1981 to 1985
College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA.
Studied Printmaking. Portraiture and Calligraphy
1985 to 1990
Artist in Residence, Kala Institute
Worked focusing on tradition copper plate intaglio techniques
1991 to Present
Own and operate Aesop’s Editions, Lafayette, Ca.
Aesop’s is a print studio with production capabilities for traditional etching,
lithography and large format digital editions.
I have regularly moved between natural studies and the pursuit of images that convey a sense of theater, emphasize the grace and structural integrity inherent in natural forms and produce encounter with the dramatic, the bizarre and the humorous.
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively. From an early age I was exposed to a variety of cultural aesthetics. During such adventures I absorbed everything from primitive folk art to the wildly ornate theatrics of Baroque embellishment and the ariel feats of Gothic cathedrals. I also became fascinated with the myths and narratives so abundant in every corner of the world. Because of this focus, I never felt an affinity with abstract expressionism. In spite of growing up in the 60’s and 70’s when it flourished so, I chose to virtually ignore it as an influence and instead became somewhat shamelessly representational. As such, my influences amongst the contemporary fine artists of the world are few. I do credit the usual old masters in particular Albrecht Durer whose engravings were an inspiration to take up a somewhat religious zeal toward printmaking while in college. However, though it is almost taboo to say it, during my “formative years” I fairly worshiped illustrators in general. Already headed in the direction of having an illustrative style, it seemed quite natural that I should gravitate to those whose work exhibited a mastership of illusionism.
With regard to subject matter, all sources of mysterious inspiration aside, it comes down to recognizing that which falls within the parameters of my own particular idiom. Thriving on detail and intrigued by rhythm, I tend to focus on subjects that offer an opportunity to explore them. Having come to relish the patterns that occur so abundantly in the wild, as well as those which are unique to the creations of mankind, the temptation to juxtapose them in a composition is irresistible. Within the proportional confines of a sheet of paper, the fractal shapes and structures of nature can be set like jewels into the Euclidian geometry of architecture or the swirling decorative motifs of an art nouveau backdrop. Even while embracing a tendency towards dark humor, I strive in this way to make the work viewable. That some of the pieces are humorous and others decorative is purposeful in so far as it offers me a change of mood-without which I would certainly stagnate or take up bowling.
Sharon Augusta Mitchell