Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District
Meet Teo Melchishua from Visual Jazz, an enterprise in the Art Lives Here incubator at the Mount Rainier Artist Lofts. This talented filmmaker, producer, transmedia artist reveals his creative inspiration, currents projects, and what keeps him learning.
Biography and Beyond. Tell us about your personal and professional background…
I began as a visual artist, focusing in painting, digital and mixed media. However, I love motion, movement, rhythm and the common language across mediums, genres and disciplines. For the past 20 years I have been working as an independent filmmaker, animator, video projection designer and illustrator. I also have a background in education, mentoring and creative consulting.
I developed my skills by interacting with people and especially with other filmmakers, artists, musicians and DJs. Furthermore, as a professor, I also learn from my students, colleagues, mentors. I always seek to develop myself through training, master classes, research and attending film festivals and exhibitions. Ultimately, I develop creatively through trial and learning and by doing and from everyday people and life experiences. The learning and exploring never ends and I keep energized by creating, experimenting and staying “in the lab.” Like the the super dope MC and producer Large Professor once dropped on a classic, “I’m the Mad Scientist.”
Business Basics. What is Visual Jazz?
Visual Jazz produces innovative projects and solutions in independent film production, transmedia including animation, motion graphics, illustration and design. We focus specifically in film/video projection and content design, music videos, projection mapping, visual branding and soundscapes for corporate, theatrical, performing arts venues and more.
Creative Fuel. What’s exciting about your work?
I love to collaborate with other creatives and organizations and especially DJs, dancers, musicians, visual artists/designers and other filmmakers. Music is the driving force, hence the title of the company. I am inspired by the music of jazz, hip-hop, reggae, soul, classical, rock, electronica, samba and so much more.
A great inspiration for me is the artist Romare Bearden, who actually coined the phrase “visual jazz” and who I named this studio after in honor and tribute. I am also inspired by the works of Akira Kurosawa, Haile Gerima, James Cameron, Julie Taymor, A Tribe Called Quest, John Coltrane, Afrika Bambattaa and Flying Lotus.
Cultural Connections. How do you connect to the Gateway Arts District?
I would like to explore architectural spaces in the Gateway Arts District and beyond, in efforts of providing new spaces and surfaces for sharing my work and the work of others in the community. I seek to produce and create unique content and “moving” experiences. The movement I seek to produce, for me, is on many different levels: creatively, socially, culturally, economically and even spiritually.
I am eager to provide solutions and services to anyone interested in removing the boundaries between the filmmaker, artist, company, services and between the viewer or client. I seek to work with those who are interested in more green and sustainable methods of advertising, branding, marketing, storytelling a creative expression.
I am open to connecting with anyone who is interested and especially those who are “spacey” as I am. I really enjoy meeting creative people who are creating unique work that pushes the elements and genres of film, media and storytelling.
Are you a a creative enterprise in the Gateway Arts District? We want to get to know you! Click here to do our enterprise interview!