Spread The Love® is excited to launch our Diversity and Inclusion Artist Series with esteemed artist Melissa Koby!
This initiative celebrates our love for art and for our community of diverse backgrounds. The artists we specially choose to be part of this series are ones whose messages inspire us - their work on their own art and community.
This is why we’re so excited to have Melissa Koby as our inaugural artist! Melissa is a Jamaican born, Tampa based illustrator whose work addresses themes of social justice. Her work also always celebrates people of color and the peace and tranquility that comes from beautiful landscapes.
Melissa also Spreads The Love Forward as a board member of Community Spring Gainesville, a non-profit 501c3 organization that is driving economic mobility on a grassroots level by hiring people who are experiencing poverty for nine-month fellowships, and paying them a fair wage to work together to address the issues they identify as contributing to poverty in their communities.
It's an honor to share Melissa’s message and story on our Limited Edition NAKED Organic Peanut Butter labels. Find them exclusively available throughout Erewhon Market stores in Los Angeles, CA and check out our interview with Melissa below!
Spread The Love: Thank you for being our inaugural artist for the Spread The Love’s Diversity and Inclusion Artist Series! We’d love to hear about your creative process and what inspires you.
Melissa Koby: My most recent body of work has been created digitally. I'm inspired by beauty, femininity, and the peacefulness that comes with landscapes. I create based on how I feel and a specific message I would like to share. All my illustrations feature a sun and a moon because these symbols remind me that above all else, there is hope.
STL: Spread The Love's Co-Founder and President, Val Fishbain is deeply inspired by your art because it speaks to so many aspects of her experiences as a woman of color living in the US. What messages do you hope viewers receive when they connect with one of your pieces?
MK: I want other women to feel the same sense of power and peace that I get from creating my artwork. My artwork is a reminder that our beauty and strength transcends our individual circumstances.
STL: You purposefully make the subjects in your artwork faceless so that everyone can see themselves in each piece. Can you expand upon how you use imagery and color to convey symbolic themes in your work?
MK: I draw faceless people because I want viewers to connect with the figures I draw, regardless of what they look like.
STL: We are in love with the piece you created for the Spread The Love Artist Series! Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
MK: It is a nod to human connection and sharing love between friends. Having face to face moments with my loved ones was one of the things I missed most last year and I learned to cherish having meaningful moments with them.
STL: As we look towards building a better future, what is one piece of advice you’d like to share on how we can individually make a difference to push the dialog of diversity and inclusion forward?
MK: Treat people with kindness and dignity, regardless of the color of their skin. Be proactive in striving for an equitable existence for everyone.