Born in 1976 on an intentional community called “The Farm” in Tennessee, Melissa Wyman was brought up with a foundation of nonviolence and communal living. Without leaving her early teachings behind, she found a passion for martial arts, particularly the close-contact fighting art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu discovered when she moved to Japan in her early 20’s. Combining grappling with a study of cross-cultural and non-verbal interactions has become a continuous thread in her art practice throughout an adulthood spent working in Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Chile. As an interdisciplinary artist, her work is often participatory and uses fighting, drawing, video, installation, social practice, and watercolor as a way of exploring negotiations, miscommunications, and notions of belonging.
Wyman received an MFA from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where she was a recipient of the Barclay Simpson Award, a Postgraduate Diploma in Art and Theory from Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand and a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She lives and works in Northern California.