Martin Mitchell

Studio 27B
Magazine interview with Martin Mitchell.
'The Art of Darkness' on the technique of mezzotint.

Martin Mitchell moved to Norwich in 1989 and quickly established himself as one of the leading artist printmakers in the region.

Mitchell’s work is firmly rooted in the traditional process of intaglio and relief printmaking. His well known etchings of representational landscape have lead, in the last five years; to the more demanding engraved process of Mezzotint producing acclaimed atmospheric tonal landscapes of Norfolk and Suffolk. “I have never really considered my landscape work in a strictly topographical sense, although I can point out the scene on a map. The final image is removed through several stages, by of the processes of etching from the real view, also my method of collecting source material. I would walk and cycle all over Norfolk and Suffolk producing rapid spontaneous sketches. With the long bike rides, unlike a car journey, you can feel the day, expense its moods, hot or cold, windy or still, silence and bird song you are all ready preparing to work before you arrive. I would return to the same scene over a period of several weeks if not months until I had five or six plus sketches and drawings done at different times of day, weather conditions even seasons. Then in the studio working collectively from them all, often using soft grounds, spit bites and sugar lifts. Trying to express the essence of place. Of course now that I can’t go for walks, unless a friend with a car can take me to a place with wheel chair access. My landscape work was very reliant on linear as well as tonal perspective. I would look for lines of footpaths hedgerows & farrows in the landscape to lead the eye into the image. Now I cant get into countryside as much as I would like, the typography is become like a physical barrier, in reality and in the work. Now my landscape work is as much about the memory of place. I will often spend an hour or two with an old O,S Map following favourite routes and walks. My memory of course of place is there but it's as much the sense of time and place, of man in the environment. So there is an inevitable undertone of melancholy running through my recent work. but I still miss my walks.