Biography of Ed Massey


Born in Los Angeles, CA to immigrant parents from Mexico and France; Massey, who was raised in LA, now divides his time between Los Angeles and New York City.


Columbia University, MFA, 1990; Thesis: Public Art
U.C.L.A., BA
U.S.C. - San Diego State University

volley ball

Prior to entering college, Massey balances two of his passions, art and athletics. In college, Massey plays Division I volleyball and competes in international competition thru 1989.


During his undergraduate studies, Massey is the lead fashion designer for Team USA and Quintana Roo, two fashion lines carried by Neiman Marcus, Marshall Fields, and Fred Segal, among many others.


As a student at UCLA, Massey studies sociology and does not have an opportunity to take studio art classes due to lack of space for non-fine art majors. Nonetheless, Massey's keen interest in sculpture continues to expand and he builds his own sculpture portfolio outside of school. Before he graduates, Massey is selected as the only non-fine art major and finalist for UCLA's juried fine art competition open to the entire student body, including graduate and undergraduate art majors. The UCLA competition is pivotal in his development and energizes him to reach further. Massey's art focus broadens and his sculpture begins to reflect subject matter of social relevance. He is soon selected again as a part of a collegiate show curated by the 20th century art curator of LACMA. And shortly thereafter, Massey is selected for a juried exhibition at the Bowers Museum.


Bell Atlantic (later Bell South and AT&T South) purchases Massey's A Day at the Office sculpture in 1988.


For much of 1988, Massey works feverishly for a year in a Santa Monica co-op based art studio with five other sculptors and twenty painters. He builds his portfolio and is accepted to several fine art graduate programs. Before committing to any university, he is asked by a leading Los Angeles art consulting firm to create a maquette and proposal for a large-scale outdoor sculpture for a new building in Venice Beach, CA. If awarded the commission, Massey will delay his graduate studies to complete the year-long sculpture project. After reviewing the invited artists, models/maquettes, and following meetings with the developers and architect, Massey is one of the four finalists for the commission, including Red Grooms, Jonathon Borofsky, and Roland Reiss. The work ultimately commissioned is Jonathan Borofsky's, "Ballarina Clown." Massey enrolls in Columbia University's School of the Arts and moves to NYC.

Corporate Ladder

While at Columbia in 1989, Massey is contacted by a corporate art consultant and is commissioned to create a captivating public art work for the lobby of a Washington, DC area building owned by the then-$26 billion Principal Financial Group. After reviewing several of Massey's proposals for the space, they decide on his concept for a 20' high life-size Corporate Ladder sculpture for the entranceway of the lobby. Upon its installation, the work and its depiction of corporate life become instantly controversial and heated debate ensues. Corporate Ladder is Massey's real-world introduction to the realm of public art and issues related to works created for public spaces.

Case Studies

In the early 1990s, Massey’s Harlem studio is within blocks of what is considered the crack cocaine capital of the country. Moved by the destructiveness of the epidemic on both coasts and its social costs and consequences, Massey creates Case Study, his sculpture dealing with the crack trade epidemic of the late 1980s and early 1990s era.


In 1994, Massey creates his first installation, Morality/Mortality, a life-size tableaux focusing on the horror of sexual assault. The work is unveiled simultaneously and publicly in five cities, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Miami. The installation serves as the core element for a public campaign focusing on rape and sexual assault issues. Before its launch, Massey meets Peg Yorkin, who soon becomes instrumental in supporting and advocating for the Morality/Mortality project.

Morality/Mortality is the first of the public project collaborations with brother Bernie Massey who works with Ed to develop the framework for the social issues campaigns, public messaging, and public education productions in which a striking visual is at the fore.


During the creation of Morality/Mortality and prior to its exhibition, Massey writes and completes his first children's picture book, Milton, a story dealing with imagination and creativity. After the book’s publication, Massey is invited to read Milton to pediatric patients at local hospitals. On his visits to pediatric care units, Massey notes that children undergoing their treatments enjoy drawing on standard paper, and that the flower is a common design in many of the children's drawings and paintings regardless of the child's age, gender, or cultural background. He observes that this holds true even for the young patients who come from abroad to receive medical care.

