Mitch O’Connell is one of my favorite artists! Mitch’s influences that have informed his art have given him a style that is a wonderfully wonky mash of comics, 60s clip art and old-school tattoos. As far as the later it has come full circle. Mitch has been creating portfolios of tattoo flash that have now been collected in a book published by Last Gasp.
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1. Mitch, what is you first comic book experience?
My first experience professionally (kinda) drawing comics was around 1980. Charlton comics was accepting/looking for folks to do covers and stories. The only catch was- they weren’t paying anything. Of course the thrill of seeing my stuff published greatly outweighed the lack ofÂ financial rewards! I think I ended up doing about 5 covers and a couple one or two page stories.
2. How many prison tatttoos do you have?
I have kept my skin a pristine, unmarked fishbelly white.
3. What artists have inspired you for your flash?
I have spent hours and hours staring down the art of the old school guys,Â Sailor Jerry, Dainty Dotty, Owen Jensen, Ralph Johnson, Stoney, Bert Grimm and a hundred others hoping that some of their skill and wisdom might seep into my skull.
4. Any good stories about people getting tattooed with your art?
It’s all good! You can’t get a much higher complement that having someone permanently engrave your stuff on their flesh! I do a drawing for a newspaper, it’s thrown out the next day. An illustration for a magazine might stay on the coffee table for a couple of weeks (unless it’s at the dentist’s office), and a gallery show is only up for a month, but a tattoo… that’s gotta be the winner for hanging in there!
5. What new projects are you working on?
I’m still knee deep in this project!Â Â Remember the traveling sideshow? Where you could stare and gawk at society’s misbegotten sad souls? Well, in that same spirit, I’m hittin’ the road with gallery shows and “Mitch O’Connell Tattoos” book signings! So far I’ve scheduled a signing on March 23rd at Quimbys Bookstore here in Chicago.
Â Â Â On the 31st of March I’ll be having a show and signingÂ at at Rival Tattoo Art Studios in Albuquroque, NM.Â
Â Â Â On April 14th DVA Gallery back in Chicago is having a tattoo show. I’ll be signing and displaying my doodles there too.
Â Â Â On May 11th I’ll be having a show at Crybaby Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ. Â Â
and in July I’ll be at the San Diego Comic Con at the Last Gasp booth. Please come and sadly shake your head in pity. It’ll be fun!Â
Thanks, Mitch! remember when I comissioned you to do a painting for “The Art Of Barbie” book? It’s one of the greatest pieces in the book. Below is the painting. Mitch, you might think about getting it tattooed at one of the tattoo shops or shows you are gonna be at on your pristine, unmarked fishbelly white skin. Send me a photo to put on the blog if you do.
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— C. Yoe (in the funny papers)