Melissa Mendillo was born and raised in New York. At the age of twelve she went to live with aunt Patricia Calvo in Florida. It was here that Melissa was given her first real paint set. At this time she made a series of small paintings depicting various family members – she was hooked. Upon returning to New York and graduating from high school Melissa applied for and was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fine Art program in New York City. There she enjoyed the artistic freedom to explore a broad range of painting styles. There was however a deep longing to train and study in the classical technique and develop the skills necessary to paint in the figurative style. When the opportunity presented itself to study for a summer abroad, in Florence, Italy she took it. There she was exposed to the original art works of the Renaissance painters first hand. Simultaneously Melissa was introduced to an amazing group of dedicated contemporary living artists with an artistic philosophy that paralleled her own. These artists would eventually become some of her closest friends and confidants. This journey brought her to the discovery of and fascination with artwork that had hereto for been mainly encountered and observed as reproductions in books. Melissa craved more and so she embarked on trips throughout Europe in search of training methods that would enable her to achieve her goal. It was this spirit that led her to apply to and be accepted at the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland and a summer semester at the Florence Academy in Italy. Upon her completion of the four-year program at the Glasgow School of Art Melissa received a B.A. Honors, degree. During Melissa’s time spent in Scotland she had works exhibited throughout the country such as: the Kelvingrove Museum, The Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh and various group and solo exhibitions.
Upon Melissa’s return to New York, her Florence Academy connections introduced her to Andrea J. Smith, an extremely talented painter and teacher. Melissa found a teacher, mentor and friend with the same spirit of adventure who was able to enhance her skills substantially, enabling her to focus the attention necessary for this most difficult of art forms. It was what she had yearned for from a very early age and it would forever impact on her style.
Melissa currently lives in New York City and works out of her studio in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn.