By Raymundo Muñoz
Artistic soul mates Aria (a.k.a. She Paints with Blood) and Melanie Steinway recently filled the walls of Happy Leaf Kombucha with “Sad Creatures.” Depicting scenes of nature and animals with a fantastical twist, the pair’s collected works seem made for each other. Graceful of line and striking in composition, the artists’ similarities are easily evident, but differences in style and medium reveal their individual strengths. Aria’s watercolor works are deep and sensitive, almost magical in their look and feel. Consider her wild characters, all splindly-legged with curving bodies like swirling smoke, so delicately composed amongst cloudy columns of color. In a word: smoldering. In contrast, Melanie’s work in wood burning flickers with sharp line work and a palpable sense of drama. In “I Am Surrender,” for instance, an epic landscape of attacking wolves approaches a lone deer like a spray of shattering glass to flesh, while clever use of wood grain provides the hellish sunset scenery. Individually, the works of Melanie Steinway and Aria are beautiful and arresting in their own unique ways. Together, though, they’re a force of nature. Aria (a.k.a. She Paints with Blood) and Melanie Steinway’s “Sad Creatures” on display at Happy Leaf Kombucha this month.