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Illustration Major Melissa Kamba Shares Artistic Journey

Kamba will speak at the Department of Art and Department of Design Convocation at 12 p.m. on April 26

Growing up, Melissa Kamba was always creating things, from tree forts and cardboard-box creations to paintings and drawings. From a young age she knew she wanted to be an artist. “I grew up and I didn’t even think about it,” said Kamba. “Art is what I do all the time.” Despite a lifetime of creating art, Kamba never had any formal training. She came to BYU, applied for the illustration BFA program and received notification that she wasn’t accepted into the program. For the first time in her life, Kamba questioned if art was the right path. “I had to figure out if this is what I really wanted to do when I didn’t get in,” said Kamba. “It made me work that much harder.” Since being accepted into the program, she’s felt nothing but support from her faculty and peers. “The BFA studio is a community,” said Kamba. “All of your friends work in there and they give you critiques and help you with your work. It’s kind of like a little home.” She also says she’s grown as an artist due to the encouragement of her professors. “They really push to make sure you have everything you need to progress,” said Kamba. “We have a small number of teachers, so they’re always working with you and they’re concerned for you.'

She also credits her success to her mom, who never discouraged her from pursuing art. Kamba said her mom bought her every type of art supply imaginable when she was a child. “A lot of parents say ‘why are you going to be an artist? They don’t make anything.’ I’m glad my mom supported what I wanted to do,” said Kamba. Despite the support from her parents, professors and peers, Kamba has still had one major struggle during her time in the program: overcoming the feeling of not being good enough. “It’s hard at first, figuring out you are good enough, and it’s this constant battle because you’re always competing with everyone who is really good,” said Kamba. She said winning that battle has required a lot of self love and trying to create positive thought patterns. After graduation, Kamba will intern with Susan Lyon and Scott Burdick. “I think they’ll help me get on the right path and be a better artist,” said Kamba. Kamba hasn’t put her future career dreams into a box; instead, she’s keeping things open. Her career goals include designing book covers, traveling and painting, illustrating children’s books and creating murals.

Q&A with Melissa Kamba, BFA ‘19 Design | Illustration | Portfolio

What is your favorite snack in between classes? 'Black licorice and mangos.' Where do you spend most of your time on campus? 'In the arts studio. They give you a space when you get into the program and that's where you can put all your supplies. And there’s a fridge, so it’s pretty homey in there.' What are your hobbies? 'I play the piano.' Where are you from? 'Alberta, Canada.'