FEATURED ARTIST: Jeff Mitchell

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Tell me a little about yourself…

My name is Jeff Mitchell, and I own a small art studio in Tulsa, OK.  I create art using acrylic, ink and watercolor panels, all combined in a digital workspace.  My subjects are taken from figures that I admire, usually in music, sports and cinema.  My formal training as a graphic artist heavily influences the style I’ve adopted.

How’d you get started, or what prompted you to begin crafting in your genre?

I started painting acrylic on canvas nearly a decade ago, but I really didn’t find my style until I visited a Photoshop conference in 2010.  I was able to attend lectures from some of the top digital artists in the world and see their technique.  When I returned home, I spent the next six months developing a workflow that blends traditional painting methods on a digital canvas.

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How long have you been an artist? When did you first discover your artistic ability?

I am fortunate enough to have family and educators that supported me as a child.  They encouraged me to invest in creative writing, music and art to help me grow.  I couldn’t imagine accomplishing anything in art (or life) without that involvement.  I think of it often now that I have two young daughters.

Where can we check out and buy your work?

My art can be seen at: http://www.boxingbear.com/

I also operate an Etsy shop: http://boxingbear.etsy.com/

And a studio blog: http://boxingbearstudio.tumblr.com/

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What do you get out of being an artist?

I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a new piece.  Every time I set out to create a new work of art, there is inspiration, struggle and closure.  I get a lot of satisfaction from overcoming the struggle and solving the problems that each subject presents.  It is also very rewarding to bond with strangers over the subjects I paint.  It’s a constant reminder that, no matter the differences we have in our ordinary lives, everyone can find a common ground and mutual appreciation.

What inspires you to create the art you do? Where do you get your inspiration?

My catalog of art is deeply personal.  On the surface, what seems to be a random collection of pop culture art is a loving homage to experiences I’ve shared with my parents, close friends and my children.

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What is your advice to fellow crafters and artists?

If your goal is to pursue art as a profession, focus on the battles and not the war.  Had I been realistic about the amount of time and sacrifice required when I began, art would have remained a hobby.  Conquering one barrier at a time allowed me to unconsciously develop a solid work habit without giving up.  Build momentum and nourish it.

How would you describe your style, or form of artistry?

Indie.  I chose to sell reproductions as a business model because I believe that art should be both affordable and available.  We still do everything out of our studio to retain control and a personal connection with each person who buys my art.  Even as it presents obstacles to growth, it’s a philosophy that defines what we do.

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Do you have any future plans for your artwork?

I hope to continue growing to the point where I can meaningfully give back to the community that helped me.  The budget for art education in schools continues to evaporate, and it’s up to supporters of the arts to supplement.  Painting builds confidence and helps cope, and it should be available to everyone.

 

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