Not one of the many art bios on Ed Mell mentions his great sense of humor.
Not one of the many art bios on Ed Mell mentions his great sense of humor. What most fans of his popular work don’t know is that he is a very funny guy. When he was recently honored with the unveiling of his Arizona Centennial Postage Stamp in Prescott, the crowd gasped at seeing his blow-up artwork. He told the crowd a few words about growing up in Arizona, collecting stamps (in fact, Ed has the stamp from the 1962 commemoration) and having ties to Prescott (he has a cabin which he built adjacent to the land his grandfather bought in the 1920s). With that, he finished by saying, “Thanks for applauding.” The crowd laughed, and then did just that.
Ed grew up as the middle brother of a talented trio. Oldest brother Frank was the cool one, the James Dean of the brothers. Younger brother Lee was the hip one, doing sketch comedy and appearing in live shows with the Tubes. Ed was the middle brother, the sleeper in the family. But in short order, he is the one who made the biggest name for himself, starting out at North High in Phoenix, then the Art Center College of Design in LA, a career in New York City doing ad work for major clients like Cheerios and RCA, and illustrations for Esquire and National Lampoon (a topless Minnie Mouse by Ed drew a lawsuit from Disney). Then he made his way back to Arizona, where he taught on the Hopi Reservation. Inspired, he went in a completely different direction and began a career as a fine art landscape painter. From there, he has branched out to include cowboys, horses, longhorn cattle and cactus flowers, winning fans and awards along the way. His biography, Beyond the Visible Terrain: The Art of Ed Mell, was published in 1996.
Through it all, he has displayed a wicked sense of humor, which many of his collectors are not even aware of. But now you are.
Arizona nearly shares a birthday with New Mexico, as both territories became states in early 1912. The New Mexico statehood centennial stamp will feature a landscape painted by Doug West that shows a ribbon of the Rio Grande tributary, the Rio Puerco, slicing through pink banks, with the backdrop of the Cabezon Peak, sacred to the Pueblo and Navajo Indians. West’s work has been exhibited in more than 50 solo shows, and his paintings hang in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. He regularly shows his work at his gallery in Arroyo Seco, the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe and Leslie Levy’s gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Albuquerque Journal reported that collectors of his work include Julia Roberts, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Burt Reynolds.