Ed Mell

Ed Mell

Arizona native Ed Mell started drawing as soon as he could a pencil.  His boyhood love of drawing cars and building models eventually led him to study at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.  Mell worked briefly in advertising in New York before opening his own illustration firm there, Sagebrush Studios.  But a few years later, Mell returned to Phoenix and the western landscapes that inspire so much of his work. 

Today, Mell is best known for his landscape paintings in oils.  While some showcase recognizable places, such as the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, others are more abstract and only loosely based on geography, allowing geometric shapes to override reality.  Mell also depicts a range of southwestern subjects in his paintings, such as longhorn cattle, cactuses, and flowers.   In the mid-1980s he added sculpting in bronze to his artistic repertoire.  Mell’s monumental sculpture of a cowboy riding a bucking horse, Jack Knife, is a landmark in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona.

Mell works out of his studio in downtown Phoenix, located in a converted 1930s grocery store.  True to his boyhood love of automobiles, he owns several classic cars, including a 1972 Pantera and a 1962 Corvette which he drives in the Phoenix Art Museum’s annual road rally fundraiser.

Mell’s work has been exhibited in nine museums, including the Eiteljorg Museum, the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, the Mesa Southwest Museum, and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art.  His art and life are the subject of a 1996 book, Beyond the Visible Terrain