Mitch Revs work is fast becoming some of Australia’s best-loved art. With expressive work that exudes positivity and colour, from a young age his bright creations could be seen on the sides of buildings and hanging on the walls of happy collectors the world over. The Newcastle-born artist’s use of a mix of mediums, including paints and digital imaging, transcends age and demographic, and as such has a huge following at home and abroad.
We were lucky enough to chat with the verbose Revs about what makes his art so popular, his children’s book Stand Up Stand Out, working with charity OneWave, and being a chimpanzee.
Your art is full of colour and has a positive message behind it. Tell us about how it’s helped yourself and others.
I always loved how art made me feel. For me, Bright colours and lots of detail is where it’s at. When I started to take notice of how it made other people feel and the different reactions attached, the possibility of a career choice came to mind. “Lets give it a go! Worst possible option, I fail, life’s over, the end”. Long story short, that hasn’t happened yet and I guess looking at the direction of where everything is going at the moment, my art is helping others, which is great. I just try to jam as much personality into it as possible. I want to make people smile, feel something. That’s how I get my kicks.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Life is what you make it. We’ve all heard it before, but when the words came from my grandmother it seemed to resonate with me. I remember wanting to write it down when she said it to me, like it was the first time I’d heard of the phrase. I’ve always had an understanding of what I want from this life, and it’s not that much. To live a creative life with absolutely no expectations is all I ever wanted and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
You worked on a children’s book in aid of the great charity OneWave – how much does surfing inspire you to paint?
I will always be grateful for growing up by the ocean. It has made me who I am today. OneWave and the surfing community that surrounds it, is the definition of magic. Who would have thought the best kind of therapy would be the ocean?
The book, Stand Up Stand Out was such a fun project. My good mate Joel came to me with the story early 2016. I had always noticed the Fluoro Friday crew, but never really looked into the underlying story and what it was all about.
It took roughly 10 months to have the book finished and back in our hands, reasonably quick and easy when I look back on it. I usually start with a few drafts when creating characters and scenes, just to get the flow of it. Funnily enough all 5 main characters from the book, as well as all 36 pages, were created from the first draft lines. With so many people involved you would assume there to be adjustments with the creative direction, but it all came so natural due to the amazing story behind it.
Stand Up Stand Out is the perfect tool for explaining mental health to the kids of today. Most of the time it’s a topic we choose to avoid because, lets face it, it can be quiet confronting & uncomfortable. Although we have labeled it a “children’s book” it’s a great read for adults too. There is a lot of powerful imagery and underlying messages that we have included to get the reader thinking. I have to thank you, Grant, for letting us share your story.
You work with a variety of mediums, what’s your favourite?
Acrylic paints. I love to make a mess and experiment on walls & canvas. I seem to learn something new every time, thats what I enjoy about it. Digital art is something that came later down the track . When business started to pick up I found myself on the road more and more . “How the fuck do I paint when I’m on the road? Not gonna happen”, and then along came Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I started teaching myself what I needed to know through YouTube tutorials. This would become the new way for me to create because I could do it anywhere, in bed, on the train, planes – you name it!
I spent the first 3-4 years creating all of my digital paintings using a mouse. A MOUSE! Whatever works I guess… It’s easy to get stuck in your ways. Nowadays I use a Wacom Tablet, as the majority of us do, which makes things a lot easier. Back to the question, my favourite medium would have to be acrylic paint.
What projects have you got coming up that our readers can check out?
My website is about to get a makeover which will have a few additions that are going to be worth checking out. One in particular, a collaborative section which will highlight a wide range of environmental issues. Super excited about this. It will dive into both artists backgrounds, their creative space and then a series of documentation that leads to the collaborative project.
My kids book, Stand Up Stand Out, has just dropped and is now available which is awesome. Check that out for sure! It’s supporting a great cause and its something that each and everyone of us will be affected by at some point in our lives.
I am currently in Honolulu, Hawaii Working on a new solo exhibition that will be later this year. If anyone wants to connect I am here for a while so please hit me up!
What are three things you can’t live without?
Spotify, socks and caffeine.
Where’s your artwork going to be viewed in 100 years’ time?
I just want to keep showcasing my work around the world and collaborating with like minded creatives. Every place I visit around the world I leave something behind.
Flight, or invisibility?
Ooooooo Flight for sure. Flight is freedom!
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career – and why.
My Last Solo Exhibition in 2015 “Wet Dreams” Would have to be my most memorable. Spending such a big chunk of time working toward a specific event. I love seeing how my art makes people feel. The smiles, the laughter, the frowns. It’s all part of my journey.
I spent 6-8 months putting together the show and it all came down to that one night. 54 Artworks on display and all but 2 sold. This was the first moment of my career when I realised this would be what I would do for the rest of my life.
What’s your spirit animal?