A friend and I were walking along the nearby Garland Business District enjoying the sunny day and checking out the all the shops when we discovered a new art gallery. We stepped into the Little Dog Art Gallery and chatted up the owner / curator Kay West (an absolutely lovely woman). Of course, always being on the look out for artists to interview, I told her about my blog and asked her to check it out. As it turns out, luck was with me. Or actually standing ten feet behind me.
Montana artist, Mitchell Pluto was in the Little Dog Gallery waiting to drop off one of his paintings (Oracles of a Petrified Planet – pictured below) for display in next months “Earth + Above” exhibit.
The first thing I noticed about him, beyond the large painting he was holding, was an intelligent twinkle in his eye and an open and engaging smile. He was holding his painting back side out so, curious as to what style he embraced, I approached him and asked to take a look at it. He obliged with a smile and turned the painting around. At once magical and thought provoking, it instantly won him a new fan. A fan with a blog.
Keep reading for a glimpse into this incredible artists mystical inner space.
My grandmother was an artist and noticed my talent for drawing. She encouraged it. Around age 14 after painting a few paintings I arrived at the conclusion I really enjoyed it. During the same time while in the library, I found a book on the surrealist’s which set off a whole journey into inner space. The surrealist’s provided a way to explore the self which seemed mystical, ancient and psychological.
3. What is your process? Do you paint during the day / night, with or without music, pets, or snacks?
I can build a conventional painting but I prefer using a psychic process called automatism. This procedure is nothing more than creating an ink blot on canvas. It allows one to become aware of one’s free associations. What begins to look like a tangled mess, gets worked through. Outlined. Focused by layers. Developed, not prepared. Automatism is supported by Freudian based psychology . Even though automatism appears supernatural it is an effective and healthy way of unearthing the subconscious. I would compare it to self hypnosis..with the painting being a wonderful side effect. I paint during the day and night. I enjoy drinking black tea while I work, it’s refreshing.
4. You seem to favor flowing geographic designs and bold colors. What turned you onto this style? What do you call your style?
It’s my duty to mention the Woodlands style founded by Norval Morrisseau, because it made a relevant impression on me. I casually call what I do Primitive Surrealism because I use techniques used by the Surrealists and Sigmund Freud. The primitive part is intended to represent the animistic brain. Norval Morrisseau clearly illustrates this paranormal vision by using an x-ray quality in his paintings to reveal thoughts/spirits projected into persons, places and things.
5. Much of your art also features a natural component. Is that where you find inspiration? What else inspires you?
I enjoy the woods. I did a commission for the Sacred Yew Institute and found tree worship had an overpowering effect on my work. Even long after the project was completed. Besides having a propensity towards the mystical, I have a lot of faith in science, especially anthropology and psychology.
6. Do you work in any other mediums?
I’m primarily a visual artist, oil and acrylic painter. I’m planning on producing more texture in my work in the future.
7. When you create, do you usually have a message or meaning to impart, or do you prefer to just go with the artistic flow?
Sometimes I have a message. Other times I find narration. . .which is more interesting to me. I like it when unexpected things happen during the process. Automatism upsets the surface of the canvas, which is the best environment for my animistic brain to project into, creating stories out of accidents. Many times I’ll mutate subject matter if I feel like I’m being over deliberate or too controlling. I want my work to be mutually a part of myself, and an encounter with a self I’m unfamiliar with.
8. Who are some of your favorite artists? (From any genre: painting, sculpting, writing, music, whatever.)
I’m a music devotee. Music is my religion. The range is too great to mention without forgetting someone. I buy music magazines and I’m regularly on the look out for something I haven’t heard before. **Challenge accepted!**😉
9. What are some of your other interests / passions? (Hobbies, volunteer work, causes you support, etc.)
I like to try to make an avant-garde art film once a year, nothing major, just for fun. I support animal refuges and conservation when I can. I don’t hunt for food every year but I enjoy it when I have time for it. I seek out the luxuriant in culinary experiences and like to cook. My wife and I live close to the Clark Fork River, we see a lot of bird activity which leads to taking a lot of photos of wildlife and landscape.
10. If you could travel ANYWHERE for your art, where would you go and why?
Scotland/United Kingdom. I think I would enjoy being a guest there. They have tours that bring you to the stones and different ley lines. I would be open to observing what kind of magical effects those type of locations would have on my work.
An interview with artist Mitchell Pluto.
Introduced to this young artist through a mutual friend (Allison Wier, you can see her interview further down the page.), I recently had the pleasure of interviewing artist Grace Fairchild. A new resident of Post Falls, she has grown up in and around the Spokane / Couer D’Alene area, has two cats, Smokey Bear and Melly Belly. “The name Melly Belly comes from her laying on her back when we stretch her belly and she lifts one leg up, it’s hilarious.” She also has a sweetly supportive boyfriend (as evidenced in the interview below). While speaking to her on the phone, she described herself as shy, especially when it comes to talking to people, but I found her to be a vivacious, well spoken, good humored young lady. Read on to learn more about this rising star.
