Sam Mitchell was born in 1971 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and now lives in Auckland, New Zealand. She completed her Masters at the Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland, in 2000. Mitchell has received many prestigious awards for her work including the Paramount Award at the Wallace Art Awards (2010) allowing a six-month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Programme in New York. Mitchell is well known for both her watercolours and reverse painting on Perspex. In both formats her works tend to appear sweet, childlike and cute at first glance, but often have a dark undercurrent that takes you by surprise at second look. Borrowing the visual style of kids’ comics and cartoons, imaginary characters and hybrid animals are painted in meticulous, delicate and loving detail, as well as more surprising imagery such as nude women lifted from 1960s men’s magazines, pornographic imaginings, colonial events, religious imagery and tender teenage drawings of ponies and pop-music lyrics.
Sam Mitchell is represented by Melanie Roger Gallery, Auckland and Mary Newton Gallery, Wellington New Zealand. Discombobulated – a survey of her watercolour drawings of the past ten years is available from the Melanie Roger Gallery website.