28-year-old Australian artist Stef Mitchell draws and photographs everything from landscape to people in black and white or colour. But she also portrays girls and women. Let’s take a look.
After opening her first solo show, Girl, in New York last year, Mitchell’s style has never ceased to evolve. Her work – which has appeared in i-D and Urban Outfitters among others – features not only portraits but also drawings.
Mitchell’s unique approach to portraying girls and women is rooted in movement, intimacy, and poetry. Her portraits are pertained with a sense of loneliness, at once tender and dramatic, while her impressionistic drawings – cruel, and yet delicate and minimalistic – really make you think.
But drawing is not something she had always planned to do: “I’ve always drawn for fun. It was something I did when I had downtime there. That then turned into a book and led to people buying my drawings, ” she told i-D.
Drawing and photography are constantly intertwining in her work, and it is not unusual to see a photograph accompanied by a small illustration: “I don’t prefer either drawing or taking photos, they’re both nice for different reasons. I definitely get frustrated at times with both and it’s nice to be able to switch between the two.”
With people and portraiture being her favourite thing, looking at Mitchell’s electrifying photographs and illustrations is to step into a world of tender anxiety, yet peaceful and quiet harmony.
As she tries to explore authentic emotions, she hopes people can take something from her work: “I hope that people feel something, even if they’re a little uncomfortable. If they feel confronted, I’d like them to take a second and think about why,” she told i-D.
Conscious or not, a feminist theme can be seen in her drawings that showcase a lot of women in strong positions.
Although she is the type of artist who can switch from one artistic medium to another, Mitchell is aware of their different impact on the viewer: “I think illustrations can capture something different, mine, in particular, are quite simple and don’t usually have faces, which probably allows someone to project their own mood or feelings onto it. A photograph is usually a more direct way of communicating. As a viewer you react to multiple aspects: the lighting, the model, their pose, hair, and makeup for example. It’s a more critical process, especially for anyone who works in photography and is used to being part of the process of creating images themselves.”
Words: Pauline Schnoebelen
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