Main Street Calumet is proud of Calumet's "artsy" reputation. #MixedMediaMonday is our way of sharing the tremendous human capital that our area has in the form of artists with everyone else. Almost every week you will see a different artist featured here!
What's your name?
Melissa Beth Johnson
What's your Calumet connection?
Hancock-born and Wisconsin-raised, I came back to the U.P every summer. Enamored with the remnants of the copper boom, I knew the Copper Country was home. After moving back to the area in 2016, I made it my personal quest to explore the Keweenaw Peninsula whenever possible, while capturing my adventures to share with others.
How can people see/ buy your work? Please provide a social media handle, website, or other location where people can follow you/find your work?
Currently, my photos can be seen on instagram: _yoopy_ . I currently have about 300 matted prints of all sizes, as well as canvas, metal and glass prints in larger sizes just waiting to be sold. I currently do sales through my instagram, however, I also have an Etsy page in the works which should be up and running in a couple of weeks. My Etsy store is named "yoopnative".
How long have you been creative? Did you have any formal training?
I started taking pictures of old cemeteries that I found interesting in my early 20's. After buying my first Cannon camera in 2002, I decided traditional cameras weren't for me. I felt the bulky camera and multiple settings took the joy out of the process. For me, a cell phone camera was more convenient and easier to use. Armed with only a cell phone camera and a fond appreciation for the Keweenaw's rich mining history and vast beauty, I try to capture the U.P from a fresh, modern perspective while adventuring with friends and family. All of my photos are taken and edited with a cell phone alone.
What type of art do you make and what's your preferred medium?
Photography is my main passion. However, I do a lot of art with driftwood, Lake Superior rocks, animal bones and enjoy painting with both oils and acrylics.
What have you been working on lately? What's been inspiring you?
With Covid-19 keeping everyone indoors, I haven't been adventuring as much as I wish I could. I have decided to use the time indoors to edit matching sets of pictures of various local mine shafts and mining history.
Tell us whose work you've been admiring lately!
I have a few local favorite photographers. Eric Munch, Jeff Foss, and Jeremy Rowe. Recently, I've noticed two young women, Makayla Coppo and Cadance Johnson, doing amazing things with photography. I have a love of U.P photography and all of these photographers capture our area in unique ways.
Please provide an image or video of your work and tell us about it.
Per the Elk's Lodge photo: Being invited to the Elk's Mistletoe ball in 2019, I was given a tour of the building. I was in awe of preservation of the past. Glass cases filled with history, amazing wood work and overwhelming acceptance. When the bowling alley was mentioned, I had to see it. I only had a few minutes to take a few photos. It was unlike anything I had seen. My mind instantly went to the past. How much joy was had by members about a century ago. I could picture the lodge being a place where locals could forget about all of the turmoil, conflict, and despair that was outside of those doors in the early 1900's.