Featured Member Interview: Cathy Mitchell


1. What inspires you to create?
My art is defined by Nostalgia. I find inspiration in retro playtime, paper dolls, “vintage” toys (now that my childhood years are considered vintage!). I’m also working on some collage and mixed media pieces representing the rural countryside around me. I have always been enamored with abandoned and crumbling old houses and barns and the past generations who inhabited these places. The juxtaposition of the vulnerability of hope, dreams and disappointment fuels my subject matter.

2. When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?
My older sister and I always enjoyed coloring books, crayons, kids’ watercolor, paper dolls, construction paper, scissors, glue, bits of yarn and thread. My sister concentrated on coloring within the lines, I’d be all over the place with my own style of coloring and creating. I would copy the paper doll clothes and create my own line of clothing for them. I still don’t color within the lines and encourage my young students to work creatively outside the lines. Elementary through middle school, I was consistently told I was not following directions…oh well!

3. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
A writer of children’s books and fiction, both focusing on timeless values and topics. Although, all expression through art is therapeutic, it would be fascinating to be an actual art therapist.

4.  What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
Working with children in elementary and preschool teaching arts and crafts and encouraging creative expression. One of my favorite activities with preschool was to have them paint or color large pieces of paper and then cut out the shapes needed, leaves, sun, clouds, etc. thus avoiding lines and preconceived ideas of how to make a sun or clouds. As well, my work with people with disabilities of all ages has me using analytical and creative thinking to modify techniques for success.

5.  At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
Much like my childhood art shopping:  paper, pens, markers.  I still find casual drawing and coloring soothing and restful. 

6.  What new technique or art form would you like to learn?  Do you have plans to do so?
I've been trying out some watercolor.  I would like to take some formal classes.  Also, I want to learn more collage techniques.  Through the graciousness of the Guild, I'll be taking a class with Eric McRay.  Also plan to take a class with Sharon DiGiulio at Jerry's soon.

7.  If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do? 

I would go to school seeing an Art Therapy degree.  In addition, a friend in Ecuador has invited me to spend a summer with her and work in the orphanage with children with disabilities, teaching expression, individuality and joy through art.  That would take a lot of courage for me. 
 
And you'd be great at it, Cathy.  
Thanks for the interview, and we're looking forward
to the postcards you'll send from Ecuador!

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