Mel Ramos (born July 24, 1935) is an American figurative painter, specializing most often in paintings of female nudes, whose work incorporates elements of realist and abstract art. Born in Sacramento, California, to a first generation Portuguese-Azorean immigrant family, he gained his popularity as part of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. Ramos is "best known for his paintings of superheroes and voluptuous female nudes emerging from cornstalks or Chiquita bananas, popping up from candy wrappers or lounging in martini glasses". He is also a retired university art professor. Education Ramos attended Sacramento Junior College and San Jose State College. One of his earliest art teachers was Wayne Thiebaud, who is considered his mentor, and who remains a friend. Ramos received his B.A. and his M.A. from Sacramento State College, finishing his education in 1958. Academic career Ramos taught art at Elk Grove High School and Mira Loma High School in Sacramento from 1958 to 1966. After two brief college teaching assignments, he began a long career at California State University, East Bay in Hayward, California which lasted from 1966 to 1997, and where he is now Professor Emeritus. He has been Artist in Residence at Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin.