Merrill Mahaffey was born in 1937 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and spent his childhood growing up in Grand Junction, Colorado. At the age of 13, Mahaffey completed his first painting and received encouragement from a local artist in Grand Junction to continue with his talent. His exploration of the west started at a young age-first with his father and soon on his own. As an avid outdoorsman, Mahaffey has redefined the great western landscape with his brush. Mahaffey has climbed, skied, rafted, rode horseback and strolled through the subjects of his paintings. Four day hikes into the Rocky Mountain basins with a fly fishing rod, camera and sketch book were common for Mahaffey, as were first ascents on desert mountain peaks-replacing his fly rod with ropes.
The monumental landscapes from Mahaffey’s palette and canvas reflect his high standards of craftsmanship, exploration and invention in a style that is ever evolving. Bridging realism and modernism, Mahaffey has refined a link between aesthetics and environmental concerns. He continues to display an awareness for respecting what is sacred about the land and our involvements with it. Merrill Mahaffey has become one of the leading Western artists of our time and continues to lead the way for new generations of artist-explores who will interpret the western landscape.
Mahaffey completed his formal art education in California and Arizona, receiving his BFA from Sacramento State and MFA from Arizona State University. Merrill Mahaffy’s works are in many collections world wide including: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, Freeport McMoran (Phelps Dodge), Exxon, Phillips Petroleum and the United States National Park Service.