Smoke & Mirrors

Whenever I come across a unique art piece, an art piece that is highly creative and, well, new, I feel that tingling sensation as if I’m looking at an entity of  raw power. Jason Mitchell and Stacey Ransom’s art, aptly named Smoke & Mirrors is an example. I mean look at those incredibly detailed, high-res imagintings (aye, I made up that word just now), they take you to a dark place where beautiful succubi and terrible farmer coexist, where an ancient book rots deep below while a man more ancient thinks of a dystopian (and probably Dionysian) future. If there’s any.

So welcome to the freak show, enjoy your journey.

As the author of this blog, I am thrilled to announce that Varnish Fine Art in San Francisco will be debuting our solo show “Ransom & Mitchell – Smoke & Mirrors” which encompasses more than a years worth of work I have created with my partner Jason Mitchell. We will be exhibiting our photo illustrations in the form of narrative tableaus, as well as the first series of images in our on-going artist portrait series.


Portrait of artist Scott Musgrove, “The Last Good Man” / 2012


My partner, Jason Mitchell, a director-photographer, and myself Stacey Ransom, a set designer and photo-illustrator, create abundant, highly-detailed photo illustrations. Our work is narrative in nature and draws upon the darker undercurrent that exists within all aspects of society.


“My Heart is Where My Head Was” / 2009


Through a combination of cinematic lighting, theatrically-designed sets, and an illustrative approach that is inspired by the Italian and Dutch Master painters, we aim to create worlds that cannot exist (and quite possibly shouldn’t).



Portrait of jewelry designer (Bloodmilk) & curator Jess Schnabel, “Between Worlds” / 2012


We hope our images blur the lines between traditional photography and classical painting so our viewers will be unsure as to what is “real” and what we created either as sets & props or as digital painting.


Portrait of artist Charmaine Olivia, “Ritual” / 2011


In our show “Smoke & Mirrors,” we are presenting two unique bodies of work, consisting of fourteen cinematically themed tableaus, twenty seven artist portraits and two short films. For our narrative pieces, we have combined epic scenes of lush grandeur with uncomfortable emotional themes that address issue of obsession, consumption and longing.


And here are two of my favorites:

Portrait of artist Alex Pardee, “Monster Hunter” / 2011



Portrait of artist 100taur (pronounced Centaur) aka: Nicolas Giraud, “Funky Fresh Pee Pea” / 2011


Here are some info on Smoke & Mirrors, don’t miss it.


Varnish Fine Art
16 Jessie St., #C120
San Francisco, CA 94105

Opening reception Saturday September 8th from 6:00-9:00pm
On view September 8th – October 27th, 2012
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Gallery Contact: Jennifer Rogers –

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