Born in Sacramento, California in 1935, Mel Ramos is primarily known as a figurative painter, but he has experimented freely with realist and abstract art forms. From 1954 to 1955 he attended Sacramento Junior College and from 1955 to 1956 he attended San Jose State College, both in California. He earned a B.A. and an M.A. from Sacramento State College.
Ramos received his first significant recognition in the early 1960s by producing art works that celebrated aspects of popular culture as represented in the mass media. His paintings were included in other Pop Art exhibitions in the United States and abroad. They have been reproduced, often with irony, in books, catalogues and periodicals throughout the world.
In 1986 Ramos received a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship Grant and a United States/France Exchange Fellowship.