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Mitch Revs’ finding home

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Mitch “Revs” Resevsky has launched himself into a new project. 

After what has been a very busy two years for the first-time dad, he has found a place for his creative side to call home. 

On Saturday 25 March, the popular Newcastle artist opened what he prefers to call a destination space. 

The six-hour grand opening event attracted a regular crowd of onlookers, record sales of merchandise and a lucky winner taking home a one-of-a-kind Mitch Revs artwork. 

The new gallery at The Junction is the result of four months of hard work.

And, it’s a labour-of-love he is very proud of. 

“We are more of a destination space because we are a service-based gallery,” he explains. 

“We are now offering custom framing, custom printing, and we support more than 50 local artists.” 

The change, he says, is the result of a new direction. 

“I think people get confused, when they see [the word] gallery they think it’s a viewing space with artworks on the wall, and I suppose that’s what we were,” he said. 

“But we’ve transformed, which is what happens when you have a business – you need to adapt to stay afloat. 

“When we first started it was just my artworks hanging on the walls, there was no merchandise, but that only lasts for so long before you have to ask yourself ‘okay what are we going to do next?’

“That’s when we started offering services for other artists. We were doing exhibitions for artists in our own space, and then you find other independent galleries popping up and it’s time to adapt again. 

“It’s also a lot of work to get other artists ready to exhibit, so we’re going in a different direction again.” 

Rather than exhibiting other artists, Mitch and his team will use the space to help them prepare to host their own exhibitions. 

“We assist them with their printing, their framing, anything that they need to get ‘exhibition-ready’, that’s what we’re focusing on now,” he explains. 

painting

He’s been selling his iconic Newcastle paintings for more than a decade now. 

However, the Mitch Revs Gallery has been running for almost six years, formerly on Hunter Street.  

“We’re excited to be in The Junction now, there’s a real buzz about the place.” 

Work is not the only thing that has been keeping the local identity busy of late. 

Fourteen months ago, Mitch and his partner Emily joined the roller-coaster ride of parenthood when their twins Bodhi and Bobbi were born. 

“They’re the craziest kids I’ve ever met,” Mitch says of the pair that are on the brink of toddling. 

“I can handle a lot, but these guys are relentless. I don’t know how Emily does it all day long.  

“They’re very busy kids. 

“From observing the friends that I have with kids the same age it’s like ‘how did you get your kid to do that? With the twins, we hold them on our hips, and they just want to spin around, and they want to wriggle around and I’m like ‘why? – just chill.” 

Mitch’s mum tells him he was exactly the same. 

“Yeah, apparently I was a very busy kid.” 

Aside from juggling two toddlers, Mitch sourced and renovated the Union Street site in four months.  

“I’d always wanted to be in The Junction, but everything seemed to get snapped up off market, which made it pretty hard,” he told the Newcastle Weekly

“I got a message one day saying ‘hey the old chemist has gone’ so I drove past, and I thought it had just happened but apparently it had been sitting empty for about three months.  

“Now I understand why no one wanted to take it on. The amount of work we had to do to get it to this point was incredible.  

“We’ve done two house renos and three shop fit outs and I thought this’d be fine but from the get-go, because of the age of the building, everything that was currently there that looked okay, once you poked at it, it fell apart, starting with the floor.” 

Not deterred by the workload, with the help of local trades he has created a space he is proud to share. 

“There’s been a lot of heart and soul put into it,” he reflects. 

“It’s taken a while but we’re happy with it, we should be here for at least another ten years. 

“This is visually how I’d always wanted the space to look and feel.” 

His hope is that the space becomes more than a shopfront or a gallery. 

“You notice with art galleries that people just look through the window,” Mitch said.  

“There’s this stigma around galleries where I feel people feel like if they go in, they need to buy something.  

“We’re so not about that.  

“It’s about just coming in and feeling something. That’s what I try to do. I’ve even said that to people ‘stop standing out the front, just come in and have a laugh and enjoy it. Leave feeling inspired, there’s so much to learn from the artworks. 

