Mitchell McClenney, Little Rock, Arkansas Member Since July 2007 Artist Statement A Minute with Mitchell McClenney
By Harvey Mushman
Mitchell McClenney, family man and commuter from Lake Elsinore, has found a different form of therapy than the typical day trip to keep him grounded -- art.
McClenney, 46, an art major and graduate, returned to painting about 15 years ago, finding a strong demand for his work which goes on show at the Elsinore Valley Artist Winter show in Lake Elsinore on February 4th.
McClenney spoke to us about his art and motivation, speaking softly and pausing to think through his answers.
Q: Your art has become quite a business, is it all about the money?
A: "It is incredible. For me the dollar figure is more of an acknowledgment of how people are embracing the art. If I became enamored or taken with the number I think it would take away from the creative spirit or what I am doing. The fact I started this phase of my life in art as a very personal and solitary pursuit has borne success because of its integrity."
Q: Have you been surprising by the reaction to your art?
A: "Totally. I have been humbled and staggered by the acceptance of my art. I started it as something therapeutic and cathartic for me without the intention of ever showing anything but from the first time I hung a piece in my house people were drawn to it."
Q: You said it was therapeutic?
A: "Yes. It is way for me to purge. It is almost a stream of consciousness where you use color and texture as opposed to words. Once a piece is done it is almost a mirror, a time capsule, of me at a certain point."
Q: Is it addictive?
A: "Very much so. Not to minimize the pursuit of art but in the same way as going to the gym makes you feel good, you find yourself craving it."
Q: How do you balance your art with your life?
A: "I don't bring paint brushes past my front door and I don't bring a cell phone into the studio. You can compartmentalize and prioritize and there is time for everything."
Q: You remarried about the same time you started painting again. Any chance that had something to do with it?