Profile: Dean Mitchell (1957-)

Dean Mitchell is an American figurative artist who works primarily in watercolor and oil paint. His subjects, derived largely from African American culture, have been cited for their emotional depth, avoidance of facile sentimentality, and accomplished sense of formal design.

Mitchell was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1957, and raised in Quincy, Florida. After graduating from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 1980, Mitchell moved to Kansas City, Missouri and started working as an illustrator at Hallmark Cards. He remained at Hallmark for the next three years and began entering national and international art competitions. When Hallmark terminated his employment in 1983, he decided to pursue painting as a full-time career.

Mitchell’s artwork has been the subject of numerous articles, and is represented in museum and corporate collections, including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. His life is the subject of an illustrated book for children, Against All Odds: Artist Dean Mitchell’s Story.

Mitchell has also illustrated US postage stamps, such as the 1995 Louis Armstrong stamp in the Jazz Musician series.

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