“With us we’ve got the music going, we’re grooving, it’s about celebrating the colour and creativity.” 

These are two elements Mitch Revs’ art has become synonymous with. 

In fact, he describes his style as coastal-inspired cartoonism. 

“It’s lifestyle, it’s just what I do, I surf, and I skate, and I draw, they’re just things I’ve always done since I was a kid,” he said.  

“I’m just doing the stuff everyone wants to be doing on the weekends. I just love making art, and I love the ocean.” 

The former Kotara High School student makes no apologies for his pieces needing time to absorb. 

“A good artwork is something you can stand in front of for a long period of time, and that’s what I do with my work,” Mitch added.  

“I try to tell a story rather than it just being a painting and them stand there and say ‘I like the colours, or the image’.

“I like people getting lost there and being able to stand there for 20 minutes.” 

It’s a passion he discovered as a child. 

“It comes from being inspired by Where’s Wallly as a kid,” he says. 

“I’d sit there and get lost on the one page for ages. I guess it was about picking pieces from different artists that I like and merging that into my own thing.” 

And, he says, creativity is in desperate need of a resurgence. 

“Kids are missing something these days. Art can be transformative. We’ve got to channel that creativity in kids. 

“Is it our fault as adults? Is it because they see us sitting around on our phones? 

“If a kid grows up in a home where we as adults are painting, and sewing, and being creative then I guess they’ll know no different.” 

art gallery

Mitch spent his childhood drawing. 

“My Nan was always sitting there knitting, and Pop was an architect, so he always had a pen in his hand which is all we needed to see,” he said. 

“Nan would say ‘there’s the paper, there’s the pencils, away you go. 

“If that wasn’t in my life, I don’t know what I’d be doing.” 

Offering kids a chance to draw and creatively express themselves is something Mitch is very passionate about. 

His ‘Decked Out’ workshops, in which kids decorate a skateboard to take home, have been instilled in a national program. 

“We’re all guilty of being on our phones too much, but for me it’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen, that kids can see what I do and maybe feel like being creative again. 

“Now we’re in a position where we’re between two schools and there are 300-plus kids that walk past here every morning and every afternoon and if even 1% of those kids see what we do and go ‘hey that’s cool’, or they remember this when they’re 18 and they go ‘remember that guy that was doing cool stuff with art and colour at The Junction’ – that’s all it really takes to spark creativity.” 

His style is one that inadvertently attracts the younger generation. 

It means he doesn’t mind being notorious for producing coast-themed cartoons. 

“The reason I don’t mind that is because there’s comedy, there’s lots of character, and it also emphasises that nothing has to be perfect,” Mitch said.  

“I think that’s what I loved about cartoonism, is that there is no need for proportion to be to scale, I am a perfectionist in my own way and if I was to try and draw a face to scale, I’d throw at least 20 pieces of paper in the bin or rub that many holes in it that canvas. 

“I remember when I started doing this cartoon stuff, I could just blow everything out of proportion. I stopped using an eraser and people turned to it more because it was so wrong that it was right. I think that’s what I love about it and what everyone else loves about it, it’s just fun. 

“The way someone draws a dinosaur is definitely not the way a dinosaur looks but they know it’s a dinosaur and that’s all that matters. 

“I think we are taking it all a bit too serious and if we just looked at everything like it was a cartoon, we’d all probably have a bit more fun. 

“I’m saying that to myself as well. 

“It’s so easy to check out for the day and get caught up in life and get frustrated and stressed. There’s a message in that.” 

For now, Mitch Revs the artist can take a step back and enjoy his own creations. 

“I’ve spent the last two years getting the business to a point where it’s running so I don’t have to be there, it means I can spend more time with my family,” he said.  

“I’m keen to get back to painting because that’s what makes me truly happy.” 

And will he be encouraging his own twins to get creative? 

“As soon as the pen goes on the paper and not in the mouth, I’ll be getting them to give it a go for sure.” 

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