Mitch O'Connell's stupendously eldritch thrift store art collection

Artist Mitch O'Connell says:

Bad? Not really, I think they're so interesting and mesmerizing that I shelled out the big bucks (usually around $20) to have them hang on the walls of the M.O'C Manor. Btw, I've already willed everything to The Art Institute of Chicago, so don't waste your time throwing money at me in the hopes of prying any of these treasures from my grip.

It's Connie Dobbs!

This one is actually really great.

Bad Art! The most amazingly weird, wild and wacky paintings you'll ever see!


  1. Talk to a lawyer about making prints of that third one.  That should be required decor in all golf course bars.

    1. Or at the very least golf course bathrooms. They could replace the “Charged with a DUI? Call our law firm and we’ll have you out by happy hour” advertising that currently hangs over the urinals.

      (I’m sorry to say I’m not making that up.)

      1.  I think that guys face has the perfect, “why did I just do that to myself?” expression that we have all had at one point or another. 

    1. right there with ya. i was thinking, “ok, politically he may drive me nuts, but who knew he was cool enough to be THAT into thrift store paintings?”

  2. This collection is amazing.  I can’t tell if it’s the sum total that make it awesome, or if the majority of the paintings are just plain great in their own way.  Maybe a combination of the two.

  3. We have an actual book called “Thrift Store Paintings” that features over 100 of these treasures. Came from Powell’s used; seriously out of print.

    Some decades ago, one of our friends kept commenting on a seriously bad painting that he called “the green Arab” that hung on the wall behind the counter of the local Value Village with an absurd $80 price tag. He kept at it so long that we finally took up a collection among ourselves and bought it for him for his birthday. 

  4. For an (admittedly talented) artist whose whole career was started by some carefully studied, cloying and derivative pop culture memes, it sort of seems grating and condescending to see him display other people’s ‘bad art’ attempts.
    Maybe it’s just me. 

    1. He bought these paintings and they are hanging on his walls. I think he probably likes them a lot more than you do.

  5. Cats, clowns, and naked ladies.  That covers about 90% of the art there.  My question is, is that representative of the actual art found in the thrift stores, or  does it just reflect the tastes of the collector?

    1. That’s perfect, because it also covers 90% of my interests.  Sadly, most thrift store art is reproductions of the Impressionists and posters advertising long-gone museum shows.  Gems like these must be searched out.

      1. Living in Las Vegas I was hoping to snag a Velvet Elvis but never found one. Weirdly you could find the mormon influence down there with temple paintings.

    1. One of my favorite local artists (in Minneapolis) has voluntarily donated several of her works to the Museum of Bad Art.  

  6. The clown painting is by an artist named Leslie Emery. It’s one in a series he was commissioned to do for a golf course bar in California. Prints of them show up frequently on eBay (three are available right now). He was better known for his non-clown portraits. He was also a WPA artist. One of my favorite possessions is a large original oil painting of his from the ’50s that I’ve had for over 20 years.

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