Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa
Oil, Acrylic, Mixed medium, Photography, Digital
I was born in South Africa, in 1967, and studied fine arts at the Vaal Triangle Technikon in Van der Bijl Park and Pretoria Technikon.
In my latest works I depict scenes of everyday life. I continue to search for new ideas and experiment with new techniques and mediums.
I do commission work in Oil and Acrylic painting, Scenic painting, Sculpture, Drawing, Illustration, Animation and Photography.
“Please tell us about your first experience creating”
From a young age, as far as I can remember, I have always been busy with something creative. It made me happy, and still does.
“How long have you considered yourself an artist?”
As long as you create, you are an artist, whether you are creating for yourself or for someone else.
'Big Haaktand' ©Benjamin Mitchley
Acrylic on canvas, W: 15cm x H: 15cm, W: 6" x H: 6"
I am always challenged when I create miniature works. I love the majesty of the elephant, and it is a wonderful subject to capture on canvas.
“What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?”
I like to create scenes of every-day life. People intrigue me. I want to capture the essence surrounding a person, or a group of people. I want to feel the atmosphere and energy of a landscape, or of the space around a portrait or scene.
Mostly I want to create work that people love. It makes me happy when people love what I love to create.
“Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.”
I usually take my camera wherever I go, and photograph anything that interests me, particularly people. When one of these photographs inspire me, depending on the style and technique I’d like to use, I start a process of deciphering or simplifying the image. I transfer the processed image onto my canvas with charcoal, do the under-painting and make sure I cover each part of the canvas. I then layer my medium to create depth and richness.
From start to finish, the length of time it takes to complete a work depends on the detail and the technique I am using. It can take from one month to three months, or one day to a week, or one minute to an hour.
“What things inspire you to create art?”
I am always amazed by the work of past masters like Michelangelo, Leonardo, Klimt, the Impressionists and the ancient Greek and Roman artists and sculptors. New and young artists inspire me. I see what can be achieved and that nothing is impossible to create. People in every-day life are a great inspiration.
“What exhibitions have you had?”
Sanlam Vuleka Exhibition 2003
Sanlam Vuleka Exhibition 2004
Obz Art Walk, 2003
SoulPIE Exhibition - 38 Special Art Gallery, Cape Town,2003
Aroma Cafe, Loop street, Cape Town
Granny Feel Goods, Main Road, Green Point Cape Town
'Picasso' Red art gallery, Steenburg village, Tokai
Strada restaurant, Munich, 2005/2006
Koenig Bistro, Munich,2006
Hof Christmas market, Germany, 2006
The Studio art gallery, Clarens, 2007
Richard Renni gallery, Clarens, 2007
Solo Exhibition,Spirit, The Arts Association of Bellville, Cape Town, 2008
'My Country, My Land', Hyde Park Gallery, Johannesburg, 2009
'Green,Organic,Nature,Nurture', Hyde Park,Jhb. Food and Trees for Africa, 2009
Currently exhibiting in 'Gallery On The Side' Four Ways, Johannesburg
2012 Vuleka Competition,SA Art Times Merit Award.
“Have you sold any of your artworks? How?”
Coffee shops, art markets, art fairs, and the side walk is where I sold my first works. I eventually got representation in galleries, and solo exhibitions, but ongoing marketing is the key.
Online galleries and the internet has been a good outlet for me.
'Township Tango' ©Benjamin Mitchley
Oil on Canvas, W: 61cm x H: 30cm, W: 24" x H: 12"
The photograph, from which this painting was made, was taken while driving past Zandspruit on the M5, Johannesburg, South Africa. The motion blur in the photograph inspired me to paint the scene.
“How do you promote your art on the internet?”
Online galleries, websites, social networks and blogs.
“Tell us about influences, if any.”
I see influence as inspiration, so inspiration influences me.
“Please recommend another artist you admire, and tell us a little about them.”
I admire many artists. Every artist is so different. Each one is unique. I do not believe one is better than the other. One might have more experience than the other, but as individuals, each artist gives of themselves and that makes all artists admirable.
“Tell us something interesting in your life:”
My first international and inspiring trip was to Dubai. Here I furthered my scenic experience while working on the IBN Battuta shopping mall. Directly after, I experienced a visit to Switzerland which awakened a new style in my work. In Johannesburg, South Africa, I worked on a scenic project for Monte Casino's East-End Teatro. Later on a sculpture project for the Dubai Municipality brought me back home to my first solo exhibition in South Africa.
International visits to the UAE, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Greece and India, will always be memorable, and a great inspiration to my work.
'Boys Club' ©Benjamin Mitchley
Oil on canvas
W: 76cm x H: 60cm, W: 30" x H: 24"
This group of boys, on the island of Paquetá, Rio de Janeiro, reminded me of my own mischievous youth. The simple life on this island was a great inspiration.
Bicycle is the main form of transport. One can peddle the circumference of this atmospheric island several times in a day.
“What is the most annoying thing someone has said to you about your art?”
I try not to get annoyed and therefore don’t hold on to negative criticism. One can only learn from positive criticism. This helps improve me as an artist.
“What plans do you have for the future of your art?”
I want to keep creating as long as I can.
“Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?”
Not all galleries are willing to take on new artists, unless the artists have made a name for themselves. My motto is if you don’t try, you will never know. Don’t take rejection negatively. A gallery owner once told me that I will never stand a chance to exhibiting in his gallery. His reason was that he was in the business for more than 20 years. He did not even take a look at my work. Five years later I was invited by the new owner to exhibit with the gallery.
Get as much work as possible out there. Do whatever it takes.
Don’t let negative criticism get to you. Learn from positive criticism.
Interview with Artist Benjamin Mitchley - In the Moment
Blog: South African Artist