Analog art in a digital world
As artists, typically our primary focus is to create work that engages people in-person, exhibiting locally and building a creative presence in our own community. Nothing compares to the tangible physicality of original art, viewed in a proper exhibition setting. As a Creative Pinellas grantee, I can also attest to the importance of fostering and nurturing local relationships, and staying connected with artists, individual art supporters and regional arts organizations. In turn, this kind of grass roots following helps create a strong foundation on which to build a wider audience, enabling us to reach more minds and hearts with our work. Because by extending our reach with broader visibility, our opportunities multiply, and our professional art practice grows more and more sustainable.
In the age of social media, artists have found it a lot easier to connect with their arts community and market their art to an ever-growing audience. Sure, this may create a bit of art-overload for some, but for the most part it presents a chance for artists to share their work while building rapport with fellow artists and potential buyers. Facebook has provided a great forum to share updates and communicate with our peers and supporters, and as a predominantly visual medium, Instagram has become especially helpful in getting fresh eyes on artists’ work, while helping to create a broader, more connected global arts community.
But there are a number of other ways for artists to exploit digital technology and gain exposure in venues and cities in which they might otherwise have difficulty gaining access. Its those I’d like to focus on here, and share a few of my experiences.
Case in point. If you told me that just five years after turning pro artist that one of my pieces would be seen in the world’s most famous museum, I would have said you were crazy. But that’s exactly what happened! Amazingly, in 2015 SeeMe provided an opportunity to have my work displayed in The Louvre in Paris! Step aside, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, here comes Mitchell’s Marketing 2.0.
SeeMe is an online platform that has hosted dozens of exhibitions in key US cities and abroad. Over the years they’ve distributed over $1.5 million in artist grants and awards. Back in 2012—a year before my physical solo exhibition during Art Basel—my first SeeMe competition yielded not only an exhibition, but also got my work in print. At that time, I was eager to test the waters and get my first exposure in Miami. I seized the chance to be juried into an exhibit during SCOPE, arguably the most prestigious of the Art Basel Miami satellite shows. As it happened, I made the cut to appear on digital displays in their booth, giving my work new visibility (as well as bragging rights). They also published my painting Child’s Play in a beautiful hardbound edition of the winners that year—see below. Not bad for an artist just a couple of years into his full-time practice!
Later, in 2013, a second competition win with SeeMe included my work in an exhibit during Armory Arts Week NYC, and yet another in 2014 gave my painting Tough Love screen time in their booth at SCOPE once again, seen below.
Another cool web-based platform offering similar exposure is Daylighted. Once approved by their reviewers, my work began to appear on large-format screens in upscale hotels and corporate environments in key cities in the US and around the world. Places like Sofitel in LA, Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco, and Novotel Tour Eiffel in Paris have displayed Rapper’s Dee-Lite, Fish Out of Water, State of Independence, The Birds, and more. They provide a kiosk for viewers to see more information on the art and even purchase the original. Recently, one of my images was displayed in NYC at the Park Central Hotel over the holidays. My friends in the New York area were able to stop in for a cocktail and see my piece, A Christmas Wish tiled across nine monitors installed over the bar. What a thrill! Here’s how it looked:
Over the past few years, I’ve received a total of seven awards in monthly competitions on Artslant. It’s been a great way to help round out my resume’s award profile while showcasing my work and listing key exhibitions. That site is unfortunately closed now, but the archives are still viewable >> here.
Yet another website called Artrepeneur is a growing online arts community that also functions as portfolio and sales platform. I was recently contacted by one of their curators to have a piece included in their Curator’s Picks section, which was an honor. My painting The Daily Grind is now found in a grouping called Reconstructing Reality.
And finally, I can say with confidence that your art truly can be discovered by serious buyers online. It was my profile on SaatchiArt where a collector in another country found a painting of mine he couldn’t live without. One day I received an email inquiring if the original was still available of my piece, Real World. After some negotiating, I decided my customer was for real, and willing to abide by my terms. Long story short, this led to my largest international art sale to date. It still warms my heart to know one of my major showpieces found a home with someone who truly appreciates it—halfway around the globe. Behold the power of the interwebs!
TECO Public Art Gallery Presents:
Double Vision | The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell
A Solo Exhibition Curated by Debra Radke
RSVP to on facebook >> here.
TECO Public Art Gallery
702 N. Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602
Open Weekdays Only, 8am – 5pm
Continues through Thursday, February 27, 2020
Group Pop Art show continues in Tampa
The MOSI Art Wall Presents:
A Group Exhibition Curated by Michael Knapp
MOSI – Museum of Science and Industry
4801 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33617
Open Daily 10am – 5pm
Continues through Sunday, March 29, 2020
Group show continues in St Pete
Looking Forward continues at The Cider Press Cafe in St Pete through Sunday, March 8th, 2020. The two-month show features a range of contemporary, innovative and futuristic works by local artists. You’ll find some affordable large-scale canvas prints of my pieces, each focusing on aspects of modern technology. Details below and on facebook >> here.
The Cider Press Café
601 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Open Daily 11am – 8pm
Continues through Sunday, March 8, 2020
More details, news and updates on the way! I invite you to follow my progress on this blog, and at the links below.
Produced with the support of Creative Pinellas, Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners