Chicago based artist MITCH O’CONNELL has been wowing the world with his pop culture portraits for many years. Monsters, zombies, pinups, flying saucers, robots, tikis, comic book heros and especially B Movies all inform his eye-popping portfolio. Check out his MySpace page for more incredibly imaginative images. Recently I interviewed one of my favorite artists courtesy of our mutual friend, Marty Baumann, the Astounding B Monster.
Will the Thrill: I don’t know how to subscribe your unique and instantly identifiable work except as “Surrealist Pop.” How do you describe it?
MO: The greatest art ever created by human hands (or alien appendages) for now and forever in the future until the end of time and beyond.
Thrill: What are some of your influences – both from the art world, and other media?
MO: Besides B Movie Nation? Hmmmmm. Going to museums as a kid and being exposed to great art was a great early eye opener. The pop art drew my attention the strongest because it was so relatable. Growing up, thangs like Wacky Packs, Creepy, Eerie, Famous Monsters, Playboy (wink), Peanuts, Funny Cars, TV Horror Hosts, Carnivals, etc. Nowadays, anything weird, wild, wacky, kitsch, tasteless and strange floats my boat. Check out the Myspace link to see pics of my pad where I’m knee deep in “inspiration”!
Thrill: What’s your favorite B Movie/TV Show/Album? (OK that’s 3 rolled into one, but your pop cultural knowledge and enthusiasm is obviously vast) MO: Off the top of my ample head…. as for movies, Plan 9, anything Jack Lemmon, Clint Eastwood and Jerry Lewis, Destroy All Monsters, House That Screamed, Astro-Zombies, Corpse Grinders, Kingdom of the Spiders, Skidoo, Phantasm, Robot Monster (could add 100 more easily, well maybe not that easily, the brain has slowed down over the years). TV Shows (I’m going to play along that someone is interested), Night Gallery, The Wire, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Brady Bunch, Horror Host The Ghoul, Deadwood, Mad Men, Judge Judy, The Office, 30 Rock, Pink Lady, blah, blah, blah. Music? The Beatles, Cheap Trick, Badfinger, Elton John, Kiss, Lounge, Ramones, Gene Krupa and a million more!
Thrill: There is both retro-resonance and vivacious vividness in your art- do you listen to music when you work, and if not, what inspires you to create (besides the bottom line)?
MO: The children of the world. How can I deny future generations as many M.O’C illustrations of bouncy breasts as I’m capable of? Truthfully, doing better art is what inspires me. I want to keep going because the next piece is always going to be the best one!
Thrill: With this enormously cool body of work already accomplished, what is the main aspiration for your future career?
MO: Since I all ready covered improving, we’re right back to money. I have no other skills up my sleeve! It’s either hacking out a living doing this or sleeping on your couch. And frankly, your couch is not very comfortable!
Thrill: Actually, it’s a Petrie sofa from Crate & Barrel. My cats don’t like to share it anyway.