Mel Smothers Biography

Mel Smothers Biography

Mel Smothers was raised between “farm and city” as he puts it. As a child, his family moved to a farm in the vast expanse of the Sacramento Valley where he would began his artistic journey, playing with pencils and paint. In fact Smothers still holds paintings from early childhood. These paintings would later become instrumental to Mel’s art career.

Several years after moving to Sacramento Valley, his father moved the Smothers family up to a cabin in the mountains of Yosemite. He recalls his dad and uncle chopping down pine trees for their cabin and the heavy smell of fresh cut cedars and ponderosa coming from the Ford Model A powered sawmill in the backwoods. During his time in Yosemite Mel met a mounted Wilderness Ranger, compelling him to become a backcountry ranger himself. He says of his time in Yosemite: “These memories continue to serve me in my endless mission to reproduce the sublime qualities of nature. It’s in the trying that I find art.”

Returning to him in his mid 40's were profound memories of joy. Discovering 40 year old paintings of his own hand changed his personal goals to living a life of art. To accomplish his goal of returning to painting he went back to college, finding his way to Wayne Thiebaud's classes. With Wayne's guidance, he finished with a MFA from the University of Idaho before becoming the Audubon Society painter in residence at Levenworth, WA headquarters, teaching at Sierra Nevada College along the shore of Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and finally returning to UC Davis to teach figure painting.

Sending a postcard of a California landscape to a New York gallery list, he was invited to join an offshoot of the Pace Galleries, Monique Goldstrom in SOHO. In 2004, he moved his studio to NYC where you can find him today at 70, still following his dream, in the Chelsea art district, holding an open studio on Saturday afternoons and posting in his Instagram blog @andydialogs.

"For me, painting is about the journey. That needs to be said. Validation comes and goes. What remains is the visual road map created by the struggle of painting. The story of pushing paint around, and as the years go by, finding it is the reason to get up in the morning."

To this day Mel credits his upbringing and environment for his love of paintings, the sound of a fiddle and his unwavering commitment to fly-fishing.

Art Dealer Diaries

  • Masters in Fine Art, University of Idaho, 1999.
  • University of California at Davis, Professor Wayne Thiebaud: Life Drawing, Print-making, Art Criticism.
  • BA Degree, Studio Art, California State University, Sacramento, CA. 1991.
  • San Jose State University, California.
  • Judaica Museum, Hebrew Home at Riverdale, Gilbert Pavilion Gallery, New York City.
  • Higgenbotham Museum, Virginia
  • Brooklyn Museum, New York City
  • Museum of Community University of New York (CUNY)
  • Whipple Art Museum, Minnesota.
  • Mid-America All Indian Center, Wichita, KS.
  • University of California at Davis, Ca
  • California State University at Sacramento, CA
  • Woodland Community Hospital
  • Kaiser Health Corporation
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Sacramento Regional Transit
  • Summit Medical Center
  • South Lake Tahoe Public Library
  • El Dorado County Public Library
  • Foundation Health Corporation
  • Prudential Securities
  • Yolo County Health and Education


  • El Bote, New York City, NY, 2018
  • Playful Scapes: Beth Barry & Mel Smothers, New York City, NY, 2018
  • ISLAND ABSTRACTION, New York City, NY, 2017
  • ISLANDS, New York City, NY, 2015
  • “POSTCARDS FROM THE PLAYA,” Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV. 2015
  • UNCUBED, Creativity Fair. Santa Monica, San Francisco, California, Wakefiled Magazine, Indiewalls. 2014
  • Indiewalls, New York City.2012- 2013, Sabrina Wirth, curator, Iber Gonzalez Vidals, curator.
  • Pence Gallery, Davis CA. 2012, Natalie Nelson, curator.
  • Judaica Museum, Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York City, 2009, Emily O’Leary, Curator.


  • “Colorations,” Santa Monica, CA, 2017
  • “Shamus, Stern and Smothers,” New York City, NY, 2016
  • Peter Marcelle Contemporary Projects, New York City, 2008-present.
  • “Small Works,” Key West, FL. 2016
  • “Landscapes,” Mosser Hotel, San Francisco, CA. 2016
  • “Summer Group Show,” New York City, NY. 2015
  • “This Land is Your Land,” Morris Graves Museum, Eureka,CA. 2014
  • ‘Bushwick Painters,” New York City, summer 2013
  • Studio 26 New York City, Art Fairs 2013-16; Miami Beach; NYC; Los Angeles; Brussels; Monaco; Singapore; Berlin; Hamptons.
  • Art Takes Times Square, Times Square, New York, 2012
  • Unearthing the Narrative in Art Today, The 23rd Atmosphere Gallery, Chicago, 2011
  • Open Portfolio New York, 2010,’ Chelsea Art Museum, New York, 2010.
  • Beyond Warhol in the 21st Century: A Post-Pop Romantic Retrofit,’ Chicago and New York, 2010
  • Peter Marcelle Contemporary Projects, New York City, 2008-present.
  • 30th Annual Emerging Artists 2007 Invitational,” Cooper Union, New York City, 2007.
  • Monique Goldstrom Gallery, New York City, NY. 2002-2005
  • 2010 Endangered World: Biscayne National Park Installation with Xavier Cortada
  • 2003 completion. 72” x 192” (3D) mural and 24- 48” x 48” “flip” panels. Light Rail train station, 21st and Broadway, Sacramento, CA.
  • 2002 Day in the Life of Sandhill Cranes, Painting Series. Yolo County Education Building.
  • “Art Takes Time Square,” Catalog, New York City. 2012
  • “Wedding Book,” self-published, New York City. 2010
  • “Concious Reader, 11e”, Longman Publishers, New York City, 2008. ISBN: 0205661681X . Digital edition, 2010.