“.. a couple of years ago, I had a major shift in vision, a desire to paint pictures that encourages people to think about where we come from. I wanted to document the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s in a way that made people want to think about what we’re doing now, what we’re building.” - Melissa Chandon
Melissa Chandon was born in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1952. She received a BFA from Santa Clara University in California with an emphasis in painting and philosophy. Her MFA was received from Lesley University College of Art and Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Chandon has devoted herself full time to painting since 1996. She began teaching at UC Davis in 2009 and since 2013 has taught Design there. In addition, Chandon has taught numerous plein-air workshops in the U.S., France and Mexico.
Chandon is a classically trained artist who describes her work as abstract realism. It is through analysis and redaction that she finds her voice. Her work is autobiographical, kindled by childhood travels with her family throughout the United States and allows Chandon to make connections between the present and recent past. “Road trips were my parents’ passion. They saw the American landscape as a means of educating their five children – exposing us to the humanity of highways, small towns, truck stops and KOA Kampgrounds all across the U.S. To this day I find cars, gas stations, motels, billboard signs fascinating –and I feel it is important to document this era of American history before it disappears.”
Melissa Chandon has been influenced by several artists including David Hockney, Edward Hopper, Richard Deibenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud. Thiebaud was also a most valuable mentor and encouraged her to push forward with examination and determination. Thiebaud said of Chandon’s work: “She has developed an effective synthesis of abstract and representational elements in her works. This gives the works an intensity and raw graphic power to behold.”
Chandon has exhibited extensively in museums and galleries throughout California and the Southwest. Her paintings are found in public, private and corporate collections including the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Napa Valley Museum of Art, the Triton Museum of Art, and the private collections of Queen Raina Al Abdullah of Jordan and Al Gore.