Mitch O'Connell the World's Best Artist by Mitch O'Connell - exclusive preview of his new art book

By Mark Frauenfelder

I've told this story before (on Gweek), and I'm going to tell it here again. I'm a great admirer of artist Mitch O'Connell. I'm envious of his work, which pays homage to exactly the kind of garish mid-century populuxe ephemera that triggers a kind of lowbrow Stendhal syndrome in me. In the early days of bOING bOING (the zine), Mitch and I struck up a postcard correspondence, which evolved into email when Mitch discovered computers in 2005 or so.

Mitch eventually started a blog, and one day I read a post where he said he went to Boulder High School, which is where I went. I emailed him and asked him when he went to Boulder High. EXACTLY THE SAME YEARS I WENT. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I knew Mitch in high school! In fact, we took an art class together and I was envious back then of his uncanny ability to draw Bernie Wrightson-esque Swamp Things and Mike Ploog-esque barbarians. I've been jealous of him for over 30 years!

Poring over the pages of his massive new art book, Mitch O'Connell the World's Best Artist by Mitch O'Connell, I am again stunned by how remarkably talented he is. This book shows his early work (he published a great zine when we were in high school), his attempts to enter mainstream comics ("Interesting, but no cigar" -- Jim Shooter), his commercial art, band posters, gallery paintings, tattoo flash, and more. I hope you enjoy the sample pages below.

Mitch O'Connell the World's Best Artist by Mitch O'Connell

Published 5:55 pm Tue, Feb 5, 2013

About the Author

Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the founding editor-in-chief of MAKE. He is editor-in-chief of Cool Tools and co-founder of Wink Books. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects

20 Responses to “Mitch O'Connell the World's Best Artist by Mitch O'Connell - exclusive preview of his new art book”

  1. Preston Sturges says:

    Does he do that  blue angel on black velvet? 

  2. Ladyfingers says:

    I’m always sort of amused how a dash of that old “retro” pixie dust makes art featuring scantily clad big-titty-ladies so acceptable to the ironic classes.

    The best description I’ve ever heard of burlesque: “Tits out for the grads!”

  3. robuluz says:


  4. Halloween_Jack says:

    This stuff is great. And, even if he really needed the work when he submitted stuff to Marvel, not having to work under the Shooter regime was a blessing in disguise, by most accounts of people who did.

  5. aperturehead says:

    kooky Jetsons graphic topology (check)

    kooky 50s horror movie references (check)

    kooky Tarot / poker / Día de los Muertos imagery (check)

    kooky pop culture graphic insertions for no reason (check)

    kooky “groovy” lettering lifted from SHAG lifted from
    unknown talented artists of an earlier generation (check)

    kooky Satanic imagery (check)

    kooky humorous drug and sex references
    in overt kooky comic form (check)

    kooky beatnik / hipster / psychedelic morphs (check)

    Yep, it’s all there.

  6. purple-stater says:

    Best is a somewhat subjective term.  I love his use of color, but have never cared for the drawing style.

  7. Hanglyman says:

    I love the choice of Dr. Phibes as the star of the Music Box Massacre one. I’m sure there are more obvious monsters that could have been chosen, but he really makes it stand out.

  8. Pope Ratzo says:

    I want to know how the lady riding the back of the S&M guy is able to keep a cigarette between her teeth and stick her tongue out at the same time.

  9. silkox says:

    Am I the only one who thought the headline said “Mitch McConnell”?

    • Gyrofrog says:

      Every time I see this guy’s name I keep thinking of Mitch McConnell as well.

      While I’m here, take note that Jimmy Jalapeeno once claimed to be world’s best artist, or perhaps that was world’s greatest artist.

  10. OMG hahahahah this guy is so over the top….!  Luv it!

  11. You have been beaten to the punch:

    He was and is so much better.

  12. benher says:

    I got my own copy of Mitch’s latest tome from Last Gasp just a little bit ago. 
    I didn’t realize just how extensive Mitch’s career has been. It’s a beautiful collection of 700+ illustrations that shame me in more ways than one!

    And for those with a biblio fetish, the glitter foam vinyl cover is the best print sex you’ve had in a while.

  13. Reminds me very much of Vince Ray.