Recently, Illustrator Dawn Mellor held a guest lecture at university. As it wasn’t for Graphic Design or convenient at the time, I didn’t attend; however, since then, a couple of peers have told me that the subject may have interested me. This is because Mellor’s work explored cult celebrities, often drawing them in an almost religiously obsessive and disturbing way. Mellor conveys this through cryptic clues, and creates unsettling yet intriguing visuals.
In the lecture, Mellor supposedly focused on her most recent exhibition, “What happened to Helen Mirren?” in which Mellor paints Mirren as the characters form Jean Genet’s 1947 play “The Maids”. This series of work takes ideas from the washed up celebrity phase and explore ideas of class identity in relation to costume rather than social construct. Mirren was chosen as the subject due to her roles playing queens and servants in her profession. Researching Mellor, I discovered paintings of Michael Jackson and later realised that Mellor had done this growing up as a fan of the Pop Prince.
Comparing Mellor’s Michael Jackson portraits with her most recent Helen Mirren collection there is a huge difference and portrays a developed authorship. Mellor stated that she perhaps could have been aspired when creating her work but to the greatness of what celebrities have achieved rather than the idea of becoming famous. This is an interesting and refreshing thought in comparison to my chosen article. There were also similar thoughts in my survey feedback, however not as popular.