Blue Mitchell: Chasing the Afterglow, Of Salt and Earth
While viewing Blue Mitchell’s interrelated series Chasing the Afterglow and Of Salt and Earth, I cannot help but reminisce on last year’s total solar eclipse. At the time of the event, I was fortunate enough to be living in a high-altitude, rural community directly in the path of the moon’s umbral shadow. Those brief couple minutes of totality renewed my sense of awe in the light-giving, celestial bodies that occupy our sky and their relationship to our planet and its inhabitants. Mitchell’s work offers reverence to the sun, moon, and Earth in a quiet, contemplative fashion. The ethereal quality of these images invites us to linger—to calmly examine the sensations they elicit. They are meant to be felt. By doing so, they encourage us to reconsider our own bond with the natural world.
Blue Mitchell is an independent publisher, curator, educator, and photographer. Based in Portland, Oregon, he has been involved with many facets of the photographic arts.
Mitchell received his BFA from Oregon College of Art & Craft where he has taught studio school classes and workshops. In his personal work he implements many photographic techniques including toy cameras, pinhole, alternative processes, mixed media, and burnt transparencies. Mitchell has primarily been specializing in acrylic lifts – this process and artwork has been published in several books including Photographic Possibilities, 3rd edition by Robert Hirsch and Alternative Photographic Processes: Crafting Handmade Images by Brady Wilks. His newest series “Of Salt & Earth” in which he adds elements of various salts, charcoal, dirt, and cinnamon, is currently featured in the Blue Sky Gallery Drawers in Portland Oregon.
Mitchell states “ I’m nostalgic. I am deeply interested in photo and art history, yet I’m not crippled by what’s already been done, ‘cause everything has. I do not limit my photographic toolbox. I have no problems ruining my art… for its own sake. That includes film and prints… all those lovely, precious artifacts.”
Beyond his own work, Mitchell runs a publishing company named One Twelve, which focuses on artfully-crafted photo practices.
Chasing the Afterglow
Chasing the Afterglow explores the moon, the setting sun, and the dreamy lore that plays out under their spiritual light. The enchanted twilight hour, the magic under a blanket of stars, the visceral pull of the lunar phases – they ground us to nature but also allow us to transcend the everyday.
This work aims to inspire the viewer to reconnect with the power of nature, with a pinch of the mystic. The use of silver leaf and mixed media alters the nature of the two-dimensional photograph and creates a more all-encompassing experience. This technique accentuates the luminance of the subjects and gives the work a tactile, sumptuous quality.
Images are actualized by using the acrylic lift transfer process on a silver leafed panel. They are then coated with resin and displayed in custom painted frames.
Of Salt and Earth
My work is based on my longing for spiritual connection with nature and my belief in universal oneness. My desire is to create photography that conveys emotions of delight, wonder, connectivity, otherworldliness, spirituality, and magic.
Of Salt and Earth further explores my interest in implementing the artist hand to express more than the simple reconstruction of fleeting time often depicted in photography. The use of earth elements and other debris on my prints (and rephotographing) allows for a fluid painterly process that relies on unpredictability to create dreamy lores and mythical cosmo-scapes. The added elements of various salts, charcoal, dirt, cinnamon, etc. add an additional nod to alchemy–reflective of the act of creating.
This work aims to inspire the viewer to reconnect with the power of nature, with a pinch of the mystic.
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