It is said that you must suffer for your art. Dean Mitchell understands the sentiment, but is not ruled by it. But the images of the life he sees around him are filled with emotion, whether it is a painting of a plain, light-splashed, whiteboard-paneled Southern church or a woman bowing in prayer. It is etched in the portraits of his grandmother’s face,who raised him from the age of eleven months in a small town near Tallahassee, Florida.
As a child, Mitchell knew he wanted to be an artist, a seemingly impossible choice for a boy in his circumstances, but he bought a set of oils when he was twelve and won two awards in the very first art competition he entered. He started painting in watercolor when he was attending the Columbus School of Art and Design in Ohio and his first job was teaching art at a Boy’s Club for ten dollars an hour.
Things changed when he started entering his paintings in competitions regularly. His exceptional ability in showing a special side of the seemingly ordinary gained immediate attention and reward. Within just a few years, Mitchell had won more than two hundred major art awards, including first prize at London, England’s T.H. Saunders International Artist and Watercolour Show, top honors from the National Watercolor Society, the Art for the Parks Medal for Overall Excellence and the Hubbard Art Award for Excellence.