Melanie Dawson-Whisker was born in Los Angeles in 1960 to British parents. Her father was an artist and filmmaker, and her mother was a concert pianist. The family moved back to London, where Melanie trained as a ballet dancer at Ballet Rambert.
Greatly influenced by the emerging punk scene and its DIY ethos in late 1970s London, Melanie turned to the visual arts and moved to New York City in 1980 and later to Toronto.
She works primarily with acrylic and oil on canvas and board.
Her influences include Warhol, Picasso, Basquiat, Clemente, and Keith Haring.
A self-taught artist, she combines neo-expressionist modes of composition with hints of ancient mythologies into striking and accessible images that express contemporary ambivalences about the body, sexuality, and human relationships with nature and one another.
She currently resides near Sooke, BC.