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Interview: So Young Artist Series #10: George Mitchell

The So Young Artist Series is an ongoing project in which we collaborate with some of our favourite artists and designers on one-off items of clothing. In our tenth edition we’ve collaborated with artist and musician, George Mitchell. His smoking Alsation adorns our latest garment, “I found a framed pencil drawing in a charity shop of an Alsatian and I thought it was disgusting… so I bought it. Then when I got it home I did that thing where I go, “I’m gonna paint that”. Also, I smoke like a chimney, so that’s perhaps where the cigarette comes into play.”

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How do you go about starting a piece of work? Does it start as a pencil drawing? What is your process?

I can’t say that I have a fixed process or method, but I know that there is always a figure, an object or theme that takes hold of me to say, “I’m gonna paint that” within my head. Small sketchbook drawings often start the ball rolling.

How do you choose your subject matter?

I’m forever on the lookout for characters or themes that resonate weirdly with me. I like falling down a google image wormhole all too often. I also like digging up memories from within my own head to try to weave it into the wormhole. The subject matter usually turns into a juxtaposition of damaged pop culture, alongside my somewhat deranged outlook on life.

 

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What are the main differences for you between working on a painting or writing a song? Both of which I imagine are initially isolating processes before you share with a publisher or bandmates…

My art always seems to have been a naive output for my busy train of thought. Often humorous, yet still holding my emotions at the time of creating it. But musically, my output is often more of a serious nature. It can be daunting the first time showing music, especially when it involves my own voice singing. But, artisically, I’m just like a child scribbling on wallpaper.

Do you enjoy one process more than the other?

I think I find music to be much more of a challenging process both technically and emotionally. Art to me seems to be the most natural and easiest process. Although both processes are different I think I can say I prefer the musical process more as its much more of a challenge.

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Where do you draw your main inspiration from?

I don’t really have a main inspiration. I think I’ve always just seemed to hold an urge to be creative. But, like any creative, I’ve become a sponge to my surroundings so everything is inspiring to me I suppose.

Can you remember the first piece of visual art that had an impact on you?

I drew a pineapple in year 1 at school and got an award for it. Haha.

But jokes aside, when I was a teenager and browsing art books I always enjoyed DADAism. Especially Hannah Höch’s ‘Cut With The Kitchen Knife’. Also, my Grandad had a print of ‘The Funeral Party’ by L S Lowry which I always loved.

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Whose work do you admire and why?

I’ve always admired L S Lowry’s work and I think that’s mainly due to the connection of me and my Grandad both enjoying it. I gravitate towards Lowry’s ability to make a painting look so naive / outsider, yet still so technical and unique at the same time. I also admire Horace Pippin’s work as it seems to hold so much soul within it.

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently I’m painting / drawing at free will with nothing in the pipeline. I’d love to do an exhibition in the near future, (perhaps when I’m 80 or when I die) so for now I’m just stockpiling my artwork in hope of that.

Maybe I’ll do an exhibition in my house and just leave the door wide open so everyone can knick everything. Just a thought.

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Is there any new music in the pipeline?

YES! There is new music on the way finally!

I left my old band EAGULLS a few years back and recently started a new project called HONESTY. It’s a genre bending collaborative project that I’ve been wanting to create for quite some time and thanks to lockdown it spawned its fruition.

I can’t wait to get the music out there and hopefully play some live shows soon as possible. So yeah, keep your eyes and ears out for that.

T-Shirt available here.