Melissa Critchley is an artist living in Saint Paul, Minnesota; a proud resident of the West Side neighborhood. She grew up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and with living a similar amount of time in both states, she calls them both home. In addition to being a citizen of the US, she is also a citizen of Luxembourg. Melissa lives with several disabilities, including MacTel, which impacts her vision. Pinching in her vision makes it impossible for Melissa to see a straight line. She also experiences double vision, blind spots, and disappearing letters and numbers when reading due to the MacTel. Approximately 50 percent of people diagnosed with MacTel will loose central vision within about 10 years of diagnosis.
Despite her visual disability, Melissa has made art a priority in her life. She has served on several art committees at the University of Minnesota, including helping to found Changing Landscapes (now called Art for All), and the MIDB Building Art Committee, which was responsible for curating a large body of artwork displayed throughout the building. She also served on the St. Paul Art Collective's Board of Directors from 2022-2023.
Melissa holds bachelors' degrees from the University of Minnesota in Art and Art History, and an interdisciplinary master's degree. She also graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Gateway Community College with an AAB in Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing.
Melissa's studio, Radical Reality, is located in the F-O-K Studios building on Harriet Island in the West Side neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota, near the Mississippi River. At F-O-K Studios, she also serves as the event planner there to create engaging art events for the community.
Her main body of work is abstract or abstract representationalism and completed using acrylics. She explores themes such as shamanism, spirituality, technology, social justice, race, struggles, and duality. She also loves to make craft items and jewelry when relaxing and enjoys writing. You can follow Melissa and her studio, Radical Reality, on social media.