CHB Interviews: Melanie Flood

Clinton Hill resident and photographer Melanie Flood (of Melanie Flood Projects) curates art shows out of her Washington Avenue home.  We ask her more. Photo Credit Carolyn Louth

1. How long have you lived in Clinton Hill?  What brought you here? I moved to Clinton Hill from the East Village in 2004 to move in with my then boyfriend, now husband, Matt. I'm from Queens, so moving to Brooklyn was a big deal to me. (Sad to admit, Brooklyn is better!) 2. What's your professional background?  How did you begin curating art shows in your home? I’ve been taking photographs since 1989, when I received a camera as a Christmas gift.  It’s the only thing I’ve really ever been interested in.  I studied at the School of Visual Arts and received my BFA in Photography. Once I graduated I worked at Zingmagazine, a quarterly art magazine, I became Managing Editor and began curating projects of artists I admired- like Jenny Holzer and Todd Hido. After I left Zing, I worked as the Photo Editor of the New York Observer.  After a three years at the Observer, I decided it was time to focus on my own creative endeavors. While trying to get my photographs shown, I realized how the entire emerging photography community had at some point become an online only situation. It is very difficult to get a gallery show as an emerging artist, unless you want to show in a crowded group show, which requires a participation fee! I felt that it was time to shake things up a bit, and that’s when I decided to open up my home as an alternative venue to show emerging artists. I love the intimate setting of being in a home; people are more relaxed, it's more of a dinner party atmosphere.

3. What makes the Clinton Hill art scene unique? What makes it unique is that there isn’t a ‘scene’. You don’t think of Clinton Hill like you would Williamsburg.  What I love about this, is what I love about living in Brooklyn- you have space to think, to work, and to exist, without being in the midst of a hipster-influenced neighborhood. You can create without all these outside influences bombarding you. There are so many wonderfully creative people living right next to each other that I didn’t even know about until I started Melanie Flood Projects- Photographers Christian Patterson, Carey Kirkella, Peter Riesett, artists Sari Carel, Adam Stennett.

4. What's your favorite thing about the neighborhood? First and foremost, the diversity. I love that there are people of all ages, races, and religions living on top of one another. I guess New York is like that in general, but our neighborhood really still reminds me of the New York I grew up in. We’re not really labeled as one particular type of place. We’re not Greenpoint, we’re not Park Slope, we’re not the East Village. We do our own thing.

5.  Favorite restaurant: The General Greene

6. What do you think the neighborhood is lacking? I used to think stinky cheeses & baguettes. But, now with Fresh Fanatic open, I don't think it lacks anything. Had you asked me four years ago, I would've had a list!

7. Do you have a favorite neighborhood story or experience? Election night! Myrtle Avenue turned into a late night block party. It was great to see so many smiling, excited faces, organized chaos, passengers hanging out of their car windows, high five-ing police officers, banging on pans, drinking champagne on my corner. I will never forget it.

8. What's one change you'd like to see in the neighborhood? I would love if police enforced no commercial traffic on Washington Avenue. It’s a real loud, smelly drag!

9. Subway lines: G or C? Neither; I walk to Dekalb and Flatbush and take the B/Q. 10. If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why? Cardamon Rose. Sassy & Sweet. Just like me.

Read more about Ms. Flood's gallery on The Local.