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Meet Melissa And Mark Gates: Chattanooga's Painting Couple

How Melissa and Mark Gates have bonded and grown as a couple and as artists

Artists tend to gravitate towards each other, and Mark and Melissa Gates’ story is one of bonding and passion. The two met in Austin, Texas with Mark holding a position as a graphic designer and Melissa as a bookstore owner. 

“After a whirlwind romance and honeymoon, we sold everything and moved to Central America,” Melissa said. 

While living in Central America, spending time in both Costa Rica and Panama, the Gates gradually distanced themselves from America. In 2014, the couple moved back to the states and settled in Chattanooga. To cover their newly-empty walls, the two began to paint.

“Neither of us had really dabbled in the arts prior to this experimenting,” Melissa shared. 

It was during this time when Mark and Melissa discovered their individual artistic voices. Mark uses decay and deterioration as inspiration for his pieces, playing with the visualization of time by colors layering onto one another. Melissa, after research and sketches, brings to life the wild and beautiful and captures the animals in their truest form. 

Both Mark and Melissa have their own distinct voices and create in the same space, allowing one another to have the ability to design an environment of support and critique. However, working in the same space doesn’t mean working on the same piece. 

“We tried to collaborate once, and it was a hilarious disaster,” Melissa said. 

While collaborating may not have proved successful, Melissa and Mark have generated a tremendous following and appreciation for their art. When able, the two spend their time traveling the country, exhibiting their works at art shows and galleries alongside other talented artists. 

The Gates’ work portrays life in both realism and the abstract. Their voices compliment each other, their pieces bringing harmony to time and nature. 

If you want to see more of the Gates’ work, please visit their website here or check them out on their Facebook page or Instagram.