Digital Artist Melissa Nolledo Creates Works of Harmony, Cohesion

Melissa “Mimi” Nolledo is a photographer and digital artist based in Eugene, Oregon. Her work has graced numerous magazines and book covers and has been featured in several exhibitions on both the east and west coasts. Born in Manila to writers Blanca and (the late) Wilfrido Nolledo, she was raised both in the United States and the Philippines.

Her affinity for digital art is a result of her continuous quest to process, probe and explore colors, light and shadows. She takes raw photographs and manipulates them into collages of fine art.

Mimi believes passionately in promoting cultural awareness and diversity and serves as a board member of several community organizations such as the Eugene/Springfield Asian Council and the Council of Filipino-American Associations of Oregon & SW Washington (CFAA). She serves on the board of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)

Mimi has had several exhibits in various group shows beyond Eugene, Oregon; and one of her works was featured on the cover of the University of Miami’s literary journal, Mangrove. She hosted solo exhibits at the Philippine Center in Manhattan, where 30 of her works went on display for the show titled "Epiphanies of Flight." Among the works featured were "Woman Cradled," (pictured above); "Migrations;" "Saxophonist at Farragut North;" "Duyan (Cradle);" and "Manong and Manang (The Elders)."

Her next exhibit, "Fire and Ice," opens March 13 at the Emerald Art Gallery in Springfield, Oregon. She is collaborating with a local photographer for elements that will be incorporated into the digital pieces.

My art evolved from experimentation, and it continues to evolve. I gravitate toward creating works that capture the experiences of women. Art has always been an outlet, what I resort to when I’m dealing with challenging personal situations. The images I create are often reflective of particular moments in my life or certain events in the world around me. 

Digital art is a combination of many different techniques. “Woman Cradled,” one of the pieces for which I’ve gotten a lot of amazing reactions, incorporates photography, painting and digital manipulation. The possibilities with digital art are endless: it’s such an open form of creativity that allows artists to continue improving on existing styles, while creating new ones.


Working on digital images — processing, probing, constantly exploring colors, light and shadows — gives me a sense of peace, balance and appreciation for diversity and cohesion.  My constant desire is to create a happy union of elements in my art echoes my philosophy that we should strive to live as one with the community around us.

I get so much energy from the “cyber-villages” of artists who share new discoveries. I started fully exploring the world of digital art about five years ago, when I joined an online group comprised of Filipino expatriate artists called “Banggaan” which translates to “collision.” Banggaan members are scattered all over the globe, and is an amazing resource for inspiration and knowledge-sharing.

The founder, Alfredo Roces, sent a photograph of his hand to all his artist friends, and asked them to “interact” with the work, sort of like “cyberfiving.” Artist and photographer friends started doing original works based on the image. That’s how Banggaan was born.

I was born in Manila, and raised in a family of writers. My father, Wilfrido Nolledo, is a well-known, much-loved Filipino fiction writer in English. Growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of creative types: artists, painters and writer, all friends of my Dad. I was exposed to creative writing at an early age.

My passion for photography stems from my years of working in a newspaper in the Philippines. At the University of the Philippines in Diliman, I became involved in the student movement and started writing articles about the movement in the student-run newspaper.

After college, I worked for The Daily Globe, writing feature articles for the paper’s Sunday magazine. I interviewed Philippine personalities, including Philippine senators Miriam Defensor and Juan Ponce Enrile. I loved the whole process of interviewing and writing, and developed friendships with many creative types. I immigrated to the U.S. in 1989, and continued photography and writing projects, while raising my family.

The first time I showed my artwork as at a Banggaan art exhibit in San Francisco featuring member works. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have exposure among artists in the Bay Area. After that first show, I began getting invitations to exhibit with other different groups in Los Angeles, Seattle, Eugene and New York City.

I’ve always had a passion for photography and art, but my interest and exploration of digital art arose from my continuous interaction with the Banggaan group. I learned a lot from the interaction with digital artists from different fields. They were all my mentors.

Colors of Influence Winter 2009

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The Harpist


Saxophonist at Farragut North






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Wilfrido Nolledo


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