Now in his late 50s, Paul Mellia has established a reputation over the last 30 years as a super-realist artist, specialising in detailed illustrations of themes from popular culture – film stars, sports cars and motorbikes, comic book characters and superheroes. Paul’s approach is almost sculptural; painting and peeling away layers, until the final unmasking of one of his new originals. He immerses himself in the timeless meditation of creation, focusing on every intricate detail, a flicker of light here, a thread of hair there.
After graduating with a fine art degree at art school, his first appointment was painting frescoes and 16th C images for Baroness De Vail in Paris. There, he lived a bohemian existence basking in the inspiration of legendary painters and sculptures such as Rodin, Gauguin, Picasso and Dali. But it was Warhol’s Pop Art that resonated the most, subsequently fuelling Paul to focus on what he loved most – images of Americana, gleaned from books given to him as a child. “From a very early age I was able to paint them in fine detail. I wanted to make them real and show a different side to them.”
Now one of the fastest selling artists in today’s contemporary art scene, Paul is renowned for his distinctive 3-D interpretations of celebrated icons. Straddling the delicate line between visual art and popular culture, his work is neither illustrative or photographic but standing between the two – verging on fantasy.<
Paul was the first artist to have been granted a licence by Marvel and is approved by DC Comics to reproduce their characters as fine art, and is the first artist ever in over 60 years to have been granted a licence to reproduce Thomas the Tank Engine as fine art. His painting of Thomas the Tank Engine was bought at auction for £150,000 by HIT Entertainment and then presented to HM The Queen, as she is an avid collector of Thomas the Tank memorabilia.
Collectors and owners of Paul’s work include HM The Queen, Tommy Lee (drummer for Motley Crue), HRH Diana Princess of Wales, Nancy Reagan, Mariah Carey, Lisa Marie Presley, Seal, Jonathan Ross, Tamara Ecclestone, Banksy, and he has produced commissioned work for clients such as Hit Entertainment, Mercedes Benz, Marvel Comics, A1 Grand Prix Series, 46664 Nelson Mandela Foundation and Sega.