Artist, Mitchell Freifeld

I do not remember a time when I did not draw and paint. My earliest memories are of looking out the car window and drawing what I saw with one of those big red pencils. I know that I was drawing before I learned to read and write; I started art school and painting in oils at about age 8.  At 10 I won my first juried show and decided that someday, I’d be a “real painter”.

I was born in 1950, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley, in Southern California, during the Post War boom. In Junior High and High School, I was one of the “Shop Kids.” Drafting and Electric Shop in Jr. High, Architectural Drafting, Art and Design in High School and College. 

Settling in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 70s, after spending several years in Europe, I got involved in burgeoning computer/high tech industry in what later became known as Silicon Valley. When I got into the field, the 80 column punched card was being phased out. I wrote COBOL and Assembler on IBM 370s at one point. And JCL. Real Old School. 

All during this time I continued to paint, and strictly in oils. My love of architecture never abated; it was, and is, the primary subject of my work.  I had my “day job” and at night I’d paint. My dream  never changed. At some ethereal point in time I would become a full time painter.

My wife and I moved to Portland around 20 years ago upon accepting an IT position the here. I lived in Eugene for a time in the 60s, and have always wanted to come back to the Northwest. 

But by the mid 90s, when we moved to the Northwest, I was past the high-tech burn out point. And painting was now demanding more and more of my waking attention. I began to find myself wandering from gallery to gallery downtown, in the middle of a weekday, not remembering leaving my office (which was about 20 miles away), nor driving to town. Painting all-night and trying to “work” all the next day was exhausting. The painting suffered for it, and that was my main concern. 

On the 9/11 I was informed by my employer that my services would no longer be required. I had a feeling that it was coming, but of all days!  I walked out of the warren of cubicles thinking “If not NOW when?” That last, long drive home from the office: “If not NOW when?”

For almost the last 15 years I’ve had the rare luck of living my dream. All my time now is devoted to either painting, or that which relates to painting. I still have the T-square I used all through school, and use it now still.  And I often find myself wandering from gallery to gallery downtown where the city streets always have new ideas for my next series of canvases, and the series after that.