“Art which comes from seeing through the mind’s eye pours from Mezzanine’s paint brushes…
she achieves.. beauty and transcendence.” Chet Fisher, Era Gallery.
Mezza9: Painter of Cirque
Mezza9 (Pronounced like mezzanine) is an American visionary and figurative artist living in Berkeley, California. Her oil and mixed media paintings enchant with the movement of contemporary circus performers who float and dance across large wood supports with protruding and recessed panels, giving the eye a physical movement over the work. She paints the myths of today and documents the paradigm shifts and the archetypes of modernity with an impressionistic style. Her figurative works awaken discoveries with a dreamlike quality the comes from the light and also the s’fumato, softened edges between the figures and their landscapes. The realm of her work could be air or water or both as it is often ambiguous. She paints soulful characters charting the Wilderness of our minds in the blissful realm Mezza9 calls Nebulon.
After graduation from college, she pursued a career in publishing and marketing. She worked in advertising sales in the publishing industry for Poets & Writers, NYC, and Comics Values monthly, Ridgefield, CT, and later she published independent comic books, booked signing tours, worked for Deepak Chopra’s literary agent, Muriel Nellis, in Washington, D.C. She moved from Baltimore, MD to Tucson, AZ after a comic book signing tour with her then husband and worked for Tucson Newspapers for 6 years. During this time she wrote freelance articles on poets and entertainment and published many poems. Amano Paperie and Fine Art Gallery, began in Tucson, AZ in 2000 and was reopened in Durham, NC where it was responsible for Culture Crawl, a first Thursday art walk. Exhibition in F.A.M.E. (2002), a monthly art event, gave her deadlines and an audience of her peers who supported her newly charted artist’s lifestyle. By 2004, a decade following graduation, she was a full-time fine art painter. With a tight group of artist friends in Durham and Chapel Hill, she staged many pop up galleries. She and her husband at the time also hosted many ADF dance troupe afterparties at their gallery, Amano Paperie and Gallery.
In 2006 she moved to Wilmington, NC and her son was born later that year. 2007 her exhibition of paintings at an after party for Pilobolus at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC marked a turning point in her artistic career. She shifted her art focus to performers whom she knew, and she took hoop dance and aerial classes to learn the positions of the body and the embodiment of the craft. She attended Hoop Convergence as an artist and cultivated friendships in acrobats, fire and flow artists, magicians and jugglers. She fell in love with hooping, circus performers and yoga. She is now an avid hoop and stilt dancer and fire spinner, beginning aerialist and unicyclist. In 2016 she began Mezzanine Beecomb Circus Arts in Berkeley, California.
Mezza9 has presented her work at numerous events, festivals, galleries and museums including Duke University (Durham, NC), Cameron Art Museum (Wilmington, NC); WHQR NPR gallery for 3 months (Wilmington, NC); and The Art Center of Carrboro, NC, The Carrack Modern (Durham, NC), Hazmat Annex Gallery (Tucson, AZ), and Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) (Raleigh, NC). Her work is part of the permanent collection of Southeastern Artists at UNCW (Wilmington, NC).
She is popular at many music festivals for doing live portraits, exhibiting gallery quality work and being on hand to discuss art and conduct workshops around the themes of creating art. Known for painting in low light, she decided to go a step further and to teach experimental workshops on tactics for creating in a chaotic world and how to see with the mind’s eye by painting blindfolded. (Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival (Silk Hope, NC); Lake Eden Arts Festival (Black Mountain, NC); Grassroots (Ithaca, NY); and Floyd Fest (Floyd, VA).
In 2008 she showed at Duke University in a 3-women show. In 2009 the NC Arts Council awarded her an artist development grant, which propelled her presence at large music festivals including Grassroots Ithaca, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) and Floyd Fest in Floyd, VA. She built a reputation as “Queen of the Portrait Marathon” by sketching up to 20 sitters at one time. By 2014 her large paintings sold for up to $5,000 at these events.
NPR interviewed Mezza9 (then Kowalski) for her Top 10 groundbreaking art show, Amplified: Kowalski Paintings, Drawings, and Kinetics in 2011. It included a performance night during each of the three months and culminated in a parade of underground flow artists and stilt dancers in downtown Wilmington, NC.
In 2011 she traveled with the troupes Unifire Theater and Clan Destiny Circus and sketched them during rehearsals and performances. She also collaborated with photographer Claudio Rodriguez at several performances of The Button Wagon by Poki (Clowns Without Borders) and Ember and is still creating works, including a giant phenaktascope (spinning disk of sequential images and the persistence of vision principle to create an illusion of motion) of Poki and his contortion partner.
These series of multidimensional, and kinetic works are intended to
spread the Joy and Wonder of contemporary flow artistry
that the artist wants the world to see.
