Born in 1942, Ed Mell spent an idyllic childhood in what was then the small western city of Phoenix. He attended Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, and soon after graduation accepted a position in New York as an art director for a large advertising agency.
Seeking a break from the city's pace, he accepted a teaching position on the Hopi reservation in 1970. Time spent on Arizona's Colorado Plateau reconnected Mell with the land he loved and his artistic course was set. He relocated to Phoenix and began painting his well-known landscapes.