Mitch O'Connell, on having his art on the cover of Newsweek, featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, and latest book - "Mitch O'Connell, the World's Best Artist."

June 4, 2015


"Sir Mitchell Robert O'Connell Esquire" Or "Mitch" or, "The Defendant."

An art career was all I ever had up my sleeve, so I constantly filled up all the available paper since I could clutch a crayon.


The official press release reads:


"Mitch O'Connell is a leader of the "Lowbrow" art movement.  Inspired by pin-ups, hot-rods, comics, sideshows and all things kitsch, cuddly and curvaceous, he takes the vintage and makes it contemporary with his distinctive eye-poping riveting pop art imagery.



His work has been featured in magazines from Newsweek to Playboy, used in the world of rock 'n' roll with groups from The Ramones to Moby, utilized in advertising campaigns for major companies from McDonalds to Coca-Cola and his fine art paintings have been exhibited in sold-out gallery shows from New York to Berlin, Tokyo to Miami and Hollywood to Mexico City.



His tattoo flash is a fixture on the walls of tattoo shops around the word with many of the designs collected in the Last Gasp book "Mitch O'Connell Tattoos" now in it's 5th printing.  



His most recent book is "Mitch O'Connell the World's Best Artist by Mitch O'Connell!"


Likes include: letting it all hang out, doing his own thing, keeping it up and getting down! 





First Gig


A Playboy spot illustration was one of my first assignments. I'm sure it came about by pestering Playboy (along with every other magazine, newspaper, ad agency, music company fact pestering any company that used art with call, flyers and portfolio drop-offs) until they finally realized it would be much easier to just give in.






I grew up surrounded by art supplies and regular museum and gallery family trips.


As for how I draw, I've swiped from many sources, John Romita, Roy Lichtenstein, Big Daddy Roth, George Petty, Vargas, Bernie Wrightson, Barry Smith, Frank Fruzyna, Alex Toth.



Big-Eyed artists Margaret Keane, Gig and Eve, Frank Frazetta, 50s clip art, Peanuts, Mad Magazine, Drive-Ins, B-Movies, Old-School Tattoos, Clowns, Gag Gifts, Knit Poodle bottles, Devil velvet paintings, Novelty patches. 



Pop Art, Exploitation movies, Risque Novelties, Collage, Comic Books, Sideshows, Dark Rides, State Fairs, Garage Sales, Movie Palaces, Tiki Resturants, Dark Bars with Red Leather Seating, Muscle Cars, Don Post Masks, Fuzzy Faux Fur Anything, Beatniks, Hillbillys, Shriners, Nudists, Shag Rugs, Blow-Up Furniture.



Spin Art, Black Light Art, Flocked Posters, String Art, Gravel Art, Clowns, Art That Lights Up, Mannequins, 70s Music, TV Horror Hosts, Old Catalogs, Vintage Men's Magazines, Sacred Heart Jesus, Google and Flicker eyes, Thrift Store Finds, Late 60s Men's Fashions, and approx 609,873 other things!





Tattoo Art


I've always loved old-school tattoo designs and worked them into my art as much as possible.



At the same time, folks were sending me photos of my illustrations they had tattooed on themselves.



It was quite flattering (obviously) and inspired me to go ahead and work up illustrations that were specifically meant as tattoo flash.



So far I've come up with about 700 of 'em, hopefully a few are on the walls of a tattoo shop near you (and if you do pick one of mine, please send me a pic-!





In what ways do you challenge yourself as an artist?


If the client has a very small budget, I will try to draw with my left hand.





Advice for Aspiring Artists


There are already too many artists, please do something else. Possibly become Art Directors so you can give me work.



Or, if you MUST draw- You should take a peek at my bank account before you start thinking there's a monetary payoff to this doodling thing.


My advice is to be as amazing as possible. There's no point to being mediocre. Learn everything, then apply that knoweldge to your own vision. 


Also, never underbid me on a job.







 Lack of money.



Pawning things around the house. And pawning things from the neighbors houses.





Social Media


It gives me, and every other human, the excuse to spend the day posting every mundane, uninteresting and trivial life event.


Of course, when I do it, it's exciting, fascinating and memorable!


Beside the 12 times a day postings on Facebook , and tattoo design uploads on Instagram - mitchoconnellart.


I also have a Blog, where I slap together larger collections of nonsense.


I guess the theory is if I do things that draw people to My Website - they might become costumers.



So far it's still just a theory.




"Mitch O'Connell the World's Best Artist by Mitch O'Connell!"


Having Last Gasp Publishing go along with my idea of a huge career retrospective book was (and still is) a huge thrill. I spent around three years collecting and sorting all the images while also jotting down whatever amusing stories I could think of to go along with the art.



For eighteen months of those years, I worked with superstar designer (and pal), Joseph Allen Black  -, to arrange everything within those 300 pages.


He turned all my bland layout ideas into the most spectacular looking book EVER (It's true!  I had one hand on the bible when I typed that)!



And I've luckily received some good press...


"A pop surrealist and low-brow luminary over-the-top, kitschy, vibrant mood-elevating coffee table book!" -Huffington Post

"Oozing charm! Bright and Brash!" -Chicago Tribune

"A Brilliant American artist!" -Hi-Fructose Magazine

"An eye-popping curation of the pop artist's finest illustrations!" -Yahoo! Music

"We're smitten with everything Mitch has ever done. There's no escaping that his art is awesome!" -Bizarre Magazine

"I'm tempted to tear out the pages and hang them on the wall!" -USA Today


Now go buy it already!

 Purchase It Here





Career Aspirations


Being filthy rich is the goal.

If I manage to work in a little art-time with a full house of kids, I'll be drawing a lot more tattoo designs and hopefully merchandising them like Ed Hardy.


I want my art on every product there is!  Satan, I'm ready to sign that contract!


Also, I've stopped waiting for my dream projects to come to me, so I try to do them on my own. 


Every once in awhile I'll do a poster for a favorite entertainer or band for the fun of it. Cheap Trick, The Amazing Kreskin, etc.


I'm working on a Paul McCartney one now and have Don Rickles and Alice Cooper poster images already in my head.


I'll post 'em and just not be too specific on the details to leave the impression that they actually asked me!


I guess another dream would be those big shots contacting me first.






Standing Out from the Competition


Be nosier. Vigorous arm-waving. Frequent blowing of air-horns. Holding breath until I get the job.



Also, hand wringing, pleading, quivering lower lip and big tears help in person.





Favorite Prjoects




The ones that invoke checks arriving in the mail.





Top 5 Moments


5) Putting food on the table!


4) Doing many full-page Rolling Stone illustrations!


3) Having 5 books of my art published!


2) Doing 6 Newsweek covers!


1) Being in!






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