© Melissa Leandro

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Melissa Leandro

Chicago, Illinois

Artist Statement

Melissa Leandro (b. 1989, Miami, FL) explores her cultural identity and family memories to create vibrantly layered, topographical textile works filled with her drawn and collected imagery. Her textile works are vibrant, animated and heavily layered through traditional and non-traditional processes of stitching, quilting, weaving and batik dyeing. By mirroring often personal moments of daily life, she manifests thoughts of family history, remembered childhood fantasies and nostalgic cultural ephemera. These works are specific to Leandro’s hybrid culture as a first-generation US Latinx artist moving between Costa Rica, Miami, Chicago and abroad.

© Melissa Leandro

Melissa Leandro's Portfolio

© Melissa Leandro

Artist Biography

Melissa Leandro (b. 1989, Miami, FL) is an artist who works between the media of drawing, painting, and textiles, currently based in Chicago, IL. Leandro was awarded the Artadia Grant (2021), the Craft Fellowship Grant, from the Illinois Arts Council (2020), the Wingate Artist Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center Residency (2019). The Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship (2017) and the EAGER Grant for research and collaboration (2016, Shapiro Center), both for her studio work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She was awarded the Luminarts Fellowship (2017) from the Luminarts Cultural Foundation, Union League of Chicago. Leandro was a BOLT resident at the Chicago Artist Coalition for 2017-18, and was named one of Chicago's Break Out Artists of the year for 2018. Her studio work is featured in LUXE, Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine as part of their Chicago Style Maker edition (June 2018). Leandro has attended the Master Residency at The Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna beach, Florida; the Ragdale Residency at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, IL, the Jacquard Center Workshop, Research, design, & production in Hendersonville, North Carolina, the ACRE Residency in Wisconsin, the Roger Brown House Residency in Michigan, the Weaving Mill, Chicago and TextielLab, in The Netherlands. She has had recent solo exhibitions at The University Club of Chicago (Chicago, IL), Union League Club of Chicago (Chicago, IL), Rockford University (Rockford, IL) and the Wright Museum of Art (Beloit, WI), Andrew Rafacz Gallery (2020), Frieze Art Fair NYC (2020+2021). Recent group exhibitions include DePaul Art Museum (Chicago, IL) and The Arts Club of Chicago (Chicago, IL). Leandro’s work can be found in public and private collections including the Federal Reserve of Chicago, BlueShield & BlueCross, Progressive Insurance, The Estée Lauder Companies, New York, Brown Legacy Group, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Leandro is represented by Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago. She holds a BFA and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and is currently teaching at the Art Institute as a Lecturer.



© Melissa Leandro

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