Coffee + Art + Friends : René Mitchell



Art Discoverer • Art Lover • Art Supporter • Artist

I believe many people are artists even if they are not painting or sculpting or drawing or writing. I look at artists as people who enjoy art and appreciate art and who are creative thinkers. What I love most about Art, is for those people who can be around something and can feel something so deeply inside of them that they are moved. I also love that Art can provide people with the tools that can allow them to express themselves when they would not otherwise know how to share their voice or share their feelings.

Sadly, I remember growing up and being told I was not an artist. I remember the feeling in third grade when I took a creative writing class during summer school— I even remember what I was wearing— and I wrote about my parents divorcing. I remember leaving that class, walking across the lawn and knowing something really powerful had happened through writing the words on a piece of paper. But, I never ever fostered it.

It wasn’t until college, where I traveled around Europe and I bought a museum pass in Paris and I went to museums for seven days straight. It was during that time that I felt like a discoverer of Art and felt the power of Art and knew I had to surround myself with it even if I wasn’t an Artist. I think that led me to a career in commercial art, or advertising. It’s been through the non-profits I’ve been involved with it that has given me a place of helping facilitate different creative programming for others.

I remember I was at the Musée de l’Orangerie, in the contemporary art section. So, I had seen, while traveling,  lots of arts from the Renaissance era. I’d gone to Matisse’s studio and saw the dancers. But it was in this contemporary wing where these bold colors and just- the messiness of it- was leaping off the page at me. I was taking notes of the artists name and the name of the painting and the name of the materials. I became almost obsessed with it. And I then put it in my journal and I put my journal in my purse and I travelled back home. And didn’t do anything with it. That was 25 years ago.

Recently, I did an art piece for  Angela Reid’s Tiny Hey and the theme was Guts. I did a piece that was just painted. Almost trying to replicate that piece I’d seen in Paris— just a lot of color and thick paint. And I threw it away. I was like, “Ok, what really is guts? What takes guts?” And I went to my computer, I googled shot guns. I printed them off on my color printer. I cut them up into little strips and just glued them in this collage and took red paint mixed with beads and I was done.

It takes guts to do what Jason did. It has taken guts for me to share this. When I made it, I made this proclamation. I’m such a believer in using art for change and social change, but here I have never done it for myself. I have always made sure my children are in Art therapy, I promote Caldera, but what am I going to do for myself? So, I made this piece and now it has kind of propelled me to look closer at that subject.

I was really surprised once I hung (the art piece) on that wall that I wasn’t afraid of any judgement or criticism or critique. It was such a personal representation. We all get into what is good and bad art. And I am guilty of that. I judge Art. When you create your own Art you think “Oh gosh, are people going to think it’s good or bad or its copying or its fake.” And this was none of that. It was so authentic and real and raw and deep. And mine. It was mine. 

It is my greatest desire to do more work. And I want to write. I took a writing class after Jason died called “Humor Writing” through Stanford online. The whole purpose of the class was to use humor to get through tragedy. We read all the examples— horrific, horrific examples of how people dealt with rape, abuse, abandonment. I wrote some stories and its been a goal to continue that and use that art form as a way of healing and a way of feeling.

It so speaks to me as a way of expression and healing and communicating and sharing. I just don’t want to be an observer of it anymore, I want to be part of it. I want to create. 

What I want to see more of is conceptual and art installation to communicate a story or impact or influence social change. I’d love to see more of that in Bend. I love going and looking at art, but what really interests me is how it gets people to stop and think. And there are so many things we need to stop and think about.

Humm Kombucha • June 8, 2016 • Bend, Oregon

1 thought on “Coffee + Art + Friends : René Mitchell

  1. Bridget McGinn says:

    “I love going and looking at art, but what really interests me is how it gets people to stop and think. And there are so many things we need to stop and think about.”
    Love this quote, love her amazing ability to be a vulnerable, strong woman and community leader.

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