We're happy to show the work of an extremely talented abstract portrait artist for the month of July - Tommy Mitchell. Tommy was born in Biloxi, Missippi - drawing anything and everything around him from a very young age. Currently, he is a freelance artist, working on everything from tattoo designs to portraits to logos, here in the Hampton Roads area. We were struck by his blend of realism, pop, and surrealistic imagery. Each piece pulls from historical events and popular culture to create a portrait that goes beyond just a drawing of a person, but transfers a social statement of true emotion. Here's more about him, in his own words:
-All of the pieces in Kitsch are ballpoint pen, is there significance in that medium for you?
Definitely. When I was in high school this peer of mine said that her grandmother "only" draws in ballpoint pen to minimize her mistakes and from then on I've spent my years trying to master that medium. The choice of using pen over pencil not only heightens my attention to detail, but also minimizes my margin for error.
-A lot of your pieces share themes like celebrity, being broken, and heart ache. Is that purposeful or does it just happen that way?
Yes and no. I try to create things that are relevant to what I'm going through not only as an artist but in my personal life as well. As an artist, I create images as an expression of the fulfillment I gain from my surroundings, experiences and opinions. The challenge for me is to communicate these feelings in a visual medium. With simplicity and clarity as compositional goals, I strive to create and inspire finely-crafted, well-conceived pieces that will pull the viewer toward the vision I hope to share.
In creating expressions of my feelings and experiences in my portraits, the images take on a variety of looks. It is the detail within the subject that draws me to exploration. Countless hours go into the process of shading so the realism of the subject is almost photographic. I visualize images before I execute them on canvas. This pre-visualization enables me to better respond to my feelings of an event and create the desired image. My goal is to create the images I have visualized in my heart and let those images translate on the canvas to where the viewer can resonate with thoughts and experiences.
-Which artists do you look to for inspiration?
I look to other artists for their work ethic. I believe inspiration is as far as the eye can see and deep as the imagination you draw it from. My father and sister are highly skilled photographers and being around their skill tuned my attention to detail growing up. However, drawing drew me in as being more personal and more reflective for what I wanted to share. As a self-taught artist, I study the works of tattoo artists, as well as artists in the field of drawing - exploring their creative choices and their mediums.
-Anything else that you'd like to say?
I am humbled that you've chosen me and believe my work should be showcased this month. It is important to me to display detailed work that viewers can appreciate for the aesthetic. I am very passionate about creating and would be honored to share it, I can be reached at InspiredInquiries@gmail.com. Admire. Aspire. Inspire.
You can find more of Tommy's work at:
Instagram:@TommyMitche11 FB: Francis Mitchell (Artist) TommyMitche11.tumblr.com
and please join us this Friday, July 26th, from 5-8 for a meet and greet with the artist at Kitsch - 803 Shirley Ave, in Norfolk's Ghent neighborhood!