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SELF-TAUGHT ROADSIDE ARTIST ANTHONY MITCHELL, MAKES A LIVING FOR HIMSELF AND FAMILY!

December 19, 2016
By

BY RAQUEL PORTER—

 Anthony Mitchell puts brush to canvas. (Observer)—

Anthony Mitchell is convinced there is no other career path for him. In fact, he quit his traditional line of work to pursue his career in painting — a talent he says he was gifted from birth.

“If mi dead and come back a dis mi a come do,” Mitchell told the Jamaica Observer as he painted one of his many masterpieces along Molynes Road in St Andrew, which he regards as his own outdoor studio.

Originally from Westmoreland, the self-taught artist migrated to Kingston in 1980 with hopes of going to school to develop his talent and education. But instead, he fell upon hard times as promises made to him were not kept.

This, however, did not stop him from pursuing his career. Despite not going to Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts to pursue a degree, he has managed to earn a decent living and provide for his family.

“The first work mi get was in a store downtown call Georgie Girl Shoe Store on King Street and from there to T Geddes Grant, A used to work for Designer Ramus on Constant Spring Road until mi launch out and live in Waterhouse,” Mitchell continued, noting that despite working odd jobs, people would contact him for artwork.

“Leaving there mi used to work at Lasco; mi do one and two signs and thing until me say no man mi ago launch out by myself. Mi use to mix all the Lasco flavors right round a Red Hills Road. Mi realize when mi deh a work pon mi shift people a call say ‘wah happen, mi want you to come do some work’,” Mitchell said.

anthonymitchell

Inspired by the late People’s National Party member of parliament, Oneil Theobalds “OT” Williams, who later became his client, he began taking his work more seriously.

“OT Williams use to live at Waterhouse and a me use to do all his paintings them and a so mi start take it serious. People use to come and say a natural talent this man,” said Mitchell.

Expressing gratitude to the Almighty for blessing him with such a talent, he was reflective: “When mi use to go to school mi mother used to say ‘you not learning anything, a just bare drawing full up your head.’ Everybody say ‘leave the boy alone, a drawing him ago live off,’” the father of four told the Jamaica Observer.

Mitchell’s paintings are on display during the week, except on Tuesdays and Sundays, along the roadway in the vicinity of the Morton Park Supermarket on Molynes Road.

“Everyday when mi come out here mi sell a painting… Most time is in the evening hours mi get mi sale when the traffic pile up. But mi get a lot of orders, a lot of orders to fulfil. So what happen, mi work right through the night at home. This is just my daily bread; mi house, everything mi have is from painting,” he said with obvious pride.

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