Our Cover Artist
Artist, photographer and gallery owner Mel Stone took this issue's cover picture with an iPhone 4s, then manipulated it with free iPhone apps. He calls the results, which he exhibited at his Mesquite Gallery in Las Cruces in February, "iPhon-e-graphy." At the time, Stone commented, "A lady from New York visited my gallery the other day and told me iPhone art is very big right now in New York. After the show is over, I may upgrade to paid versions of these apps, but for the time being I like to brag about them being free."
This plunge into digital artwork is only the latest twist in a colorful career that began with earning a BA in chemistry at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Stone then switched fields — not for the last time — and earned an MA in economics and mathematics and, then, a PhD in economics. He taught at the university level for several years.
"The TV news bug bit me and until my retirement I was a TV news reporter/photographer (one-man band)," Stone says. "I believe 40 years of photographing TV news helped hone my eye. But the cold up north was too much to take."
As he neared retirement, he joined an art co-op in Fargo, ND, and soon became one of its top sellers. "For several years, I'd thought about moving to Las Cruces. With the art co-op experience I decided to find a place I could live in and have a few rooms as an art gallery. That's what I have at 340 N. Mesquite St."
Besides his own photography, Stone's Mesquite Gallery displays and sells everything from paintings to woodcut prints. "Some of these I bought from Midwestern artists for my gallery, but I also invite select local artists to exhibit in my gallery."