Dean Mitchell, born in 1957 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was raised by his grandmother in Florida, so his images often draw on the American South. Known especially for his watercolors, he also works in oil, acrylic, tempera, and pastels. “Money and things are not what life is all about,” he once told an interviewer. “In our society, we focus more on that, rather than understanding and enjoying the common things in life – and that includes common people. And I guess particularly black people ... people who were giving a lot, but were not getting recognition.

“I’m drawn to the humane. But there is something more there. ... I do believe in God, and I do believe that when you create, something else can take over. I’ve told students this: Ask yourselves, what is the intention for bringing [the work of art] into existence? If that intention is pure – to say something to humanity or to stir something in people – then you are tapping into another source beyond your control. If you are creating for self-indulgence or for gain, something will be lost, and I’m not sure it can be regained.” (Quoted from the Christian Science Monitor.)

Dean Mitchell, Urban Mansions, 2011