Montu Mitchell is a DC born and bred graphic artist, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and Go-Go curator who has been the creative director and designer of the MITCHCRAFT Walking Art collection since 2014. As the chief executive officer of the DMV-based label, Montu creates premium apparel that celebrates American History, Washington, DC and Go-Go culture. His designs are timeless, educational, and culturally forward.
Montu is one of the District’s most known graphic and apparel designers. He is the artist behind well known DC anthem artworks such as the LOVE DC GO-GO clothing campaign and Mural, the Anacostia Go-Go Mural, the Congress Heights’ Dorothy Height Mural, Backyard Band’s custom logo and apparel and apparel worn by Go-Go music icons such as Sugar Bear of EU and Big G of BYB.
His artwork crosses into the political realm with his tribute collection to the late Mayor of DC, Marion Barry and even hits social justice issues with his controversial pieces such as “What’s the 4th”, which artistically frames Frederick Douglas with his historical speech “What to a slave is the 4th of July” or his tribute shirt to Dr. Frances Cress Weising showing Dr. Weising holding an ankh (the Egyptian symbol for the key of life) and her book “The Isis Papers, The keys to the colors”.
His love of art and design started as young boy living in North West DC and frequenting the many museums located downtown. He took to clothing as his medium learning that the viewing of historical works of art hanging on a wall are limited by being stationary and enclosed. The vision of bringing art to the masses by using a simple everyday canvas which everyone already owns and creatively placing a print that now speaks to each being that lays eyes on it was a new goal. He created and sold his first “Walking Art” shirt and hat design dedicated to the Million Man March on the Mall of Washington, DC in 1995 as a sea of men and supporting women flooded the area to promote unity and family values. A moment in history that he felt was important to capture in art as a reminder of the power of a collective front.
Montu draws a lot of his inspiration from Emory Douglas, the revolutionary graphic artist behind the iconography used in issues of the Black Panther Party Newspapers. He was surrounded by Douglas’ images which were framed and hung inside his father’s Resturant, Imani Cafe in Anacostia, DC, which is where he spent most of his teen years. Another inspiration is the Districts own Eddie Van, the 80’s originator of DC’s urban streetwear brand Universal Madness, which Montu had the honor of helping revamp in 2013. Montu’s LOVE DC GOGO design and campaign was inspired by Milton Glaser, graphic designer and creator of the popular I Love New York logo. He uses a marketing style inspired by Mr. G, the legendary Go-Go cameraman who not only captured fans at go-go events through photography but also sold t-shirts there that captioned classic go-go catch phrases.
A trained graphic designer, Montu graduated from the University of DC with an associates in Graphic Design and received his Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in multimedia from George Mason University. His mission is to tell the unpopular true history of the American people and spotlight the rich culture of Washington, DC through conversational pieces of Walking Art.