Project 9865

During this time period, Massey notices that the exterior panels on a 166' high tower on the Los Angeles/Beverly Hills boundary are weathered and in poor shape. He learns that the tower exterior is made of more than 200 semi-rigid panels, some as large as 35' x 15'. The tower is on one of Los Angeles's busiest thoroughfares, and Massey believes the tower could be visually transformed into a bold public artwork. His idea is to involve graduate fine art students from area universities in a collaborative public art project. Massey meets with tower engineers, however, who tell him that constructing scaffolding around it is not possible because of the tower's shape, and thus painting on the tower is not possible. They inform him that originally when the tower was built, 17 years before, the panels were fabricated and installed by crane. Several weeks later, Massey jogs by the tower and comes to an important realization that would later lead to the creation of Portraits of Hope (www.portraitsofhope.org): If the tower cannot be scaffolded, "we will bring the walls down." Massey concludes that the semi-rigid panels can be removed and replaced with new ones, thus allowing any group of people to participate in the tower's visual transformation, including those who would never have the opportunity to reach the heights of the structure - children in hospital environments. To Massey, the tower is the only known structure in a major metropolitan area anywhere in the world that has no windows and whose walls are completely removable. The tower's pliable walls formation makes for a unique canvas.

shoe brush

Throughout 1995, Massey begins to develop Portraits of Hope as a creative therapy program for children in pediatric facilities. The program is intended to involve any child in a hospital setting who wishes to participate. He develops and/or creates three innovative and engaging painting methodologies for children who have difficulty manipulating or cannot use a hand-held paint brush: The "Shoe Brush," U.S. Patent No. 5,765,478; designed as method and device for painting without the use of hands or arms; 'The Fruit Roll Up Paint Brush," designed as a method and device for painting with one's mouth; and "The Telescope Paint Brush with Pole Support" (not photographed) designed as a method for painting from a seated position, (patent pending). At the same time, Bernie Massey begins the process of developing a civic leadership arm of the program for children and adults participating through schools and community organizations, and creating an interdisciplinary civic education component for students that would soon become a staple of the program.. Together the Massey Bros. lead the political approval process to authorize the painting of the tower in a floral theme as part of a major public art and civic initiative, named Project 9865.

Portraits of Hope logo

Massey views the flower's importance as core to Portraits of Hope, both as an artistic icon for the children and as a universal symbol of beauty, renewal, hope, life, healing, and inspiration. Moreover, by bringing painted flowers to cityscapes, the floral artwork helps bring life to concrete and steel-laden cities where flowers often do not grow.

US Convention

In 1997, Massey meets Helen Landgarten, a pioneer of art therapy for whom the art therapy school at Loyola Marymount University is named. Helen becomes an advocate for Portraits of Hope and participates in its sessions. That same year, the Massey Bros. initiate a project for the Opica Center. The intergenerational project brings in youth to interact with senior citizens, some of whom are grappling with serious ailments, including Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and Dementia. Assisted by the students, the seniors paint colorful panels that beautify the interior space of the senior center, expanding the populations involved in the Portraits of Hope program.

Tower of Hope

The next year, many key individuals sign on to help orchestrate the unprecedented and massive statewide effort which the tower project becomes. Thru 2000, the tower project involves more than 4,000 seriously ill children and their families, many thousands of students and adults, and more than 200 institutions and community groups across CA. The Massey Bros. and their teams lead hundreds of sessions at hospitals and illness related camps in the course of the project, as well as connected civic education school sessions throughout the state. Upon its completion, Project 9865 is dedicated as the Tower of Hope.

During the tower project, Massey meets Helen and Peter Bing, who become key supporters of Portraits of Hope. Helen becomes a lead champion of the program.

wedding dress

During 1998, Massey designs and creates "The Wedding Dress" for his bride, Dawn. The wedding dress and an exhibit of Massey's wedding are later profiled at the Skirball Museum.

For the Future

In 2001, Massey and Portraits of Hope travel to Osaka, Japan to do a project after a horrifically violent attack on young school children severely traumatizes the nation. The completed project is called Melie eh, For the Future. At this juncture, Portraits of Hope also develops a community service initiative for a national youth group in Washington, DC in which the students paint large floral panels that get shipped around the world to brighten the interiors of rape crisis centers, rehabilitative centers, hospitals, and other human services facilities.


