2020-01-22T17:00:05-05:00

Under the influence

 

 

Under the influence

Every artist has their influences, and I am no exception. I’ve been thinking about mine in preparation for my Artist Talk next week, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you here. I believe the visual stimuli we artists experience throughout our lives ultimately help shape our aesthetic, taste and tendencies as we strive to develop our own personal style in our work. 

Thinking back, my earliest visual memories as a child are filled with the vibrant, colorful imagery of saturday morning cartoons, cereal box characters, classic rock album covers, pop posters, sunday comics, MAD and LIFE magazines. It was a lot to process. My first young instincts were to draw, and try to replicate with crayons everything that I saw. Often, that meant drawing whatever my brothers and I were watching on TV. At six, I can even remember rendering a giant Campbell’s Soup can in my oversize sketch pad. Yes—somehow Andy Warhol‘s bold statement on consumerism and American banality had made its way into my barely-conscious consciousness.

I wish I still had that drawing. But I’m happy to have saved another childhood sketch—my version of the colorful Bob Dylan poster that hung on my older brother‘s bedroom wall. I drew it from memory during class in first grade. It wasn’t art class though, and when I got caught, I was escorted to the Principal’s office. I was sure I was in trouble, but instead the notoriously stern Catholic nun smiled for the first time ever that I recall, then offered me candy as a “prize”. Hmm… maybe there is something to this art thing. Later, I learned that iconic image was illustrated by none other than the “Godfather of Modern Design”, Milton Glaser. As a design student at Pratt NYC, I acquired a deeper appreciation of Glaser’s work, and recalled the impression it made on me at such a young age.

 

Dylan by Milton Glaser

 

Dylan by Mark Mitchell, Age 6 (after Milton Glaser)

 

While at Pratt, I also developed a great love of surrealism—especially the paintings of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. Their surprising use of unexpected elements and dream-like imagery had a profound impact on the direction I wanted to go with my art. And as a graphic designer, I grew more and more fond of the pop art movement—especially the work of artists like James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselmann. Like the surrealists, they also used diverse imagery in odd juxtaposition with one another that created a powerful effect when presented together.

Below are a range of my artistic influences that continue to help inspire, inform and guide me as I strive to establish my own style—with a few notes on each.

 

Salvador Dali — The surrealist master, utilizing dream symbolism to tap into our inner psych. My pilgrimage to his hometown, museum and studio in Spain is one I’ll never forget. I love that I live in the city where he created his own museum in America.

 

Rene Magritte — Like Dali, amazing dreamlike imagery, but with focused and simplified compositions, giving them a powerful poster-like quality. This one was cited as inspiration for the CBS logo.

 

Andy Warhol — Pop art pioneer who elevated mundane objects and mainstream personalities into high-art icons in his signature screen-print graphic style.

 

Roy Lichtenstein — Warhol-era pop art contemporary who presented comic book frames as bold graphic compositions in primary colors, revealing the coarse 4-color dot screen typically overlooked in their original form..

 

Peter Max — Often disregarded as overly commercial, I give him a lot of credit for making a huge splash and establishing his brand with psychedelic illustrations in the 1960s, then reinventing himself in later years with a looser, more painterly style. I met him at a gallery event several years ago, where he did an impromtu doodle and personalized the back of the piece I purchased.

 

James Rosenquist — My absolute biggest influence, a former billboard painter who leveraged his photo-realism skills in mural-size paintings that mashed-up advertising imagery to mysterious effect. I had the pleasure of attending a lecture of his years ago in NYC. He, too made the transition from New York to the Tampa Bay Area, and is regarded very highly in the art community here.

 

Jeff Koons — Wildly successful but highly controversial, he’s reviled and despised by some for his appropriation of images and use of a team to execute his concepts. But when your paintings look this cool, who can argue?

 

Edward Hopper — A reminder to me that the appearance of realism doesn’t need to be precisely rendered. An up-close view of Hopper’s paintings reveal an unexpected looseness, contributing to their soft-focus look. A master of light and shadow, as well as composition.

 

Keith Haring — Father of modern street art, he elevated the medium with his quirky stick figures and iconic imagery to deliver socially conscious messages. I can still remember seeing his originals on walls and subway platforms in NYC.

 

Banksy — Is it one guy, or a team of talented pranksters? Who cares? Banksy has taken bold street art to the next level with powerful socially relevant images around the world.

 

Shepard Fairey — Another modern street art pioneer, his iconic and well-crafted wheat paste murals carry messages of defiance and empowerment to public walls worldwide.

 

Ron English — Pop Surrealist and New York-based street artist who’s also an amazingly accomplished photo-realist painter. His work mashes up pop icons and major brands, satirizing and challenging the values of modern society. I was honored to be selected by juror Ron English to participate in a group show at Baton Rouge Gallery.

