MELISA (Mel) CARDONA (They/Them - She/Hers) is a first generation queer Latinx self-taught artist and activist who grew up between Atlanta, GA and their parents native land of Colombia. Their first acting role was playing Mother Mary in a church play at the age of 7. She decided to make acting their career during the first semester of college while attending an accounting class, a bright orange sign that read "Auditions" caught her eye. With 5 minutes left to audition, they ran over to see if she could make it on time and got cast as a lead in the play. They dropped out of school that same month after being bitten by the acting bug and never looked back. Since then she’s cut her teeth in the theater scene in Atlanta and dabbled in film on the East Coast . In 2006, they landed in New Orleans and while working as an ensemble member of a theatre and production company called Mondo Bizarro, Melisa fell in love with photography and film making.
After 10 years of building an array of artistic story telling skills in New Orleans - physical theater performance, learning the cameras eye, editing and lighting techniques - Mel birthed a small company to foster all of her artistic endeavors that focus on stories by, for and about WOC, highlighting those of QWOC via film, acting and music at MoonLab PICTURES.
Melisa is a member of NALAC and served for four years on the executive committee of Alternate ROOTS, of which she has been a member of for 14 years. Mel is committed to creating stories that empower qwoc with while dismantling all forms of oppression through film and digital art for a beautiful new mañana.
Mel currently resides between New Orleans and Atlanta, often traveling the country for work and artistic collaborations.
Mel’s photos have been published on The New York Times, American Theater Magazine, Times Picayune, Antigravity, Creative Loafing, Inside Arts Magazine, CTNOW.Com, AutoStrattle.com, BuzzFeed.com and many others. One of her photos was selected as a winner by the New Orleans Arts Council for a photography competition. Her Photography and Video work have taken her across the country, through Canada and into several places in Central and South America. She is creatively committed to keeping her work accessible at the local street level, often working with non-profits and solo artists committed to fighting all forms of oppression.
Her work could not be possible with out the continuous support of the following outstanding organizations + everyone who's ever hired her: Alternate ROOTS, Mondo Bizarro, Artspot Productions, JUNEBUG Productions, NALAC, NPN, Joan Mitchell Center, Kids Rethink New Orleans, The Hemispheric Institute, RISING APPALACHIA, SIPP Culture and so many others.