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Feminism, Artistry, Humanity; Melle

by Komal Patel
Melle Skarfstad Art Layers

2017. The year of the woman.

 In a year that started with the debauchery that is the Trump presidency, followed by the Women’s March and finally a sense of urgency to fight for not only gender equality, but a woman’s right to choose, be heard, say NO, and the earnestness to spotlight feminism.

We also cannot forgot,


As I sit here, just writing out the words “me too,” gives me chills.

The millions of women around the world who are silenced is louder than anything I have ever heard.

What is it to be a woman today? We have to be strong. Independent. Feminine to societal norms. We HAVE to be a shit ton of things.

It’s not surprising that feminism has remained in the spotlight. And yet, even in 2017, there are basic questions about feminism that continue to confound people. Questions about sex, love and power.

In the midst of all of this I have found expressionism through art and conversation with my good friend Melle Skärfstad. Better known in our friend group as Unicorn or the Ice Princess, she is the epitome of the word feminism; strong, beautiful, creative and unapologetically herself.

Her voice is heard not only through the movement of her body, as she practices yoga every day, but through her art work, which is the basis of the female anatomy and strength.

I am so excited to have her on the blog today and to share with you a little bit about who she is, her thoughts on feminism, gender equality and what her art stands for. Her work surpluses creativity through color, textures, patterns and beauty and I can’t wait for all of you to get to know her better!

Name: Melle Skärfstad 

Age: 25

Where were you born? In the countryside of Västerås, Sweden

Where do You Live? Barcelona

What you do for a living?

Working as an artist, studying studio arts in Barcelona and teaching yoga

How did you get into art?

I’ve always been creative and started drawing and painting at a very young age, working with clay as well, I’ve always loved creating with my hands. I was riding horses professionally for many years prior to working with art and was using painting as a way to relax on the side. After a severe accident at a horse show I think I went through a lot of changes in my life, it was like a wakeup call. After that I decided to move to San Diego to study art and put the show jumping career (horse riding) aside.

Where you go to art school?

I studied fine arts at San Diego State University, School of Art and Design and right now I am attending an art program in Barcelona where artists from all over the world study and work in a shared studio space. It is very inspiring.

What kind of art do you do? How would you describe it?

I work a lot with the human body and issues related to how society views the body in general, especially women, through lots of different mediums. I started as a painter years ago but now I’m working with installations and video as well as my main focus where I combine photography with painting. There are some new projects that I’m working on that question social norms and normality as well as existential questions.

Melle Skarfstad Art

What is a signature element to your art? The one thing that when people look at your art, know Melle did that.

Feminine energy. Though I don’t really believe in getting stuck with certain styles, I’m trying to break free from that; I don’t want to be labeled and put in a certain box. I know a lot of artists that succeeded with certain projects and then just continue working within that style or concept, even if they have other more interesting projects and ideas. Of course it happens naturally for some artists and especially painters to find their own style, but I also feel that within that concept we get more stuck in the idea of who made the work and not letting it speak more for itself.

Where does your inspiration come from?

From everywhere in life; personal experiences and from what is happening around me and in the world. I am really interested in human connections and how they rely on social norms. I would say psychology and philosophy theories inspires me as well. Right now I am reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is a book that is meant to prepare the student for death, or for life before death and for the days between death and rebirth. It is a very interesting book and I’m working with a project inspired by it. It is an installation of clay sculptures experimenting with the negative spaces of the human body and exploring what we are made of and what fills the spaces when we are alive and what is left of us when we die.

You often use the female anatomy in many of your pieces. What does this symbolize? Have you always drawn off the female anatomy for inspiration?

I have always loved the female form but it became more prominent when I was living in the United States. Coming from such a liberal and gender equal country, Sweden, and seeing how sexualized women’s bodies are in the States and other parts of the world brought up a lot of emotions. It started as a celebration of the female body. Now, since I have moved back to Europe I have explored other ideas as well, I’m reading more into queer theory and trying to work around gender issues.

How do you feel about the #metoo campaign?

I am very passionate about this topic. Personally the campaign has brought up a lot for me. I have been through sexual abuse myself, and it is not until now I can feel that I can grow stronger from it and speak up and I see more women do the same. We need to stop this. I think it is critical that we talk about these issues. So many women are ashamed; I used to be one of them. I think one important thing to do is to change how we see it; we are always talking about how many women have got abused and never about how many men abused women. I am tired of being a victim.

Around this time last year I made a video installation called “cat call” which basically is meant to be an experience for the viewer. You enter the installation and are surrounded by 4 blank walls, the room is dark and then you hear a voice, someone is cat calling you and it’s footage of men focused at you, then from another wall, and it continues and get worse and worse, louder and louder. I got all the material that I used for the piece through asking women around me about their personal experiences, it was heart breaking hearing all their stories. It is an intense piece that I am very proud of; I hope to be showing it somewhere again in the near future.

