Melissa Mahoney

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Breath, 2010 Acrylic, Modeling Paste, Raw Linen 24" X 24" X 1.5" © Melissa Mahoney
Quick Facts
Atlanta, GA
Birth year
Lives in
Santa Monica, California
Works in
Santa Monica, California
University of Georgia- Studies Abroad Cortona, Italy, 1987
University of Georgia
Qi, CHI, enso, circles, vortex tube, vortices, vortexes, mixed-media


Some of my earliest memories are of my mother, seated at our kitchen table, sketching or drawing pen-and-ink still lifes. My grandparents too were artists, who favored watercolors, oil paint and woodblock printing.

Influenced by these surroundings, I turned naturally to drawing and painting as familiar outlets to express feelings and to document my life experiences. I continued to draw and paint through school, and went on to earn a BFA at the University of Georgia. I also completed graduate work in Cortona, Italy, where I studied calligraphy and art history.

While I have worked in oil pastels, watercolor pencils, encaustic, oil and acrylic paints, my current work is in mixed media, applying paint and modeling paste with brushes, trowels - even my hands.

 My studio is based in Santa Monica, California, where I live and work.



Vortices draw into their powerful currents all that surround them.

I'm interested in these masses of energy and how they can contain and then transfer their energy.

With my paintings, a thought or idea sparks a creation that starts the transfer to a two-dimensional surface. Each piece is intended to convey a sense of motion and an energy that captures, and then transcends, the particular subject matter.

Energy in its raw form, feeding the canvas with paint, dyes, metal leaf and enamel and modeling paste, utilizing color with shades of dark and light. In turn, the completed work expresses this dynamic force, inviting the viewer to receive the energy if they choose to.

Taking this energy transfer further, to the human form. I explore Synesthesia, where the stimulation of one sense (sight) stimulates different cognitive pathways (such as touch, taste or sound).

For example, there’s a specific color that reminds me of Thailand, but it can’t be found in a paint tube. It’s a deep chartreuse that’s been laced with yellow oxide and burnt umber. When I look at this color, I smell curry, I touch silk and I feel the hot, humid air. My painting 'Prevailing' was inspired by these senses.

This energy transfer from creating art, utilizing my senses as a lens, helps create the vital life force I feel as an artist.

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