Boulder artist and designer Mitch Levin creates vintage-inspired lighted signs as well as other 4-dimensional art and wares. His signs are some of the most beloved pieces at madelife, lacking nothing in their retro-simplicity, novelty, and vibrancy in equal parts. The signs aptly represent the aesthetic of he and Susie Levin’s brand – High Voltage.
We asked Mitch about his design process and artistic endeavors…
Describe High Voltage and the work that you do:
I create one of a kind and limited edition, sculpture, furniture and art from all materials… found and fabricated.
How do materials inspire or contribute to your work?
Materials and or elements inspire me typically by their inherent shape or just their aesthetic look. Certain patinas on old metals or wood are often a catalyst for part of an existing piece or offer me an idea for a new work.
How did you get into making lighted signs?
I started doing the Vintage industrial signs and letters after a back injury.
I was forced to work on smaller lighter pieces for a period and my love for old vintage signs, led me to create my version of these new but nostalgic works.
In addition to lighted signs, High Voltage also creates outdoor sculptures, furniture, wares designed for retail and office spaces, pop-art, and home accessories. Which is most challenging for you and why?
Creating retail spaces is often the most challenging. Several factors that complicate this process are the clients perception of what they envision (realistically or unrealistically) , the budget (often too little) and then there is the confines of the actual space.
What is your process for creating an outdoor sculpture?
Often a loose sketch is drawn that defines the perimeter guidelines or shape of the sculpture. This gives me an idea of proportion as well as scale. Depending on the piece, time and budget… a model may be made or perhaps a small section of the work to determine material aesthetics.
Who or what have you drawn inspiration from recently?
I draw inspiration from most industrial architecture, old steel work including bridges as well as vintage metal toys. My work is heavily influenced by the color and graphic nature of cartoons, graffiti, tattoos and the steam punk movement. Recently my work has seen a lot of recycled elements incorporated into them, but this is not always the case.
Why do you believe art has value?
Art has value because it reflects our culture, our lives, and our journey as humans on this earth. It is our timestamp and our documentation of our life. It inspires, it transcends and should evoke a response in the viewer that captures that moment of discovery when a person first sees your work. Now everyone is different and not all will be moved by every piece I do, but when then connection happens and the viewer gets a glimpse into the artists mind, soul and journey of the creation…it is a moment! Too sum up my belief, the world would be dark without , art including, music, dance, theater, writing, architecture, and even cooking.
Describe the setting of where a piece of your art will be in the year 3001:
I would be honored to have a piece somewhere of historical significance that is viewed by many visitors daily and inspires them to create as well.
How do you envision that your art might contribute to culture, or community?
I would like to think that my work would inspire others in the community to challenge their talents and to continue create and think outside the box.
What keeps you making everyday?
I create every day because God has given me this wonderful talent and ideas that keep streaming in…
Do you have any words of wisdom for young creatives?
Part of my success has been that I have found a creative craft that affords me the luxury of being an artist full time. Half of my work is what I consider craft, the other half my fine art. To be pragmatic in this world, you must find a way to balance both!
find all of these featured High Voltage pieces in the retail space at madelife
photos courtesy of Briana May