Sean Mellyn

b. 1965 in Providence, Rhode Island; lives in New York, New York


In the summer of ’72, my family took one of its usual trips to Cape Cod. There were always plenty of kids running around, perfect cast members for Mom and Dad’s foray into experimental filmmaking. On the first day at the beach, while Mom prepared spaghetti and meatballs back at camp, Dad employed us all as actors in his new film. We were to act out the dinner we were about to eat. To the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey,” we formed ourselves into living meatballs and rolled down the dunes to the water (which was both conceptually and visually renamed “Pasta”). That was our motivation-the ocean as a giant plate of past and we were to join it-little floating meatballs in a huge sea of sauce and spaghetti. At dusk we joined everyone back at camp for dinner. Instead of preparing many meatballs, my mom had made just one giant meatball. It sat gingerly on a mountain of spaghetti, centered on a picnic table. Paper plates and plastic forks in hand, we poked at the giant meatball, pulling away golf ball bites until it all disappeared. My art making experience has always been ingrained in me–it’s all sugar to me, a giant dessert at the end of a giant meal.

-Sean Mellyn