Why a Grand Terrace cartoonist turned to acting when he was 50

Why a Grand Terrace cartoonist turned to acting when he was 50
  1. Why a Grand Terrace cartoonist turned to acting when he was 50
    When Mel Chadwick was in elementary school, his class was assigned to draw a scene of Native American life. He drew what he says was a very detailed buffalo hunt, winning great praise. “I think that hooked me,” says the longtime Grand Ter…

When Mel Chadwick was in elementary school, his class was assigned to draw a scene of Native American life. He drew what he says was a very detailed buffalo hunt, winning great praise.

“I think that hooked me,” says the longtime Grand Terrace resident. “It became my claim to fame. I became the kid who knew how to draw. Around that time I also saw my first Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec paintings. I’ve been in love with their art ever since.”

Chadwick would go on to receive a bachelor’s of fine art and master’s in psychology from Cal State San Bernardino. Although he spent time as a medic for the United States Army in Germany, Chadwick’s career path would be in the arts.

“As a teen, I wanted to be a cartoonist,” he says. “MAD Magazine was a major influence.”

After Chadwick left the Army, he became a cartoonist for TRW, which developed military and civil space systems and was acquired by Northrup Grumman in 2002.

“For most of my life I’ve made my living as an artist, teaching it and actually doing it,” he says.

Being an artist wasn’t always easy for Chadwick, though. As the youngest of four brothers, he explains that his siblings were not very understanding about his artistic sensibilities.

“Once I got my degree in art, my brothers stopped teasing me and calling me names,” Chadwick says. “I made more money than they did.”

For 20 years, Chadwick did the illustrations for “Our Fascinating Earth,” a syndicated feature that provides interesting tidbits of information, from the formation of Earthquake Lake in Yellowstone National Park to how the dung spider of Sri Lanka uses camouflage to feed.

“I was nationally syndicated, but never a big hit,” he says. “It just gave me enough money to help send my kids through college.”

At the age of 50, Chadwick began acting. He had never studied or trained in the field, but had always felt a connection. Part of that may have been, he says, to get the attention of his older brothers. But he explains that he has also always loved stories.

“I think…

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