AIE Conversation Series: Dennis Lee Mitchell

Artist Dennis Lee Mitchell sat down with Art in Embassies staff to talk about his artwork and influences on his piece in the Ankara exhibition 2015. Produced in conjunction with Art in Embassies’ exhibition in Ankara at the official residence of U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, John R. Bass

Full Transcript

0:06When I was welding clay, I would take torches and heat and weld clay together. So one day
0:15I had the torches, and there was a sheet of paper next to where I was working, and I guess
0:23things were going bad and I thought I’ll try that. And I did that and right away, it was
0:32just gorgeous.
0:34The thing about working with smoke is that nobody has an standards to use against it.
0:40If you’re making a painting, you have paint and, you know, you’ve got a long history of
0:45And yet looking at smoke, people don’t necessarily first off know much about the way it should
0:52look on paper. People thing these are photographs. I think 85% of people at an opening will think
1:00they’re photographs.
1:01Tell someone that it’s smoke and you can tell see it on their face right away, you can see
1:07Really? Woa.
1:09and the next statement is, “I’ve never seen that before”.
1:14So, you know art is the universal language that you can make something and put it anywhere
1:20in the world and someone knows what you’re saying. And when they can begin to associate
1:28with you, then that’s two, and then when that happens, often times there’s three. And then
1:40there’s four. And it’s a small step, but that’s the way things start.
1:46And I would hope more of that can happen.