Artistic heroes: Tyler Mitchell
Tyler Mitchell has the world at his feet, but it was a considered journey to get to that point. At just 25, the American photographer and filmmaker created a celebrated portfolio, shaped culture and made history. In recent years he has produced a breathtaking selection of personal works and orders for well-known brands, publications and artists.
He came on the world stage after his American Vogue photo shoot with Beyoncé in 2018. He was the first black photographer in the magazine's 125-year history to create the cover, and one of the youngest ever. Mitchell followed this achievement with the publication of an extensive work, I Can Make You Feel Good, which set the world on fire with his interpretation of a "black visual utopia".
Many often shake off the success of young artists and insist that a lasting legacy can only be built after decades of influencing culture. But Mitchell's status didn't come overnight, as each of his steps involved making a careful decision about what future he wanted for himself and for others. This careful focus may be the result of growing up in the Internet age, where countless high-profile personalities are accelerating projects or succumbing to the drama of living their lives online. Neither of the two results seems likely for Mitchell, whose thoughtfulness is evidence of his clear view.
Whether through groundbreaking exhibitions, intimate livestreams or the publication of his debut monograph, Mitchell invites the world into a space in which his ideas are free to expand and contract organically across different media. Here he guides us through his multidisciplinary process and the milestones of his previous life and career.
Above: Skateboarder in Havana, Cuba on the first national Go Skateboarding Day 2015; Above: Untitled (Hula Hoop group), 2019. All images: Tyler Mitchell
Tyler Mitchell grew up as an only child in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. In contrast to the typical narrative of creative people, his household was not filled with architects, theater producers or sculptors. “None of my parents were artists. No one in my family was involved in art or anything creative, ”he says. “Everything was pretty practical.