Melissa Mailer-Yates - a brief story
Working from her studio in Warwickshire, England, Mailer-Yates is an internationally acclaimed artist of extraordinary depth and talent. Her most recognised work is a fascinating combination of abstract and representational painting centred on the female form. A collection of this, entitled ‘Sense’ (Sonss), was the basis of an impressive international tour, which gained immense interest through the unique approach employed. Her superb equestrian work has earned her a number of prestigious awards, emphasising the unusual diversity of her skills.
She is particularly articulate concerning her own work and its place within the halls of Art history thus creating a demand for lectures, other public speaking events, and her various Art publications. Her published books include; a 16th century novel entitled ‘Ellerker’, ‘The Tales of William Shakespuss’ a series of illustrated children’s books based on the plays of Shakespeare, currently being developed for TV as an animated series, and ‘The Bogglebott’ similarly for the young. Her latest book is entitled Reality, exploring the relationship between soul and body encapsulated in a story around the abandoned orphans in Romania after Ceaușescu, based on real lives and people.
Amongst her extensive commissions are those for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Prince Nawaf and Princess Jawaher of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family, as well as other celebrities and nobility throughout the World. Some of her more interesting commissions include a series of equestrian works for Royal Doulton, and a set of celebrity portraits which was the centre-piece for the opening of the Los Angeles Art Show.
Apart from the United Kingdom her works can be found in many countries including the United States of America, Canada, the Middle East, Africa, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and Australia.
She has had solo exhibitions throughout the U.K. and in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Aspen. Elected Associate of the Society of Equestrian Artists 1997, Elected to member of the Fine Art Trade Guild 1998, and Honorary Board Member of the Association of Fine Art Dealers of America in 1999. Together with Ivana Trump, she co- hosted the 1999 Spirit of Freedom Award in Aspen, during which she presented one of her paintings and a sculpture by Marton Varo to Goldie Hawn, an award for her work in Tibet.
Mailer-Yates’ work in the film & television world led her to be the Art Director on a movie production ‘Children on the Titanic’, which focussed on her artwork extensively. Some of her earlier pieces for the Manhattan collection featured in episodes of the HBO thriller ‘True Detective’ in 2015. The Town of Alcester commissioned a portrait of Nick Skelton and his horse Big Star after they won their Gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.
In her own words:
In 1997 I created the first International exhibition of my Art in New York. It was quite a prestigious show, and was attended by around 900 people on the opening night, quite a coup for an English artist with their first US solo show. However, a major part of compiling the event was the creation of a serious printed programme.
Within it I took time to discuss the paintings in detail. As the subject matter was very deep and expressive, albeit basically portraiture, I felt the need to expound on what I was attempting to depict. This led to a number of esoteric essays, discussing the power of the feminine in all aspects of life, expressing myself with words as much as the images did. I found there was a ubiquitous strength in the word I could be certain about, rather than the painted image which was far more open to interpretation and taste. I had painted since 1977, and my clients included the rich, royal and famous, so I was not about to replace one Art form with another, but discovering the importance of the word was satisfying and important to me.
During the long flights to the US over the next few years I took the opportunity to pen my first major work. Ellerker was based on the history surrounding an ancestor, and took years of research to compile. The 16th century left me with great gaps in the knowledge required, but opportunities to discover too, the writing as much an odyssey as the lengthy journey undertaken by the hero. Its publication 13 years later, six books in one, was a huge achievement, and I realised just how much I needed to do more. Since that time I have compiled a series of books for children based on the stories from Shakespeare, presented by a little white cat: Shakespuss, together with a few other children’s books, all gaining from my ability to be able to enhance them with illustration.
More recently, the story of an old schoolfriend inspired me to write my latest novel. Based on his truck journey to Romania to take relief to the abandoned orphanage children in Bucharest, a result of the tyrant Ceaușescu abusively ruling the country until 1989. Again, together with a great deal of research to ensure the accuracy of the detail, the story was extraordinary. It gave me the perfect vehicle to incorporate elements of my beliefs into the storyline, thus it was published as ‘Reality’.
As I had just begun to work with some people on projects within the film industry I felt the need to explore the potential for a screenplay. It was fascinating to re-format it somewhat to work as a movie, but even more so to get to grips with the demands of the script-writing format. I was inspired by this uniting the image to the word in a very powerful way. I felt confident enough to enter the finished product into a number of International Screenwriting competitions, my first having just been awarded a quarter-finalist place. An achievement I am very proud of.
I now understand the complimentary nature of all the creative Arts, in their relationship to each other, and their supporting strengths. As such, as my portfolio of painting continues to grow, so too I expand my writing and other creations in a colourful evolution of myself. Each element an expression of life in all its wonder.