While Danie Mellor’s work is in galleries around the world and he has won several awards, he says the steps he has taken to get to this point have been incremental. “There hasn’t been a pivotal moment, just gradual development with all the plateaus, highs and lows that everyone experiences,” he says. “Nothing ever takes the place of hard work and a little bit of luck, as much consistency as possible, and a long-term view. And no holidays, I much prefer working.” Danie was born in Mackay and has lived and worked in Australia, England, Scotland and South Africa. He is currently based in Bowral in the South Highlands of NSW. His work was given a 10-year survey at the University of Queensland Art Museum in 2014 and he had a solo exhibition of his works at the National Museum of Scotland. For almost 20 years Danie lectured at the Australian National University and the University of Sydney. He attained a Bachelor of Arts (Visual) with Honours from the Canberra School of Art and a MA (Fine ARt) from the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, University of Central England, UK. Danie also has a doctorate from ANU. His current exhibition A Sensual Instinct runs until 19 March at Jan Murphy Gallery.
Which five words best describe you? But we’ve only just met!
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I went to art school at the Canberra School of Art, and since then have followed a career as an artist. I also lectured for some time at the Australian National University, and then University of Sydney, as well as teaching high school art for a few years. Now I am working full time on my practice.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Have colleagues and friends in your networks that are more talented, experienced and smarter than you in areas you don’t have expertise, and be prepared to share knowledge along the way.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Developing a sustainable career as an artist. It’s been a balance of creating work and maintaining a business.
What’s been your best decision? Pursuing a career as an artist.
Who inspires you? The people I work with, particularly my wife Joanne.
What are you passionate about? Work. And my Land Rover.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I’m not much into zombies, so it would be a living person – anyone who is at peace with their selves would be a pleasant experience. Actually come to think of it, I would like to meet Mark Wahlberg, he seems very comfortable with himself and I like his movies. I would also like to meet Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF; I have a bit of a crush on her and I would probably be lost for words, so she would have to do most of the talking.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? To keep working productively and having time to create work that is still relevant in 20 years’ time – my life tends to be quite straightforward in that respect.
What are you reading? I don’t have that much time to read. I listen while I work to online lectures and presentations given by interesting writers, artists, museum directors, curators and philosophers, amongst them Donna Haraway, Jane Bennett, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Jerry Saltz, and Roberta Smith et al.