NASA invites Massey to develop a project in connection with the Centennial of Flight Celebration at Kitty Hawk, NC in 2003. NASA proposes a public mural. Massey conceives the idea of creating a hand-painted, flying airplane that will fly at the Wright Bros. celebration. Children in hospitals across the country join in creating the artistic work for a vintage plane, entitled Garden in Transit, Airborne.

Project Human Rights

In early 2003, the Massey Bros. conceive the endworldterror.com public education initiative, defined by its universal approach to denounce forcefully and delegitimize terror as a tactic to further any political, social, or religious cause, regardless of the respective cause, or the identities of the victim or perpetrator. The philosophy parallels the Morality/Mortality project: rape is always wrong, so too is terror. The traveling program utilizes a jarring bombed civilian bus and mobile big-screen video truck that profiles terrorism in dozens of countries carried out for a variety of causes. The endworldterror.com initiative and universal framework is profiled around the world as soon as it launches.


Also in 2003, Massey receives a commission to create a canvas for the exterior of the Culver Plaza Building in Culver City, CA. The monumental 241 foot long canvas titled, Syncopation, reaches 35 feet in height and totals 7,100 square feet in painted surface. Massey completes Syncopation in 2004. The urban building, which was in need of a facelift, instantly becomes a major public work.


In 2005, Massey completes his second children's picture book, Jedlo, Defender of the Deep, a fantasy book about oceanic environmental concerns and an unlikely superhero's challenges to deal with them.


In connection with the NASA airplane project, Massey conceives the idea of an airship as public art project. The Soaring Dreams Airship, the first-ever airship painted by children, is borne in 2005. Bernie Massey develops the Soaring Dreams civic education initiative in connection with the Portraits of Hope program. Schools and hospitals in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico are involved in the massive artistic collaboration. The airship is the largest passenger blimp in the Americas and second largest passenger airship in the world. 40,000 square feet of vinyl is hand painted by thousands of children as part of the project. Soaring Dreams cruises the skies throughout the Western United States, and is connected to major events including the Academy Awards and Super Bowl..

Washington State Project

In 2006, Massey and Portraits of Hope are invited to help redesign the interior of a local Boys and Girls Club after a traumatic episode in Moses Lake, Washington.



Also that year, Massey and Portraits of Hope launch a substantial public art and civic project in New York City for Chelsea Piers. During a summer exhibition, 25,000 square feet of Chelsea Piers is vibrantly transformed including its exterior and interior walls, floors, and the historic Hackensack tugboat. Soon after, the Soaring Dreams NASCAR project is conceived by Massey in which four racecars driven by world class drivers Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffel race in vibrant designs he creates. An educational and creative therapy program for youth in the NASCAR cities in which the cars race is developed by Portraits of Hope, which leads to the creation of art panels for social service facilities.

git taxi

2001 - 2007 -- Massey conceives and conceptualizes Garden in Transit, and introduces the concept to the administrations of NYC Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, and is officially approved in 2006. Seven years in the making, Garden in Transit culminates in the visual transformation of the NYC taxi fleet and hence the City of New York itself, as the taxis take to the streets of Manhattan for four months covered in hand-painted floral panels. Integral to the unprecedented public art project, the Massey Bros. develop programmatic activities for the schools and hospitals and assemble a highly talented team to make the project a reality. The massive creative therapy, civic education, and public art project and production involves more than 20,000 children in schools, hospitals, and community programs throughout New York City, and involves participants of all ages in multiple states. More than 3,000 adult volunteers assist in the effort. The Port Authority of New York/New Jersey plays a pivotal role in the project’s success.

git in new orleans

In 2008, Massey's Garden in Transit brainchild moves to New Orleans and the Gulf area devastated by Hurricane Katrina, as thousands of hand-painted floral panels associated with Garden in Transit are distributed to help beautify the exteriors and interiors of transitional, temporary and existing schools, hospitals, houses, community centers, public buildings, senior centers, and other social service venues.



