He’s able to do this by celebrating life and drawing breath with snapshots of a pregnant belly and a man in a snorkel with a plastic bag full of water on his head. This is also a motif in his films. Mitchell captures this through people, fashion, cityscapes, and action.
During the 1960s, artists were given a new prompt: African American marginalization in America. The time had come to fashion a new identity, one that would be based on beauty in an attempt to counter the resentment black Americans faced. Murals, paintings, and photographs of individuals of the overlooked community soon made their way into popular culture, centralizing African American life and times.
Based in Brooklyn, Mitchell’s work has been published in several magazines and publications. One of his most significant snapshots was in 2018 when he was the first African American to shoot the cover of American Vogue with Beyoncé for the September issue. He’s also done shoots with Lil Uzi Vert for The FADER and Zendaya.
At a young age, Mitchell was interested in Spike Jonze’s early skate videos. This was at the time he was living in Atlanta, where he was born. The walking-on-air aesthetic fascinated him so much that, in ninth grade, he purchased his first camera, a Canon Digital SLR, and found himself learning video editing through online tutorials.
This dream-like cinematography would be incorporated into each of his scenes. Many of his video productions include an ASMR synth soundtrack set to the slow action shots, rendering his shots ethereal and intimate. Mitchell’s aesthetic represents the new state of being that began in the 60s, making his audience feel the awe of climbing from the dark into a bright new world, rich in its potential.
Mitchell is set to release his debut monograph, ‘I Can Make You Feel Good’ , on August 25th,2020. ICMYFG is what Black utopia looks like. It’s 206 pages and dripped in his iconic candy color palette.
In a recent interview with Vogue.com, he stated that he wanted people to engage with the book’s content fully and not leave it on your coffee table. Aside from his candy color palette, there’s always a powerful exploration present in the imagery he creates. A detailed narrative that he encourages his viewers to explore and digest.
When asked what he wanted onlookers to feel when they see his images, he responded. ”What I want has almost nothing to do with the onlooker and the book itself. It’s about what the onlookers and viewers take from the book and what they bring to it. I hope that in experiencing the book, there is an appreciation of the swarm of images in which the Black body is reclining in quiet moments of contemplation and motion—in its very active state—and how all of those states of being can be freeing.” Mitchell often speaks of unrestrained Black joy, which contradicts the popular phrase “unapologetically Black.” He wants us to exist however we want, whenever we want. He wants Black bodies lying in the grass and existing. He wants Black bodies to BE and not face any harm while doing so simply.
I CAN MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD: TYLER MITCHELL (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 25, 2020)
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