History of the Encaustic Art Institute

Douglas and Adrienne Mehrens

Douglas and Adrienne Mehrens


Douglas and Adrienne Mehrens

Douglas left architecture school at UNM to design and build custom homes. Over the next 35 years, he designed and built some 50 unique, dramatic private homes and exciting commercial properties in 8 different states, coast to coast.

In 1980, with the love and fascination of the Universe, he started his career in wax by dripping Crayola ® crayons one drop at a time from the wick of candles; each dot representing a star, planet or galaxy. His art evolved to include many forms of wax and currently resin and wax.

Click here to read Douglas’ artist statement.

It was after 15 years of private shows, and a gallery in Scottsdale Arizona, that Douglas decided to buy 12 beautiful private acres south of Santa Fe, on the Galisteo River Basin. Here he would begin to build his dream of the Encaustic Art Institute. As part of the overall design of the buildings within the compound, Douglas envisioned a gallery/studio for himself and the Encaustic Art Institute. After a 10 year process of completing the “pyramid”, a magnificent 24oo sp. ft. space, it became the permanent home of the Encaustic Art Institute. In 2005, he formed EAI as a 501 -C non-profit, to fulfill his dream of giving back to the community, and other encaustic artists.

His vision extends to having an encaustic art organization that uniquely appreciates beginning artists as much as successful ones. At EAI artists join together to benefit one another, establishing a unique relationship between artists, galleries and non-profits.

In March of 2015, Douglas realized another piece of his dream in locating the perfect site in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to house the growing number of members’ work and the growing Permanent Collection artwork.  EAI opened in the new 4000 sq. ft. space, displaying twice the amount of artwork; also providing an expanded workshop area for the public and members to learn and share the growing diversity of the medium.  Santa Fe being the second largest art market in America gives EAI the potential to reach broader goals, and create the kind of expanded visibility needed for the encaustic/wax movement.

As Douglas puts it, “It is time to get artists (our first priority), galleries, art organizations and museums, to all work together for the success of the artist.” He and his wife Adrienne (also an artist)  have certainly realized the dream of acquiring the space and established the edifice and the vision to make EAI the premier encaustic art organization in the world. With your help, support, and of course, your ideas, we will grow and succeed.