J Merilee Adams is a third generation artist who received her initial art training and inspiration from various members of her richly talented family. She launched her career as a full-time artist in 1976, first marketing mosaics, copper enameling, ceramics, leather pictures, and woven wall hangings. She loved her career, and found inspiration in color and structure.
Early in her career, she invented a new technique of fiber sculpture. Her sculptures were a hit, and as she grew, so did her art in both size and scope. Merilee added wood and metals to her fiber technique to create what she called Art on a Grand Scale; massive wall facades and sculptures, custom designed and built for clients and their unique spaces. Eventually she moved away from fiber to take her art to the next level by creating sculptures in wood and various metals. When installed as a wall facade, they are mounted seamlessly to the wall, and in most cases painted out the same color as the wall, which gives the effect that the wall itself is sculptured. Her sculptures continue to hang in collections world-wide. After producing hundreds of commissions and many years of success with this art form, Merilee’s curiosity and creativity drove her to the next adventure: painting.
In 2000, Merilee hung up her loom and woodworking tools to begin her journey as a painter. Still inspired by structure and color, her first paintings are known for their bold colors and textured canvases. She started painting exotic figures, whose soft lines contrast with sharp shapes, texture, and colors in a thoughtful and bold statement. Success with these exotic lady paintings, Merilee found herself excited by her new journey. Ever growing in her skill and expression, she turned her eyes to her desert home, and instead of seeing the muted colors popularized by southwest artists, she embraced the bold contrasts and bright colors of the desert. Today, Merilee still paints exotic figures and desert scenes, but is most excited to debut her brightly color Desert Hues collection to an audience of both new and returning collectors.
Also in the early 2000’s, Merilee found a new calling: working with children and adults with developmental disabilities, both as a form of art therapy and also as vocational training. Over the years, she’s developed a special group of students with a higher interest in art with the goal of training them to be productive, self sufficient people as working artists. She teaches them life skills and also develops their artistic talents, grows their knowledge in fine art, and coaches them on the business of art including how to set up and put away a show, speak with potential clients, close a sale, process payments, and market themselves and their art. Recently, Merilee took two years off from showing her own work to teach her students how to show theirs. Her students have progressed in big ways; including being accepted into juried fine art shows. Already, two of her students moved on to jobs in the real world and are well on their way to independence. Merilee says her students’ successes are her priceless rewards.
Now, however, after her 2-year hiatus, Merilee is back at work exhibiting her own works when she isn’t busy with her students. During her time off, she developed a bright new collection of work that she is excited to share with the world. Still true to her love of structure and color, her newest works show off her love of Arizona, her home, and vibrant colors that paint the desert’s breathtaking vistas.
Merilee is grateful for the priceless experiences she is blessed to experience along her rich journey.