Q: When did you first discover your talent / love of art?
A: I got a set of graphite pencils and was always doodling cartoons and what not. One day on Instagram I came across art featuring pages and they were sharing such beautiful things. After sifting through so many posts I realized that one lady was drawing with colored pencils. It interested me. So one day my boyfriend got me some as a surprise. I tried one of the contests that a page was hosting. I had to draw a human eye ball but that didn’t go so well, so I took a photo of my cats eye and discovered that I wanted to try more of that furry goodness. On my second attempt at my cat I was hooked. I needed more pencils and decided that this is what I am really good at and stopped drawing cartoons.
Q: How long have you been actively creating art?
A: I have been creating miscellaneous art here and there all my life, but really only drawing since about May of 2014.
Q: Do you have a favorite medium to work within?
A: Colored pencils by far, they are so much fun and you can do so much with them, though they take a long time to create things.
Q: What do you call your style of drawing?
A: I would call it realism.
**We both (at different times) attempted to Google descriptions of her style and though hyper-realism comes close, we both found that term to be super subjective.
Q: What is your process? Do you listen to music, keep a snack nearby, burn incense, what?
A: No snacks. I am a messy eater. If I have something nearby it will end up all over me and my project! I don’t really listen to music when I’m drawing. I am a Netflix / Hulu tv watcher. I keep my tablet nearby and use the programs to keep track of time while creating a new portrait. I’ve been re-watching X – Files, Stargate, and Veronica Mars. I enjoy crime shows too, but they freak me out a bit. A friend keeps telling me to watch Dr. Who, but I’m not sure if I will.
**I, being a 10 year Whovian, encouraged that whole heartedly.
Q: How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
A: If I can work on a project without interruption 7 – 10 days. Otherwise I do about two projects a month.
Q: Do you have a favorite subject to draw, paint, etc.?
A: Animals are definitely my favorite to draw, there is always something interesting in them. My favorite part though is the eyes. I love drawing eyes! Especially when you get a really good picture with a neat reflection it.
Q: Is there a part you don’t like drawing?
A: I hate ears! They usually have weird hairs in or on them and, as I draw from pictures, it is really hard to get a good look at the detail.
Q: Where / how do you find inspiration?
A: I am a part of a few online groups which have so many people always posting and sharing beautiful things, I think that is where a lot of it comes from. Seeing what other create, sharing new products, reference photos and their own techniques drives me to want to improve. Having social media where so many amazing artists post their work helps. I think if I didn’t have that ability to find them and see their artwork I wouldn’t have discovered what does inspire me.
Q: If you could travel ANYWHERE for your art, where would you go and why?
A: Anywhere, I haven’t really been to too many places. I think doing a meet up with some of the people I admire would be amazing, so many of them are in the UK, Australia and Texas. We (my boyfriend and I) like to take drives and get photographs of all sorts of stuff so that I can try and draw from my own reference photos too. So anywhere to do that also.
Q: Who are some of your favorite artists?
A: This is so difficult! Danielle Fisher Portraits, Jessica Lennox, Lisa Lachri, Wendy Layne Windrich, Rachael Wild, and Kelly Lahar just to name a few. All but Wendy I discovered on instagram, and I recently purchased a print from Kelly.
Q: What are some other interests of yours? Hobbies, volunteer work, causes you support, etc.
A: Well my art was a hobby so when I am not working I will go home and draw.
Q: So you have a job other than super artist? (Yes I checked out your fb page and loved it!;)
A: Haha yeah, I work full time for a seasonal Bark Blowing company, which is an awesome job filled with amazing people. So in the off season, like this winter, I was able to spit out some art quicker than normal.
Q: Do you have a website for your art?
A: I do, it’s not finished and I am thinking about purchasing one instead of doing a free one but here is the link: http://graciesartcorner.weebly.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/graciesartcorner/ Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/handmade/Gracies-Art-Corner and if you search graciesartcorner on Instagram you will find me there as well.
**Some of Grace’s work can currently be seen at The Artisan Gallery @ 53 Wisconsin St. Priest River, ID.
Check back next week to learn about this amazing artist.
Alright, so as you can see from my new header image, I am not much of an artist. With that in mind, I would like to hold a small contest. Any artist who would like to submit the same picture, redone in a more artistic manner, please e-mail a jpeg version to email@example.com. The best interpretation will be used as the new header and the artist will be interviewed for this blog (no matter where you live).🙂
After a massive and utterly unplanned hiatus, this blog will be back on track within the next two months. Sorry for the lack of content. Please check back in April.