Melle Skarfstad Art Intertwine

How do you think your art breaks gender conformity?

As I was talking about earlier I am now reading more into queer theory. It is super interesting and I am applying it more to my own work.

Before I talked about wanting to desexualize women, but I don’t think that is what I meant. I want to celebrate all kinds of bodies and beings, break the stereotypical gender roles and what that brings to sexuality.

It’s more about empowering every individual. It is beautiful and great if you choose to connect with your sexuality as well as if you choose not to.

I am also working with a project that questions mainstream sexuality. Especially how we see it today, sex sells and it has made most people get a skewered picture of what it is and how it should be. Which I think leads to a lot of different problems on many levels; from abuse to women that never reach orgasms.

What project are you working on now?

I’m always working with a lot of different projects at the same time. As I mentioned earlier I am working on a project inspired by the Tibetan book of the dead, as well as the project working with sexuality. I always have a million projects up in the air.

Tell us about your collaboration with Ted X and their #TheBraveYou campaign.

They emailed me this summer asking me if I wanted to be a part of the art show that would open at the night of the Ted Talk Women Barcelona event. I made three new pieces from my series “Layers” and it is right now showing in Mazda Space, Barcelona for a few more weeks.

What does the word feminist mean to you?

I am proud to say that I am a feminist; it is a state of mind. The word is loaded with a lot of tension for a lot of people but I think it is such an important word.

Melle Skarfstad Art

What personal experiences drew you to feminism? Why did you become a feminist?

 I think everyone is born a feminist. It is patriarchal society that makes some people choose not to call themselves feminists, but that in its self makes it even more important to be a feminist.  I must say that moving around the world all alone, living in different places and experiences coming with that has really shaped me to the person I am today. Have shed a lot of beliefs and thoughts off to become the person I am today. Sometimes I think I am seen as a radical person to the people I grew up with that have had different experiences than me. 

What is your biggest focus within the movement towards global gender equality? 

I think it’s just really important to spread information, art and love. To support each other and especially us women and anyone that chooses to connect with their femininity, we need each other. When you see a beautiful, empowered being, bring them up, tell them, and reach out! Spread the love. It’s so sad how society has made us compete with each other instead.

What constitutes obscenity and pornography? Where do they come from? What are their results? Are they always transgressive? What place do they have in art?

As I said before, sex sells. It’s sad because it is one form of sex that sells. Commercial pornography has ruined a lot in the view of sex and what it is, this has caused a lot of different problems. We need more alternative platforms and I feel like art plays an important role in this. Breaking the commercial side of sex. Art can afford to be radical, as an artist you can take advantage of the possibilities of expressing ideas that may seem more radical within other areas. Break the norms!

How does it feel to be a female artist in today’s world?

I can imagine it’s better now than it was years ago. But still, sometimes it is hard as a young woman to be seen as anything else than a sexual object within any fields. Sadly the art world is similar. But there is a strong female movement within art now, which is amazing. The future is female!

Melle Skarfstad Art LAYERS

Why is uncensored expression/art more important now than it ever was?

Because you can’t always believe what the news is telling you. We need other ways than the mainstream to view the world; it’s a crucial aspect of expanding and exploring the mind.

Melle Skarfstad Art Intertwine

To learn more about Melle, her art and where you can see future exhibitions please visit www.melleskarfstad.com



Sweet and Masala

Special thank you to Melle for allowing me to pick apart her brain and showcase her art <3

All artwork is original and copyrighted by Melle. 

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Ra'Nesha December 6, 2017 - 1:05 pm

2017 has definately been focused on women so much happening in the states its good to see women take a stand. I’m glad you shared this.

Kayla December 6, 2017 - 3:11 pm

I LOVE this post! As a feminist myself, it’s difficult to understand why there are still so many individuals who think that women are any less than men. Melle sounds like such a cool and strong woman, and I love that she spreads the message of love and feminism through her art. I would love to see her cat call installation!

xo Kayla

Komal Patel December 6, 2017 - 3:19 pm

She is amazing! I want to see it too. I will see if she is able to share. I wish we could just shake people to understand, you know?

Shruthi December 6, 2017 - 3:31 pm

Wow, just wow! I respect so much when an artist truly has such a story and meaning behind her work ethic and passion. I especially love the installation “cat call” and the story behind that. Thanks for sharing this Komal!

Pooja kawatra December 6, 2017 - 3:31 pm

This is a wonderful post and super love the photos shared here. Seriously, I wonder that in this age also people do a comparison between men and women without any basis.

Sam December 6, 2017 - 6:52 pm

I… its hard to think of something to comment on this except maybe thank you for writing it. Its such a painful, personal topic for so many of us. The art is beautiful! There is always something so special about art made by another women.


Komal Patel December 6, 2017 - 7:09 pm

Thanks for commenting SAM. It is hard to find the right words to say on topics like this. So happy that the art can speak volumes.