 

So, it’s these influences and more that contribute to the work I’m doing. By striking a balance between a bold, iconic pop aesthetic and a deeper symbolic context, my goal is to create art that captures, engages, and satisfies both the mind and the soul. To see how it all comes together, I invite you to join me for my upcoming Artist Talk + Tour of my solo exhibition, Double Vision  at TECO Public Art Gallery during Tampa’s monthly Fourth Friday event on January 24th. Read on for full exhibition details—and hope to see you there!

 

Double Vision | Artist Talk

 

TECO Public Art Gallery Presents:
Double Vision | The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell | Artist Talk + Tour
A Solo Exhibition Curated by Debra Radke

Look deeper. Take in the mind-expanding, slyly subversive work of Mark Mitchell, Conceptual Pop Painter. See beyond the surface of the everyday. Delve into a world of eye-popping color and iconic imagery, ranging from playful themes to compelling social commentary. Explore a collection of twelve paintings that will challenge your mind while feeding your senses.
 
Mark Mitchell will be present on Fourth Friday, January 24, 2020 from 5pm – 7pm for an informal Talk + Tour of his exhibition. He will speak at 6:00 pm about his inspiration, his work process and answer questions from attendees. There will be light refreshments. This event is FREE and open to the public. Please join us!
 
Exhibition Event Listing >> here.

RSVP to the Artist Talk + Tour Event on facebook >> here.

Location:
TECO Public Art Gallery
702 N. Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602

Fourth Friday Reception, Talk + Tour:

Friday, January 24, 2020
Open 5pm – 7pm  |  Artist Talk @ 6pm

Ongoing Exhibition:

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 – Thursday, February 27, 2020
Open Weekdays 8am – 5pm

 

____________________________________________________________

 

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.

 

Looking Forward @ Cider Press

 

The Cider Press Cafe Presents:
Looking Forward, A New Decade
A Group Exhibition Curated by Margaret Juul Ammann

Location:
The Cider Press Café
601 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Ongoing Exhibition:
Saturday, January 11, 2020 – Sunday, March 8, 2020
Open Daily 11am – 8pm


More details, news and updates on the way! I invite you to follow my progress on this blog, and at the links below.

Thanks,
    
Conceptual Pop Painter + Multimedia Artistmarkmitchellstudio
Website  |  Mailing List  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  YouTube  |   Tumblr

_________________________

Produced with the support of Creative Pinellas, Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners

2020-01-09T12:19:38-05:00

Showtime in Tampa/St Pete!

 

 

Showtime in Tampa!

It’s official—my solo exhibition Double Vision is now open to the public at TECO Public Art Gallery!
I spent the early part of the week transporting and prepping the first Tampa showcase of my work in three years.
In this blog post, take a look behind the scenes as I collaborate with curator Debra Radke
assisted by Michael Murphy, and we make some decisions and fine-tune the presentation.

Feel free to stop by TECO Public Art Gallery any time during business hours to check it out—
and don’t miss the special reception and Artist Talk later in January during Tampa’s monthly Fourth Friday event.
Read on for full exhibition details—and hope to see you there!

 

    

    

    

   

 

TECO Public Art Gallery Presents:
Double Vision | The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell
A Solo Exhibition Curated by Debra Radke

Look deeper. Take in the mind-expanding, slyly subversive work of Mark Mitchell, Conceptual Pop Painter.
See beyond the surface of the everyday. Delve into a world of eye-popping color and iconic imagery, ranging from playful themes to
compelling social commentary. Explore a collection of twelve paintings that will challenge your mind while feeding your senses.
 
Mark Mitchell will be present on Fourth Friday, January 24, 2020 from 5pm – 7pm for an
informal Talk and Tour of his exhibition. He will speak at 6:00 pm about his inspiration, his current projects
and answer questions from attendees. There will be light refreshments.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Please join us!
 
Official Event Listing >> here.

RSVP on facebook >> here.

Location:
TECO Public Art Gallery
702 N. Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602

Exhibition Schedule:
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 – Thursday, February 27, 2020
Open Weekdays 8am – 5pm

Fourth Friday Reception, Talk and Tour:
Friday, January 24, 2020
Open 5pm – 7pm  |  Artist Talk @ 6pm

 

____________________________________________________________

 

Group show opens this Saturday in St Pete!

I’m also happy to share details on my participation in a unique group exhibition in St Pete opening this weekend!
Looking Forward will be launching at The Cider Press Cafe in St Pete on 2nd Saturday, January 11th.
The two-month show will feature a range of contemporary, eco-driven, recycled, innovative and futuristic works by local artists.
It will feature some affordable large-scale canvas prints of my pieces, each focusing on aspects of modern technology.

