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!
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 ...in 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!
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- firstname.lastname@example.org)!
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.
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!
"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.