Mel Odom’s art first attained prominence in the mid-1970s with a series of exotic illustrations done for glossy magazines. These pencil and watercolor drawings soon attracted assignments from art directors of other magazines, leading to a seventeen year, free-lance relationship with Playboy magazine, and covers for Time and Omni magazines as well as countless books. During this period, a successful line of posters and greeting cards using Mel’s iconic images was published by paper Moon Graphics.
In 1995 Mel retired from illustration and focused on a three-dimensional project, a fashion doll for adults named Gene Marshall. Gene’s story of being a movie star during the 1940s and 50s was irresistible to collectors, and within a year of her 1995 launch at Toy Fair, Gene was in fact a star. Bits of her story came with each doll and costume and in 2000 her lavishly illustrated biography: “Gene Marshall, Girl Star” was published by Hyperion Press. Gene has been voted in Doll Reader the most influential doll since Barbie.
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