Category Archives: Artists

Meet The Artist – “JEFF MITCHELL”



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.


     “Calavera Noche” © Boxing Bear Print Co.

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.

          “Bring Your Friends” © Boxing Bear Print Co.


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;

Oak Tree: Who are you and what do you do?
Jeff Mitchell: My name is Jeff Mitchell, and I’m the owner/artist of Boxing Bear Studio in Tulsa, OK.
Oak Tree: What or who inspired you to become an artist?
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.
Oak Tree: Is this a hobby or a way of life for you?
Jeff Mitchell: I am a trained graphic designer, and I make my living with design, illustration and painting.
Oak Tree: What’s integral to your work? Environment, sound, light, food, drink, emotion, people or just your own imagination?
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.

Oak Tree: As an artist, what do you think is the best way to deal with criticism?
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.
Oak Tree: What advice would you give aspiring artists?
Jeff Mitchell: Make art for yourself. Trust yourself. If you remain honest, your art will connect with people.
Jeff’s art has certainly connected with us here at Oak Tree Vintage and you should definitly have his art connect with your space! Here’s a few places where you can view and purchase Jeff Mitchell’s work:
Instagram   Twitter      Tumblr     Facebook     Boxing Bear Online Shop    Etsy
Everyone here at Oak Tree Vintage would like to thank Jeff Mitchell for his time, talent and contribution to the world of art!

KOTOLAN – A Free Music and Art Event Sept. 10th

spicy tuna

Haven Studio and Gallery of Los Angles announces the first major art show displaying works by Joshua Ian, a prolific artist and key documentarian of indie band Kotolan and the downtown scene.

Based out of Los Angeles, the alternative music group has a blend of art rock, Latin soul and Japanese 60s pop with vintage production aesthetics. Lead singer Junko sings in English, Spanish, and Japanese gives the audience a performance like no other female singer in the industry. She has shared the stage with the likes of Chicano icon Lalo Guerrero and Linda Ronstadt. WOW! But Kotolan continues to “WOW” us all. Band member Otto has also had the opportunity to record for Snoop Dog, Marc Anthony, Ozomatli, Sheila E. Kotolan will be performing live, and the band is scheduled to go on at 9pm.

On view September 10, 2015 on the same day as Downtown Art Walk for one night only, the show will also feature photo-based works alongside archival artwork by Danny Greene, Mr. Black Brain, Emerson Barrett, Geoff Melville, Lekit, Atomik One, Rusty Blades, and Geo. In keeping with this month’s Street Art and Performance theme, Haven Studios will be organizing a special show featuring an eclectic range of street artists and performers local to the DTLA art scene.

Join us at our unique urban art gallery in Downtown Los Angeles for Downtown Art Walk. Start the night at KGB Gallery & Haven Studios. It will be a night filled with friends and colleague so bring plenty of business cards. A new way of networking and buying art. Live entertainment, DJ, cocktails, culinary cuisine, and art.

From the DJ that brings everyone together at Grand Park D.J Black Shakespeare from The Lions will be spinning live.

And for those foodies out there, the food truck sensation Tokyo Doggie Style will provide the choicest of grub, while inside mixology bartenders will keep you guessing ingredients all night long.

Remember this is a FREE event.


Thursday, September 10, 2015 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm


Haven Studio & Gallery

1640 North Spring Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

**by Natily G of Haven Studio & Gallery

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Follow us on Instagram: @Haven_Studio_LA

INFINITY SPECTRUM – One of Echo Park’s Finest

Joshua Ian, Founder of Infinity Spectrum

Joshua Ian, Founder of Infinity Spectrum

Los Angeles residents, did you know that you have a visionary photographer right in your own back yard? NO!? Well, let me share a little bit of a conversation I shared with Mr. Joshua Ian over the weekend.

Oak Tree: What inspired you to get into photography?

Infinity Spectrum: When I was growing up, I played a lot of RPG games and read a lot of comics. I don’t think too many people outside the realms of RPG players and Comic nerds such as myself can really

appreciate the level of artistry that goes into bringing a character to life and the emotion that is put into every single part of what brings it to life. I wanted to do that same, through photography, you know…bring

characters to life by overlapping game aspects into real life subjects. During my last year of high school I decided to enroll in PCC (Pasadena City College) and start my journey there.

Oak Tree: What would you consider to be your first “accomplished” piece of work?

