Ed Mell was born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1942. After graduating from Phoenix Junior College with an associate’s degree, he enrolled in the ArtCenter College of Design in Los Angeles to pursue his interest in adverting and illustration.
In 1967, Mell took a job as junior art director for a prominent New York advertising agency. Soon after, he and his friend Skip Andrews established their own illustration studio, Sagebrush Studios, which helped bring the airbrush back in style in the 1960s. However, when Mell was given an opportunity in 1970 to return to Arizona to teach summer art classes in silk screening and drawing on the Hopi Reservation, it instilled in him a need to return to his native West. Upon returning to Arizona, Mell still did illustration as a means of support while he developed his approach to Western subject matter.
Mell brings an architectural eye to the desert, emphasizing graphic elements and stripping away details that do not serve his vision. From landscapes to storms, longhorn cattle to desert flowers, he presents the American Southwest in bold colors and line, energizing the vistas with his singular style.
Mell’s work is in the permanent collections of important museums including Phoenix Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, Eiteljorg Museum, Booth Museum, Autry Museum of the American West and Gilcrease Museum, among others.
Numerous corporate and private collectors have acquired his paintings and sculptures, and his life as an artist has been chronicled in major art publications.