While walking on a Southern California beach in 2009, Massey conceives the idea to visually transform 31 miles of Los Angeles County Beaches into an enormous work of art. His idea is to create a collective public art work by utilizing all 156 beach lifeguard towers as part of a major civic project. LA County Supervisors Yaroslavsky and Knabe champion the 2009 - 2010 civic initiative for the towers, which are transformed by vivid color schemes and specialized art panels that envelop the iconic structures in floral, shapes, and aquatic themes. The initiative, titled Summer of Color, is the largest public art project in the U.S. since Garden in Transit and also one of the largest civic efforts in the world. The 5-month exhibition spans LA’s most renowned beaches: Zuma, Point Dume, Malibu, Will Rogers, Santa Monica, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Dockweiler, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Palos Verdes, and San Pedro. For 7 months preceding the exhibition, the Massey Bros. develop participatory opportunities and programmatic activities for children in hospitals, schools, and a variety of social service institutions. In all, more than 9,000 children and adults, and more than 100 institutions directly participate in Summer of Color. The LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors is instrumental in the success of the project. Core partners include the LA County Fire Department and the LA County Lifeguards.

2010 – 2012 – In response to the public art projects, many institutions and community groups communicate their need for art to beautify their premises and facilities. In the effort to invigorate the exterior and interior settings of education, health, civic and social-service facilities, thousands of colorful art panels from Portraits of Hope projects get distributed to schools, senior centers, hospitals, women’s facilities, youth centers, and civic buildings across the country.



Massey is selected in 2010 to inaugurate the Casa Del Mar Resort interior transformation series in which his art and design themes are integrated throughout the hotel and principally transform the central lobby, guest, bar and restaurant areas for the hotel. Later in 2010 – 2011, through a partnership with Proctor and Gamble’s Herbal Essences and the City of Santa Monica Bayside Business District, Portraits of Hope re-creates the outdoor Santa Monica ice rink into a festive, fully functional, one-of-a-kind ice facility. This public art and civic project involves hundreds of participants in POH programmatic activities. As part of the project’s programmatic sessions, participants paint large, vibrantly hued spheres, discs, and panels which are seen from outside, inside, and above the ice facility.

chadbad.ppjw home tours

The new Chabad facility in Pacific Palisades, at the foot of the Los Liones National Park and a short walk to the Pacific Ocean, undergoes a transformational face-lift in preparation for its opening in the Fall of 2011, with Massey designing the building façade for the Sunset Boulevard building. The facade's bold design and colorful palette are a first for any Chabad. PPJW Home Tours features Massey’s art, design concepts and themes for its residential tour program.


2011 – 2012 -- In his latest civic initiative with Portraits of Hope, Massey works with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to visually energize the street-level façade of the GSA owned building at 212 South State Street in downtown Chicago. The 212 South State Street project showcases the participation of children from Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago and Kenwood Academy High School. One signature element of “212 South State Street” is that the artwork is intended to have different looks for day and nighttime viewing. Hand-painted on special translucent panels, the artwork glows at night when the mural is illuminated from within the building, producing a vibrant stained- glass effect.

Long Beach Air Control Tower

The Portraits of Hope Long Beach Airport Control Tower project awaits installation. The program elements are now complete and installation for the artwork on the tower awaits notification. Several public officials have been involved in the project. The panels will be installed as soon as the FAA, which officially approved the project, provides the installation dates.


Massey continues his work on a new series of paintings, sculptures, design related projects, and a third children's book. The Massey Brothers are currently developing multiple large-scale initiatives of social consequence.

Selected Guest Speaker/Honors: NASDAQ, Opening Bell and guest speaker; Google New York Headquarters, guest speaker; United Hostesses Charities Humanitarian Award/Cedar Sinai Medical Center, Beverly Hills, California; Guest of Honor and keynote speaker for Operacion Arcoiris, Instituto de Seguridad y Sevicios Sociales de Los Trabajadores del Estado (ISSSTE), Mexico City, Mexico; keynote speaker for the Society for the Arts and Healthcare International Conference, Stanford University; keynote address for the U.S. Humanitarian effort, "Melie eh, For the Future", Osaka Japan; keynote presentation for Jewish Home for the Aging annual convention, Los Angeles, California; The Agape International Center and The Center for Advancement of Non Violence Heroes Award, Los Angeles, California; keynote speaker for Public Art in Chattanooga Presentation Series, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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