“I’m just always making things and creating things that kinda drive me,” says Miranda Melbourne, who is currently pursuing a degree in Fine Art at Leeds Arts University.
For Miranda Melbourne, art is an outlet for openly expressing their emotions, and shocking other people with their ideas, for example, by casting metal nipples, and playfully exploring their capabilities. “I get to speak my mind about things in weird ways, sometimes I can’t find words for what I want to say.” The young creative likes to challenge gender stereotypes by making rebellious artworks, such as an embroidered hand with a raised middle finger with elements of blood because embroidery is considered to be quite feminine. Another gender-questioning piece that Melbourne made was a painting of a naked figure resembling a female’s body which was inspired by their personal experience of being non-binary. “You don’t have to have a penis to make sure of things, you can be fundamentally non-binary, and you can be really manly but still be non-binary,” says Miranda Melbourne.
The young artist is fascinated by unique art pieces that encourage thinking out of the box or raise awareness. “I just like anything that makes me think, catches my eye or is just different or interesting,” says Miranda. Melbourne also has an interest in social issues such as racism and had been educating themselves about colonialism. They enjoy art pieces that accredit the people who had been suppressed or ignored historically. Miranda referenced an artwork, “Enough about You”, created by Titus Kaphar, that highlighted a forgotten, enslaved little black boy in a golden frame from the entire painting as an inspiring piece for them. Recently, the young artist discovered the links of colonialism and slavery in the UK with the places that belong to the National Trust. “There’s no information about where they (National Trust) get the money from, or how still profiting out of it today, because people don’t know about it, and they (National Trust) don’t do anything to educate people,” they tell me. “So I tried to make some pieces that we’re raising awareness to that.”
Miranda Melbourne recalls that they had always been creative and sharpened their skills through the short art courses offered by the Leeds Arts University. They remember to be completing short life drawing and painting courses. Later Miranda had been doing an access higher education course of character design and animation, but the passion for art pushed them to the Fine Arts direction. Young creative is drawn to various art mediums such as painting, digital things like videos or even video games to express themselves and aims to be inclusive. “I like to play with everything because I like to play with stuff for a while, and then I will get bored a bit, so once I’ve done a concept, it’s kinda done,” they tell me. “Also, with things I do, I try to make them accessible to people, so people can join in and play with it themselves, or it brings questions to them. I wanna hear their opinions. I’ll just use whatever medium I feel best suits at a time.” One of the most significant of Melbourne’s creative achievements is winning a competition for drawing a daybook. “I did drawing every day, for like eight months, just like random stuff, so that was really fun, cause I could just make anything, it was feeling like a doodle, I’ll just draw that, or next day I might make a pair of curtains open up if you pull on the drawstrings.”
Personally, Miranda feels satisfied with their current state of life. “I’m just proud of myself to be where I am”, they tell me. “To be able to talk about stuff with people, like I used to be way more socially awkward, just couldn’t talk to people about my fears and things, but now I like being able to encourage people, and I think it’s like a pretty cool accomplishment, to be so far from where I used to be, and where I am now.” One of the biggest personal challenges for Melbourne is a lack of support from their parents because their mother still misgenders them despite that they came out as non-binary five years ago, and their father does not want to understand the non-binary experience. “It’s just like, he won’t listen to me no matter what I tell him. That’s probably one of the hardest things.”
The young artist had been challenging gender norms since their early days. “When I was younger, me and my sibling would mess around and cross-dress a lot, which I don’t know if that means anything, but that was fun,” Miranda tells me. “I f**king hated being called my old gender all the time, it was just like: “that’s not right, that just feels uncomfortable”, whereas “they” suits me way better. I don’t really care about my name because it’s just a name. I don’t.” Melbourne identifies as A-gender, which means no gender, but they call themselves non-binary because it is easier to understand for other people. Miranda hesitated to come out for some time, as they were afraid of the reactions of others. “I didn’t tell people quite a while cause it was just difficult. I just didn’t think they’ll understand.” After they came out, Melbourne wants to engage more with feminine things, such as makeup, and do not fear being misunderstood. “People will misjudge me, which sucks a bit, but I will be enjoying myself more and just be more acceptant of myself.”
In terms of society’s acceptance of people who identify as other genders, Miranda points out that there is still a long way to go, as many people refuse to accept those who think and live differently than them, but there is hope for a better future. “At the moment, it’s really s*it, they (ignorant people) act like non-binary people are just confused, or they’re just tricking them or they just playing around,” they tell me. “I hope in the next years it will get better, but with the amount of awareness, this is like still the beginning of the s*it going down.”
“I f**king hated being called my old gender all the time, it was just like: “that’s not right, that just feels uncomfortable”, whereas “they” suits me way better. I don’t really care about my name because it’s just a name. I don’t.”Miranda Melbourne
Miranda Melbourne is a rebel-hearted person who protests against societal norms through their quirky artistic creations that encourage people to see a bigger perspective and break gender stereotypes through their unique lifestyle. This young artist explores various mediums of art, constantly seeks knowledge and has many promising ideas to offer to the creative world that can transform the arts industry.
Follow Miranda Melbourne’s journey here: