Mel Spinar was born and raised in South Dakota. Spinar taught painting and drawing for 34 years in the Visual Arts Department at South Dakota State University. Spinar also taught at Sioux Falls College and the Civic Fine Arts Center. He is highly esteemed as both artist and art educator. He has exhibited widely and is included in many public and private collections across the state.
Spinar's work reflects on popular culture and the male presence in a series called Dakota Male Portraits. His keen observations create an informal yet genuine depiction of each personality, giving the work a vividly distinct familiarity and charisma.