Details below. RSVP on facebook >> here.

 

    

 

The Cider Press Cafe Presents:
Looking Forward, A New Decade
A Group Exhibition Curated by Margaret Juul Ammann

Location:
The Cider Press Café
601 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Opening Reception:
Saturday, January 11, 2020
5pm – 9pm

Ongoing Exhibition:
Saturday, January 11, 2020 – Sunday, March 8, 2020
Open Daily 11am – 8pm


More details, news and updates on the way! I invite you to follow my progress on this blog, and at the links below.

Thanks,
    
Conceptual Pop Painter + Multimedia Artistmarkmitchellstudio
Website  |  Mailing List  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  YouTube  |   Tumblr

2020-01-03T11:12:53-05:00

2020 Double Vision

 

 

2020 Double Vision

Happy New Year! As promised, you’ll find the official announcement below for Double Vision
my upcoming 2-month solo exhibition at TECO Public Art Gallery. I’m excited to be showcasing my work in Tampa
for the first time in three years! The show will open to the public early next week, with a special reception and
artist talk later in January during Tampa’s monthly Fourth Friday event.
Read on for full exhibition details—and hope to see you there!

 

 

TECO Public Art Gallery Presents:
Double Vision | The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell
A Solo Exhibition Curated by Debra Radke

Look deeper. Take in the mind-expanding, slyly subversive work of Mark Mitchell, Conceptual Pop Painter.
See beyond the surface of the everyday. Delve into a world of eye-popping color and iconic imagery, ranging from playful themes to
compelling social commentary. Explore a collection of twelve paintings that will challenge your mind while feeding your senses.
 
Mark Mitchell will be present on Fourth Friday, January 24, 2020 from 5pm – 7pm for an
informal Talk and Tour of his exhibition. He will speak at 6:00 pm about his inspiration, his current projects
and answer questions from attendees. There will be light refreshments.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Please join us!

 
Official Event Listing >> here.

RSVP on facebook >> here.

Location:
TECO Public Art Gallery
702 N. Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602

Exhibition Schedule:
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 – Thursday, February 27, 2020
Open Weekdays 8am – 5pm

Fourth Friday Reception, Talk and Tour:
Friday, January 24, 2020
Open 5pm – 7pm  |  Artist Talk @ 6pm

 

 

 

— ALSO COMING SOON —

The Cider Press Cafe Presents:
Looking Forward, A New Decade
A Group Exhibition Curated by Margaret Juul Ammann

This two-month group show will launch at The Cider Press Cafe in St Pete on 2nd Saturday, January 11th
and feature three affordable large canvas prints of my pieces, each focusing on aspects of modern technology.

More details, news and updates on the way. I invite you to follow my progress on this blog, and at the links below.

Thanks,
    
Conceptual Pop Painter + Multimedia Artistmarkmitchellstudio
Website  |  Mailing List  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  YouTube  |   Tumblr

2019-12-18T16:50:38-05:00

It’s about to get (sur)real

 

 

It’s about to get (sur)real

 

Steven Kenny, Fine Artist

The Ribbons, ©2015 Steven Kenny

It appears Christmas came early for me this year! Not only have I had the honor of receiving an Emerging Artist Grant from Creative Pinellas, but late last week I also learned I’ve been officially paired with the illustrious Steven Kenny as my artist mentor throughout the process.

In case you haven’t heard, Steven has made quite a name for himself as a leading painter in the Tampa Bay art scene over the past several years—with a formidable national and international presence, as well. A surrealist visionary of sorts—his work combines the human figure with elements of nature and dream symbolism, in a contemporary yet classical style that gives a nod to the Dutch Masters. A Creative Pinellas grantee himself, Kenny’s paintings are exhibited in galleries across the United States and Europe, and can be found in permanent collections like the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art and many private collections around the world. With success like that, I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting guide to help me elevate my game over this grant period.

Steven and I happen to share a few things in common—starting with our surrealist influences. We both embrace the elements of mystery and surprise, and the use of meaningful juxtaposition in our paintings. But while Steven delivers his vision in a classic Surrealism style somewhat akin to the work of Dali and Magritte, my work takes the Pop Art collage approach, pioneered by Rosenquist and Wesselmann. Steven and I also both originally hail from New York, where our formative careers were focused on more commercial enterprises—his in professional illustration, mine in creative art direction and design.

Needless to say, this feels like a very good match. I’m excited about the prospect of working with Steven, picking his brain, and benefiting from his experience over the next several months. It’s about to get real… surreal!

Learn more about Steven Kenny’s work here: www.stevenkenny.com

 

New year, new shows

I’m currently gearing-up to share my work in a couple of prime Tampa Bay venues early in the new year!
Watch for official announcements coming soon on the following shows.

