Melanie J Hodge
Melanie Hodge, photo credit Graham Franks
Photo by Graham Franks for The Big Heart Charity Auction, 2016

I was born in the United States and grew up near Santa Cruz, California, with the west wind and the whisper of the far horizon in my ear. I graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, in 1996 with a Batchelors degree in English Literature. I also studied Russian language and spent a semester in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula.

After university I worked in a local theatre and as an independent bookseller before leaving the US in 1999 to travel Europe. From London to Ukraine and Gibraltar to Finland, I traveled by rail, bus and plane with a notebook and sketchpad always to hand. On this journey, while painting at a hostel table in the far flung north of Norway, I met an English diplomat whom I married a year later. Since then we have lived in London, Brussels, Amman, and Zagreb. We returned to the UK in 2012 with our two children and now live in Burgess Hill, West Sussex.

I was first introduced to reverse oil on glass painting by a Croatian Naïve artist while I was living in Zagreb in 2010. As the artist didn't speak any English, I learned to paint in oils and backwards, while taking Croatian lessons on the side. In 2011 I was invited to exhibit with the Croatian Association of Naive Artists at the Mirko Virius Gallery in Zagreb, and in 2016 I was accepted into the Association of British Naïve Artists (ABNA). In 2018 I joined Outside In as one of their artists. 

Today I balance my creative practice with parenting two children, running glass painting and Creative Carer workshops, chairing the Burgess Hill Artists group and introducing the work of British and Croatian Naïve artists to new audiences.