Infinity Spectrum? I was in my last year of high school and was taking a photo journalism class. Our instructor was trying to get us to take shots worthy of being included in a gallery show for the Salvation Army.

Armed with a Lumix point and shoot camera, I went out and took a few pictures that resulted in some very disappointing shots. I was trying to hard to mimic other peoples style and failed miserably at it! Frustrated, I

went off and took a walk around Echo Park Lake to re-evaluate my ideas. Echo Park has so much going on all the time I was destined to find something (and myself) on my walk. In the water, I saw a toy sail

boat with a little white sail. Something about it made me think of, yup, a video game. I zoomed in, took the shot and took off. The sail photographed very saturated and the rest came out clean, together this gave the shot

a dimension I was not purposely aiming for, but I fell in love with the contrasting looks. This photograph made it into the 2009 Marshall High School Gallery Exhibit at the Salvation Army location on Sunset Blvd.

I found my style, I experienced the creation of a successful piece and now I wanted to learn all there was to learn about photography.

Oak Tree: What is Infinity Spectrum up to these days?

Infinity Spectrum: This year alone my work has been on display at Art Share L.A. and the Stillwall Exhibition in San Francisco. I feel that my knack for seeing details that others would normally overlook, ignore or

neglect is part of what adds emotion & perspective to my finished pieces. I am currently focusing on portraiture, photographic advertisements and political candidate campaign photos. I will say this, if a challenging or exciting

opportunity comes my way…I won’t hesitate to accept the challenge, no matter where it takes me!

Oak Tree: I want to be photographed! Actually, Infinity Spectrum did take a few shots of me and my Mr. at our wedding and I have to say, I LOVED IT! I felt they kind of resembled a bit of classic old Hollywood. What do you all think?







So, Mr. Joshua Ian, what if someone wishes to call upon your talents and would like to be photographed or have their products photographed…how would one reach you?

Infinity Spectrum: Well my dear, until my own personal Bat Sign has been finalized, regular ole’ email would do just fine! I’d love to hear from your readers and even collaborate with artists who’d be interested in creating together.




Dance, A Hidden Language of the Soul. Featuring Mari Sandoval

Throughout time, dance has been considered a universal language, a form of non-verbal communication between humans. A dance can transform a body into a book, a storyteller simply by the movements and the tone of the face and hands and by the movement of the body. It conveys passion, love, lust, hate, sadness, pleasure, pain, solitude and grace. The world of Flappers, Pin-ups and Showgirls  has been graced by legends such as Anita Berber, Marion Benda, Joan Bennett, Caja Eric, and Gypsy Rose Lee, but in the world of Flamenco – One of my personal favorite styles of dance – we have had Farruco, Mario Maya, Carmen Amaya, Tibu la Tormenta, Manuela Carrasco Salazar and many, many more! The pin-up culture has been tied to several different types of dance through burlesque; flappers; tango; swing and flamenco not only through performances, but also depicted in the pin-up culture artwork.

Oak Tree Vintage was fortunate enough to catch up with Mari Sandoval, renowned choreographer/performer, and had the pleasure of asking a few questions regarding the care of a dancers body, her thought process when choreographing and the demands a dancer must meet in order to convey a story to the audience.

Mari Sandoval

Mari Sandoval was trained in Ballet, Classical Spanish Dance, and Flamenco in Spain and the United States by such notables as Carmelita Maracci, Vladimir Lupov, Jonette Swider, Enrique “el cojo;, Carmen Mora, Inesita, Lupe del Rio, Nana Lorca, and Roberto Amaral. Mari performed with Roberto Amaral’s Ballet Expanol de los Angeles as a principal dancer and as the company’s Ballet  mistress. She has performed in theaters such as the Lobero, Wilshire Ebell, Japan America, Fox Smother’s, The Center for Performing Arts at CSUN, as well as numerous other venues throughout the United States and Canada. She was a choreographer for the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts from 1987 to 2009 where she created choreographies for opera, zarzuelas and numerous plays with a special emphasis on creating works for the plays and poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. She often performed in the same pieces she choreographed.  Mari’s other credits include Musical Theater productions, and Dance Theater productions such as “Evita’, “Cats”, “The Cobbler’s Many Tales”, “While Beauty Slept” among numerous others. Recently Mari choreographed for LATA’s awesome summer program and is presently teaching Flamenco, Yoga and Zumba

Mari Sandoval


Oak Tree Vintage:  It’s always been apparent to me when I see your work performed there is a cohesion that’s so beautiful whether others are dancing your choreographed work or you are the one performing it yourself. What is your thought process when your choreographing one of your masterworks?