 

 

TECO Public Art Gallery Presents:
Double Vision | The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell
A Solo Exhibition Curated by Debra Radke

I’m happy to say my paintings will be featured in an upcoming solo exhibition at TECO Public Art Gallery,
located in the atrium lobby of TECO’s corporate offices in Tampa.
The two-month show will launch January 6th and feature twelve originals.
Stay tuned for details about the public reception and artist talk on 4th Friday, January 24th.

 

 

 

— ALSO COMING SOON —

The Cider Press Cafe Presents:
Looking Forward, A New Decade
A Group Exhibition Curated by Margaret Juul Ammann

This two-month show will launch at The Cider Press Cafe in St Pete on 2nd Saturday, January 11th
and feature three affordable large canvas prints of my pieces, each focusing on aspects of modern technology.

 

 

And finally, I wish you a wonderful, happy and safe holiday season, and all the best in 2020!
More news and updates on the way. I invite you to follow my progress on this blog, and at the links below.

Thanks,
    
Conceptual Pop Painter + Multimedia Artistmarkmitchellstudio
Website  |  Mailing List  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  YouTube  |   Tumblr

2019-12-13T15:44:29-05:00

In Good Company


 

In Good Company

For my second blog post as a Creative Pinellas Grantee, I’d like to acknowledge the many other talented artists recognized. The names listed alongside mine above were also announced as Emerging Artists 2019-2020, and I had the pleasure of meeting some of them the day we were awarded. I’m looking forward to seeing how they flourish and produce new work over the grant period.

That same day, I took the opportunity to explore the work of some other local artists (both established and emerging) that were honored over the last couple of years, exhibiting together in a group exhibition called Arts Annual 2019—beautifully curated and displayed at the Creative Pinellas Gallery. Here’s a sampling of my favorites from the show. I’m sure you’ll agree the work is diverse, highly creative, and most impressive.

 

         

         

         

Artists’ Work Shown Above:
1) Jason Hackenwerth; 2) Elizabeth Barenis; 3) Ari Robinson; 4) Catherine Woods; 5) Don Gianella; 6) Reid Jenkins;
7) Shannon Leah Halvorsen; 8) Brandie Dziegiel; 9) Kevin Grass; 10) Mark Aeling (Sculpture) + Rose Marie Prins (Painting)

 

I’m thrilled and honored to be among such good company! Thanks again to Creative Pinellas for allowing me to join the ranks.
I invite you to follow my progress on this blog, and at the links below.

Thanks,
    
Conceptual Pop Painter + Multimedia Artist

Website  |  Mailing List  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  YouTube  |   Tumblr

2019-12-03T17:52:03-05:00

Always… Be… Emerging

 

 

“Information Age” ©2016 Mark Mitchell Studio LLC

 

Always… Be… Emerging

Hello friends, art lovers, and creative community! Welcome to my first blog post as a Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Grantee for 2019-2020. I’m excited to embark on this journey over the next six months—an engaging program including mentorship, new work, blogging and participation in a group show, coming this Spring. I can’t thank Creative Pinellas enough for this wonderful opportunity.

As a lifelong artist and creative professional, I have come to fine art as both a second career and second lease on life, after a pretty good run in the ad business. Nearly ten years into turning pro artist, I can say the transition has been both personally rewarding—and professionally challenging. With this kind of experience, I must admit I may have raised a few eyebrows in clinching an “emerging artist” award. But I wouldn’t bat an eye.

Have I been steadily building a body of work, establishing a consistent style and marketing my work? Absolutely. Have I had the good fortune to exhibit in some premium venues, attract an audience and sell to a few collectors? Sure. How about awards, and public art, and corporate commissions? Check, check and check

But… do I still have a lot to learn? You betcha.

In the classic movie, Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s character famously preached “Always Be Closing”, a sales mantra for his floundering real estate staff. It’s true, of course, as artists we find ourselves not only as creative visionaries, but also—practically speaking—as merchants of our own work. So, closing is a big part of our job, as well.

That said, I would like to offer an alternate mantra for artists: “Always Be Emerging”. Because our true mission is to continually change, and to grow. To reconnect with our childlike sense of curiosity, and imagination without limits. To be willing to get out of our comfort zone, to teach ourselves new tricks, to listen to and learn from those whose art and success we respect. A true artist is always in the process of evolving, experimenting and striving to achieve work that transcends expectations, and inspires others to do the same.

I look forward to doing a bit of that over the next six months. Wish me luck! I invite you to follow my progress on this blog, and join me at the links below.

Thanks,
    
Conceptual Pop Painter + Multimedia Artist

Website  |  Mailing List  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  YouTube  |   Tumblr

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