Vida Mitchell captures times of our lives at Morvant bar

Vida Mitchell stands next to one of her paintings. - Photo courtesy Vida Mitchell
Vida Mitchell stands next to one of her paintings. - Photo courtesy Vida Mitchell

Vida Mitchell enjoys observing how people behave and express themselves, and tries to capture the essence of people as well as objects and landscapes.

She views painting as a means of self-expression and a way to show her light-hearted, cheerful and colourful personality.

Vida Mitchell - Photo by Lincoln Holder

Mitchell, a 26-year-old account executive at an insurance company, is now hosting her first-ever art exhibition, Time of Their Lives. It began on June 7 and runs until June 21 at LOFTT Gallery, Rosalino Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain, and is free to the public.

The solo exhibition comprises 25 acrylic pieces and opens Tuesdays-Fridays from 10 am-6 pm.

"For me, it is not about representing what I directly see but about what I imagine in my mind and how it makes me feel while creating," Mitchell said.

The pieces are set in the 2000s and centred on the experiences at the family's bar, Mitchell Bar, in Morvant, she said. She likened them to back-in-time capsules from a period when the bar was most lively.

Mitchell described her technique as expressive, unnatural use of colour with whimsical brushstrokes.

Whatever she chooses to paint, she aims to spur a mood of powerful energy, happiness and celebration of that subject matter.

The soft-spoken artist said she has been painting her whole life. It was during the pandemic lockdown that she began taking her love for art more seriously and worked continuously on improving her craft.

"I did a workshop on creating art as a career and business. I decided that if I want to take art seriously, I must share it with others."

She creates paintings because she appreciates her surroundings.

"My general philosophy about art is that it should be a method of connecting with your surroundings and finding ways to make it expressive of your thoughts."

Painting titled The Time of Their Lives by Vida Mitchell - Photo courtesy Vida Mitchell

She said she looks for ways to have fun with her work and puts realistic, funny, real people and real moments at the forefront.

"I like mostly the ability to use colour to represent the music, which is an essential part of this work. It helps me build structure in the work by setting the tone and helping express the stories of the people and the places during their lives."

She said a piece titled Some Things Never Change portrays her father.

"It aims to encapsulate an ordinary day at the bar, tinged with a hint of sarcasm. I found it funny to incorporate one of our watchwords, Production, displayed on the bar's walls for years.

"The positioning of 'production' alongside the price of beer, followed by references to 'Trinidad and Tobago' and a dollar in hand, adds a reflective and ironic touch to the piece. Through this piece, set in the present, I convey the timeless notion that some things never change."

Another painting, The Time of their Lives, depicts the culmination of this exhibition's theme, expressing people during a memorable moment in their lives.

Painting titled Some Things Never Change by Vida Mitchell - Photo courtesy Veda Mitchell

Mitchell highlighted the beer cases stacked in the back, the empty mic stand, and the DJ's firm grasp on the mic. Everyone sported a wide smile.

Another piece, No Exit in Sight, features a female patron engrossed in her drink, symbolising the allure of alcohol as a coping mechanism.

"Her solitary focus on the drink in her hand suggests a desire to drown out external worries and find solace in the moment. The man sitting, seemingly detached from the woman's conversation, portrays a form of escapism through disengagement," she said.

"He sits in his own world, avoiding interpersonal connection and the realities of his surroundings. His posture suggests a deliberate withdrawal from the present moment."

Mitchell beamed with excitement as she continued to explain the painting.

"Together, these characters create a scene that is both light-hearted and sombre, reflecting the complex nature of escapism," she said.

"Despite their seemingly carefree expressions, there is an underlying sense of confinement and unease, hinting at the darker consequences of seeking refuge in temporary distractions."

For more on Mitchell's work, visit the gallery or her Instagram handle @ v.mitch_art.


"Vida Mitchell captures times of our lives at Morvant bar"

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