on to discover more about Bloom artist Melissa. 

Can you share how you began your artistic journey and how did you find your painting style? 

My father (bookkeeper and photographer) and grandmother (poet) illustrate, and two aunts paint, so it is very normal for me to do those things and have those materials and a space for them. I have made paintings for friends or completed commissions since art class in high school. I had a fantastic art teacher Mandy Maguire; she was a mother and artist. I think I've sort of copied those three influences mostly.

In 2017 I was between jobs and ideas and addicted to Instagram, so I made an Instagram page for painting and have sold everything! Since then, it's mostly commissioned artwork. I think my style has developed from constantly drawing.

Art and cooking are such joyful expressions of life! When did your love of these interests begin, and how do they intersect?

My parents owned restaurants and cafes when I was growing up. The produce, the kitchen, the table, the people I've met and spent time with, from family functions to working in the industry myself for 20 years, has hugely influenced my life. Some ways are good, some ways bad, haha. 

Speaking of cooking, we hear you're running your very own Murph's Co-Op and a cafe?! Tell us more :) 

I opened my own small food business in January 2020 and have had an exciting and challenging experience. In Brunswick East, I own a small cafe grocery store, where I do a lot of cooking and gas bagging. I run a produce co-op weekly from there. 

What's it like painting from memory/intuitively? How do you get into the right frame of mind for painting?

I daydream A LOT. Imagine a lot and pretend a lot. I feel comfortable taking a mood or feeling from a previous experience to the studio. Sometimes I use the top layer thing on my mind, positive or negative/ and sometimes, I try to clear my head and give a subject I care about more time. That usually becomes a scene in a room focused on a table. 

Does living in northern suburbs influence your approach to your artwork?

I moved to Melbourne about 10 years ago from Noosa. I'm surrounded by musicians, artists, photographers, designers, dancers, and creatives of all kinds in this area.

We support each other. We're always talking, learning and leaning on each other. I practised this interview with a dear ceramicist friend in a studio in Brunswick yesterday afternoon.  


Can you share the story behind the feature artwork Bloom? How does it feel to see your work translated onto clothing?

The featured painting was inspired by earlier work. So learning how to transfer that work to a larger scale and be made into a fabric print was a great learning experience. It was challenging and rewarding!

What plans do you have for 2022, and what are you looking forward to the most? 

In February, I had my second ever show at a local student gallery in Brunswick called Brunswick Temporary. I have a few commissions I'm working on, and I aim to make another body of work to exhibit later in the year. It was special to me to see more than one painting framed and presented together, like a childhood dream realised. So cool! I'd love to have another show this year. 

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