Donald Mitchell (born 1951)

Donald Mitchell was born in San Francisco, the third of eleven children, and has lived with his family all of his life. A shy and retiring man, Mitchell speaks in the softest of whispers. Mitchell has been a studio artist at Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California since 1976. His early work consisted of obsessively crosshatched fields of lines or brushstrokes that obliterated the page, hiding the underlying image. He always started with a small face or figure, but eventually shrouded the images with lines. A few years ago Mitchell’s responsiveness to his environment began to change and this resulted in a change in his artwork. Beginning in small sections of each piece, Mitchell started to uncover the faces and forms buried in the darkness. Soon the work began to be filled by dancing figures, until the pages were covered with sometimes dozens of mysterious creatures. Today his fundamental imagery remains the same; legions of small figures marching across the now illuminated field of his vision. Mitchell’s work has been exhibited in New York at the Outsider Art Fair in 2001 and was used as the cover illustration for the book “Educating Special Learners” published by Wadsworth Press in 1998. A book on the artist edited by Cheryl Rivers was published in 2004 by Creative Growth Art Center. Mitchell’s drawings are also held in many private collections and the demand for his work continues to grow rapidly.

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