Graphite & Colored Pencil Drawing on Paper, 2018

“Algonac Pickerel Tournament Goldfish” by Mike Pitzer

Every 4th of July, families from Anchor Bay up to Marine City would head to downtown Algonac for the Pickerel Tournament and a chance to fill up on cotton candy, ferris wheel rides, carney games, and watch our small town parade. The carnival games were things like the Ball and Bucket Toss, Balloon & Darts, Basketball, B-B Gun Balloon Burst, Coin Toss on Dishes, and my specialty — the Bottle Stand. All you had to do was get 1, 2, or 3 rings on any of 50+ Coke bottles, just four feet away from you and you'd win a prize. Sometimes the prizes were blue, green or yellow parakeets. Sometimes they were goldfish... which is exactly what I won when I was about 13. I remember it because we were all wearing our Little League uniforms so we could march in the parade. I think the goldfish lasted about a week at our house. I'm still not sure if it died and Dad flushed it, or if our cat (Alley) did a little fishing on her own and ate it.

This drawing was how you were handed your prize. It was also my first attempt at color after starting to draw again and when I discovered that Gamsol could be used with a blending stick to basically melt color pencil to create beautiful, subtle mixes of color and texture.

goldfish by Mike Pitzer
goldfish detail #2 by Mike Pitzer
goldfish detail #3 by Mike Pitzer
goldfish detail #4 by Mike Pitzer

My art is not an exercise in, nor an attempt to master hyper realism. My drawings came from an inner desire to find “happiness” again. A creative satisfaction I was no longer getting from simply being an advertising Creative Director. Don't get me wrong, I love the ad biz, but the last several years had sucked the happiness out of it for me. My wife, Lynn encouraged me to start drawing again and as I did I looked for that thing that would inspire me. That "thing" turned out to be “things” that made me happy as a kid growing up in Algonac, Michigan. As I continue to see, these things make other people happy too.

As an ad guy, I thought there had to be an art movement out there like “tribalism” or “familiarism”, art that people identify with at an emotional level. (OMG! Ad speak...) I haven't found one yet. Lynn had an idea that sounded interesting — “Evocationism”. She said it was the act of calling forth — evoking of old memories. From postings on Facebook, that's what's happening. Friends are telling me how fun and cool this series is. Which is why I've been calling this work “Happy Art” — because it's brought my happy back!
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  • Title: “Algonac Pickerel Tournament Goldfish”

  • Artist: Mike Pitzer

  • Medium: Graphite, Colored Pencil on Paper

  • Image Size: 20" T x 16" W

  • Signed & Dated: MPitzer '2018

  • Series: “Happy Art”


  • Happy Art

  • Fig Tree Gallery

  • Drawing

  • Pencil Art

  • goldfish

  • Algonac Lions Pickerel Tournament

  • Pickerel Tournament

  • Mike Pitzer Artist

  • Fresno Artists