About James Mellick

James Mellick’s career as an artist has been divided between the art market and the university.  In 1973 he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a major in painting, a minor in sculpture and extensive work in printmaking.  In his first teaching position at Colby Sawyer College in New Hampshire (1973-1978) he turned to wood carving and assemblage which has been his medium of choice for 42 years.
Teaching positions include Houghton College where he started the art program in 1979, head of the sculpture program at Calvin College (1989-91) and he developed the three-dimensional program and designed the facilities at Cedarville University (2008-14). In 2012-2013 he was given the Faculty Award for Scholarship, a rare honor for the fine and performing arts in academe. Mellick’s allegorical wood sculptures are collected internationally and he is in many private collections and as well as museum and academic collections. A recent nominee for the Governor’s Award in Ohio, he is recognized as a “Master Ohio Craftsman”. He has over 180 exhibitions to his credit, including 40 one and two person shows. His images are in national and international publications and three sculpture textbooks. In 2016 James Mellick’s Wounded Warrior Dogs won the international Grand Prize by Popular Vote at Art Prize 8.

James Journey

Carving Allegories of Redemption.


James’s first major solo exhibition in a metropolitan commercial gallery in ’83 began a series of notable acknowledgements including: “Best of Show” 1984 Ohio State Fair, “Best of Show” 1985 Columbus OH regional show, “Award of Excellence” 1987 Exhibition 280, Best of Show in Sculpture” 1988 Pittsburgh PA Three Rivers Arts Festival, and “Best of Show” at 1993 Columbus Arts Festival.


Starting in ’94 James exhibited his work internationally and immediately received attention for his work in Sydney Australia. During this time James maintained his influence in the US by showing his work in states across the East Coast and Midwest. For his efforts, he was published multiple times, and received high accolades like: “Award of Excellence”, Juror’s Choice Award”, “Craftsmanship and Humor Award”, and “Fine Craftsmanship Award”. Amidst the travels James found time to plan and build Heartwood Studio Barn and Art School from which he still operates today.


The late 2000s were decorated by solo exhibits and subsequent recognition from museums, universities, and art centers alike for James’s remarkable use of wood as a medium and animals as his subjects. Having worked with both professionally for over three decades now James settled into his calling.


Lending his life’s work and abilities to a tremendous cause, 2015 marked the first time that the Wounded Warrior Dogs were exhibited at the Vietnam Dog Handler Association Reunion. They then traveled to the Ohio State Fair where they were awarded the “People’s Choice Award.” Their time on display at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus yielded a “Juror’s Choice Award.” The dogs continued telling their story at the Keeter Center on the College of the Ozark’s campus.

2016 started with the “Wounded Warrior Dogs: Remembering America’s K9 Heros” exhibit at Canton Museum of Art. They were then featured in “Loyal Companions,” Ohio Magazine, and “Battle Scarred,” The Bark, Exhibited at ArtPrize Eight, winning 3-D Category and Grand Prize, Grand Rapids, MI.

In 2017 the dogs appeared as “James Mellick: Wounded Warrior Dogs and Faithful Companions”, Ohio Craft Museum. “Wounded Warrior Dogs Encore Exhibit”, ArtPrize 9, Grand Rapids, MI. Wounded Warrior Dogs,” Cardinal Hall, Ohio State Fair. “Heros” Art Works, Big Rapids, MI. And, “Wounded Warrior Dogs” Greenville University, IL.

In 2018 the K9s appeared as “James Mellick: Wounded Warrior Dogs and Faithful Companions” at the Southern Ohio Museum. “Wounded Warrior Dogs Project”, Pop-up Gallery, Marysville, OH. “K9 War Stories,” Canton Museum of Art, OH. And, the “Broad & High” at PBS-affiliate WOSU-TV wins Emmy for segment on Wounded Warrior Dogs. This year the “Wounded Warrior Dogs” were on display at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, Fayetteville, NC. And are now exhibited as “Wounded Warrior Dogs and K9 War Stories,” at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, VA.

In 2019 the “Wounded Warrior Dogs” were on display at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, Fayetteville, NC; at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, VA and the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, OH.


Beginning in 2020, further exhibitions were as follow: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, MI, 2020; Wounded Warrior Dogs and K9 War Stories, National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA, 2021; War Dogs, Upcountry History Museum, Greenville, SC, 2021; Dogs of War and Peace, AKC Museum of the Dog, New York, NY, 2022; Wounded Warrior Dogs, Monthaven Cultural Arts Center, Hendersonville, TN, August 6-September 11, 2022; Wounded Warrior Dogs & K9 War Stories, Marco Island Art Museum, Marco Island, FL, 2022-2023; Wounded Warrior Dogs & K9 War Stories, National Museum of the U.S. Army, Ft. Belvoir, VA, 2023

Previous Commisions

Years of Wood Carving
Solo Exhibitions
Juried and Invitational Group Exhibitions
Private Collections across the Globe

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