Mari Sandoval instructing students in one of her many dance classes

Marilyn Sandoval: My thought process, whether I am the performer or the choreographer, is to put myself within the play’s poetic imagery.  For me, the poetic images suggested by the writer/poet, that are either accompanied by, or possibly enhanced by the music, are my guide. I have been known to choreograph in my head, while driving to the theater, simply by repeatedly listening to the music and by searching for the relationship between the two media. When working with the imagery of Garcia Lorca, I have often felt that he was guiding the movement.  I let myself become his instrument to give life to his work. That has happened to me in the past, before working at the theater, when I created a piece for my mentor teacher, Carmelita Maracci.  She made an assignment to dance with a fan.  I chose the music of Igor Stravinsky, “Three Pieces for a String Quartet,” and it more or less created itself.  I just listened to the poetry in the music, and it told me what to do.  She went crazy for it! The beauty in movement comes from the words combined with the music and the ability/talent to, “go there,” by the actor.

Oak Tree Vintage:  Your choreographic process often includes working with musical scores by great composers from the past. How do you pull inspiration from composers/musicians that have long been gone?

Marilyn Sandoval: Composers, like artists, come from distinct time periods. There are wonderfully stylistic things that  identify the differences between one time to another.  I was fortunate enough to have had a teacher, Carmelita Maracci, who demanded that we study music from multiple eras and to know something about what stylistically was going on during those diverse times  I also have had many great opportunities to be immersed in culturally diverse music, poetry, and dance, which I believe contributed to my work.

Oak Tree Vintage:   It can be said that both traditional and non-dance audiences are drawn to your work. In your opinion, what is it about your dances that attract non-dance audiences?

Marilyn Sandoval: It has been my goal, if the actor is “moving” within the framework of the play, to create movement that is not seen as, “dance” alone, but as a natural/organic aspect of the play’s design. Otherwise, if the dance segments are supposed to be “danced” I have striven to create entertaining, passionate, sensual, and “attractive” movement, so that the audience feels they are “there.” I always wanted the audience to feel something from what they were seeing. I rarely found out whether or not that happened.

Oak Tree Vintage:   You have the virtue of making the worst dancer look good. How do you teach a performer to convey the passion, power and sensuality that a dancer must offer its audience?

Mari Sandoval choreographing the world premiere opera “Lorca, Child of the Moon”

Marilyn Sandoval: Actors who don’t “believe” they can move, need to be coxed into believing they can.  The process of learning to move needs to be full of positive and non critical rehearsal time.  Once the threads of the coordination appear, then more layers can be added. The actors understand the script’s demands and will supply the emotional aspects once the movement is achieved.  Movement, like languages, can’t happen in an environment of doubt and criticism. I spent many years teaching students from all over the world to speak, read, and write English.  I know that the process of learning to dance and to speak a new language is parallel.

Oak Tree Vintage:  As a professional, your body goes through so much when you are choreographing and performing. How do you maintain your body and mind healthy, beautiful and strong?

Marilyn Sandoval: Anyone who dances knows that maintaining strength, flexibility, and endurance is of ultimate importance. As a choreographer, I have tried  to be an example to the actors so that they could imitate  the movement I was requiring them to produce.  While people are learning, the choreographer must  be involved in repetition and that’s where  physical training comes into play. Classical Ballet, Yoga, Pilates, and Flamenco have always been my a part of my personal physical routine. That will keep you in shape!

Oak Tree Vintage:   Legs, they go through so much on a daily basis as a dancer. They are the instrument, the voice and the storyteller. What would be your best advice on how to avoid injury on your feet and legs?

Marilyn Sandoval: The legs, feet, arms and hands are,along with the face, the most expressively articulate  parts of the body. To keep those parts of the body from being injured excellent core training accompanied by work on strength, flexibility, and endurance should be anyone’s focus. It should be a life long focus, and must include a healthy diet and weight. There are so many beautiful ways to build and maintain the bodies expressive potential.  I am in favor of multiple forms of training: Yoga for strength, flexibility and focus; Pilates for core strength; Classical Ballet for it’s amazing requirements for strength, flexibility, endurance and coordination, not to mention poetic expressiveness; Flamenco for endurance, coordination and it’s passionate expressiveness; Zumba for it’s fun fitness goals.  Any form of movement that pushes and encourages an individual to keep growing is of maximum importance!