At 83 years young, Mel McCuddin keeps pouring out the images, much like he has done for nearly 60 years. The Art Spirit Gallery opened its doors in 1997, and Mel’s colorful and creatively-titled work has graced the walls from the beginning. His popularity quickly grew, and now it’s not uncommon to hear art enthusiasts inquire if your home “has a Mel?” The demand for his work has led him to become the third highest grossing artist the gallery has ever represented, following closely behind Harold Balazs and George Carlson. Well-known for his unconventional subjects that are strangely realistic yet abstract, Mel’s exhibits feature paintings from floor-to-ceiling, covering the 16 foot walls of the gallery.
“Oftentimes, people will observe Mel’s work and ask, ‘What is going on in his head?’” says Kasey Davis, Gallery Assistant. “They might not expect this work to come from a quiet, shy, always-smiling former truck driver for Early Dawn Dairy. The depth of intrigue that Mel’s work inspires is exciting to watch unfold.”
Interested in the human experience because of its endless amount of material, McCuddin’s creative process is uniquely his own. Each painting begins the same way: smearing paint randomly onto a canvas using rags, a thick brush, and his fingers. Once it is dry, the artist pulls up a chair in the quiet solitude of his studio, waiting for an image to emerge in a process he calls ‘a record of the evolution of an idea.’ He turns the canvas, often a number of times. “I wait and see what the painting suggests. And when I first find the image, that’s the exciting part.”