Mel Odom (1950 - )
 

  Mel Odom was born in 1950, . He drew early and well and used his art to sustain him through school.He majored in Fashion Illustration at Virginia Commonwealth University and did graduate work in England. He spent nine months birthing a portfolio in 1974 and moved to New York in 1975 to break into the art market.

His work found an early home in the gay magazine, Blueboy, and shortly thereafter in Playboy. The frank, unfettered sexuality of his art has a powerful appeal, whether it was a 1977 fashion piece like "Gold Ray" or the almost confrontational "Arrangement" from a 1979 Blueboy.

Assignments outside of the erotic field were just as numerous. His work has an inherent fantasy feel to it and art directors in the field were quick to place his covers on their books. The sci-fi magazine Omni was also a client. He did sleeves for CBS records. Playboy named him Illustrator of the Year in 1980 and he won the Society of Illustrators' Gold Medal in the Editorial class in 1982, and the Silver Medal in the Book class in 1987. His pencil, Peerless dyes, and gouache technique is very distinctive and he seems to be totally in command of every nuance.


And mostly these commissions were part of a series. There are at least four covers in the Kay series, three in the Hazel, two for Nancy Collins books, a half dozen at least for Ruth Rendell titles and two so far in the Sisters in Fantasy series. Also in hardcover, he did a pair of Anne Rice djs for two of her "Anne Rampling" novels.

With his obvious enchantment with exotic and erotic faces, it will come as no surprise to you that he is also a mask maker. In the tradition of W.T. Benda (1873-1948), another illustrator whose passion was masks and author of the seminal book, Masks, Odom is fascinated with the power and the liberating qualities of the mask.



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