Tuesday, January 11, 2011

From the M.O'C Files (as I clean out my computer)!

This has to be the first thing I ever photoshopped (not that you couldn't figure that out on your own). Enjoy the "comedy" interview (below) that went with it way back when!

Of course, you're familiar with the legends, the amazing paintings, but behind the folklore. . . Who really is this your artistic dynamo who, when asked, claims to be "just an average Joe!" Just an average joe? I think we know better!

Of cou
rse, you have his books Good Taste Gone Bad and Pwease Wuv Me, proudly displayed in your library.

Every day you leaf through your scrapbook of Mitch's illustrations clipped from the pages of Newsweek, Time, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly and theNew York Times, to name but a few.

Sure, you've marveled at his advertising art for companies like McDonalds, Coca-Cola, 7-11, and American Express, just as you've purchased hundreds of products from these advertisers.

You've nodded in agreement to the praises in magazine profiles and TV segments proclaiming Mitch "a genius"(Chicago Tribune), and "wonderfully engaging and absorbing" (Juxtapoz).

I recently had the pleasure of a one-on-one audience with Mr. O'Connell. We talked as he casually leaned against his above ground backyard pool., dressed in full clown regalia. My job? To get to the real Mitch. Behind the glitz and glamour, the piercing green eyes, the sparking white smile, the thick pancake make-up.

"Sure I have feelings," Mitch confides, "just like any other celebrity! Sometimes I wish I could leave my house without people pointing at me. . . ah,, but I guess it comes with the territory."

Why the clown outfit?, I inquire.

"I'm a big believer in education. All my life I regretted never completing college. Clown college, that is. So, I just put my red nose to the grindstone these last 6 months and finished my courses. Would you like a balloon animal?"

He talks about his children: "I remember once when my wife had to go to the hospital for her appendix or something. . . Anyway, the important thing is that I had to watch the kids all by myself, and, boy, did the baby's diaper start to get full. I almost resolved to change her. . .if I had had any idea where my wife kept the diapers. That whole hour until I could track down a sitter was quite the ordeal. I guess you can call me 'Mr. Mom!'" Mitch chuckles modestly.

We've all heard the story of Mitch being a good Samaritan. He responds,

"I think I know what you're referring to. Once the mailman delivered a letter to us meant for our next door neighbor. Well, I took it upon myself to tell my wife to write "Wrong Address" on the envelope and put it back in our mailbox. I don't mind helping out in a crisis. " He pauses, then adds wistfully, "I don't know if the neighbors ever got it or not, though." Mitch is a man of deep conscience. Also a man of charity, as this next story will attest.

"I went to a church bazaar to raise funds for their food drive for the homeless. Well, I bought a box of old paperbacks for a buck. I ended up selling them on eBay for $600. It was a win-win situation for everyone. No homeless people need thank me, although that would be nice."

A wonderful, caring, handsome man indeed!

Our precious time comes to a close with a final query. Why do you paint?

"One simple reason. . . for the children, all the world's children, for they are our future. Oh,and don't forget your balloon giraffe."

And with those final words, we bid a fond adieu to the man who can do it all, Mitch O'Connell.

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