VOAF 2022 Exhibiting Artist: Melanie Stuparyk

VOAF 2022 Artist: Melanie Stuparyk

Melanie Stuparyk (she/her) is a photographer who struggles with Bipolar Affective Disorder meaning sharing two poles (high and low) and Affective Disorder means a disorder having to do with mood. She lives in the DTES and struggling with such a disorder can make it a bit difficult to produce her art. She is showcasing her prints at the 6th Annual Vancouver Outsider Arts Festival at the Roundhouse from October 14-16, 2022. 

When Melanie was a child she was handed her first Kodak Instamatic camera. She has always been artistic, working with pottery, music, digital, multimedia art, as well as photography. She thoroughly enjoys capturing nature to create a meditative state of mind to share with those viewing her photographs. Her art has been shown at Gallery Gachet, the Culture Crawl, Emerge Festival.and connections Salon ‘Mad Universe’ show.

Click here for more information about the artist.

How do you think your artwork connects to “outsider arts”?

I have been struggling to grow my audience for over four years now, and I am hopeful that by participating in the Outsider Arts Festival for a second year I will gain some much-needed exposure. The first year I participated was solely online due to COVID restrictions, so I am happy to show many of my pieces in-person this year!

What type of barriers do you face to creating artwork?

The type of barriers I face in creating my artwork is mainly due to budgetary costs, as it can be quite costly to print my photos.

How can CACV help reduce these barriers and support advancement in your creative practice?

CACV has been a great help by opening doors for me regarding social contact and exposure. They’ve also helped by providing a small stipend, which has helped me immensely with artistic expenses.

Give a brief description of your creative process.

Most of my photographs are taken at Strathcona, Cottonwood Community Gardens and other local community gardens throughout Vancouver. I enjoy the walk and the fresh air as I discover even the tiniest wildflower. At my last show at The Cheeky Proletariat I focussed on the bees I had encountered during my walk.

Melanie standing outside of the Cheeky Proletariat at her art show.

As bees are becoming an endangered species, I felt driven to showcase them alongside my flowers. In fact if you follow the above link you should be able to see some of these photographs from that show!  My favourite is the one where you can see the bees shadow on the flower as he was entering the stamen.  I find bees so interesting as I can peer through the lens and sometimes I have to wait for the bee to come into the flower or I track them, both of which can make getting a good shot quite tricky.  I do hope that you enjoy my bee pictures and unfortunately I’ve had to stick my company name on each photo because when it comes to digital copies, you never know who might try to screen capture and steal my hard work.  Feel free to contact me at if you would like to order any piece from that show, or if you’d like me to email you a full listing of my photos from that show.

What do you get up to when you’re not creating artwork?

I enjoy living in the DTES and utilizing its resources, such as Carnegie. I also have a best friend that I enjoy visiting.  It’s really nice to have a friend to chat with, as I do have my states of mind wherein I like to recluse myself a bit. But two other things that I get much pleasure from in the DTES is of course visiting Cottonwood and Strathcona as well as going to the beach!  I do love walking down Main Street and there at the bottom of the street is Crab Park!  What I do love about the DTES is how diverse it is and that where I live is chaotic and yet for a very short 10 min walk I can be in such a beautiful setting as the beach!

What are your goals in participating in the festival? Do you have any plans for after the festival or ways you hope the festival will help your practice?

My next goal is to move half of my show to the Powell Street Clinic and the other half to Carnegie if space is available and or to be in another show.  I’m really hoping that the festival will help me by selling some of my photos or at least if I can sit and chat with people about my art and hopefully they will take an interest and help me to grow my understanding of what photos are more interesting to the onlooker.  This way I might even start broadening my photography to include more shots like the graffiti chief as I feel that graffiti can be an art form…depending on the style of graffiti.  Like for example I don’t really like to photograph just a tag.  I thoroughly enjoy a graffiti artist, Smokey Devil, as he almost always has done pictures with his graffiti to send important messages.  This is the type of graffiti that I most enjoy, as I am becoming increasingly aware that the taggers are now causing havoc in “the block” area of the DTES which is where I’m situated.  In fact I pretty much refuse to photograph just a gang tag as I do understand that it’s spreading like an epidemic on some of the local businesses and that the cost to remove such tags has recently gone up 400% which has put a great burden on the local stores and vendors in the DTES.  So really who knows what my next photo display will be. I do hope that I get a decent number of people viewing my art in order to help point me in the direction for my next show.

What do you hope people take away from viewing your artwork at the festival? Do you want them to feel a specific emotion or come away with new ideas?

I hope the person who views my artwork relaxes, visualizes being in the present moment and that mindfulness will bring them into the moment when the picture was taken. I hope the emotion they will take away from viewing my art will be a relaxed mind with a sense of beauty in nature, or they might wonder where was this photo taken, like the one titled Every Child Matters.

Thank you for this opportunity to chat about my art, please do have a quick peek at my first year exhibit at VOAF which was only done online due to COVID.