Queenstown-born artist, Ira Mitchell now works between Christchurch, Australia, and the USA.
Growing up in the mountain town of Glenorchy, she both loved and felt walled in by the towering mountains. Her scenes are a series of facades, walls of solid color filling the often large canvas space. They describe the claustrophobic feelings she experienced living at the foot of these towering mountains, and the small town which seemed trapped in time and closed minds. Since traveling her response is also informed by the beauty and scale, realizing freedom was always within her no matter one's circumstance.
Wanting to know what lay beyond, the mountains and her country, it took an earthquake and turning 40 to get her traveling and working full-time as an artist and tutor.
Since then she has trained as an art teacher after completing her BFA, and now is also a trained Artist Educator for the GOLDEN art supplies company, regularly visiting the New York establishment.
Community work has taken her to Cassino Italy, New York, and regularly in New Zealand. This has been recognized with both a Civic Award and an NZer of the Year Local Hero Award.
Ira identifies her key artistic influencers as David Hockney, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Eric Carle (The very hungry caterpillar book).