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California Love: A Perfect Day With Melissa Contreras of Axelhoney

Melissa Contreras, one of our Poketo for Target artists, is a native Californian and a nature lover, as you might be able to tell from her art. Melissa tells us below about life in sunny Los Angeles, why it is so wonderful, and how it inspires her work.

I love hanging out at the beach. Since moving to Southern California over 10 years ago, I have lived all over, from Long Beach to Downtown LA. For the past two years Santa Monica has been where I live and work. I love getting my feet in the sand, catching some live music on the pier, grabbing brunch with an ocean view or bar hopping along the beach. I also love to drive up the coast to explore tidepools and search for dolphins. It’s amazing to be able to walk, bike, or take the bus to work. Traffic? What traffic?

There are amazing places to hike in Los Angeles. The view is breathtaking on a clear day. It’s so fun to explore new places, find pretty flowers and watch bugs doing their thing. My current favorite spots are Temescal Canyon and Topanga. It’s amazing that LA is such a big city, but we are surrounded by nature, I love it.

I find myself downtown a lot these days. I’m working on a jewelry line, called Axelhoney, and everything I need can be found there. From flame-proofing to mold-making–you name it—you can find a place that does it or carries the supplies for it here. If it’s not in Downtown, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away. Not too mention all the great architecture and street art you see from point A to point B.

I’m a sucker for art openings. Some of my favorite galleries are Thinkspace, LeBasse & Corey Helford, where I rub elbows with inspiring artists and enjoy a free drink or two. Someday, I’ll be able to take some of their art home with me! Scion Space always puts on great events—last weekend I saw an amazing show featuring one of my childhood heroes, Ed Emberley. Another favorite spot of mine is Royal T. The owner, Susan Hancock, has a collection I can only dream about and it’s an amazing space to go get inspired. They have great food, cute waitresses and fun stuff in their pop-up shops. I was lucky enough to have some pieces in the Sanrio Three Apples show there last October.

I spend most of my time at home, hanging out with my husband, having BBQs with my in-laws, and always working on something. You can often find me sitting at the computer, carving wax or painting at the dining room table. I spend a lot of time, and work hard on my artwork. It’s amazing when it pays off with something great, like the chance to work with the amazing Ted & Angie of Poketo, and the opportunity to see my art on products in Target. ;)

Melissa, It’s always a pleasure for us to work with you. Fans and friends, if you would like to take home some of Melissa’s fantastic Poketo for Target designs, check out her water bottle, pouch (pictured below), and camera case.

More from Melissa and her jewelry line, visit

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