Ransom & Mitchell


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.

Varnish Fine Art
16 Jessie St., #C120
San Francisco, CA 94105
415-433-4400

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 - jen@varnishfineart.com


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.


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

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).


“My Heart is Where My Head Was” / 2009


Stills from the accompanying short film that will be on display, “My Head is Where My Heart Was” / 2009

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.


“Nos Fiere Quod Seminat (we become what is sown)” / 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.


“Her Burdens are Her Pleasures” / 2012

For our portraiture, we have sought to tell personalized stories about each artist and filled their scenes with clues about their inner truths.


Portrait of artist Greg “Craola” Simkins, “The Alchemist” / 2012


Portrait of artist Mike Davis, “The Nobelman” / 2011


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


Portrait of artist Charmaine Olivia, “Ritual” / 2011


Stills from the motion portrait of artist Charmaine Olivia that will be on display, “Ritual” / 2011


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


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

We feel the tie that binds all of this work together is our disregard for reality and a constant desire to find a visual and conceptual balance between dreams and nightmares.


“Wreckage”" / 2012

For this show at Varnish Fine Art gallery, we decided to create an installation within the gallery that incorporated the five foot rose I made for our most recent series of work, “Elegant Extraction.” (below)


“Elegant Extraction, part one : Elegant Inception” / 2012

The centerpiece rose suspended above the gallery is part of a a strange decaying home that provides a sumptuous, yet contradictory setting for our work.

We also wanted to create special one-of a kind frames for all of the work in the show. All the frames have been hand-painted and many (when appropriate) were stained with ‘blood’ to further their emotional narrative.


Photo of a few of  the 40+ hand painted frames for our show via my instagram @hld4ransom

Jason & I also believe knowledge, passion and inspiration should never be hoarded and are always appreciative when people we admire share with others. We created a website called Fake Believe that is devoted to sharing step-by-step breakdowns of how we do our work.


Photos from our Fake Believe blog showing step by step how I made Alex Pardee’s monster and the set for his portrait shoot.

You can also check out some of behind-the-scenes photos published online in Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz of our shoots with artists Mike Davis, Scott Musgrove & Craola. All of the photos in these articles were shot by the uber talented documentary photographer, Shaun Roberts. A brief selection of Shaun’s photos are below.


Make-up artist Jihyun Kim applying the final touches of blood to artist Scott Musgrove’s face.


Jason & I look on to set as Costume Designer, Margaret Hasley adjusts the model’s robe during artist Mike Davis’ portrait shoot.


Jason giving direction to Artist Greg Simkins on how high to hold his magical water pitcher.

Jason and I are both active on Instagram  - you may follow us at @hld4ransom (me) and @impureacts (Jason). You may also follow us on our new Facebook page “Ransom & Mitchell” where we have begun posting images from this show and photos of the sets & prop I make for our shoots.


A selection of photos from my Instagram account – I mainly post process photos of my set and prop creations, photos of other artists and their work, and on occasion I post photos of the Jason & I looking ridiculous. (Worth noting, the lobster-hand, skull child in the bottom row is the creation of artist Scott D. Wilson who was featured on Boing Boing and who’s portrait will also be in our show.)

Saving the best for last, I Jason & I will be giving away 100 small photo prints of our self-portrait, “Orthros Sapien” at our opening from 6-9pm as a thank you to all who come out to support our show and our wonderful gallery Varnish Fine Art. (One print per person. Must be in attendance to receive print.)


Self portrait of artists Ransom & Mitchell “Orthros Sapien” / 2011

A huge thank you goes out to the many cast & crew members who have helped us realize our wild flights of fancy. Below is a (mostly) complete list of every person who helped create the photos and films that we are displaying in our show.

Participating Artists: Scott Musgrove, Greg “Craola” Simkins, Jess Schnabel, Craww, David Pescovitz, 100taur (Nicolas Giraud), Alex Pardee, Robert Bowen, Wednesday Kirwan, Charmaine Olivia, Mike Davis, Scott D Wilson, John Casey, Ulorin Vex and Ozlo Mitchell

Models: Alexis Hutt, Ukushu, Grace Gabbana, Rachel Sutton, Hattie Jane, Heather Hayes, Tiana Hunter, Lindsay Gardner, Brittany Cervantes, Jennifer Jones, J M Stewart

Key Art Assit – scenic painting & set decor: Edward Rachel Nichols

Wardrobe Design, Costume Creation and Styling: Margaret Hasley, Christina Molcillo, Ali Cohen, Melisande Innes-Brown, Tom Banwell, Chrissy Sixx, Eirik Aswang

Hair & make-up design: Jihyun Kim, Lisa Zomer, Mil Ranon, Alicia Marie Campbell

Special FX Make-up: Margaret Caragan

Gaffers: Charles Griswald, Joe Mendoza, Darrel Flowers, Cody Flowers

Camera Assist Motion: Aaron Meister, Jesse Dana, Jonathan Bowerbank

Camera Assist Still: Samuel Herndon

Set Construction: Jesse Roadkill Wilson, Mike Boyd Williams

We hope you will be able to stop by our opening at Varnish Fine Art, Saturday, Sept 8th so we can express our gratitude in person.

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