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Chopping Block: Miss Mindy

Some things simply can’t be taught. For artist and product designer, Miss Mindy it’s the innate talent and appreciation for great art. The quirky California native  was born into a family full of talented artists and designers. Naturally, her passions and family influences led her to the world of fine art where she triumphs by forming a unique blend of styles, from steam-punk to retro. To top off, Miss Mindy is an accomplished illustrator and designer for clients such as Disney, Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon Animation. With no signs of slowing down, Miss Mindy expands her already impressive portfolio in her home studio in Eagle Rock, CA, with her husband, Rick O’Brien and, of course, ‘Radio’ their bilingual circus dog.

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POW: You described your fun, whimsical style as “cartoon folk art” which is spot on! What originally drew you to this style? Are there any artistic styles or genres that you’ve explored?

Miss Mindy: I've always adored old school cartoons! They make me happy. You know the rubber-hose-y arms, bodies bobbin' up and down to a silly tune,  the gorgeous nonsense of the scenes always inspired me to dance to the beat of my own drum.

 

Miss Mindy Making Faces print on wood

Making Faces by Miss Mindy

POW: Your grandmother worked for Disney as an ink and paint girl and your husband is also a well-known fine art artist. For you, art is LITERALLY all around. Did you always know you wanted to work in the art world? Can you tell us about your artistic path?

Miss Mindy: I Did! My whole family are either artists or engineers, and it comes in handy since we always have to figure new ways of creating, especially in sculpting! That was a whole new ball of wax, but luckily, it came so natural. My husband Rick O'Brien, has taught me awesome wood working and sculpting skills, bow hunting skills.... ha-ha! Just kidding, but really, we keep each other nimble, that's fo' sho!

Yup, My grams worked at Disney, and I originally wanted to follow in her footsteps being an Ink and paint girl, but found that being a character designer , fine artist and free wheelin'-wild -woman-of- the- west.. was my calling! My path started in full-time Animation,  and has since progressed into owning my own art business, doing art shows, freelance for animation, toys, illustration and ideas. Again, It really keeps me nimble, and I love seeing where I can take myself. It's been quite the twisting path, sometimes with beautiful outcomes, sometimes I've been burned pretty bad and had to find out the hard way....but I'm happy I never gave up, and kept the faith. After all, We're only here once, so we gotta enjoy it and  make it count!

Miss Mindy Off Key Limited edition fine art wood canvas print

Off Key by Miss Mindy 

POW: Can you select one of your works of art and tell us a bit of the story behind it or why it’s important to you? What steps did you take to create it?

Miss Mindy: My 'Flor De Muerto' sculpture is one of my favorites I did it in honor of my grandma Mary, who inspired me to be a cartoonist. The interior of the sculpts skirt actually holds a little wooden bird that belonged to her. Doing my sculptures are cray-zeh labor intensive and take mass amounts of love to come to fruition! Everything from casting the hollow bell skirt to honing and sanding the Magic Sculpt take lots of patience and foresight. So I'm very particular  about the designs I finally choose to see to the end.

Chicken Ride Wood print

Chicken Ride by Miss Mindy

POW: The first thing any viewer of your artwork may notice is your recurring use of feminine characters. Even Jason Limon’s little character  “Cat Creeper” was given a little customization, (genius!) Why do you focus on creating pieces using these playfully feminine characters?

Miss Mindy:  Ha ha... Thanks! Jason is a wonderful artist and I adore his wee beasties. As for me, the feminine form is what I was born into, so I naturally gravitate toward the ladies! I tend to live through my girls, they go the places I can't and confront the issues in this world that many of us  females (and males!) have to deal with.... from the silly to the serene.

Miss Mindy Voice in the Wilderness wood print

Voice in the Wilderness by Miss Mindy

POW:  Whose work do you find exciting right now, and why?

Miss Mindy: It's not really a who, but genre's. I find the 'street art' colorful-blasts and shapes that are popping up here and there, and all over town... peak my fancy. It makes this world a happier place when you can look up at the side of a building and see  an amazing, heartfelt mural.

I also adore the craftsman movement. Making something of insane quality with your own two hands. The artists put so much love into their work, and being able to show the world through video's and instant everything, makes me so crazy pleased for the appreciation of REAL craftsmanship.

POW: Your artwork can be found in private collections and galleries across the country and abroad. What would you say was the most memorable exhibit for you and why?

Miss Mindy: I think the 45th Anniversary of The Haunted Mansion, 'Ghostly Materials' at The Disneyana Gallery was my favorite. I had created my take on the stretch portraits in my woodcut style. So many people were freaking out and excited about the art, getting it tattooed on their bodies, it was nuts! It totally made my inner child happy.

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POW:  What’s in the works for you? Any fun new projects that you can tell us a bit about?

Miss Mindy: My husband and I are gearing up to open our home studio to artists and workshops. We're calling it 'Drawing on the Hill'. The art classes, life drawing, talks and hob-nobbin' parties will take place in our wild and wooley backyard with our mushroom house looming over you. It's quite a magical place that Rick built, and we want to share the gorgeous-creative-vibe with our fans, friends and peers! More info about the summer workshops will be leakin' out soon, so stay tuned...

Disney wise, I'll be showcasing some new paintings and sculpture in the D23 Dreamstore in August. I also have a big Vinylmation production series release this fall, 'Designer Series 1' and a Residency coming up at Wonderground this October.  I'll be sure to post more as know the solids!

POW: If there were a question about your art you felt I should ask you, what would it be? And the answer?

Miss Mindy: I think it would be my favorite quote:  It sums up my sense of  humor pretty well!

“I look just like the girls next door…if you happen to live next door to an amusement park.”
- Dolly Parton

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For more information about Miss Mindy please visit: http://missmindy.com/