In Baldwin Park artist Mitch Silver’s home, some of the walls are adorned with his original paintings.
There’s an abstract interpretation of people in motion, a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, and even a painting of a bull.
But if you ask him which is his favorite, he’ll point you toward a black-and-white painting of his daughter as a toddler. In fact, that particular painting played a large role in Silver’s return to his passion for art.
As his children were growing up, the former lawyer rediscovered the art form he loved so much — painting.
Silver always has been an artist at heart and valued creativity; he remembers watching other artists work and wanting to be able to create like they did. It runs in his blood, too: His grandmother back in the Bronx was a painter herself. Silver studied art at a community college and attended Parson School of Design for a while before deciding to drop out in favor of law school.
Silver pushed his love of art aside while pursuing a career in the law and business worlds. But after his son and daughter were born, Silver rediscovered his love for all things creative. As a stay-at-home dad for a few years, he spent a lot of time with his children, and through them, he was inspired to pick up a paintbrush again.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start to paint again,” he says. “I started playing with my son in the driveway with chalk, and it really reminded me, as I started to do a picture, how much I loved creating. I went out and bought a painting set and a canvas.”
Soon, he created the first painting he had done in nearly 20 years. That painting also is his favorite piece of artwork — the portrait of his daughter. It reinvigorated his creative muscle, and it’s one piece he will never sell.
Silver works primarily with acrylics on canvas, but he also dabbles in airbrushing and mural paintings. Painting and illustrating come naturally to him, and he has tried his hand at things like digital art and photography.
“One of my biggest things is just to go down around (Lake Baldwin) and sit there with a drawing pad,” he says. “Sometimes, I will draw people I see or birds that I see or people riding bicycles — I do quick sketches of that. I just enjoy those types of forms of life, and there’s a lot of life to see in Baldwin Park.”
"One of my biggest things is just to go down around (Lake Baldwin) and sit there with a drawing pad. … I just enjoy those types of forms of life, and there’s a lot of life to see in Baldwin Park.” — Mitch Silver
Lately, he especially enjoys painting abstract pieces and things in motion. In fact, his most recent body of work is called People N’ Motion — a loose interpretation of the human form in various poses and situations that express both emotion and motion in vivid colors with thought-provoking compositions. It’s his body of work that was on display at Galeria in February and March.
“I always like to paint things that are moving, and I like to do the human form in kind of an exaggerated motion,” he says. “A contemporary, abstract interpretation of the human form in motion is one of my areas that I often go back to.”
While having dinner there with his wife one night, he thought it would be the perfect place for his first art opening since relocating to Baldwin Park in 2018. Galeria General Manager Adam Searcy was in.
“Galeria is really excited about this opening,” Searcy says. “We are firmly committed to promoting art in Baldwin Park. We’ve created a beautiful environment for people to come and dine, or stop by for a drink, and see some beautiful art by a wide range of artists. We are proud of the quality of our food and service just as much as we are proud of the artists that we host.”
Silver’s opening night at Galeria was Jan. 25, and although he was a little nervous no one would come, many of his friends and even fellow diners and passersby attended. He created 13 pieces for the opening, and a few have since sold.
“It was fun,” he says. “I gave a little speech about my work, and overall I had a good time, which is the most important thing. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking to put your art out there. … Being human beings, we’re always concerned with what other people think of us. And when you put something out there for people to judge or comment on, I think it’s a little bit nerve-wracking.”
Silver is searching for his next artistic direction now, and he’s thinking it may be in the form of more large portraits of movie stars and Hollywood greats, much like his own portrait of Elizabeth Taylor.
“The thing that keeps me engaged is the feeling of being able to express yourself,” Silver says. “I like the ability to be able to express myself without any type of constructions or preconceived notions or anything that would dictate what I paint.”