Name: Melissa Jo Gordon

Industry: Art

Location: San Diego, California

KAT: How many years have you been working in this industry?

MEL: 32 years.

KAT: How many people are currently on your team?

MEL: I currently work independently and with a collective called Nettleworks, which consists of my sister in law Hannah Ryan who is a director, and my cousin Marylin Haidri, who is a writer.

KAT: When you feeling like giving up what keeps you going?


  1. Trying to stay in a routine. I try and hit the studio every night after I put my kids to sleep (sometimes I am too tired!).
  2. Having goals.  I grew up a competitive swimmer, and I learned how to set goals and stick to them.  Art isn’t always about harnessing your “Id,” it’s about just showing up.
KAT: What is 1 thing people didn’t warn you about?

MEL: I was taught a lot about my craft and how to hone my skill, however, I wish I had taken some business or grant-writing classes. 

KAT: Who or what inspires you?

MEL: Other women who work tirelessly, inside and outside the art world. 

KAT: What has been one hard knock moment?

MEL: Anytime I put extreme effort and time into something and have it rejected.  (Luckily I have a thick-skin and am extremely stubborn about what I want to do.)

KAT: How do you stay organized as a freelance and/or self-employed artists?

MEL: I am not the best at being organized, but keeping a routine helps. 

KAT: How would you define success?

MEL: I try and think about success in terms of completing my own personal artistic goals, while also not losing sight of the things that are most important to me, such as my family, my mental health, and my spiritual practice.