Gone far too soon, but never forgotten…
It wasn’t that long ago, on any given Sunday in the SoHo area of NYC, that you’d find some unusually attractive women and their fluffy feline friends playfully staring at you from the colorful paintings of supremely talented Manhattan artist, Sharon Melanie Pell-Lie.
The mixed media paintings in Sharon’s collection clearly show a love of vivid color, bold lines, abstract art and collages, but also amusingly reflect some unusual creative influences. Along with an obvious love for Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney, you’ll see that Sharon admired female superheroes like Batgirl, Catwoman and Wonder Woman. By combining that love of strong female characters and her beloved cats with visual inspiration from Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Henri Matisse, Pinup Art, Modern Art, and Vintage French Poster Art (Steinlen, Cheret, Toulouse-Lautrec), Sharon had crafted a noticeably original style.
It’s that novel approach of blending fashion illustration, pop culture, cute animals, and social commentary with childhood memories that put Sharon’s star on the rise.
Her ability to synthesize new looks was so unique in fact that it even caught the attention of Tommy Hilfiger, who not only commissioned some large paintings of her “spellbinding” women for his fashion showrooms in New York and denim stores in Europe, but featured Sharon’s artwork on Tommy junior girls t-shirts in the Spring and Fall of 2004.
Born and raised in Scranton, PA in 1966, she began drawing prolifically from the age of 2, and claimed her earliest memories were of drawing the storybook characters Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella countless times. That practice drawing “magical girls” really paid off later, as she won a year’s worth of ice cream in a local art contest at age 10. That free ice cream seems to have secured her future as an artist.
As a high school senior, Sharon was awarded a fashion scholarship to Pratt Institute in New York after entering their national talent search for apparel design. At Pratt, she triple majored in Fashion, Illustration, and Photography, which helped shape her approach to narrative illustration.
She went on to work in the fashion and architectural design industry, but still managed to focus on expanding her original series of Spellbinders™ (a mixed media collection of captivating women), and the Shenanicats™ (an original series of playful feline) in her off time. Sharon also authored one children’s book called “The Crafties”, about a group of scheming rats and their fairy princess which was later published by PellMell, Inc. for iTunes.
Her lifelong love of all animals is very apparent in her work. She adored her own cats and often would befriend any furry creature she saw.
Sharon slipped away from us and her husband Carl Lie on August 24, 2011 in her beloved Manhattan after a long brave fight against a very rare form of cancer. She was only 45.
If you love Sharon’s artwork, we’d appreciate you donating to a great organization that she very much believed in – The ASPCA of NYC, who help save animals and find them loving homes.