In traveling to more than 70 countries, Mary-Ellen Campbell has done a good bit of exploring. As a mixed media artist she has also explored a variety of media, techniques and themes in her artwork. She has explored the USA, too, driving across country five times in the last 3 years.
In 2012 Mary-Ellen retired from university teaching and was looking for the perfect place to spend the “last third of my life. I had been to the Mendocino Art Center in 2007 after a residency at Stonehouse in the Sierras. I was impressed by all the content people painting, sculpting, making jewelry and working with fabric. It appealed to my mixed -media soul. But I had to wait 5 years to retire before I could apply for the 9 month residency.” During summers and sabbaticals Mary-Ellen won 10 shorter artist residencies from Finland, New Zealand, Turkey, Australia, Costa Rica, and across the USA. She finally came to the Mendocino Art Center, where she completed two residencies and a Visiting Artist post. The natural environment, the arts, music and dance scene on the lost coast convinced her to move with her kayak from New York to Caspar in 2016.
Mary-Ellen Campbell was born and raised in New York. She earned a BA in Art Education at St. John’s University, NY, with the intention of a career in teaching. The day after her final exam for her MA from Michigan State University she hopped a plane to France beginning her addiction for traveling the world. Upon her return she was hired to teach art in public and private schools. Deciding to make a career change to full-time graphic design with the goal of university teaching, Mary-Ellen quickly advanced to Art Director at Doubleday and Barron’s publishing houses. After nine years in the publishing and advertising industries, she was hired by New Jersey City University to teach Graphic Design.
While working towards tenure at NJCU she received an MFA from Pratt Institute, with an emphasis in painting and printmaking. It was her third degree in Fine Arts and spearheaded a parallel career resulting in 16 solo and over 80 group and invitational shows both nationally and internationally. With summers free Mary-Ellen could travel professionally with teaching assignments in China, Thailand and Nicaragua. On sabbaticals she pursued her own work including producing two videos on the Arts of Asia and the Pacific. In 2004 She won a Fulbright to teach both Book Arts and Graphic Design in Thailand for a semester.
In 2000 Mary-Ellen took her first book arts workshop at the Center for Book Arts in NY. She continued in this media, writing poetry and creating handmade books. It was the perfect form for a mixed media artist. She has created books using metals, rocks, wood and assorted media and containing her photos, paintings and poems. She now teaches book arts classes across the country. She will be teaching at Sitka Center for Art and Science in August 2017.