Sunday, December 19, 2010

Speaking with Ben Mitchell

Collected Works - Ben Mitchell

Tell us a little about your background
I grew up in Auckland and Sydney to where I emigrated at 19. My family were involved in the Arts and to this day my Dad draws better than just about anyone else I know. I attempted to study Art at RMIT in Melbourne and didn’t have the discipline. I thought Art was what I saw in foreign books about the History of Art so headed out to find it.
I gained an Honours degree in Painting at ECU in 2005. Since then I have been in several shows in Perth, Italy and the US.

Tell us a little about what kind of work you do/ what you make
Mostly I have been painting and drawing in oils, acrylics and recently with varnishes and stains. My practice has consistently involved using recycled materials in amongst new materials and often found objects as grounds for pictures. The subject of recent pictures has been an exploration of the effects of decay on Polaroid film and how that can be interpreted in Paint.

What drives you to do what you do?
The main drive behind what I do is curiosity and the desire to achieve something I haven’t been able to yet like a dog running around a track with a rabbit on a stick.. Doing one thing then having it raise other possibilities that then logically seem to need investigating.

What is your earliest creative memory?
That would be drawing a crayon picture of a patch of strawberries seen from above.

Did you always want to be an artist, or did it come later in life?
From growing up around Artists and going to endless openings, the only things that ever really moved me were Art and Music (in the way people are moved by football say), so yes I knew this was the thing to be . It took a while to realize it.

Did you grow up in a creative environment?
Yes both my parents were and still are highly creative as were their friends. We were encouraged to do something with ourselves

Who/what are some of your creative influences?
My Mother and Father, my aunt Brigid, my former colleagues from ECU, some Modernist Painters like Robert Ryman, Rosalie Gascoigne, Cy Twombly, the list could go for pages. Recently things like torn billboards, and erased signs are influencing my focus.

What do you like about where you live?
I love the fact that I am 20 mins drive from the Beach which apart from my studio is my favourite habitat. These days beach trumps Nightclub.

Do you listen to anything while you are working? If so, what?
Yes, I enjoy flicking the radio around to suit my mood and playing random CDs of everything from Brian Eno, Electronica, Pop, 70’s funk & early Hip Hop etc to Schumann , Miles Davis and points in between.

Where can people find out more about your work?
Facebook: Ben Mitchell
Kurb Gallery
Primo Piano Gallery
Or by email:

Any current shows?
I am currently exhibiting new paintings at Kurb Gallery in William Street Northbridge till the 24th December in conjunction with fellow ECU alumni Candy Goldsmith. Openings hours are: Monday 20th, 10am-4pm; Tuesday 21st, 10am-6pm; Wednesday 22nd, 10am-6pm; Thursday 24th, 10am-4pm.

Many thanks to Ben, for agreeing to be the first in the Bear among bees Speaking with... series!

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to more in this series--great piece! I enjoyed Ben's art and thoughts.