melisande osnes


After growing up in Boulder, Melisande became involved in Denver’s underground DIY community; played in the band, “Total Goth’ and now with “Jingletown,” an art project that focuses on making felt and Papier Mache dioramas and hand-painted merch while singing gummy pop songs. Motivated towards social and fine art, Osnes strives to help others be heard. Her goal in life is to create a footprint in the world; make a difference in people’s lives; and just to be useful.



My thesis is composed of a series of illustration zines that tell a story about me and my sister’s hair story. My family adopted my little sister Lerato from South Africa when I was 8 years old. Having an African sister was much like having a sister of my own race except for the hair, which is poof of tight curls. It has been our family’s job to make her hair look good. Creating this body of work allows me to share my experiences with my sister and the story of hair that we share together.

Each 6-page zine creates a time-based narrative through stories about Lerato’s hair. Some are comic books and others are written in short story form. The stories tell my own personal story and create a narrative that others might relate to whatever their background. Questions about hair are answered through storytelling.

I chose the medium of zines because of their rich history in political and cultural movements. Zines started in the 30’s to 60’s as a platform of free expression. Later in the 70’s Zines formed a new meaning in the punk community where it influences still lies. Zines are a cheap and accessible way to get your own personal opinions out in to the world. I feel that making money from cultural art based not within my own racial subgroup would seem disingenuous. As they read my zines, I want the reader to know who I am and gain their own perspective.