Melissa Mahoney and Her Ikigai, Secret to Her Long and Happy Life


“Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.” —Japanese proverb 

Mahoney Artwork

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai—a reason for living. And according to the residents of the Japanese village with the world’s longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life. Having a strong sense of ikigai—the place where passion, mission, vocation, and profession intersect—means that each day is infused with meaning. It’s the reason we get up in the morning. It’s also the reason many Japanese never really retire (in fact there’s no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense it does in English): They remain active and work at what they enjoy, because they’ve found a real purpose in life—the happiness of always being busy. 

Getting to Know Melissa Mahoney

Today, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing fine artist, Melissa Mahoney or for my Freeman Means Business “Wonder Women in Business” podcast. Melissa’s latest painting series is titled, “Vortices.” She says Vortices draw all that surround them into their powerful currents. She's interested in these masses of energy and how they can contain and then transfer their energy.  

Melissa is also attracted to the fluidity and texture of textiles. She created a recent series of artwork specifically to be printed on silk fabric. She created a custom silk scarf for Stanford University, and it sells at the Stanford bookstore on campus and online.  

Melissa grew up in a family of artists, drawing and painting. She received formal art training at the University of Georgia where she earned a BFA. She went on to study art in Tuscany, Italy.

In our podcast, we discussed everything from her vast backpacking and biking travels throughout Europe and Asia to the incredible social psychologist, Geert Hofstede and his cultural dimensions.

Melissa Mahoney

Exhibitions and Awards

2018— Palo Alto Art Show, Palo Alto, California
2017— Triton Museum of Art, 2017 Statewide 2D Competition & Exhibition, Santa Clara, California
2017— Penninsua Art Gallery, San Mateo, California
2016— Simon Breitbard Fine Arts, Trunk Show, San Francisco, California
2016— Houzz, online art gallery
2016— OAC Gallery, online art gallery
2016— Saatchi, online art gallery
2015— Palo Alto Art Show, Palo Alto, California
2014— Woodside Gallery, Woodside, California
2016— SB Fine Arts, San Francisco, California
2016— Woodside Gallery, Woodside, California
2016— OAC Gallery, online
2016— Houzz, online
2013— A Single Grain of Rice, GALERIE MÉTANOÏA, Paris, France
2013— Beverly Hills artSHOW, Beverly Hills, California
AWARDED: Honorable Mention in Painting (4th place of 65 painters)
2013— Jeanie Madsen Gallery, I Love Santa Monica, Santa Monica, California
2013— TAG Gallery, Bergamot Station Art Center, Los Angeles, California
  JUROR: Edward Goldman, art critic for KCRW, NPR affiliate station and The Huffington Post  
2013— Wallspace Gallery, Los Angeles, California
2011— Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts OCCCA, Energy, Santa Ana, California
JUROR: Howard Fox (Curator Emeritus of Contemporary Art, LACMA)
2011— A Gallery Fine Art, El Paseo, Palm Desert, California
2010— Maiani Gallery, Montecito, California
2010— Bottoms Art Gallery, The Four Seasons Biltmore, Montecito, California

How to Contact Melissa Mahoney

Melissa Mahoney

Abstract artist and textile creator

Palo Alto, California

(805) 450-6844