Melanie approaches her artwork methodically:  Research, design, execute. This methodology was already apparent during her studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, where she developed a pop-art style of digital portraiture.  After graduating, Melanie began searching for a tactile alternative to the vivid but flat prints.  She taught herself how to cut portraits out of construction paper, and has been cutting ever since.

Melanie relishes the smooth, controlled, and 3D line that a knife creates.  Each composition is like a puzzle requiring careful arrangement of positive and negative space.  In 2008, Melanie began displaying her papercuts as lightboxes, which remain her signature.  Inspired by history, anthropology, technology, and cultural flux, her pieces tell stories while reveling in craft and design.

Melanie’s work has appeared in over a hundred exhibits throughout the country, and has been featured in solo shows at venues such as Fred Schnider Gallery (Arlington, VA), McLean Project for the Arts (McLean, VA), Hillyer Art Space (Washington DC), and Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Ana, CA).  She is a juried member of the Torpedo Factory Artist Association, often exhibiting at their satellite gallery, TFA@Mosaic.

Melanie holds an MFA from University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She teaches drawing for adults at Arlington Arts Center and a range of media for youth at US Arts Center-Chantilly.  She is a founding board member of the Arlington Visual Art Studio Tour and serves on the board of the Guild of American Papercutters.  Her studio is in Arlington, VA, where she lives with her husband (and sometimes his parents). 

Melanie Kehoss Headshot
photo courtesy of Marlon Crutchfield Photography