DCWM honors Mell with Lifetime Achievement Award

(Photo by June White/Courtesy)

By Shawn Byrne

Sun Editor

Ed Mell’s paintings and sculptures can be found in collections owned by Tri-Star Pictures, Phoenix Art Museum, actress Diane Keaton, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt.

He is a person “who reflect(s) the unbridled creativity and history of the American West” and for that he has been named the recipient of the 2020 Desert Caballeros Western Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Ed Mell’s command of subjects both large and small with an angularity of style, and his ability to excel in multiple venues and media, makes him incomparable,” said Dan Finley, DCWM executive director, in a press release. “He is, without a doubt, one of our state’s foremost living artists.”

Mell told The Sun he isn’t aware of any other artists who have received lifetime achievement awards, and that makes his award by DCWM all the more special.

“I’m honored to get the Lifetime Achievement Award,” he said. “The show we put up looks really great, and the museum was great to work with. They let me pick the color of the walls.”

An exhibition of Mell’s work, featuring nearly 100 pieces of his work, has been on display at the museum in it’s Fisher Gallery since Dec. 21 and will continue through March 8.

Mell’s popularity is easily defined. Tickets to “The heART of the West Gala,” in which Mell was honored Saturday, Jan. 18, sold out before the museum could even get its invitations in the mail.

Mell said he paints the West because it is phenomenal with the choices of color and form. His concepts originate from growing up in his native Arizona and visits to Utah. One way he grasped those colors and forms came from the sky.

Mell was a close friend to Jerry Foster, who for many years was the helicopter pilot for Channel 12 in Phoenix. Mell went on helicopter trips with Foster, including a time when they picked up former Sen. Barry Goldwater and took him to Rainbow Lodge in Coconino County.

“I saw a lot of beautiful country with him,” Mell said. “It gave me a different viewpoint of places that most artists don’t get to go. There’s a certain adrenaline running through you when riding in a helicopter, and I try to put some of that into my work.”

Bob Boze Bell, author, artist and executive editor of “True West Magazine,” introduced Mell at the Gala.

“We shared studio space for five years,” Mell said. “He is such a good guy.”

The Gala was chaired by Betty Watt, and Mell is the seventh recipient of the DCWM’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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