Ithfifi December 6, 2017 - 8:05 pm

Wow Melle’s artwork is so inspiring and remarkable to look at. The idea of the installation catcall is something that goes beyond art by the sound of it, it sounds like a really stark and honest look at the lives women face daily. I am glad sharing her talents with raising awareness for something so important.

Komal Patel December 6, 2017 - 8:39 pm

She is a true inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to read and sharing your thoughts. It is SO appreciated!

Sneha December 7, 2017 - 3:53 am

I really believe that people who think women are not as capable as men is not “living” in 2017. They can’t see the truth which we are more than capable in most cases. We can handle any work in our home and workspace with more dedication and will.

Joanna December 7, 2017 - 7:29 am

#metoo was a very eyes opening movement and it was shocking how many women came forward. It’s interesting how she thought of approaching this with art, my making the “cat call” installation.

Maria December 7, 2017 - 8:51 am

very powerful words said here! I think that it’s just unbelievable to think that we are living in 2017 and women’s rights are still an issue and not a normalized matter… Just makes me wonder why.
that installation was interesting as well !

Thena Franssen December 7, 2017 - 12:31 pm

I love art and how expressive it is. This art to me is really interesting with a unique perspective on it. I enjoyed reading this piece a lot!

Nati December 7, 2017 - 6:56 pm

I find so interesting that you did this interview to an European artis! It is a great initiative. I am a feminist as well! I did not understand everything of what she does, but I appreciate her efforts!

Ana Ojha December 7, 2017 - 10:04 pm

Wow! Melle sounds like a dynamic woman! I enjoyed reading her interview! She is truly inspirational!

Ellie Plummer December 7, 2017 - 10:54 pm

What a great honour to have such an influential person on your blog. Her artwork is truly beautiful!

Brittany DiCologero December 7, 2017 - 11:31 pm

What a great interview! Her artwork is truly beautiful. I’m so glad you were able to feature her so we could learn more!

Luci December 7, 2017 - 11:48 pm

These are very portraits of women. Finally they’re portraits of real women and not stick figure models.

Komal Patel December 8, 2017 - 1:27 pm

Right!!! She paints females in their true from, not what society says we should look like.

Heather December 7, 2017 - 11:56 pm

I studied art history in college and thought I’d work in a gallery. But now it’s been a few years & I’m feeling out of touch with the art world. It’s nice to get acquainted with another artist, especially one with such a strong message.

mjchristine December 8, 2017 - 12:17 am

Strong, independent and realistically competitive among men- feminist. Her arts were amazing especially how she portrayed the voice of each women in each object of her painting.

Joanna December 8, 2017 - 1:56 am

Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful interview! Her artwork is absolutely beautiful and speaks volumes to the beauty and empowerment of the female form. I truly hope the #MeToo movement continues to move forward and puts an end to sexism in our society.

Nicole F December 8, 2017 - 7:46 am

I love all of the art work! 2017 was definitely the year of the woman and feminist topics. But we have a long way to go!

Komal Patel December 8, 2017 - 1:26 pm

Couldn’t agree more!

Candy Rachelle December 8, 2017 - 8:33 am

Those artwork are so stunning and impressive. I really adore the feminism artistry. Glad you share this.

Preet December 8, 2017 - 10:17 pm

I love this post! i am a feminist myself and it is so difficult to understand why there are still so many people who think that women are any less than men. Melle sounds like such an amazing and strong woman, her art work is wonderful.

Oyinkan December 11, 2017 - 8:21 pm

To be a woman today means you have to be able to be strong independent and also good in the kitchen. I don’t believe in all societal norms but women are extraordinary beings

Komal Patel December 12, 2017 - 1:03 am

We are all of that and more. we all have an abundance of whatever the fuck we want, inside of us.

Christine Kong December 11, 2017 - 9:03 pm

Thank you for introducing us to the talented and inspiring Melle! Her work is not only empowering and beautiful but so creative as well. She sounds like an incredible woman and I applaud you for sharing her story and her talents across your followers. Women are making their mark in the world and it is so beautiful to see this happening. xoxo, Christine

Komal Patel December 12, 2017 - 1:02 am

We are! I wish more of us had the same confidence!

Aimara December 12, 2017 - 4:11 pm

What a beautiful and thoughtful post girl! You are such an inspiration!!
Thanks for sharing!

Tiffany Yong December 12, 2017 - 4:57 pm

It’s great to know another activist speaking out loud. If there’s any good Trump has done, it is uniting people from all around the world to speak out and stand up against him. Hope to see Melle’s messages get out there more!

Lisa Rios December 16, 2017 - 2:50 am

Yes. #metoo was an important moment that we all musn’t forget. We should speak out as women, against all injustice

lattes + longlines - Monday Link List: Seven Blogs to Read This Week December 26, 2017 - 2:11 am

[…] wrote this amazing piece of Feminism, Artistry, and Humanity that I just […]

Komal Patel December 26, 2017 - 4:23 pm

Thank you so much for the feature!


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