Dawn Mellor / Lecture


My first impression of Dawn Mellor was that she had a vast amount of work and passion for her subject, which was clearly sustained from extensive studio practice and her years of study, achieving both a BA from St. Martins and a MA from the Royal College of Art.

She started the lecture by presenting some of her first art work that she had produced at the age of 13-16, I’d describe this work as a type of ”fanzine” booklet, titled “Michael Jackson and other men”, which as the title suggested contained drawing and sketches of Michael Jackson and other men.

(image above - painting's and sketches from Dawn Mellor's "Michael Jackson and other men" book.)
(Painting’s and sketches from Dawn Mellor’s “Michael Jackson and other men” book – mixed media-scale and date unknown)

Mellor conveyed how she found it important to document her thoughts, like she had done as a teenager and that ‘drawings’ are a way to maintain a memory.  Her inspiration to draw Michael Jackson came from all the Media hype of the local news or tabloid newspapers and the 80’s race riots on the council estates, predominantly of the fight for equality gave her immense inspiration.

Through the lecture she showed more of her early works, which lead me to believe that the era she grew up in really affected her art practice most of it being influenced by the economic and racial tensions there were occurring in the riots and the civil right movements and also the fact that the race riots and surrounding epidemics were taboo subjects at the time, yet Mellor ignored this and continued to make her art despite how people may view it, which really resounds in her work on the whole.

( A defaced painting of Audrey Hepburn by Dawn Mellor - decribed below)
( A defaced painting of Audrey Hepburn by Dawn Mellor – decribed below-oil on canvas-scale and date unknown)

Mellor continued with her paintings on constructed personas showing her interest in films, pop stars, music, criminals and also her own political interests.  She appears to select a celebrity then defaces and deconstructs them, visually taking away their famous icon status.

She showed a series of ‘Wizard of Oz’ paintings where she depicted the character ‘Dorothy’ as a homosexual soldier, inspired by the wars in Iraq and at that time Kansas was a place where people and children were being exploited so using Dorothy as a young innocent child in Kansas she contextualized them into various images to portray her thoughts of what was happening at the time, creating her own style of art that is both controversial and interesting, which is apparent in all her work.

(one of my favourite pieces from the 'Dorothy' series by Dawn Mellor)
(‘Partisan Dorothy’ -A piece from the ‘Dorothy’ series by Dawn Mellor, oil on canvas- 132 x 108 inches-2008)


(another piece from Mellor's 'Dorothy' series. oil on canvas)
(another piece from Mellor’s ‘Dorothy’ series. oil on canvas)


(My personal favourite piece from the 'Dorothy' painting series. Oil on canvas.)
(My personal favourite piece from the ‘Dorothy’ painting series. Oil on canvas.)


Mellor has also produced her own interpretation of horror films, yet again taking a famous actress, destroying their image and portraying her own visual image of how she sees them.  From her art visually and her bluntly spoken presentation, she appears to not be bothered about the fame and fortune within art but is more concerned about getting her own a opinions across with her very unique art work, which she made very clear in this lecture, which is a creditable aspect to her style and way of working.


Overall, I loved her art, she is very clear and concise and very true to her opinions and views.  Her art is very raw and quite distressing but I personally love it and this has been one of my favourite lectures up to now, and I am going to use Mellor’s work as influence in one of my upcoming projects.


// Images from :

top image – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/dawn-mellor-michael-jackson

second image – https://itsdenise.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/dawn-mellor/

third image – http://www.artslant.com/sf/works/show/27329

fourth image – http://arttattler.com/archivedawnmellor.html

fifth image – http://mikehoolboom.com/?p=304



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