Melian Junius is a twenty-year-old creative based in greater Los Angeles who works under the name MelianJ.
MelianJ’s mission statement: To be the source, and enlighten. To inspire and motivate individuals to create themselves, their reality, and the human experience through awareness. Influencing ownership of individuality by reinventing a community through love, support, and acceptance.
Here is her perspective on her most recent apparel collection, as shot by Jasper Soloff, as well as her thoughts on creativity, inspiration, and the economics of "clout".
Everyday, [I AM]... Living and creating from this presence.
Inspiration and motivation are accounted for differently in my creative process.
My life experiences motivated me to actually take the leap into creating art full time and more seriously. However, the essence of life, and the purpose in my life particularly, inspires all that I create.
Since a young age I found interest predominantly in fashion, art, and metaphysics, although I was very eclectic and had a broad spectrum of fascinations. My childhood was very strange, growing up in between so many different worlds and often neglected the opportunity to express myself while having so much to say from a young age. This created a fire in me, a passion to express my perspective because I had always felt forced into seeing the perspectives of others.
Today, [I AM]... Blessed to freely express, having a platform and so many outlets to share my views of life, because to me life IS art.
This is a part of why I value art magazines and platforms that give an opportunity for young artists to gain control of their own narrative; we all have a story to tell and each one is individually unique. I appreciate having a safe space [TO BE] and share by connecting with a community of like minded individuals. Having a platform like that is extremely important because it provides a more genuine way to gain the support and exposure that helps sustain artists like myself. My vision is much larger than me, and I aspire to expand all around the world starting in New York, UK, Europe, and Japan.
Staying true to my values and dignity, I’ve noticed how hard it can actually be to gain genuine support. From my experiences it seems like “clout” is the way out; artists have begun throwing around “exposure” as support, sometimes failing to realize that no real person can take a check with “exposure” written on it to pay their bills. This is where I have noticed corruption in the industry, because it keeps artists at a plateau where following is used against them as validation of worth or talent. While still building an audience, they are often unable to obtain the funding that keeps them creating, or even living. The industry has made a facade built on the foundation in the creative community. Fewer artists are staying true to their values, allowing their worth to be taken advantage of—maybe even unknowingly—because of the brainwashed perspectives of support and “making it".
I was once told, “Know your worth, because if you don’t no one else will.” ByMelianJ is much more than clothes, it is a lifestyle, so this quote forever stuck with me.
My mission statement is extremely important to me, and it is my approach with everything I do. I love working with like-minded artists who are helping pave a way for a more genuine type of support in the community, one that is not built around following and societal ideals.
This is one of the reasons I enjoyed working with the team for this shoot, everyone was able to meet on the same page and create effortlessly. Jasper and I collaborated with a mutual support in mind from the initiation. Persevering through adversity, I arranged for transportation, found a backdrop stand, put together looks as we went, and invited a few friends and family for the impromptu production team. Iyana and I worked closely together. The shoot was a reflection of our state of being, expressing singularity in sisterhood. We were all present in that moment, and the work of art is an expression of this energy. I am eternally grateful to have been aligned with Iyana, Tavia, Raekhalil, Jasper, and Brooke for this production.
In the making of DRØME we hope to showcase a community of doers and nourish an attitude of empathy in a world that teaches us to pass judgment rather than practice kindness. The stories, images, and people shared in this magazine are an amalgamation of perspectives often overlooked or explicitly excluded from art and media worlds. The dearth of diverse identities and viewpoints within the arts is harrowing, especially for a young generation that is fighting its hardest to overcome conservative notions of order ultimately practiced as acts of discrimination against the very people and things we find most inspiring. In DRØME, the featured creators and creations encourage us to never shy away from who we are and what we want. Each artist, in sharing their story, embodies their own definition of agency. Against a mainstream ideology that indoctrinates patriarchal, capitalist, and hateful theories turned into policy, the artists in our first issue represent the ways in which art can take power back from society's denigrating control.