One thing we love most here at Oak Tree Vintage is introducing our readers to incredible artists, musicians, brewers and performers. It is an honor though when we get to introduce you to artists who specialize in genres that we are particularly fond of, in this case, Dia De Los Muertos inspired art. Meet Jeff Mitchell.
His art doesn’t solely focus on the Day of the Dead genre, it also includes pop-culture works that are intriguing, edgy and would appeal to people who like a bit of a twist to creative expression on print. If you are a fan of Adventure Time (as so many of us are), you need to experience Jake the Dog through Jeff’s imagination. Throw out those stale depictions of cottages in the meadows that are so grossly ensconced in chunky 60’s bronze plated frames, these are definitely prints worth flaunting in your living room that no one will snub! Treat yourself to art that is diverse, moody and has the ability to make you want to wallow in the eccentricity of Bears in Suites, Bill Murray and Mariachi Skeletons.
We had the opportunity to ask Jeff a few questions regarding his work, his style and what advice he has for aspiring artists. Here’s what he had to say;
Jeff Mitchell: My name is Jeff Mitchell, and I’m the owner/artist of Boxing Bear Studio in Tulsa, OK.
Jeff Mitchell: This guy I knew in college, Roger Disney. He would paint in oil with a palette knife. He was the first career artists that I’d ever known, and I realized that any regular guy who works really hard and has a passion for art can make money painting.
Jeff Mitchell: I am a trained graphic designer, and I make my living with design, illustration and painting.
Jeff Mitchell: Creating art, for me, is a solitary practice. I’m easily distracted, so I have to retreat to a place where I can focus. I create a lot of pop art, so I like to have music or movies that are related to the subject of my current work playing in the background.Oak Tree:What has been a groundbreaking experience?
Jeff Mitchell: The first year I started selling and distributing my art, one of my Day of the Dead paintings was selected to promote the annual celebration in Tulsa. A few weeks later, I was driving down the highway and noticed my painting lit up on a billboard. It was one of the first times I felt I was transitioning from a hobbyist to a legitimate artist, and validation is so important when you’re starting out.
Oak Tree: How has your artwork evolved over time?
Jeff Mitchell: I try to learn new techniques and push myself every time I create something new. I have a tendency to move too fast, so I’m trying to slow down and really develop the styles I use.
Oak Tree: What style of art do you most identify with?
Jeff Mitchell: I’m definitely drawn to editorial illustration, street art and commercial muralists.
Oak Tree: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Jeff Mitchell: Not a response in the traditional sense, but I had a guy pull my boxing bear painting and have it tattooed on his leg. Once I came to terms with the permanence of it all, I was honored.
Oak Tree: What is your dream project?
Jeff Mitchell: I’d love to get the chance to create an illustration to accompany an article in a magazine.
Oak Tree: How different do you think your life would have been without art?
Jeff Mitchell: I probably would have been a musician. I think artists age better than guitarists.
Jeff Mitchell: It depends on the source. If the criticism is coming from someone I respect, I’ll definitely listen. If the criticism is unsolicited, it’s probably not worth my time.
Jeff Mitchell: Make art for yourself. Trust yourself. If you remain honest, your art will connect with people.