April 7, 2015
Texas-bred designer, Melanie Abrantes, found her way to Los Angeles for school and relocated her studio to Oakland, a city that allows her to flourish and thrive in a community of new and emerging artists. From her charming studio between the port and warehouses, Melanie also finds herself completely surrounded by unexpected sceneries of nature wherever she goes. “Being as visual as I am, I enjoy being able to take in all the colors of the flowers and trees.”
I first moved to California to attend school at Otis College of Art and Design. I loved the big city feel of Los Angeles, but grew tired of the fast paced world I wasn’t as accustomed to when growing up in Texas. I started dating someone in the bay and found myself driving up and down the 5 freeway each month. Oakland was a place where we would explore on our mini weekend getaways and that ignited my interest in moving here. Overtime, the distance took a toll on me and it was time to take our relationship to the next step and move up north, Oakland was by far my one of my favorite parts of the bay. It has such a thriving community of new and emerging artists; it was hard to resist the pull from being a part of that rich community and culture.
Oakland tends to have a negative reputation, being dangerous and not as picturesque. I was completely taken by surprise to see it wasn’t anything that anybody described. I’ve discovered that these rumors of Oakland were completely false, and proved to be so beautiful! There is an abundance of charm in every little neighborhood, completely surrounded by unexpected sceneries of nature. My favorite place in Oakland is the Redwood Regional Park, which is a gorgeous park full of Redwoods that run along the hills of Oakland. Being as visual as I am, I enjoy being able to take in all the colors of the flowers and trees.
I was lucky enough to get my studio near Jack London Square. I have a charming 500 sq. foot studio in an old tomato factory in between the port and industrious warehouses. It is close to a bunch of delicious coffee spots such as Blue Bottle and famed eateries. My small woodshop houses my lathe and other woodshop tools for production in addition to my office. I absolutely love being able to have a studio space to showcase my work and have clients over when needed. What I love most about Oakland is how open the creative world is here, people are always willing to give a helping hand and share their ideas. It is a wonderful incubator for designers and artists to flourish!