ARTIST IN RESIDENCE – MITCH FLEMING
Created around the same premise as our BLA! (Brewing Local Artists) event, the Artist in Residence program is here to help generate exposure for Gold Coast artists, and to engage and inspire our community with the depth of creative talent that exists here on the Coast. This month, our Artist in Residence is the talented Mitch Fleming.
Firstly, can you tell us a little about your artistic background.
I’ve always been drawn towards creating things, whether it’s in a form of building, or drawing/painting. I was drawing at a young age and never really stopped. I studied graphic design at Griffith Uni and did some fine art studies whilst there, so I got a good chance to hone some skills and work on my artistic ‘eye’ in the meantime.
Is there anyone in particular that has influenced you and your artistic direction?
No one person in particular really. I might have artists that I’m really into at that specific time, but that focus usually shifts with time. Although I’ll always look up to them after I’ve moved on.
You’re left handed and it’s often touted that people who are left handed are more creative. Do you think there is any truth behind these claims?
I don’t really think so, any time I’ve been in a big group of creatives lefties have still always been the minority. Although I haven’t properly surveyed ha-ha
Quite a bit of your artwork explores the human form whilst at the same time integrating elements of nature by way of flora or fauna. Can you explain the rationale behind this integration?
I don’t think there’s a separation between human and nature. I think people have it in their minds that there’s ‘nature’ then there’s ‘us’ I think people forget we’re still a part of it all, we’re still animals, but we’re shifty animals that hide our true intentions and trick people into believing untrue narratives. My pieces usually carry a theme of some kind overlay/masking of the subject. These are the little things we tell ourselves or others and create another layer to stop someone seeing our true selves. It’s not all bad though, there’s a real person under there somewhere, just have to peel back some layers.
You use plywood as your base canvas quite often and utilise the raw product as part of the overall piece. Can you tell us a little more about the rationale behind this technique?
I go through waves of using it, but I love that no piece is the same as the other. Each piece has its own qualities and grain. It also responds well to different mediums.
You’re a graphic designer by trade and create digital artwork regularly. Do you approach creating digital art in the same manner as more traditional mediums?
I think the process is similar. Starts with a chicken scratch sketch and scribbles of words around it for direction and then grows from there. Then you just stop when you’re happy with it.
You’re a craftsman by nature and professionally. How important do you think it is for artists to finish their projects so to speak with well-crafted mounting and framing?
I don’t think it’s super essential, totally depends on the artwork. But I’ve always thought a nice frame can help legitimise a piece physically and give a different kind of presence.
You performed ‘live art’ at the BLA! event in 2016 which had an overwhelmingly positive response on the night. How was this experience from your perspective and is this something that you regularly do?
It’s not something I regularly do. It was just something I wanted to sink my teeth into since I had the opportunity. I had a great time and learnt a lot about painting in front of a few hundred people (turns out it stresses me out ha-ha). But once it was all done I was happy with the end result and loved interacting with the people as they came by for a look.
Lastly, can you leave us with your artistic philosophy?
You can’t control the outcome, but you can control the effort. So, work hard, have fun and don’t think too far ahead; focus more on ‘now’.
Red Blooded – Graphite and Paint on Ply $250
Oh Deer – Mixed media print $125
Crown – Digital collage $125
Half glass full – Graphite and Paint on canvas – Not for sale
A dagger which I see before me – Mixed media $475
Each month we feature a new artist, with their work showing at our Taphouse in Burleigh and here online. You’ll be able to interact with them via social media, purchase their work or just stare in admiration at what they’ve created.
If you’re an artist and would like to be a part of BLA! or our Artist in Residence program, send us an email.