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Local Artist Spotlight: Chris Mitchell

"Arts & Drafts" Featured Artist & OPC Founder, Chris Mitchell creates vibrant locally inspired abstract works of art. But you don't have to take my word for it...

A page from Chris Mitchell's sketchbook. Lovin' the local vibe, keep doing what you do dude.

From Controlling to Creating Freedom

"When I'm painting, I'm in control. I decide each detail. I get to drive. If I want to get off the freeway, then dammit kids I'm turning this car around!"

I sat down for a cup of Joe and a Q&A session with mixed media artist and OPC Founder, Chris Mitchell. Chris is a talented artist and undoubtedly one of the most interesting people you'll meet in #Tucson.

Q: What makes you pick up the brush to start creating?

A: Most people believe that artists are these deeply tortured people who pour their sorrows out through creation. I'm just anyone else, I really like to feel like I'm in control. I like to drive the car so to speak. But, life doesn't give crap about how I feel, life just takes control at every turn, no sharing. When I'm painting, I'm in control. I decide the every single detail and If I want to get off the freeway, dammit kids I'm turning this car around.

Q: Whats up with mixed media art?

A: Art styles are relative, but to me its working with my favorite paints and materials on whatever I decide is a canvas for the day. It always circles back to control, or better yet, freedom. Traditional art culture urges us to choose one paint or method, but art is about creating and connecting, so I break the chains and use whatever moves me. My current obsession is painting on recycled skateboard decks, the beat up old wood boards just beg for a new purpose.

Q: Why #art?

A: I am an artist. I've been saying that for as long as I can remember. Its just who I am. Ha! I am art, hehehe. Seriously, I am art and so are you. We each look out at the world everyday and absorb then recreate scenes, images, stories, and songs in our minds. I just take it one more step and move those inspirations onto a canvas.

Q: Why Tucson?

A: I grew up here. I remember riding up to Justin's Water World in the "way back" of my Mom's old wood paneled Ford station-wagon. That smell when it rains in the desert, that hazy purple, pink, orange, and blue monsoon sunset, that small town vibe, the community. Above all, the rich culture and art scene is what keeps me so connected to the Old Pueblo.

Q: Whats your favorite local brew?

A: Top two.. Barrio Blonde from Barrio Brewing Co. & Cloud People, a Tamarind Sour at Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.

Get Inspired

"Make art every day. If it ever feels like too much work, keep freakin' doing it, you've made it to the point where most people quit!"

Q: What's your advise to aspiring artists?

A: My best advice to aspiring artists is to take the word aspiring out of their title and their heads too. You are already an artist, there's no rule that says you've got be the best at it to call yourself one. Just be an artist, accept it and own it. Make art every day. If it ever feels like too much work, keep freakin' doing it, you've made it to the point where most people quit. Do not give up!

Q: What's next?

A: Sunny and I created Old Pueblo Collective to connect Tucson's local craft beer and art scenes. Sunny's my partner in crime and my fiance. She LOVES craft beer. So, logically we're diving into the Old Pueblo's beer and art scene to share our journey with other art and craft lovers. Be on the look out for our Arts & Drafts events.

Keep in touch with Chris Mitchell at:


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