Playfully Macabre Paintings on Exhibit at Library

Aaron Mitchell’s art is grotesque – in the best and truest sense of the word. Some of his paintings might be described as playfully macabre. Others have a cartoon-like quality.

Nearly all of the 27 works on exhibit through the end of this month at the Northeast Harbor Library are big and bold.

“It’s probably more of a graffiti-based style than anything else – brightly colored and a little bit loose and very raw,” Mr. Mitchell said.

He has been drawing for most of his life, but took up painting only three years ago. Using acrylics, oils and spray cans, he paints on canvas, old wooden planks and various other materials, but his preferred medium is glass.

“I like how you have to paint it from the back side and then the way it looks with the light coming through,” he said. “I really like the effect of double-pane glass, the way it magnifies it and makes it pop.”

Mr. Mitchell lives in Northeast Harbor, where he works in the asset management department at Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. His art studio is the bar area of the former Bassa Cocina restaurant.

Mr. Mitchell said he has been encouraged by the response he’s gotten from people who have seen – and bought – his paintings.

“Somebody told me the other day that looking at them made them happy,” he said. “A lot of people say they like that it isn’t the kind of art that’s typically associated with Maine, a lot of landscapes and lighthouses. I think the unique aspect of it is what attracts people.”

Last week, Mr. Mitchell was approached about doing a show of his work at an art gallery in Boothbay Harbor.

“I’m excited about that,” he said.

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Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]