Sculptor Danielle Mailer’s visual vocabulary is inspired by cherished Cape Cod memories.
The inspiration for Danielle Mailer’s colorful artwork—often depicting the female form along with dogs, cats, horses, and fish—comes from her longtime relationship with Provincetown’s unique landscape and culture. As a favorite destination for summer trips as a child and in later years, Provincetown holds a special place in Mailer’s heart.
Provincetown has continuously been a source of inspiration for the artist. “It is my spiritual home,” Mailer says. “I need it for my equanimity. The smells, the light, the colors have found their way into my psyche, my cells, my spirit, and in this way have become a part of my visual vocabulary, if not literally then certainly symbolically. And even after all these years, I still have a child-like sense of excitement and wonder at that moment when I first see the strip of land that brings the [Pilgrim] Monument into view. It is pure happiness.”
Although she has now put down roots in Goshen, Connecticut, almost every summer of Mailer’s life was spent at least partly in Provincetown visiting her father, well-known writer Norman Mailer. “He insisted on all of us being together every summer…we were his muses. He was the barometer and set the tone. He always had a madcap plan that we were a part of.”
When Mailer talks about her childhood, she labels it “unorthodox.” How could it be anything else when her mother, Adele Morales Mailer—Norman Mailer’s second wife—was an artist, and her father was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and playwright? “It was part of the fabric of [having] a famous father,” Mailer says, recalling life as one of nine children growing up in their father’s limelight.
The brilliant colors found in Mailer’s work are drawn from the influence of her mother’s Latin heritage. Both parents, she says, powerfully impacted her life. After they divorced when she was five, her father spent time with her and her sister on weekends and took them to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
As a child, Danielle took classes at the Art Students League, and her interest in the subject carried her through to Bowdoin College in Maine where she majored in art and English. After college, she worked as a waitress in New York. “My father was not big on nepotism,” she says. “He was uncomfortable using his influence.”