Jeffry Mitchell’s art explores the crossroads among notions of high art, decoration, and craft.
“The flowers and animals by Jeffry Mitchell are an established highlight of artmaking in Seattle,” says The Stranger’s art critic Jen Graves. “Mitchell makes paintings, drawings, and sculpture that are equally sad, garish, and gorgeous. His curves and curls resonate.”
Jeffry Mitchell grew up as an Air Force kid. He lived in many neighborhoods and attended many schools. “You would meet and move away from an awful lot of people,” he says. “And we’d stay in touch through correspondence. Half of our letters would be what we were up to, and the other half would be drawings.”
“We all turned into artists,” Mitchell recalls.
At the age of twenty, Mitchell moved to Japan, where he apprenticed to a Japanese potter. By chance, he lived next door to a butcher whose wife created beautiful calligraphy. Mitchell began to study with her.
“There was something about the delicacy of calligraphy, and the modesty to it, that I liked,” he says.
“It’s not just that art’s important, it’s essential,” Mitchell notes. “It’s crucial. No matter how hard it sometimes seems to be in this culture, art’s always been a part of us, and I think it will always be a part of us. The longer I do it, the more I think it’s worthwhile.”
In early 2008, MItchell will be leading workshops for high school and middle school students. Follow this link for more information, including registration forms.