Date:11 February, 2021
A Passion for Texture, Colour and Making
Melissa Daitz was born in 1960 in Rivonia, Johannesburg – South Africa.
Best teachers…life and observation. Erik Laubscher, David Brown, Stephanie Watson and Michael Pettit.
My whole course was based in mixed media right from the very beginning. I tried to learn something about everything.
Contrasts in teaching – Erik Laubscher taught us the classics of oil painting with no exceptions. We were sent to the school shop and ordered to buy all the requirements for oil painting. We were not allowed to bend the material. However, we did start a love affair with the smell of turpentine and linseed oil and the art of layering, which has developed over the years into an exciting adventure in texture and colour.
Stephanie Watson on the other hand, welcomed us to her class but said we were not allowed to bring a paint brush. At first as students we were confused. Fingers, sticks, cloth and broken brushes were all welcomed. It was in these classes that my love of mixed media and experimentation with material really began. My life as a mixed media artist was on its way and additions of surface building, bass – relief and really bending material began. Over the years I have developed a technique of building a textured surface onto which I layer my way to the end of the piece.
As life would have it, the importance of making a living took priority and led me to the combination of art and business.
My first business “TEXTURES” was an interior accessories company for the décor market. Everything was made from wood and paint finished. Room divider screens, table mats and mirror frames. Lamp bases and painted furniture were all designed as one-off originals. The technical teams of the paint companies stayed good friends but refused to take responsibility for any possible paint failures due to experimenting – my mixed media training helped me to stand my ground. The TEXTURE corporate logo went on to win an international New York design award.
“INDIGO – ORANGE” – A shop designed to accommodate handmade products from many different talents for the décor trade. Artists and Crafters of Cape Town were involved.
“FREE HAND FABRICS” – hand painted linen and bespoke meterage.
“THE CERAMIC COMPANY” – I designed and painted for the showroom. Many different ceramic artists supplied stock.
Twenty years ago, I settled down to painting full time and have been busy ever since. The décor world being part of my history, has allowed me to have undertaken hundreds of commissions and have work in homes all over the world.
I currently live on the Garden Route in South Africa and work from my home studio. I see myself as a painting maker, so product, community and living life as closely to your creative truth as possible is hugely important and continues to be a great adventure.