In 2012 she launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for Pollen Path, a public art sculpture of six 6’ tall beehive disco balls welded from aluminum and steel with rotating interior lights which spin dancers into new astral planes as an homage to Buckminster Fuller’s hexagon designs while awakening humanity to the plight of the bee. She later began welding classes.
In 2014 “Mezzmerizd: Dreaming Awake” at the Carrboro Arts Center in North Carolina brought the worlds of fire dancing, aerial performance, and theater together with a fine art show in a multi-faceted multiple night show and month long exhibit that displayed the wide-scope of this artist’s vision.
In 2015 she changed her name to Mezzanine Beecomb, and artistically uses Mezza9
In 2015 Mezza9 exhibited two large scale original paintings at Sacred Spaces Village in Burning Man, and in the week following vended her art successfully at Bhakti Fest in Joshua Tree, CA.
In Fall of 2015 through 2016 Mezza9 moved her studio to Xian Studios in Berkeley, and later Alameda Point Studios. She exhibited at Street Festivals in Santa Barbara and San Diego.
In 2016 she founded Mezzanine Beecomb Circus Arts which offers entertainers and flow artists: including stilt walkers, contortionist, aerialists, jugglers, and fire dancers. She is moving toward her ultimate goal of painting and welding art studios beside a performance studio and the ocean.… to have all of her inspirations and tools close at hand.
She spent July and October in North Carolina creating art exhibitions with performance components including aerialists.
Lantana’s: Southport, North Carolina
K2 Studio: Asheville, North Carolina
University of NC at Wilmington (UNCW) “Stargirl” in permanent collection of Southeastern artists
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Telepathy Practice, R.Blitzer Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA (solo or group/performance show tbd)
2017 Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 TBD, Telepathy Practice, East Bay launch location TBD
2015 Featured artist, Santa Cruz Open Studio Tours, Wrigley Building, Santa Cruz, CA
(In-depth article: http://localsantacruz.com/art/open-studios-featured-artist-mezza9-beecomb/)
2014 Mezzmerizd: Dreaming Awake, The Carrboro Arts Center, Carrboro, NC
2014 Mezzmerizd: Dreaming Awake, Flow arts and fine arts visionary art experiment with champagne
intermission and Mezza9 art exhibition. Theater performances by Christine Geiger, Circusoria! with projection lighting and aerial performance. Also Paige LaWall, Meka LaCreme, Stunning Wolf, music by Joe Galas (accordion) and Mel DeJesus (drums), The Carrboro Arts Center, Carrboro, NC
2014 Mezzmerizd: Dreaming Awake (launch & preview), Era Gallery, Wilmington, NC,
2014 Kiss with musical guest Crystal Bright & The Silver Hands, Chakras Spa, Greensboro, NC
2013 Cloud9 by Mezza9, Lantanas Gallery, Southport, NC
2013 Studio Nebulon Presents: Ecstasy in Air and Water, ACES Gallery at the Art Council, Wilmington, NC
2012 Notes for Joy, Artful Living Group, Carolina Beach, NC
2011 Amplify: Paintings, Drawings and Kinetics, WHQR NPR Gallery, Wilmington, NC
with special cirque performances during each of 3 art receptions, Wilmington, NC, Named in
Top 10 Art Events for the year by Encore Magazine
2010 Pie in the Sky, Portersneck Yoga, Portersneck, NC
2007 Nocturnal Matinee: 540 Gravity Free Minutes of Art and Culture with Wendy Kowalski, Era Art
Gallery, solo show & event with puppetry, 36 pcs., Wilmington, NC
2006 Cirque-a-Lishus, Wabi-Sabi Gallery, Independent Art Co, 20 pc., Wilmington, NC
2005 Insomniac Circus, Ringside, 10 paintings, 3rd floor bar, Durham, NC
2002 Mixed media and found objects, Amano Paperie and Gallery, Durham, NC
Selected Group Exhibitions
2012 The Wilderness, 26 pc installation, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC
2012 Home is in You, Carrack Modern, Featured artist, curated by Adrien Schleshinger, DurhamNC
2010 Presents, Parallelogram Gallery, 10 pcs, Wilmington, NC
2009 LabourLove Gallery, 2 artist show, Durham, NC
2008-9 We Three, Duke University, Louise Jones Brown Gallery, 3 women show, 7 paintings, Durham, NC
2005 Cirque Dreams & Illusions, Moore/Taylor Dance, tandem w/performance, So. Pines, NC
2007 (ADF) American Dance Festival with Pilobolus, 15 pcs. with Andria Linn, Durham, NC
2006 Jazz: Boogalooin, April & George Art Bar, 20 pcs. with Andria Linn, Raleigh, NC
2006 Dreams, ACME Art Studios, Wilmington, NC
2004-2006 In Our Time, Broadhurst Gallery, Pinehurst, NC
2004 Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC
2004 Yellow Jackets, Contemporary Art Museum (CAM), Raleigh, NC
2004 Orbit series, Red Hat Linux, Raleigh, NC
2002 Poetry Chapbooks: King Me, collaboration with Lora Alaniz’s digital prints which incorporated stanzas, Hazmat Annex Gallery Tucson, AZ
2002 Poetry chapbooks & mixed media, FAME: Fashion Art & Music Event, NV Nightclub, Chapel Hill, NC
2007 – now Proprietor of A Think Dot Production, a publisher of greeting cards, bookmarks and gift
wrap and licensee of artwork by Mezza9 and 5 other artists
2010 Designed and painted logo for the Port City International Puppet Festival
2007-2008 Illustrated “Susy the Sunbeam” in Coloring Stories for Conscious Children, written by
Joel Finsel and produced by Era Gallery. This is the world’s first coloring book for environmentally conscious adults and children. Also guided the book through hand-bound book making. Instructed other artists on how to create the book using Japanese bookmaking techniques. Limited edition of 120 cloth cover, hardbound books. Worked with a creative team of artists on the design and marketing.
BA 1993 English with a writing option / Minor in Art, Western Connecticut State University, 1989-1993
Certificate 1993 New York University Summer Book and Magazine Publishing Institute
Selected Press Articles
Featured Artist online press for Santa Cruz Open Studio tours:
Drink Me, Cover art, The Blotter Magazine, February 2015
Mezzanine Explores Gap in Dreams, Reality, June 2014 article in Daily Tarheel for Mezzmerizd: Dreaming Awake at The Carrboro Arts Center
Blissful World of Motion, May 2014 article in Encore for Mezzmerizd: Dreaming Awake at Era Gallery
Emotional Evocation, April 2012, article in Encore for Notes for Joy at Artful Living Group
Kowalski Brings Odd Universe to Vivid Life, September 2011, Star News online for Amplified: Kowalski Drawings, Paintings, and Kinetics
Art Show Built for Two, article by Encore by the Star News, March 2011 for Riding Tandem in Rummage Sale Wigs, a two women show with photographer Christy Thom
National Public Radio (NPR) Interview with Jemelia Erickson for award-winning solo exhibit, Amplify: Kowalski Drawings, Paintings and Kinetics July, 2011, WHQR
WHQR NPR Interview on You Tube: http://youtu.be/MUqJmRdNxbw
Focus on the Coast, featured with Turtle Cloud paintings June 2010
Cover artist, Skymaids Blowing; Encore, July 15-21, 2009, Imaginative Reality for two women show, The Earth Below Us at Caffee Phoenix with collage artist Nikki Wisniowski
Cover artist, Hush, Ballerina, and Stella. The Blotter Magazine, Aug 2005, Feb 2008, Jul 2009
Creativity Grant by Transformus for Pollen Path, 2011
Professional Development by North Carolina for the Arts, 2011
Poetry honorable mention in The Independent, Durham, NC for “Of How the Men Saw Us,” April 2002
Second Place, painting category, Autumn with Topsail, Oct 2007 for Hush
Writer in Residence; Weymouth, Southern Pines, NC Nov 2004, Oct 2004, Apr 2005
Artist Development Grant, Arizona Commission on the Arts, 1996 and 1997
Mezza9 or Skymaids, Publication date TBA. Mezza9 Coloring Book also Illustrations for the short “Suzy The Sunbeam” in Coloring Stories for Conscious Children written by Joel Finsel, 2008; Mezza9 lead the team to hand bound this hardcover edition. Poetry chapbook: King Me, July 2002
In 2011 she made a connection with Unifire Theater and Clan Destiny Circus through her art. She traveled with the troupes and sketched them during rehearsals and performances. She collaborated with a photographer at several performances of The Button Wagon by Poki (Clowns Without Borders) and Ember and is still creating works, including a giant phenaktascope (spinning disk of sequential images and the persistence of vision principle to create an illusion of motion) of Poki and his contortion partner. This series of multidimensional, and kinetic work is intended to spread the joy and wonder of contemporary flow artistry that the artist wants the world to see.
In 2012 she launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for Pollen Path, a public art sculpture of 6 six foot high beehive disco balls welded from aluminum and steel with rotating interior lights which spin dancers into new astral planes as an homage to Buckminster Fuller’s hexagon designs while awakening humanity to the plight of the bee.
In 2014 “Mezzmerizd: Dreaming Awake” at the Carrboro Arts Center in North Carolina brought the worlds of fire spinning, aerial performance, and theater together with a fine art show that displayed the wide-scope of this artist’svision.